Colour Consistency

Ollie Kenchington is an award-winning filmmaker, colourist and highly respected post-production trainer. He set up Korro Films in 2008, with the UK-based film production agency now producing brand films, commercials and documentaries for global clients. Ollie is also the founder of Korro Academy, where he is lead tutor, teaching thousands of aspiring filmmakers.

Ollie is an assured practitioner across all areas of filmmaking but, by his own admission, he is not an engineer. And that’s fine, because filmmakers using Canon EOS cinema cameras don’t need to be. Canon knows filmmakers simply want a tool that helps them turn creative ideas into striking footage, not a camera that gets in the way.

“I’m more interested in the technical aspects than most people,” Ollie explains. “But your average person doesn’t want to know what’s going on inside the camera, they just want a tool that allows them to do their job. The C200 is a perfect example of that. I’ve been using it for two years, because of how it deals with colour and contrast. I was blown away by how easy it was to get accurate skin tones. With very little effort, I can get beautiful results every time.”

Colour consistency and image quality are vital for so many reasons. Not least because it means a colourist like Ollie can concentrate on the creative aspects of their job, instead of wasting time fixing footage that’s noisy or unbalanced.

“What some cameras give you,” he explains, is “a plasticky or lifeless look”. It then takes a lot of skill to grade it back to an acceptable image. “You can struggle like hell just to get to the kind of starting point that the C200 provides. It’s actually very difficult to get bad results from the camera, whereas some cameras can give even experienced operators bad results.”

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Several features on the C200 align to improve image quality, but the camera’s heat management is one thing many don’t consider, according to Ollie. “The little fan was actually one of the first things I noticed when I moved to the C200. All higher-end cinema cameras have this kind of ventilation, and those below do not. Heat management is an incredibly important part of controlling colour and noise in an image, so you need metal housings and good cooling systems. On top of that, Canon develops its own sensors, which allows them to take complete control of the image.”

Although the C200 shoots 12-bit Raw internally, for a recent campaign Ollie did for Byron, the burger restaurant chain, he shot in UHD at 50p in MP4, with the C200’s neutral colour matrix and C-log 3. He’s been thrilled with the results. “We tend to shoot compressed MP4 for most of our work, because the camera’s 14-bit internal processing is so good, even though it encodes it to a 4:2:0 8-bit codec, it somehow ends up more than the sum of its parts,” he explains. “We used MP4 even in bright sunshine, pointing the camera straight into the sun, and for the low-light sequences – all the things that are challenging and really pushing it to its limits – the stuff we got is really amazing. There were six models, all with different skin tones, and they all look great. It’s excellent that the C200 can shoot this way, as it saves time, keeps costs down and increases profit, which is vital when you’re shooting commercially.”

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If Ollie is saving time in grading, what does that allow him to do instead? “Any colourist will tell you their main goal is to create depth and use contrast to guide the viewer’s eye,” he answers. “So in the same way a good DOP would light an image, the colourist develops it to create layers and add colour to control the mood. There’s so much creative power in grading that to waste time just trying to get accurate colour, or noise-free images, is so dispiriting, because you know you could’ve spent that time creatively. With the C200, you can spend minimal time on the primary grade and maximise developing colour and depth.”

He adds: “I went away from Canon for a few years, but it was the image quality and colour of the C200 that brought me back.

“I know I can rely on Canon to develop products that prioritise image quality over gimmicks in spec. For example, we also use the EOS R as a B cam, and because it has been engineered by Canon to match precisely with the rest of the Cinema EOS system, it’s scarily easy to match up the footage in post. It’s that approach to image quality and colour reproduction that make us stay within Canon’s EOS ecosystem.”

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