Canon has always made cameras we can trust; hence, the Canon C200 comes as a fantastic addition to their series. The C200 is a 12-bit RAW recording camera that captures images in truly beautiful, classic-Canon colors, as well as permits a lot of flexibility in post. Sometimes where shoots are made in quick succession and requiring you to change shots and locations quicker than you can keep up with, Raw is most suitable.
The objective of shooting RAW is to have more freedom to correct any mistakes that you may make in the field. But irrespective of which camera you are making use of, achieving the perfect exposure remains the key to producing the best possible image.
Most manufacturers of cameras often include instructions for proper exposure in the manual, but most times that involves holding up color charts, grey cards, black balance settings, monitoring IRE values, and many other things that some photographers are quite eager to ignore when there is the pressure of time.
Luckily, there is a relatively simple and accurate way to achieve proper exposure using the C200 which this article is all about.
On the Canon C200, when shooting in Cinema RAW Light, which is Canon’s proprietary RAW codec; your gamma settings are mechanically locked to C-Log 2.
According to Canon manufacturers, 18% middle grey in C-Log 2 should be set at 42 IRE. If you do have enough time on set to adjust your settings, you should have your lighting to match that setting while retaining an ISO of 400 in RAW, which is exactly where you want your exposure.
What that means is that you have a little bit of latitude with that number, and although exposure settings are both objective and subjective. For instance, if an object in the background is going to be faded out; then apparently you will have to take things down a level while attempting to keep 18% middle grey as close as possible to 42 IRE.
It is easy to keep an eye on the middle grey on the C200 while using the waveform, and the red spot meter. The waveform helps you to see where your total exposure stands on a graph from 0 indicating black to 100 indicating white, and the reading will stay on those values based on your gamma settings; which in this case, should be C-Log 2.
On the other hand, the spot meter displays the exposure values of anything that is in the red box in the middle of the frame in red over the histogram. Shooting a grey card within that red box will immediately show you how close 18% middle grey is to 42 IRE.
You should keep your exposure setting at 18% middle grey, record a short clip of the grey card, and hold up an X-rite color checker and record a short clip of it. That will make it quite easy for you to your exposure and color in post perfectly, shoot the best possible image, and match more than one camera angle.
But if things are moving so fast and you don’t seem to have enough time, just remember to completely depend on what you see on your monitor; because no matter how good your monitor is, you cannot be sure under the haze of location demands that what your eyes see is what truly is.
Your waveform under this circumstance should always be your most trusted friend. There are too many factors that can distort your view of your footage, such as the brightness of your location and color temperature. This is why the waveform is important as it is a direct depiction of what your imager is seeing and it will never deceive you.
However, be certain that the highs always stay below 100 IRE, and that the shadows never reach 0 IRE; because once the information falls above or below those lines, it is lost permanently. So, every day before starting to shoot, black balance the sensor, as this will align all of the pixels to actual black.
You have to remember that the black balance of any camera will go off after it sits idle for a long time or with an unexpected temperature change. Thus setting it properly will help you eliminate low-light noise when shooting in RAW.
If you follow these rudimentary instructions and making time to set your exposure and color properly in the field; you are more likely to capture the best image and save yourself the time and expense of trying to “fix it in the post”.