When a company like Canon, or, well, any company, really, produces a camera that claims to shoot as high as ISO 4,500,000, such as the MH20F-SH, it makes one wonder if it’s all just a marketing gimmick or if it’s actually really any good at the extremely low light levels that demand such high sensitivity.
Well, when Award-winning artist and director Lynette Wallworth released her documentary Awavena in 2018, which documented the Yawanawa in the Amazon and the Ayahuasca vision quest, it was met with much praise. The film’s director of photography, Greg Downing, has now spoken about some of the filming challenges and how the MH20F-SH helped to overcome them.
The video was shared to the Canon USA YouTube channel, where Downing talks about the ME20F-SH to shoot some scenes of fluorescent insects and plants in virtually no light – which Canon believes might have proven impossible for any other camera available at the time.
The challenge of shooting documentary footage at night in the jungle is that any lighting you may use will disrupt the activity of the creatures you’re trying to capture. In the award-winning documentary Awavena, Director of Photography Greg Downing used Canon’s ME20F-SH camera to showcase the remarkable fluorescent luminance of plants and insects in the Amazon. The project, which chronicles the Yawanawa tribe and its first ever female shaman, utilizes mixed reality to give viewers the experience of a vision quest. In this video, Downing describes how the incredible 4,500,000 ISO of the ME20 helped to create the stunning visuals to simulate a vision quest.
If you haven’t seen Awavena, here’s the trailer and you can find out more here.
The Canon ME20F-SH is getting a little old now – it was released in 2015. It houses just a 2.26-megapixel sensor capable of shooting 1080p footage at 60 frames per second, so it’s not exactly bleeding edge these days. But when it was released in 2015, it was rather impressive and there’s still little out there today that can touch it in terms of its high ISO performance, and it still fetches the princely sum of $20,000 (which is actually $10K less than the release price five years ago).
[via Canon Watch]