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Canon Cameras and the Disney Plus Marvel Universe
With the release of Disney Plus they now feature at least 6 Marvel Universe movies that have used Canon cameras to shot parts of the movies. The Canon 5D is the most notable having been used in 5 movies. Primarily Canon cameras were used in secondary roles with Arri being the primary camera of choice for filming. More movies have used Canon lenses, but this is looking at just the cameras.
So what are the movies? Let’s go back in time to revisit these movies and what was used.
Iron Man 2
For Iron Man 2, the Canon 5D Mark II was used as a crash camera. The film's cinematographer as quoted by BroadcastEngineering.com. stated, "We set 5D Mark IIs down on the race track and had the vehicles pass by them, crash near them and run right into them. It was very impressive to have the 5D Mark II cameras hold up and then pop-out their cards and get the shots we wanted."
They used padded Pelican cases to inclose the camera and lenses (I assume they punched holes into the case). Due to the camera's footprint, it was able to get into spots that traditional 35mm production cameras could not.
Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 featured the C300 which were used to help create the CGI overlays of the Iron man suits. This required at times up to 6 C300's shooting simultaneously capturing the actor at different angles.
“All of this required an incredible amount of visual data-tracking,” Townsend explained. “The Canon EOS C300 witness cameras were placed on either side of our main picture camera and they recorded exactly what the picture camera was seeing, but from slightly different angles. Then, using various software programs and hard work, we were able to triangulate exactly where a person was in space at any particular moment, and then overlay a CGI ‘character’ on top of them. The accuracy of this technique enabled us to ‘lock’ Iron Man CGI suit pieces onto an actor’s body so that the suit pieces moved in sync with the actor as he or she moved around,” Soper added.
“In the case of the Extremis characters, they had an internal volumetric glow to them, which was created by digitally replacing heads, arms, faces, or whatever a shot called for,” Townsend shared. “Actors wore tracking markers all over their bodies, and we filmed them with Canon EOS C300 cameras and then used that visual data to accurately overlay glowing CGI effects right where a moving arm, or joint, or hand, or whatever, should be.”
The Iron Man 3 effects team was so impressed with the imaging performance of their Canon EOS C300 Cinema cameras that some EOS C300 camera shots were actually used in the finished film.
Captain America: The First Avenger
On the original Captian America movie, Canon 5D Mark II's were used to provide point of view and action shots from positions that traditional 35mm cinima cameras were simply too big.
"The challenge with a lot of action photography is getting the camera in the right position," notes Jonathan Taylor, Captain America: The First Avenger's Second Unit Director of Photography, who credits the EOS 5D Mark II's size with some of the film's top thrills. "Most 35mm motion-picture cameras—and even the leading digital cinematography cameras—are just too big to get into interesting positions. The Mark II enables you to find really good angles and shoot interesting positions. You can also hide it really well. For me it was an action, crash camera, and much more."
From car chases to explosions, Taylor used EOS 5D Mark II cameras to film point-of-view shots and other "action cuts" with ease throughout Captain America: The First Avenger. During one particular chase scene, Taylor mounted EOS 5D Mark II cameras on the fenders of the two colliding automobiles, wrapped them in heavy-duty black foil and spray-painted them to match the colors of each vehicle.
The Avengers featured Canon 5D Mark II and 7D cameras used as stunt cameras for the various stunts throughout the movie.
Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey recollected the use of Canon cameras, “I think very highly of the Canon 5D Mark II, as I’ve been using it for the last few years on documentaries and other drama projects,” McGarvey stated. “When I started working on Marvel’s The Avengers I knew there would be a lot of close-quarter action work and unrepeatable stunts to capture. The 5D Mark II and the 7D digital SLR cameras produce images that are worthy of cinema, and their small size is a major advantage. You can place them in locations where a typical movie camera wouldn’t fit, and you can capture images that other cameras cannot. They are perfect for shooting additional angles that give film editors more options for creating powerfully immersive and kaleidoscopic views of action scenes.”
“We had five Canon 5D Mark II’s and two 7Ds,” he said. “We hid them in places that were really close to the big stunts, which would be too risky to do with bigger cameras that would require an operator and two assistants. We were able to slide one Canon digital SLR into a sewer grating and put another under a pile of debris for a key shot of a car hurtling toward the lens, flipping through the air on fire. There’s always the danger of destroying one of these SLR cameras, but as long as you can still recover its CF media card you’ve got the shot.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Canon 500 was used for both remote RC work and handheld work.
Ben Davis BSC states, "I need to be on top of the lighting and be looking at the monitors. If I'm on a camera then I don't have an overview of everything, although during the big battle scenes I did grab a [Canon EOS] C500 to do a bit of handheld shooting."
One interesting shot they did with the C500 was described by DNeg visual effects supervisor Ken McGaugh, “They called it the ballet shot when all these cars with pistons flip that they filmed with a Canon C500 mounted to an RC car,” recounts McGaugh. “One of the pistons hitting a car shot out and hit the RC car. It breaks the filter on the front of the lens and the car tumbles over – it settles the right side up looking exactly the direction the cars are sliding and we’re putting Cap there. You can see the broken glass from the filter in-camera and the tumble of it. It’s a really beautiful shot but it’s a complete accident. Through that broken glass we had to add digi-Cap on an upside down car and CG truck and a CG Ultron Prime. And we had to cover up all the stunt people on the side of the road.”
The only reference I could find stated that the 5D Mark III was used in some shots.
The Canon C200 and the Ant-Man, where they used the C200 mounted on a remote control car that was then jumped over a ramp, the car landed perfect and the shot was great.
They also used a Canon 5D (most likely a Mark II or III) to capture some of the macro shots used in the movie.
Double Negative and visual effects supervisor Alex Wuttke heavily weighed in on the macro unit approach. “We started with a test here at DNeg,” describes Wuttke, “where we set up a keyboard and a lot of gunk all over it and looked into ways of being able to capture the essence of that environment at a very small scale. Then the process we ended up following was to use a 100mm macro lens on a standard Canon 5D body and capture that set really like we would capture a full-sized set. We would take bracketed tile sets of the environment and then use a stitching tool to do a lot of re-projection work.”
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