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Header image for article C500 - A Camera that Really Hits the Spot

C500 - A Camera that Really Hits the Spot

Our customers are always asking for "the perfect camera", one that fits all of their needs and then some. Of course, there is no such thing as the perfect solution for everyone; however, there are some key requirements that we hear all the time. Most new cameras today have features that set them apart from each other and sound great on paper, but when it comes time to go into production the camera needs to be a solid tool that preforms a required task.

New features like 4K and Raw recording modes are essential for some, but the vast majority of production is done in HD. The ability to shoot in Raw and Log modes is fantastic when you need it, but often productions are recorded in standard video formats that go on the air with a short turn around time. Based on these factors and your feedback, here's a list of key requirements that our clients tend to look for in a large sensor camera today.

  • HD recording in 1080 and 720P
  • Low noise and high dynamic range (12+ stops)
  • Frame rates up to 60P (and beyond if possible)
  • 422 and 444 recording options
  • 10 or 12-bit recording options
  • A high-quality recording format, preferably Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD
  • Proxy / low bit rate recording options
  • Log & Raw recording modes
  • 4K & 2K resolution options
  • Lightweight and modular design

This is just a short list of requirements, and of course everyone will have different priorities; however, I think it covers the majority of productions today. Not many cameras hit all the requirements, but many come close.

In the case of the Canon C500, the form factor may not be perfect fit for all, but when combined with the AJA Ki Pro Quad it really hits all the bases, as you'll see below.

HD Recording in 1080P & 720P

The C500 has a 4K sensor, but it can easily record in regular HD formats. The camera can record 1080 progressive and interlaced modes internally to a CF card in a compressed MPEG2 format. It can also record in 720P modes, which is still a requirement of some television networks. The signals can also be sent out to the Ki Pro Quad for higher quality ProRes recording.

Low Noise & High Dynamic Range

The C500 sensor is quite remarkable with 12 stops of dynamic range and some of the lowest noise levels around. Low noise, of course, means as you move towards higher ISO modes the image is still usable. This means that the camera is well suited to a wide variety of shooting situations.

Frame Rates up to 60P (and Beyond)

With the AJA Ki Pro Quad, the C500 offers up to 60P recording in 2K and HD modes, and up to 30P recording in 4K. The camera can go up to 120P when passing Raw data through the Ki Pro Quad, but the heavy lifting of ProRes generation is done in post. Recording in 60P in HD modes was something of a pipe dream just a few years ago, but now the C500 + Ki Pro Quad can do it very easily, and deliver the formats you need today.

422 & 444 Recording Options

Most major television networks and other media outlets are demanding video compression with a minimum of 422 color sampling. The C500 + Ki Pro Quad go beyond that to offer 422 and 444 recording options in HD, 2K and 4K modes.

10 or 12-Bit Recording Options

Bit depth is a big deal when it comes time for post correction. A 10 or 12-bit signal means you have more adjustability in post, which means you can get more out of your camera. The C500 can output either 10 or 12-bit, and the Ki Pro Quad can record that to either the ProRes 422 HQ (10-bit mode) or ProRes 4444 (12-bit mode).

A High-Quality Recording Format, Preferably Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD

Today, ProRes has become an industry standard for delivery to post, and the Ki Pro Quad delivers just that. The Ki Pro Quad can record in all ProRes flavors from LT to 4444. This means fewer headaches in post and less trouble delivering what your clients want.

Proxy/Low Bit Rate Recording Options

If ProRes is too big of a file for you, or if you want an offline format to work with before matching back to full quality ProRes, then the C500 has you covered. You can record in a compressed 50 Mbps 422 MPEG2 codex in the camera while you record externally to the Ki Pro Quad in HD, 2K or 4K. On top of that you can apply a LUT to the internal recording while sending Canon Log to the external recording. This enables an easy Online / Offline workflow.

Log and Raw Recording

Log and Raw recording modes are essential to get the very most out of your camera; the C500 + Ki Pro Quad offers both. The C500 can output a Log signal to the Ki Pro Quad in HD, 2K and 4K modes, for video in the highest dynamic range possible. In Raw modes, the C500 can output a Raw 4K signal to the C500 for pass through to an external drive for recording.

4K and 2K Recording Modes

The C500, like many new cameras, can output in 4K and 2K modes. While HD is still king in production today, these modes really future-proof your recorded media assets and the camera. The Ki Pro Quad can record all the resolutions you can throw at it, from HD up to 4K.

Lightweight & Modular Design

The C500 and Ki Pro Quad can be built together on a rig, or pulled apart for use on a Steadicam, crane or other camera rig. This option means the camera can fit in a variety of situations, from handheld to a full studio configuration. There are many camera options available, but the combination of the C500 and Ki Pro Quad give you a huge amount of versatility, and delivers where it counts today and tomorrow.

Andy Shipsides
Chief Technology Officer / Camera Tech Specialist, AbelCine LA

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