RED Epic and Canon C300Marc Ehrenbold
The RED Epic and the Canon C300, when paired together, can and will personalise a big story– capturing the breadth of a landscape (see: Gravity, see: below), without losing or obscuring even the finest details within the scene.
The RED Epic is the yin to the Canon C300’s yang.
An idiosyncratic marriage, perhaps, but on Watermark—a documentary film concerned with telling a compelling story about the state of the world’s water–we suspect there was no more comprehensive an option than the coupling of these two cameras. And cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier and co-directors Edward Burtynsky (also a professional photographer) and Jennifer Baichwal had their pick of the litter. With every worthwhile modern camera available to them (they ended up using 20 different formats throughout the docu, including the wonderful GoPro), cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier would continually return to the Red Epic and Canon C300.
Mr. de Pencier has spoken of the film as an “experiential story” about water, as opposed to a political message or personal narrative. So, how to tell an apolitical, impersonal story about 70% of the planet and have it be riveting? Through striking visuals, of course.
And good God are they striking:
The film used co-director Burtynsky’s original photographs of vast, aquatic landscapes as a jumping off point. They were, as de Pencier pointed out “all about detail and resolution. We wanted to extend the narrative of the pictures that he takes.”
[Pencier] explained that he used Red’s 5K format for applications such as wide shots taken from helicopters to get the most detail.
“But on the ground doing interviews or [shooting] in remote places, this didn’t make sense,” he commented, adding that for these shots, he used the smaller C300 to create a verite documentary style. He said he chose the Canon camera because it is both portable and also a big chip camera.
This makes perfect sense, no? Why shoot with one camera when you can shoot with two (or twenty)? (That’s a rhetorical question–although there are plenty of reasons to stick with one camera, ie. consistency, cost.) The RED Epic and Canon C300 just work so damn well together. And nothing will get the job done more vividly, on such an expansive project, than taking advantage of what both individual cameras excel at.