How to Shoot Slow Motion on the Canon C200
Canon’s new C200 is an exciting addition to the Cinema EOS line for many reasons - dual-pixel autofocus and internal 4k Raw Light recording are the headline items. But sometimes in all the hype, people forget that this is the best slow-motion camera Canon has offered to date. Let’s look at how to take advantage of it, both in the MP4 codec… and in RAW!
1. It’s All About Data Rate
When a manufacturer like Canon is building a camera, possibly the number one limiting factor they have to work around is the data rate - how fast can they get information from the sensor to the media. If they choose a smaller codec, they can increase frames-per-second at the cost of resolution or bit depth. If they force you to buy fast, expensive media (like CFAST cards) they can limit the sacrifices but drive up the cost of the total camera package and risk angering consumers. Keep all those trade-offs in mind as we check out the options ahead.
2. Slow Motion in MP4
When shooting in 8-bit MP4, your options are a little bit more open because your data rate is lower. You can shoot up to 60p in 4K, and 120p in 1080 - but with no crop! The C300 MKII crops into the center of the image for any frame rates beyond 60fps, effectively turning it into a Super 16mm format. But there is no crop on the C200 - you are using the full sensor’s field of view 100% of the time. You can even assign a physical button on the camera to jump in and out of slow motion recording without needing to get into the menus.
Additionally, shooting in MP4 is continuous and potentially infinite thanks to the Dual SD slots. When one card fills up, the camera will switch to the next without interrupting your recording session. This is called Relay Recording. All you have to do is change out the full one for a fresh card before the second fills up.
Note: if Relay Recording is enabled, you will have two separate files on each card that you will then need to match in post for a seamless take.
3. Slow Motion in RAW Light
If you want to take advantage of Canon’s RAW-light codec but still enjoy the beauty of slow-motion, you can! Because the C200 shoots to CFAST cards, which are much faster than SD cards, you can squeeze out 60fps in RAW shooting. The trade-off is that you are stepping down from a 12-bit image to a 10-bit image when you choose to do so, but most reviewers have found the difference to be negligible, if they can even tell the difference.
If you want to know more about the difference between 8 bit, 10 bit, and 12 bit, check out [this article]. But the executive summary is that both are totally valid options, and what matters is how you intend to use it. If you want that 120fps look, then don’t let the MP4 codec slow you down.