Canon 1DC and Samyang lenses test – The International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna 2013

DSC03873-001When asked to produce/shoot and edit the promotional video for the 14th international Beethoven competition which will take place during June 2013 in Vienna Austria, it was clear for me that I will deploy my Canon 1DC for it and shoot a 4k master.
The process of pre-selecting candidates for this competition is a worldwide effort. Distinguish judges in different cities had to listen to hours of music played by different candidates. Since I am located in Vienna that’s where I joined them.

Two filming days, that’s what I got and due to “movements restrictions” while the candidates were playing, I was literally “stuck” in one position during each composition and could only silently change lenses to achieve a shot.

The project was also a chance to test my Samyang lenses kit (14, 24, 35, 85 mm) and see how well those lenses are preforming when shooting on a higher then full HD resolution settings. While not the best choice for “under time pressure shooting” (a zoom lens would have been easier to work with), those modestly priced prime lenses don’t stop surprising me….The pictures are sharp, boke is nice and the ability to be able to work in low light surroundings due to their characteristics is a blessing to every “on the budget” film maker.

The project was challenging since I had to live with what I get and not interfere in any way with the competition itself. The rule in the rehearsal and competition rooms was one: keep a very low profile while shooting and don’t talk to the candidate at all times since they all deserves an equal faire chance.
The only place I was free to communicate with them was at corridors…

Since we are talking very low profile I had to rely on the camera’s excellent low light capability. The only light I was allowed to place (and make sure it is not “blinding” the competitors) was 1 Sola light (made by Lite panels).

For recording high quality audio I’ve requested a sound engineer student from MDW’s university to be in the competition room. We agreed before hand that he will record full sequences only while I am in the room. Later when editing I’ve used PluralEyes 3 to sync the audio.

According to my editing plan, audio from the rehearsal rooms was’t needed, therefore it was recorded with a Rode Stereo VideoMic to the camera only.

For movements I used skatermini. It is a very handy device which I wish have had a way to control the “speed” (resistance) of movement.

Editing was done in “Adobe Premiere CS6”, Color grading was done with “film convert”.

Camera picture profile was set to “Canon Log”

For almost instant, good quality voice over I’ve used It’s a very simple process of submitting a project, say how much you are whiling to pay and ask candidates to offer their services. The person I chose (Ross Huguet) was very responsive and did his best to support the project.




About the competition:
The 14th International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna is being held from June 10 – 20, 2013.
The competition is open to the public and consists of two rounds and the Finale at the prestigious Golden Hall of the Wiener Musikverein. On June 20, 2013 the finalists will play three Piano Concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven, accompanied by the CAMERATA SALZBURG under its principal conductor Louis Langrée.For this final concert  and for all competition rounds the advance booking has already started. Reserve your tickets now!
For more information visit


Johnnie Behiri is a BBC freelance cameraman/editor operating from Vienna Austria.
When not BBCing, Johnnie is filming documentaries, commercials, music videos and testimonials/image videos.

Leave a Comment

You are not subscribed to this post. Follow new comments

Login to comment

 Mark Tierney Reply
marklondon June 7, 2013

Love that combination of camera and lenses. I too have the full set of Roks. However, I’m sticking with my D800 for now.

Johnnie Behiri June 8, 2013

Thank you mark for watching and commenting. Most important, enjoy your D800!


Ash June 8, 2013

I agree it’s a challenging shoot, the lighting ratio between the room and window is too high for the camera to handle, nasty blown-out highlights are everywhere.

I recommend Tiffen Dfx ProMist filter to soften the highlight.

Johnnie Behiri June 8, 2013

Hi Ash, thanks for watching the video and commenting.

Honestly, I did not look here for preserving the highlight coming from the windows. I’ve used them (knowing that they are harsh) as a way to “isolate” and draw attention to the subject being filmed.

Thanks for you advice!.


Ash June 8, 2013

Ok I understand your intent. However I find my attention more drawn to those harshly blown out highlights (the brightest part of the image always draws more attention).

Matías Rispau Reply
Matias June 12, 2013

Actually Johnnie is right in there. Of course you are a little distracted to the windows, you are a camera/photographer person. The common people will look the other way.

Anthony June 9, 2013

Highlights look fine to me.

Johnny, I am considering the 24mm or 35mm Samyang Cine and the 85mm. I’ve heard that the 35mm is a great lens but the 24mm with a speedbooster is what would be better for focal length wise. Would you say the 24 is in the same league as the 35mm?


Johnnie Behiri June 9, 2013

Hi Anthony.

The 35 and 85mm are my favorites from the Samyang range.
Since I have the 24 and 14mm (and also the Tokina 11-16 which works fine on the 16mm side on a full frame sensor camera), I haven’t considered the 24mm+speedbooster combination.



Anthony June 10, 2013

Thanks for your reply Johnny, do you prefer the 35mm due to its focal length or is it a much better lens optically than the 24?

Johnnie Behiri June 10, 2013

Hi Anthony.

Will not say “it’s much better lens” but it is my favorite between the two, quality wise.

Daniel Curtis June 10, 2013

It’s a real shame that big organisations/events no longer pay for proper cinematography and production. Well done considering such minimal resources.

Simon Bailey Reply
Simon Bailey June 12, 2013

Very nice work Johnnie. I really like your approach and style.

Johnnie Behiri June 12, 2013

Simon, thank you very much for your warm words!


noam June 12, 2013

Looking great, and I love the color grade. I too have the Rokinon lenses and they’ve been great on my EF mount BMCC. The 1DC is very intriguing to me, but the only thing that’s held me back is the large price tag. At that price point, there are many options – although having 4K in a DSLR body certainly has it’s advantages. This camera made my top 5 list for best DSLRS for video:

Johnnie Behiri June 13, 2013

Hi Noam, ma nishma?
Thanks for taking the time watching the video and commenting.
Also, thank you for sharing your blog link. Interesting information there!.