"This camera is revolutionary!" – why the EOS C70 is ideal for music videos

Independent DoPs Michael Janke and Belrie explain how the compact and feature-packed Canon EOS C70 has enabled them to push their creativity to new heights.
A close-up of a Canon EOS C70 with a bespectacled figure standing behind it.

The Canon EOS C70 takes portability to a new level, yet is packed with professional filmmaking tools ideal for music videos, such as built-in ND filters, waveform and false colour, XLR inputs and a 4K Super 35mm DGO sensor. © Belrie

Creating a vision, seeing that vision through and delivering a quality final product despite a modest budget and crew – music video producers certainly don't have it easy. With the pressure on, it's critical that camera gear delivers the goods, especially for solo DoPs such as Michael Janke and Belrie who often don't have the luxury of helping hands.

"As a professional, I know I can trust the Canon EOS C70 and focus on creating and communicating my artistic vision," says Michael, who collaborated with artist Steve Benjamins on the music video Schemers (below). "It's the perfect music video camera because it allows you to get past the technical and keep momentum on set – I don't have to worry about battery life or stopping to replace memory cards, for example. I also have that same trust in the image quality in what is such a small, lightweight and efficient camera."

"I've had the EOS C70 for a year now and I couldn't be happier with my first cinema camera," says musician Belrie, a producer and artist who uses the EOS C70 for his music videos. "If you can't get what you need out of a camera like this, then I don't know if this is the field for you. This camera is revolutionary – it's for professionals as well as consumers."

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Here, Michael and Belrie explain in more detail just what it is about the Canon EOS C70 that makes it such a reliable camera for music videos.

1. Image quality: DGO sensor and C-Log profiles

The Canon EOS C70 uses the same Dual Gain Output (DGO) sensor technology as the Canon EOS C300 Mark III, delivering 16+ stops of dynamic range when shooting in Canon Log 2. "For me, the main draw of the EOS C70 is the DGO sensor," says Michael. "What I appreciate most is its quality in low light. Even at high ISOs or in underexposed areas of an image, there is such a smooth drop to black – I haven't had that before in a camera anywhere near this price point. I can shoot darker and know that I have this detail going down into the shadows – that was what I was really searching for. This sensor felt so much closer to how I perceive light with my eyes."

The EOS C70's extra-wide dynamic range allows margin for error with exposure, while 4K 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording using Canon's XF-AVC codec at up to 410Mbps (or 225Mbps using MP4) provides high levels of flexibility for managing image quality and colour grading in post-production.

"I don't second guess on location: I'm shooting C-Log 2 almost all the time," says Belrie. "When you expose correctly, the EOS C70 gives a great quality image. I don't overthink colour grading. In the edit, I want to replicate that natural feel from out in the field. I usually use the Rec. 709 profile and then from there I will adjust the separate clips, adding the right amount of saturation and contrast – with these files you can push the contrast and saturation all the way."

A still from a music video showing a bearded person, in a warm hat and coat, standing in a snowy setting next to a numbered stick.

"One of the main reasons I bought the Canon EOS C70 was because the RF lens mount has so many adapter options," says Michael. "I shot the whole of Schemers on vintage Canon FD lenses [using a third-party adapter]. I used the FD lenses straight on the camera with no glass in-between, no magnification – just original Canon lenses, straight to the sensor. As an independent DoP, you hope to create a look that sets you apart, and these pretty, quirky vintage lenses create a different feel." © Michael Janke

2. Lenses: RF mount and adapters

The Canon EOS C70 was the first Cinema EOS camera to feature Canon's revolutionary RF mount, which incorporates cutting-edge technology for improved optical performance. There are plenty of high-quality RF lenses to choose from that include features beneficial to video, such as stabilisation and minimal focus breathing. Regular firmware updates are continuously expanding the range of EF and Cine Prime lenses that are are compatible with the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x, and the lens mount opens up other Canon lens options via third-party adapters, including some, such as the PL mount Sumire Prime range, which were previously only available on much more expensive cine cameras.

For filmmakers such as Michael, it's crucial to capture the attention of music video connoisseurs by creating a unique look. "The RF mount with its short flange back opens up a whole world of lenses and ensures I get the best quality from them, whether it be my vintage FD lenses that give me that quirky look I love so much, or a host of full-frame EF lenses," says Michael. "The RF mount means you can use this fairly inexpensive camera with even high-end cinema lenses. It's almost cheating to have so many lens options on one camera."

A man stands in front of a brick building, looking down and holding one wrist with the other hand.

Belrie has found the Canon EOS C70's advanced 5-axis electronic image stabilisation (EIS) particularly useful for shooting music videos. "You can get a great shot, especially when combined in post," he explains. "I usually avoid gimbals, which can be hard and frustrating to use at times." © Belrie

3. Handling: professional filmmaking tools

As a Cinema EOS System camera, the EOS C70 comes equipped with a host of professional tools, such as built-in ND filters up to 10-stops, waveform monitor and false colour, standout battery life, plus electronic image stabilisation combined with optical stabilisation, depending on the lens in use.

"I recently did a shoot with a client at midday, in harsh sunlight," explains Belrie. "It was a low-budget shoot, so we didn't have huge diffusion panels and that's where the built-in NDs really came in. Dealing with stops of light with the flick of a switch rather than screw-on filters saves time and doesn't interrupt my workflow. We even used the full 10-stops to get some silhouette shots. With the ND filters you can make it look as if it's midday or 10pm and nobody would know. I use my NDs all the time."

"When you know you are trying to capture a specific shot, you are shooting with the edit in mind," Belrie adds. “Waveform and false colours help me to monitor how I am going to expose, depending on my edit. If I want to slightly underexpose, false colour shows me. I don't want to be just hoping for the best come the edit. False colour is big for me, especially as I shoot the flat C-Log 2 profile."

A Canon Cinema EOS camera films a young man with short blond hair lying on the floor. An enormous, yellow Burmese python is coiled around his raised arm

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A man standing in the middle of a street lined with palm trees, with one hand stretched out towards the camera.

The EOS C70 is unobtrusive on a music set and puts actors and crew at ease. The camera is also capable of creating silky looking B-roll without the need for additional accessories. © Belrie

4. Slow motion: custom frame rates in 4K up to 120fps

Storytelling in music videos relies heavily on B-roll, for which slow motion is a powerful tool. "An underrated feature on the EOS C70 is that you have the ability to dial in custom slow-mo frame rates," says Michael. "So, as well as the 120fps for 4K, you can dial in, say, 96fps. When I want to slow things down only a little, I love 48fps as opposed to 60fps. For music videos this is huge because we often rely on pretty slow-mo capture – and I love having more options to choose from."

Belrie also uses slow motion: "I want to get a wide array of shots, from handheld to stabilised shots and slow-mo," he says. "I shoot a lot at 120fps – that was a big selling point of the camera – and I've configured the EOS C70 so I can switch quickly between slow-mo and 24fps. You always need B-roll for music videos: it's a crucial component."

Four people, all dressed in warm winter clothing, filming in the snow. Behind them is a dramatic mountain range.

"The battery life on the EOS C70 is great, especially in winter," says Michael. "I often shoot outside in Canada – it's easily -15°C all day – and I see no difference in performance compared to shooting indoors in warm environments. Considering the quality of the footage, this battery system is incredible." © Ana Ortiz

5. Form factor: revolutionary design

The EOS C70 is much smaller and lighter than other Canon cine cameras, but it isn't short on features. "It's not as heavy as it looks, plus it's also possible to rig it up," says Belrie. "Ergonomics-wise, it's the perfect middle ground between Canon cinema cameras and DSLRs. You're getting everything that these bigger cameras have in a smaller body. It's very discreet and people underestimate it, especially when they don't know its image quality and what it can do. Yet it's still big enough to fascinate clients."

The EOS C70 is also well suited to long days on location. "The compact nature and form factor of the EOS C70 allows me to use it easily on a small gimbal, or handheld all day with no problems, and I don't even think about needing to put the camera down," says Michael. "For the shoot for Schemers, we hiked 20km in a day at -15°C in the Rocky Mountains, three crew all sharing bags to carry equipment, knee-deep in fresh snow. I'm carrying the EOS C70 the whole time, very slim without additions, just using the Canon handle on top, no cage or extra batteries. It's also seamless to switch between setups."

Tim Coleman

Alternative Canon cameras for shooting music videos

As well as the EOS C70, there are several other Canon cameras that could suit your projects, or work as B-cams. The following are all excellent options for music video creators.

  • No-limits 8K video tool

    Canon EOS R5 C

    A professional video-first hybrid solution, the ultra-compact RF-mount EOS R5 C merges the worlds of Cinema EOS and EOS R into one.

    • • Stunning 8K video
    • • Incredible 45MP stills
    • • Perfect companion for the RF 5.2mm F2.8L Dual Fisheye lens

  • Adaptable B-roll hybrid

    Canon EOS R5

    Primarily a stills camera, the Canon EOS R5 is a highly capable music video shooter too. Paired with a Canon cine camera, it operates as an excellent B-cam and shares the same RF mount as the EOS C70.

    • • 8K resolution
    • • Slow-mo 4K up to 120fps
    • • In-body image stabilisation, ideal for handheld B-roll

  • Bigger-scale productions

    Canon EOS C300 Mark III

    The Canon EOS C300 Mark III is larger and has a more configurable design than the EOS C70, making it ideal for higher level productions.

    • • Super 35mm Cinema EOS camera
    • • 4K 120p slow-mo
    • • Various mount and lens options

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