At the end of 2019, Canon announced the C500mkII - their new flagship cinema camera - for which I swapped out my trusty Sony FS7 in January of this year. Six months later, Canon also released the C300mkIII - cleverly sharing the same body as its bigger brother. Both are awesome cameras, however as any filmmaker will know, the total cost of ownership is not just the cost of the camera itself, but it will often require a number of additional purchases for the ideal setup. Let's sum up what I think are the three best additions you can make to your C300mkIII or C500mkII.
Bright Tangerine have established themselves as one of the best mechanical accessory manufacturers in the business, starting with matte boxes before moving on to follow focus systems and now complete camera cages. Their cage solution is really quite superb, and was my only choice when outfitting the camera.
The complete system predominantly consists of a top plate and handle, baseplate and a pair of side plates (that I call ribs). Each of these parts can be purchased separately depending on your needs and budget - you might want the baseplate for rod support but are quite happy with stock handle, or vice versa - you may never need the baseplate but instead wish to deck out the camera with the low profile top plate and removable top handle. Speaking of which - this is one of the two key features that I think set this cage apart from all of the others.
Both the top and base plates feature an industry standard Arri dovetail fitting - which means the camera can be top mounted (from a motion control arm for instance) or even mounted upside down! The fact the top handle slides off is such a simple but useful feature - the shorter height makes packing into cases or backpacks far easier; I've often had to unscrew top handles to pack them for international travel in the past.
The second really fantastic feature about the rig is their patented quick release (they call it "Open•UP") for the dovetail baseplate. Traditionally, to remove a camera from a dovetail, one must slide the camera all the way to the end of the dovetail plate and depress the safety pin; particularly with heavier rigs, this can be a fumbling and difficult process. Simply by releasing a lever on the side of the baseplate, one can slide the camera back and forth for balance or, by depressing the safety catch, open the lever up completely, at which point the camera can be lifted vertically off the dovetail. It's a really ingenious design.
There are already plenty of reviews and videos online that demonstrate each part and feature of this cage system in great detail should you wish to delve further, but know that this is hands down the best rigging solution for these cameras.
£747 to £1367+VAT for different kits or components can be purchased separately
Canon have always been known for their excellent colour science, though it's no secret that Arri are often considered as having the best overall image. It's no surprise then that many users or end clients wish to emulate the Arri look... and in fact a number of comparisons and camera tests online have come to the conclusion that the C500mkII comes closest to the Arri look out of any other camera currently on the market.
Kenny McMillan from OwlBot has been creating custom picture profiles and LUTs for Canon cameras for a little while, and his latest for the C500mkII and C300mkIII are really special. By shooting side by side tests with an Arri Alexa, he's tuned the Canon to squeeze the best possible image from the camera. Loading the custom profiles into your camera, you can choose to shoot in either log or a 709 colour space depending on if you're planning on grading the footage or just require immediate hand off to client. The log profile can then be graded in exactly the same way as you would the standard CLog2, the only difference is that the processed colour out of camera is already that bit nicer.
Included in the custom picture profiles is an 'LF-Look' LUT which is a quick and easy way to apply a grade to either standard CLog2 or OwlColor log footage. The C300mkIII picture profile is ever so slightly different - tuned for that camera - but the workflow and results are the same.
Also available from Kenny is a 'CLEV3' LUT pack - these are additional 'Alexa like' LUTs that again, work with either CLog2 or OwlColour profiles. I find myself using a mixture of the CLEV3 and LF-Look LUTs depending on the project - they both do effectively the same job, but tend to look slightly different under different shooting conditions.
It is worth noting however that the OwlColor picture profiles only apply to XF-AVC shooting modes: shooting in Canon Raw Lite has no processing and is by its very nature, is just the raw sensor information without any picture profile.
$50USD (about £40 at time of writing)
Full disclaimer before discussing this one: I make this product!
When I purchased my C500mkII, I also bought a set of IDX iMicro V-mount batteries. In addition to the camera, I ordered Canon's EU-V2 expansion unit, as this has extra input and outputs, but crucially, a V-mount plate. However, the expansion unit was back ordered - and with no estimated arrival date, I had no way of powering the camera with my V-mount batteries. At the time, there were no V-mount plates for the camera, so I decided come up with my own solution.
After posting an image of my first prototype online, it became clear from the response that many others wanted something similar: a way of powering the camera from V-mount batteries without the added size, weight and expense of the official expansion unit. By the time the expansion unit eventually arrived six months later, I had already designed, produced and begun selling my own V-mount plate.
It's made entirely from aluminium, it features a 10A DTap and a low profile XLR connector - none of which gets in the way of any of the I/O or buttons on the back of the camera. It is compatible with any V-Mount battery and can still be used simultaneously with the standard Canon A60 battery that's included with the camera - permitting battery hotswapping. If you have no need for this, you can opt to attach the plate in a lower position which is handy for users with larger V-mount batteries.
I realise that being a new brand, Full Frame Camera Co. is essentially an unknown name and understand any skepticism you might have about the quality or reliability my product. NewsShooter ran an article about us, with a number of our users kindly contributing in the comments to let others know their thoughts. Feel free to ask for feedback on any of the many Canon C500mkII and C300mkIII user groups on Facebook; plenty of the members there are users. And of course, if you have any further questions - you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.