Director Steve Hoover, producer Danny Yourd and DP John Pope used highly mobile cameras and lenses from Canon to document the struggle of pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko to operate a children’s rehabilitation center amidst civil unrest in eastern Ukraine.
For the documentary Crocodile Gennadiy, the team used two Canon EOS C300 Digital Cinema cameras, one Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera and multiple EF series lenses to capture cinematic, creative images while maintaining a low profile in dangerous areas.
The Pilgrim Home rehabilitation center run by Mokhnenko is dedicated to drug-addicted orphans rescued from the streets of the city of Mariupol. To capture the dark, confusing world inhabited by the film’s characters, the team did a lot of shooting at night, relying largely on available light — sometimes just moonlight — and the low-light sensitivity of the EOS C300 cameras. The lightweight and ergonomic camera also allowed the team to shoot for long hours and move quickly when necessary. With two XLR inputs for recording, the EOS C300 allowed the team to capture inputs from both a shotgun mic mounted on the camera and the recordist’s wireless transmitter. The recordist also captured audio on a separate CT card recorder. This combination allowed the team to cut time spent logging, loading and organizing in post by a month or more.
The team used the EOS 5D Mark III to pick up additional footage. Its physical similarity to conventional still cameras made it less conspicuous than the EOS C300 cameras, allowing the filmmakers to capture imagery even in places requiring a very low profile.
The EOS C300 and EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR can be used with any of the more than 103 interchangeable Canon EF series photographic lenses, and Hoover, Yourd and Pope used EF series lenses strategically to tell the story. The tilt-shift lenses enabled creative representation of certain people and locations; primes were used both for interviews and for following Mokhnenko around on his nightly rescue missions, and zooms were used for undercover work, shooting from a distance and landscape-type shots.
In post, the preparation and editing of footage was simplified by the EOS C300 camera’s use of the MXF file format, which in turn facilitated editing with Adobe Premiere without the need for transcoding. The filmmakers shot in Canon Log mode, which captures the full exposure latitude that the camera’s Super 35mm CMOS sensor is capable of. This capability enabled the team to achieve cinematic subtleties in color grading.