Color Matching a Canon C300 to an Arri Alexa

I’m shooting more projects with the Canon C300 but none of the built-in looks greatly appeal to me. While trying to build my own custom C300 look at a local rental house I spied an Arri Alexa in the next stall over… and asked, “Can I put that next to this C300 for a while?” The results are really interesting…

My buddies at Chater Camera let me come in and experiment with their toys whenever they aren’t busy. I’ve been trying to build a new look for the Canon C300 for a while and I’d developed one that was fairly color accurate, but when I saw a a prep tech checking in an Arri Alexa in the next stall I asked if I could borrow it for a bit.

I use a DSC Labs Chroma Du Monde 28 chart for my color tweaking. I know that their charts are the most accurate available, and so do camera manufacturers: they generally use this chart, or one of its variants, in the creation of their color science.

The Canon C300 offers a variety of matrices, each of which bend red, green and blue in ways that Canon deems pleasing. The Norm1, Norm2, Norm3 and Norm4 matrices are basically the same, as best I can tell. Cinema1 is meant to create a filmic look for viewing on Rec 709 displays. Cinema2 creates a filmic look when shooting for film output. Canon Log captures as much information as possible for post color grading and looks desaturated and flat during shooting as log is a storage format only and isn’t meant to be viewed directly. EOS Standard matches the look of Canon’s EOS still camera line.

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