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.


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