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Canon Unveils New Digital Camera System for Film, TV Production

Canon Cameras - P 2011

Said Martin Scorsese at the Hollywood launch: “I really believe these new tools that Canon has created allow for a much closer, more intimate relationship between the filmmakers and the world they are filming than every before."

Canon puts its stake in the Hollywood ground Thursday, launching a lightweight, professional digital cinematography camera aimed at feature and TV production as part of a new “Cinema EOS” brand professional camera system.

Fujio Mitarai, chairman and CEO of Canon, unveiled the camera to hundreds of guests in the Paramount Theater, where he highlighted its compact and lightweight design, image quality and affordable price compared with many other digital cinematography cameras. The new Canon camera technology will list for roughly $20,000.

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Martin Scorsese was on hand for the launch.

“I really believe these new tools that Canon has created allow for a much closer, more intimate relationship between the filmmakers and the world they are filming thean every before,” he said, turning to Canon execs and adding, “Welcome to Hollywood.”

Richard Crudo -- a past president of the American Society of Cinematographers -- directed and lensed a feature titled Max Is Back, using the new camera. He was among a group of filmmakers who tested the equipment and whose projects were screened during the Canon event.

Said Crudo: “The end product was extremely filmic and almost effortless to achieve and with tremendous consistency.”

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The camera will be available in two models. The EOS C300, for use with Canon’s current and new EF lens lineup, which will be available in January, and the EOS C300 PL for the PL lens mount, which is slated for availability in March.

The cameras have a newly developed Super 35 mm CMOS sensor, which reads Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video signals. It accommodates up to 60 frames per second at 720p resolution and 30 frames per second at 1080p.

“This is our first serious camera with lenses to support it,” Canon senior vp Eliott Peck told The Hollywood Reporter. “It is our commitment to this industry; there will be more products coming.”

4K is on the development roadmap.

Underscoring its push toward film and television, last month Canon opened the Canon Hollywood Professional Technology and Support Center on the Sunset Gower Studio lot.

With Thursday’s event -- which attracted hundreds from around the world -- Canon may have created one of Hollywood’s most anticipated product announcements of the year. The buzz started in mid-September, when the company sent out a save the date notice, announcing plans for a “historic global announcement.

A Canon representative related that to keep the news under wraps, only employees that were directly involved in the product were privy to the information, and all involved in the shoots signed nondisclosure agreements. In fact, a Canon exec told The Hollywood Reporter that roughly 800 NDS were signed, including cast and crews.