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French film director Pierre Deschamps is amazed by Canon’s EOS C300 cinema camera

January 2012

The award-winning French film director Pierre Deschamps was one of the first people in Europe to shoot with Canon’s Cinema EOS System. CPN spoke to him on film about his one-day test shoot with the EOS C300 digital cinema camera.

As someone who often works alone, Deschamps was keen to find out if he could shoot high-quality, ‘clean’ footage “right out of the box” in daylight and in the dark. He chose to take his C300 and five EF lenses, from the EF8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM to the EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM, to the pier in the UK seaside town of Brighton where he lives.

“I wanted to shoot as neutral as possible,” says Deschamps. “As one guy shooting, it’s very important not to complicate things…it’s easier to handle it in post afterwards.” To test the camera in the daylight he shot into the sun with the Fisheye zoom and captured a quick sequence of his daughter eating an ice-cream using the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM at various focal lengths. “The benefit of the C300 is that the built-in ND filters enable you to get the cinematic depth-of-field,” he says.

© Pierre Deschamps

Pierre Deschamps’ Cinema EOS System test footage entitled, By the Pier.

Deschamps also praises the C300 for its ergonomics: “It has a very good handgrip and you can keep it very close to your body. You really feel you’re [at] one with it.” He described the low-light performance as “huge” and the noise ratio as “fantastic”. Commenting on the nighttime shots of the pier and lights, he said that people would not believe that it was shot at just 500 ISO. “You can see so many crispy details…that’s always a sign of quality.”

Deschamps was also impressed with the workflow, especially as an independent filmmaker who likes to shoot and edit quickly. As someone who has worked with broadcasters in several European countries, he also knows that ‘clean’ footage is vital. “The less production work there is the more efficient [the process]. I shot at 4:2:2 codec, 50Mbps, out of the box, no grading needed. And that’s what the broadcasters want.”

Biography: Pierre Deschamps

Pierre Deschamps

Pierre Deschamps started his career in the French television industry and, in 1997, moved to Scandinavia to begin working as a director, director of photography, editor and stills photographer. He has been using the EOS 5D Mark II to make documentaries since 2008 and last year won the best film award in the 'Shorts' category of the second International Forest Film Festival (IFFF), organised by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in collaboration with the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat. His documentary, Rugby: the Lifeblood of New Zealand, was broadcast by Canal+ Sport, Discovery Channel and ESPN in 2011.