Hands on with the Canon EOS C70: first video shoot

Filmmaker Jolade Olusanya on the first shoot with the RF mount Cinema EOS camera.
Jolade Olusanya holds a Canon EOS C70 camera to film a woman seated on the floor in front of him.

Jolade Olusanya was the first filmmaker to shoot with the Canon EOS C70, testing its creative potential to shoot a short film inspired by spoken word poet Sophia Thakur and her debut anthology, Somebody Give This Heart a Pen.

© Fergus Kennedy

How do you capture the essence of a poet's work in an original short film? It was a concept that filmmaker and photographer Jolade Olusanya had been pondering for some time. So when he was given the opportunity to be the first filmmaker to shoot with Canon's groundbreaking Cinema EOS camera, the EOS C70, he allowed his imagination to run wild.

The camera's compact size, image stabilisation, 4K Dual Gain Output (DGO) sensor and RF mount offered him a level of filmmaking freedom that he hadn't experienced before. As a member of London-based creative collective SXWKS and Barbican Young Poets, a parkour athlete and a youth mentor who has collaborated with Red Bull, YouTube and The Guardian, Jolade is no stranger to innovation.

Embracing experimentation, he set out to capture a visual portrait of performance poet Sophia Thakur using the title of her debut book, Somebody Give This Heart a Pen, as inspiration. The diverse two-day shoot ultimately took in parkour, drone work, a studio location and a night shoot on the streets of London, all serving as the backdrop for the poetry at the heart of the story.

Jolade Olusanya films a woman sticking multi-coloured notes to a wall.

Electronic image stabilisation in the Canon EOS C70 makes it possible to film smooth sequences, even when moving around and shooting handheld. "As a solo shooter, the EOS C70’s small form factor, the RF lenses and the autofocus made things much easier for me," says Jolade.

© Fergus Kennedy

Small camera, big ideas

As it's the smallest camera in the Cinema EOS range, shooting with the Canon EOS C70 opens up a host of new possibilities, especially for a single shooter. The two-day shoot involved studio sequences, parkour and night shots in London and then a day filming outside in Brighton, UK.

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"I had a straightforward shot list, but I was able to go beyond it," says Jolade. "I was editing in my head as I went along. The smaller form factor meant that I was able to push a bit more, to try different angles and get shots I hadn't previously considered."

The powerful Combination IS in the Canon EOS C70 is attributed to the RF mount system, which enables faster communication between the lens and body. The camera's compact size and slow-motion capabilities meant that Jolade was able to be ambitious in other areas of the production. "We included a parkour element, and I was wondering how we were going to navigate that," he says. "It took a few passes to get used to, but even from the first two rehearsal shots I think we had what we wanted."

Canon EOS C70

DGO sensor performance

The Canon EOS C70 shares the same sensor and processor as the Canon EOS C300 Mark III, capable of delivering 16+ stops of dynamic range while maintaining low noise levels. Jolade found that the 4K DGO sensor really shone during the night scenes shot in London.

A man stands in a wheat field holding a Canon EOS C70 camera by his side.

Introducing the Canon EOS C70

Meet the first RF mount 4K Cinema EOS camera – new mount, new design, new creative opportunities…

"We were filming Sophia in a tunnel in Shoreditch [in East London], and using the waveform monitor and DGO we were able to adjust all the settings to ensure we'd captured what we needed. Then in post, we were able to bring up everything seamlessly with little to no noise.

"I do a lot of documentary work, so I’m always travelling and having to shoot in low light. That means I'm always having to think about additional light sources. But with DGO you don’t have to worry about the sun going down and you don’t always have to carry a light source. That’s important for a single shooter like me."

RF lens mount for video

Although Jolade had a range of lenses at his disposal, he mainly used the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, along with the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM and Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM.

"The RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM was great for range, as you could go wide and do a lot of medium close-ups. With the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM I could shoot dynamic head shots or close-ups,” he says. “I loved the speed of the RF lenses and how robust they felt – and the fact that you could customise the control ring."

A Canon EOS C70 camera with a cine lens attached.

The Canon EOS C70 accepts EF mount lenses via the Canon MOUNT ADAPTER EF-EOS R 0.71x lens mount adapter. "You can still take advantage of most of the camera's features with a Canon Cine lens or L-Series lens attached," says Jolade. "Knowing that you can use the Dual Pixel Focus Guide to pull focus and get the benefit of the camera's electronic IS is really cool."

© Fergus Kennedy

Jolade Olusanya films a woman with a Canon EOS C70 camera.

The benefits of the DGO sensor technology in the Canon EOS C70 was most evident while filming the night shots in London. "It was great to be able to continue shooting into the evening, and then in post seeing that we had a lot more dynamic range to play with," says Jolade.

© Fergus Kennedy

By pairing the Canon EOS C70 with a new lens mount adapter, Jolade was able to use EF lenses and EF-mount Cine lenses too. The Canon MOUNT ADAPTER EF-EOS R 0.71x has a 0.71x wide optical converter, so that the lens's full-frame angle of view is maintained on the Canon EOS C70's Super 35mm sensor.

"That really opens up the range," says Jolade. “We tried out the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens a few times to see how it worked with the adapter. The fact that it gives you an extra stop of brightness proved useful for the low-light work on the first day."

A Canon EOS C70 camera attached to a drone flying over a wheat field.

The most ambitious part of the two-day shoot involved rigging the Canon EOS C70 to a drone and flying over a wheat field. "Not knowing if it was going to work, if it would focus in the right place, if the footage would be smooth… it was all a concern. But there was barely any shake and the focus was perfect," says Jolade.

© Fergus Kennedy

Intuitive camera controls

The Canon EOS C70's refined direct touch user interface also helped Jolade to work more efficiently, while being able to quickly change the frame rate from his preferred 30p to 120p for the parkour sequences and the exterior shots in Brighton meant he could maintain the pace of the shoot. "As a solo shooter, you just want to keep going," he says. "Rather than a whole change of settings, everything could be done with a few taps of the touchscreen."

The camera's built-in ND filter, accessible at the touch of a button, was useful in both the external and studio locations. "I didn’t really have to change any of the light settings – I just pressed a button to change the filter density.”

"We used the Auto ISO function for a shot where we tracked Sophia from the brightly lit exterior to the studio. The exposure change was smooth and there was no obvious jump between settings. The camera would gradually decrease or increase the ISO when it needed to; it looked like it was being controlled by a vision mixer."

Jolade Olusanya stands behind a Canon EOS C70 camera on a tripod

"The shoot would have taken a lot longer with a different camera," says Jolade. “You’d have to spend too long rigging everything up, changing batteries and lenses, setting up lights, then de-rigging and moving the camera around."

© Fergus Kennedy

Deep-learning autofocus

Like many filmmakers, Jolade relies on manual focus for much of his day-to-day work, but the Canon EOS C70’s next-generation Dual Pixel CMOS AF, and the EOS iTR AF X artificial intelligence or face and head tracking, allowed him to work more quickly on the streets and in the studio. "I like being able to do focus pulls myself, but the Canon EOS C70's autofocus was really good," he says.

"Using the improved face detection to track Sophia’s movements was great. For the scenes where she was walking on Brighton beach, I was shooting from a fair distance with the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens. I wanted to keep the frame almost stationary and allow Sophia to move through it, and the EOS C70 tracked her face the entire way.

"The EOS C70 focuses very quickly, especially when coupled with an RF lens. In fact, it was so fast I had to slow down the response time in the settings to get the effect I was after. This camera gives you that flexibility."

Jolade Olusanya's kitbag

The key kit filmmakers use to shoot video


Canon EOS C70

Designed for shooters who need a lightweight and compact camera, the Canon EOS C70 is the new Cinema EOS camera featuring Canon's RF mount.


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