Basic video production with the Canon C100

The Canon C100 mii

In the Box

When you check out a C100 kit from the equipment room, it will come with the following accessories:

  1. Canon L-series 24–105
  2. Rode Filmmaker Wireless Lav Mic Kit
  3. Rode NTG4 Shotgun Mic
  4. Manfrotto Tripod
  5. Canon BP-xxx Battery

Starting It Up

In this section, I’ll run through everything you need to think of when you turn on the C100.

The power switch on the Canon C100
  1. Internal mic on the C100 — While I appreciate that the C100 has an internal mic, it should really only be used to synch audio. In a crunch, you can use the built-in mic for background, natural sound, but that’s it.
  2. Shotgun mic — This mic is going to be perfect for collecting natural sounds in a scene. You can also use it for some actuality interviews, when close to the subject. Additionally, if you checked out a boom kit, you can use the shotgun mic on the boom for literally all your sound.
  3. Wireless lav mic — This mic is great for your sit-down interviews (though going with boom + shotgun will give you better sound), actuality interviews, and for catching clean audio of your subject in non-interview situations (e.g., interacting with other people at a location).
Attaching the mic cable from the handle to the camera
C100 Monitor
  1. Battery display — How much battery you have left.
  2. Card display — There are no cards in the camera right now. When you put a card in, the A or B boxes will turn green and then it will say how much time you have left on the card in the current shooting settings.
  3. Exposure settings — Down in this corner of the monitor, you can find all your current exposure settings, including: white balance (AWB; 2600 K), aperture/iris (F4.0), film speed/gain (ISO 2500), and shutter speed (1/48).
  4. Audio levels — The bars will light up, showing you your audio level for each channel. If they aren’t moving or they sitting up in the red you have a problem. I cover the fix below.
  5. Format — This information will tell you what format you are shooting, including your frame rate. Currently, I am shooting at 24 frames per second.

Changing Exposure Settings

Below you’ll find a brief explainer of each of the different exposure setting and instructions on how to adjust them.

White Balance

The C100 offers manual, automatic and a number of preset white balance option. But before we go over that:

Side of a dirty C100
  1. AWB — Auto white balance — the camera decides everything for you. The camera in the photo above is set to auto white balance. The AWB square, by the point #3, indicates that the camera in the photo above is set to auto white balance.
  2. K — Manual white balance — you set the white balance by entering the specific color temp you want (e.g., 3200 K).
  3. A — User preset 1 — you can set and store a white balance based on a given scene
  4. B — User preset 2 — you can set and store a white balance based on a given scene

Adjusting aperture/iris

All you need to do to adjust the aperture on the C100 is scroll the dial on the handle — right behind the record button.

Adjusting shutter speed and ISO/gain

Adjusting audio levels

You can see the audio levels on the monitor, but you do all the adjusting of your audio levels on the handle. I will assume that for everything in this class you will be using some kind of external mic. Once you plug in your mic into the XLR port on the other side of the handle, you will have to mess with the controls outlined in the picture below.

  1. Audio level for Channel 1 — The dial and switches labeled 1 to 4 are all for Channel 1 settings. The dial labeled #5 and the switches below it are all for Channel 2. [Sidenote: The C100 and most other camera allow for two channel recording. This could be used for a single stereo mic, recording an individual right and left channel or — and how we generally use it — to record from two separate mono microphones like a shotgun and a lav.]
  2. Auto or manual — Do you want the audio levels to be set manually or automatically? Generally I use manual.
  3. What type of input are you using? — This switch tells the camera what type of input you are using and if it needs to send power to the input. If you are getting audio from a source that is already amplified (i.e., most sources other than a mic, like a soundboard or mult-box), then you choose “Line.” If you using a mic with a battery (e.g., the wireless lavs), choose “Mic.” If you are using a mic without a battery (e.g., the shotgun mic), the camera will have to send power to the mic so choose “Mic +48V.”
  4. Int or Ext — This switch tells the camera if you are getting audio from the internal mic or an external source. This should be set to “Ext” for most of your work in this class.

Summary

This guide should get you started with the C100. The best thing you can do is keep checking it out and practicing with it. Additionally, the C100 has a huge user base, so the answer for any question you could ever have about the C100 is only a Google away.

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Nick Geidner

Nick Geidner

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Associate Professor of Journalism and Director of Land Grant Films (@LandGrantFilms) at the University of Tennessee.