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My favorite Camera, the Canon EOS-C100 shines in many categories like inexpensive price, great low light performance, great sharpness and Custom Picture Profiles which can be modified to bring out maximum quality and look.
BTW, this most probably applies to the C300 and other Atomos records too, but I tested this with the C100 + Ninja2 combination only for now.
UPDATE: Davinci Resolve imports the ProRes Movie Files from Atomos Ninja2 correctly as 10-bit. However the 10-bit ProRes and the 10-bit DNxHD look a bit different. ProRes looks a bit more grainy and DNxHD still looks more detailed and smoother but very very marginally. It looks like there is a bug in ProRes handling in Premiere Pro CC & Speedgrade CC.
Canon C100 – The Wunderkind
The C100 is a 8-bit Camera, right? Well, kind of. It records internally to AVCHD 24mbit which is an 8-bit codec and outputs video over HDMI. It’s great 4K CMOS sensor downscales internaly to FullHD 1920×1080 which results in very sharp images.
But what is coming out of the HDMI port? The color-luminance is subsampled to 4:2:2, that’s obvious. But how about bit-sampling? Is it 8-bit or is perhaps 10-bit?
It is defenitely more than 8-bit, it seems between 9 and 10 bit, which produces between 512 and 1024 brightness steps compared to the 256 for 8-bit, and it looks like we get close to 1024 brightness steps out of the HDMI-Port.
I did a little test to check what is coming out of the C100 using Atomos Ninaj2 external recorder.
Because is is the most versatile codec, I mostly used ProRes on the Ninaj2. Editing suits on booth Windows and Mac can read it without a problem and the quality of the ProRes HQ codec is really outstanding.
But it records only 8-bit on the Ninja2. UPDATE: It seems there is a bug in Premiere Pro CC that ProRes is only processed in 8-bit. But it’s curious that the MediaInfo Tool does not indicate ProRes Movies as either 8-bit or 10-bit. DNxHD movies on the other hand are clearly indicated as either 8-bit or 10-bit, likewise to the settings defined in the Ninja2 recorder.
The Ninja2 can record 10-bit as advertised, but does it really record 10-bit out of the C100?
Avid’s DNxHD codec is needed to record 10-bit out of the C100. After switching to DNxHD (you have to activate it via Atomos free activation code), choose DNxHD 220x. The “X” indicates that it records 10-bit video.
Ninja2 set to DNxHD 220x for 10-bit recording
Now it is possible to record 10-bit DNxHD, there is no special setup needed on the C100, except a CP with a good dynamic range like the ones I created.
When using MS-Windows for PostPro a special treatment needed for the Quicktime DNxHD files. There still seems to be a bug in the handling of the DNxHD codec within a MOV container when using it with the most Post-Pro programs on Windows. The only application that seems to handle the movie-files correct is Davinci Resolve as far as I have tested it. I’ve written about this issue in an earlier article.
The video-level-problem can be corrected when remuxing the movies with ffmpeg, which is a pretty fast process to do.
Remember, this is not RAW and it does not give you more headroom. This is taking the uncompressed output of the C100 which seems to have a higher than 8-bit bit-depth on the HDMI output and records it as 10-bit which is an increase from 256 steps of brightness for RGB (8-bit is 2^8) to 1024 steps of brightness (10-bit is 2^10). And it is NOT just 8-bit “copied” over a 10-bit recording codec and repeating the missing values, this is what you get when you record as ProRes or DNxHD 8-bit variant on the Ninja2. It appears to be real 10-bit if you take a closer look on the Waveform-Monitor and the smoother gradients on the recorded movie compared to the 8-bit ProRes/DNxHD that is coming out of the Ninja2.
This was the test-setup I filmed. Just placed a light-source to produce a luminance gradient from 100% (actually 110%) white to nearly black. I filmed it out of focus to have virtually no structure in it and have a smooth gradient. This was suffient enough to show if I was getting a 10-bit gradation out of my C100 or if I was getting 8-bit.
Download an exported .DPX still frame for the full 10-bit (it’s an 16-bit export out of Premiere Pro CC)
I use Premiere Pro CC to edit and analyze the videos. In order to really see if your codec is showing a smooth brightness gradation resize the Waveform-Monitor window to a height that there are 256 pixels on the luminance-scale from black-point (0.3 Volt) to your white-point (1.0 Volt). You can use the little height-measurement image I’ve made and place it beside your WF-Monitor window to measure the height.
Download the pixel-ruler png image.
When you modify your video material with a curve tool (Premiere) and the codec is only 8-bit, you can clearly see the vertical brightness steps in your waveform monitor and propably see banding-steps in your movie as well.
The waveform below (from Adobe Speedgrade) show the nice and smooth waveform of the 10-bit recorded C100 material and you will not easily see banding effects in your video material even after applying a very hard contrast via Curve Tool on it.
All you C100/C300 Ninja2/Samurai users out there try it out and see if you too get 10-bit out of your cameras! Let me know if you were successful!
Feel free to ask any questions about 10-bit recording with the Canon C100 and Atomos Ninja2, I hope this is usefull for you!