The Complete Kit

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“The whole point of technology is to make your life easier,” says Simeon Quarrie, “and that’s why I specifically chose the Canon Cinema EOS range.” But what does ‘easier’ really mean? For a moviemaker like Simeon, there are multiple strands that go into it – quality, affordability, speed and versatility. Ultimately, it boils down to achieving the best footage for his clients in the most efficient and nimble way possible.

“So, as a filmmaker,” explains Simeon, “I’m always thinking, ‘how can I get the best results possible in a really cost-effective way?’ The video game has changed massively and, with the advent of social media, there is a need for shorter content, turned around faster, but still with the maximum quality. It’s not about 30 or 40 people on a shoot anymore.”

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“What that means,” he continues, “is for every job, I’m asking myself, ‘which bodies and lenses do I need for this production?’ and ‘how can I use them as efficiently as possible?’ I put a lot of emphasis on pre-production and planning, so the actual shoot and post-production then falls into place really easily, and I don’t spend too much time grading and editing. But for that, I need kit that delivers in day-to-day productions, and which is at a level and standard that impresses my clients.”

Simeon’s main tools are the EOS C200 and EOS C300 Mark II bodies, but he also uses the C700 FF when a job demands it. It’s this ability to pick and choose within Canon’s EOS Cinema range, while still achieving consistent high-quality footage, that he says is vital in his work. This ability to scale a production around the C200 and C300 Mark II was clear on his recent projects for global luxury brand, Burberry, and its Burberry Inspire programme.

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“I’ve done a couple of projects for Burberry recently and, thanks to the versatility of the Canon’s Cinema bodies, we could shoot them in very different ways,” he explains. “For one of them, we rigged the C200 and the C300 II as proper cinema cameras. We used a full shoulder rig and loaded the C300 Mark II with follow focus and Cine Prime lenses. We also used Cine Primes and follow focus with the C200, but as it’s smaller, we had that on a Movi Pro gimbal. Even then, the cameras’ size meant we only needed a unit of three of us – much smaller than we would have done with certain other production cameras.”

“On the second Burberry project,” he continues, “I had to be much more run and gun, being the only operator. So there I used the C200 alone. No monopod, no tripod and working totally handheld with just the CN-E 18-80mm IS lens. So you see, it’s really easy to use the same piece of technology in two totally different ways. And these are cameras that are actually affordable to own – and they work out of the box without needing to buy lots of additional accessories. You can always add more on, but you’re not hampered at the very beginning, which I think is really useful,” he points out.

Sometimes a project calls for higher spec, “and that’s where I will bring in a C700 FF”, says Simeon. “So there was another Burberry project where I wanted a particular look, which only the full-frame sensor would offer. We had two days filming real businesses and real people, but we had to be careful not to have too many logos in the background. And working fast meant that we didn’t have time to set-dress or tidy up too many items. But having that really shallow depth-of-field meant all those issues were blurred out. And the camera is still mobile enough to move lightning quickly across multiple locations and just totally blitz a shoot.”

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“Working fast,” he continues, “means editing, too. For the Burberry project, we had a ten-day turnaround from scripting to shooting. We came off location on a Friday, and I had the edit done by Monday morning to be seen by the creative director. That’s only possible because of the EOS Cinema range’s flexible formats. With Cinema Raw Lite on the C200 and ProRes on the C700FF, it’s so flexible that you can decide how much work you want to do. Your hope is the majority doesn’t need much editing. But for those few shots where dynamic range needs adjusting, or where creatively you want to be able to get more out of it, you can just flip the switch and you’re in Ferrari mode.”

“But because of the quality provided by these cameras’ sensors,” he continues, “the speed of delivery required, and the way footage is being used, I would say that in 99% of our productions, we’ll run MP4. It’s so easy for people to get stuck in the ‘forum mindset’ of ‘is it 12bit?’, ‘is it 4:2:2?’, and think they need to be running everything in Raw. But with these cameras you don’t and, in the vast majority of cases, if you’re shooting your content right, MP4 is perfect – and it’s faster. You always want the footage to look great in the camera like that. That’s my preferred default, and that’s what Canon gives me,” Simeon concludes.

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