Canon 1D C & Motion Image Photography

Motion Image Photography. This isn’t really a new concept for us. We’ve seen lots of images and posts and comments on pulling still images from 4K video in the past, especially as the RED cameras starting offering these resolutions. What’s different now is that it will soon be available in a digital-SLR, the Canon 1D C. Although the camera isn’t priced for most people, at $11,999.00 it’s one of the more ‘affordable’ 4K cameras out there. The United Film Works video that started circulating after Christmas compares frame grabs from the 4K video to photographer’s still frames and in each case leaves the photographer more than impressed.

Is there a double-edged sword here? On one hand it’s exciting to think of all the possibilities this technology and other tech like it offer but at the same time does it make things too easy? (I can’t believe I’m question/complaining about things being ‘too easy’). When the RED came out I remember people joking that all they had to do was set the focus and hit record, then they could do adjust whatever they wanted (ISO, temperature, exposure) in post. This is obviously a bit of an exaggeration but there’s a hint of truth in there (imagine this tech combined with Lytro’s ‘infinite focus’ camera). There’s mention of photographers learning to read body language and human emotion and from these traits knowing when to fire their shutter and capture the best moments. Does this negate that skill? On the other hand, how different is this from shooting stills in bursts of 8 or 12 fps and picking the best image of the bunch afterwards? In his blog post Abraham Joffe of United Film Works asks “Is this a photograph?” as well as some insight into how this debate might unfold; “What I quickly realised that some photographers held strong opinions on why not to pursue motion image capture, whilst others seemed quite excited by the prospect.”

4K Komodo - click to see full resolution

4K Komodo – Click to check out the full resolution on United Films’ Blog

Various 4K screen grabs like the one above found on the United Film Works’ blog do provide some beautiful evidence in favor of shooting in this way. My favorite sound byte comes from Graham Monro who jokes about being a stills guy and ponders ‘am I out of a job?’ Like with all of the new gadgets though he makes the point that as amazing as this new tech is, it is forcing photographers and cinematographers to keep up with a rapidly advancing assortment of gear. This obviously doesn’t spell certain doom for photogs and there is still a fine distinction between the two forms, but it does feel like a sign of things to come. What do you think? Would screen grabbing from the 4K video be enough to satisfy your needs and your clients’ needs on the photography side of things? Or would losing the .RAW files be too much of a sacrifice?

Canon 1D C rides along Atlas 10 - Save 30% on Atlas 10 during our extended Sale!

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5 Responses to Canon 1D C & Motion Image Photography

  1. I already pull screen grabs from my wedding films for things like DVD covers, Facebook photos, etc. I also now offer a hybrid film/photo product that includes pulling stills from the footage so you can print 4×6′s and even 5×7′s (at times). Given that I am using just 1080p on a 5d2, I get a little excited to see what’s coming down the road.

    Ultimately, it’s not the camera that makes great images with great expressions… It’s the photographer / cinematographer who has the skills to find good light and pull those expressions out of the client. This is just another “feather in our hat” or “tool in our bag” that we can use to capture memories, sell products, promote a brand, or make pretty images :)

    Lastly, I do have a bit of a hesitation… Clients all to often thing that you can just rattle off images and pull the best for them. While it’s true, it takes time. My hesitation is that it will just take more educating our clients and sharing with them that we bill for our time – and that if they want a business to sort 15,000 images from a session and narrow them down… That’s going to take some serious time. Even shooting 15 fps bursts results in a lot less images to sort through and the quality is just so much more. For certain applications it will be great (lets say when shooting a CEO with very little time for you… or animals…) it might justify the added time, but for every day applications, individual pictures where the “photographer” makes the decision of the best moment at the time of the capture… that will still be a valuable asset for most people.

    • David Blair says:

      Travis, I agree – and am reminded of … “it’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it”.

      A great photographer (and I’m not one, but do appreciate the skill and artistic expression required) is not made with equipment, but with knowledge, insight, and application.

      Nevertheless it is really interesting that the ongoing rapid technology advances in both video and photography are blurring the boundaries between the two.

      What’s really exciting for me is the enablement for more people who want to ‘have a crack’ through reduced costs and increased resolution etc. – and I’m sure we will wind up with an increasing pool of real talent as a result.

  2. CDBSI says:

    This an awesome opportunity for those willing to delve in.

    Out of curiosity while is 2.5K would the BlackMagic Cinema Camera (with Raw capture) album to extract raw stills?

  3. CDBSI says:

    Sorry – Correct post – Out of curiosity, while it is 2.5k, would the blackmagic Cinema Camera (with Raw Capture) be able to extract raw stills thereby adjusting color exposure if needed?

  4. Saxon Lee says:

    I have been waiting for this camera for a while, and its not there yet for me. I have RED Epics, and while this is out of reach for most shooters, it ticks all the boxes that a RAW photographer shooting video is looking for. The latitude is about to get even better with the new dragon sensor upgrade. But in chancing times and rollercoaster budgets, the Epic just doesn’t make it out on many shoots so I have been eager to see how the 1DC would fare. In my opinion, the RED Scarlet does far more than the 1DC for the same money (although its heavier, and monitoring is less than ideal without an optical viewfinder). I am going to sit and dream about a Black Magic Camera stage 2 when they hopefully release a full frame sensor version : )

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