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The Canon C500 Mark II Does Not Have a Time-lapse Mode but…

Canon C500 Mark II Storm Cloud Time-lapse on YouTube.

One feature missing in the Canon C500 Mark II and the C300 Mark II is Interval Recording. It is Canon’s time-lapse mode which was included with the C300, C300 Mark II, and the C200. It allowed for filming a select number of frames at preset intervals. While one might traditionally film a time-lapse with a stills camera it is a convenient feature to have on a cinema camera should you need to grab a time-lapse while working on a project.

There is a workaround for the C500 Mark II and the C300 Mark III and that is to use Slow & Fast mode. If you undercrank for your desired frame rate the result will be a faster than real-time clip. You can then speed up the clip further in post. The slowest undercrank in Slow & Fast mode is 12 fps capture into a 23.98 clip. As you can infer from the math it is twice as fast as real-time.

So, while not a true time-lapse it splits the difference between speeding up a real-time clip versus shooting single frames at longer intervals. I have tried speeding up a few undercranked C500 Mark II Slow & Fast clips as much as 20x in post and the results are very nice visually. You get a smooth time-lapse effect and the files are extremely well detailed. If you film in RAW they will have a 15-stop tonal range and add full-frame to the mix and the files will have a dimensionality you cannot get with Super 35.

Canon C500 Mark II 5.9K RAW Time-lapse Sample via S&F Mode in 12/23.98 on YouTube.

Slow & Fast mode is easily accessible on the C500 Mark II and the C300 Mark II via buttons #8 and #9 on the operator side of the respective cameras. #8 turns Slow & Fast mode on or off, #9 sets the under or overcrank rate. Slow & Fast mode works in RAW and in XFAVC and both cameras share the same 12 fps limitation for undercranking. More information is available in the C500 Mark II/C300 Mark III manual, pages 116-118.

Slow & Fast buttons on the Canon C500 Mark II. On-screen display indicates 12/23.98 for fast mode, 12 fps capture into a 23.98 clip. Princeton, NJ. July, 2020.

It would be nice to see Canon add Interval Mode into the C500 Mark II and the C300 Mark III with a future firmware update. Until then undercranking in Slow & Fast mode and speeding up further in post will do.

Notes

Canon C500 Mark II Storm Cloud Time-lapse was created in full-frame RAW 5.9K, Clog2 Cinema Gamut, 12/23.98 S&F Mode, 180° shutter. It was sped up 20x in post. A Canon 17mm TSE tilt/shift lens @ f/5.0 was used. The Canon Clog2 Cinema Gamut to 709 Wide DR LUT to convert from RAW in FCPX.

Canon C500 Mark II 5.9K RAW Time-lapse Sample via S&F Mode in 12/23.98 was captured in full-frame with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L Mark II lens @ 24mm, f/3.5, 180° shutter. 5.9K RAW, Clog2 Cinema Gamut in S&F Mode, 12/23.98. It was sped up 1200% in post. The Canon Clog2 Cinema Gamut to 709 Wide DR LUT was used along with some additional contrast and blue/orange shadow/highlight bias in FCPX.

The videos are best viewed in 4K or higher resolution. On a Mac you’ll need to use Google’s Chrome browser to access resolutions above 1080P.

Here is one more set of time-lapse samples. A note of caution – this video is available on YouTube at 5K resolution. It really needs to be viewed at 4K or higher. When viewed at lower than 4K YouTube’s compression squashes all the detail turning some of the clips to mush. Full-frame 5.9K RAW capture as was done for the other videos. The clips are further ID’d on screen with more information.

Canon C500 Mark II Time-lapse Test 6K Timeline on YouTube.

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