Welcome to mBlog
Zac Nicholson, cinematographer for "No Place on Earth", on the Canon EOS C300!
Posted by Michal
April 26, 2013, at 1:39 AM

The Canon EOS C300 is an amazing camera and we are always pleased when we see movies and videos shot with this great hardware. One of the many interesting projects that were shot with the camera was called "No Place on Earth". The film re-creates scenes showing how 38 Ukrainian Jews hid from the Nazis for 18 months in what today is recognized as the longest underground survival in recorded human history. The film was a big challenge for cinematographer Zac Nicholson who was asked by director Janet Tobias to film scenes deep within a narrow cave. Zac had to take one of the actors deep into the cave and go through crevasses that you couldn’t even get lighting equipment into and these are places that are physically challenging even without a camera.

It is worth adding, that multiple cinematographers were working on the movie with separate teams in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. They all used a variety cameras to shoot "No Place on Earth" and Nicholson was asked by Tobias to shoot behind-the-scenes content with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Some of that footage later became integral to the film but when the Canon EOS C300 became available Nicholson purchased that camera, and it became the camera of choice for capturing even more key scenes.

“I had been using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for a lot of my own documentaries and narrative experimental work. (...) I think Canon was the first to understand what they had created for filmmakers in the DSLR market, and then to push that beyond its boundaries into new areas. For a long time I had been waiting for something I would be comfortable shooting movies with that didn’t use film. The EOS C300 camera was what I had been waiting for. I have heard other filmmakers praise the EOS C300 camera, and everything I saw from it was extraordinary. Plus, I’d be able to use my Canon EF lenses with the EOS C300 camera. As soon as the EOS C300 camera became available I bought one, and it has exceeded my expectations. I have been shooting with it ever since and it’s basically been my workhorse, the camera I hope to shoot with every single time I go out. There were a lot of things that we did with the EOS C300 camera for No Place on Earth that were in environments that were so difficult to shoot in that we could not have physically or logistically done them with a larger digital cinematography camera, especially one requiring assistants. The EOS C300 camera provides a small, almost DSLR-like shape and structure, which is highly portable and maneuverable, and yet it gives you a sensor that can match those of the larger digital cinema cameras.”

Zac decided to use the EF-mount version of the EOS C300 Cinema camera to shoot his portions of the film:

“Using Canon EF Series photographic lenses gave us a lot of options. Another cinematographer on this project brought several of his own Canon EF lenses, as did a still photographer. We were all trading lenses, which gave us a great many creative options. The ability to just grab a lens made for photography with no film equivalent, and then use it on the EOS C300 camera right when it’s needed gave us an extra layer of creativity in our ‘back pocket,’ so to speak.”

Among the Canon lenses Nicholson used were the EF 24mm fixed-focal length wide-angle prime, the 16-35mm ultra-wide zoom, and the 24-70mm and 24-105mm standard zooms.

"No Place on Earth" made its world premiere to sold-out audiences at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It is currently being shown in theatres by Magnolia Pictures in the U.S., so you can still check it out! 


April 28, 2013
Great Movie! Even more powerful that the trailers imply. Definitely worth going out of your way to find. Two-Thumbs Up!