Nothing is better than when you get a brand new toy to add to your production package. Especially when that toy is a Canon C300 mark II and will immediately contribute to the overall production value of your team. The feeling you get opening and exploring all of the camera features is like being a kid on Christmas. Yes, 120 and 60 frame slo-mo in 1080P, the 4k, raw ftg showing off the maximum the camera can produce via our Odyssey Recorder, oh happy days!
We recently purchased a C300 mark II to add to our stable of cameras. We had been using it on everything from big budget shoots to quick turnaround blog content. While some like to sit and stare at their shiny new toys, we like to get ‘em dirty and leave our mark on them. Also, since we now had three in house professional camera packages, we could take on even more projects, send out more crews in one day and better customize the gear to the shoot need.
In the first month we owned it, it became our go to “A cam” and usually when our owner, Adam Lebenstein was on set, it was by his side. That’s what brought it to Ad-Tech where we were hired by the show’s parent company Comexposium to create two videos, one highlighting the great experience of attending the show, and another about the show’s rebranding from AD: Tech to “MADE.”
Everything was going splendidly. We had finished day 1 of our two-day shoot and organized our gear and battery charging for the second day. We decided to leave some of the bigger clunky items in a guarded pen at the Javits Center where the shoot was taking place. The cameras and lenses were to travel safely home with our owner. Everything was set, the bags were packed, the car home was pulling up to the door. Our 6 member crew was slowly being sent home as there was nothing left to do but finish footage transfer and put the remaining items in the car home. The cases that were headed to the car were placed between two booths, one where footage was being transferred and one were our client was similarly wrapping their booth and their day. There were approximately 10 people, just feet from where we placed the cases.
That’s when our new prized possession, the C300, Mark II was stolen from right under our noses! And we almost caught the perp too! As one of the only remaining crew members, Miguel, was returning from the bathroom, he noticed someone walking by him with a camera case that looked just like ours. Quickly he ran back to the booth and asked a distracted Adam, if he had all the gear he was taking home with him. Adam quickly jumped up and realized, the C300 Mark II case was missing and Miguel exclaimed he saw someone suspicious with it, and Adam shouted, “After him!”
Miguel ran up the escalators, out of the Javits Center door and spotted the guy with our camera case signaling for a cab. He caught up to him and asked him if that camera belonged to him, and the criminal had a mixed reaction of trying to ignore him while fleeing without a scene, while also acting intimidating. The man started reaching his free hand into his pocket. Thoughts started running through Miguel’s head, what if this guy has a gun or a knife? Is pursuing this further worth it? It’s not even my camera!? With that he turned around to find me, and the thief was gone.
The feeling you get when something like this happens is hard to describe. There were many pain points from an ownership perspective. What if we had just kept more crew around for five more minutes? What if I had joined Miguel on the chase for the guy? Would he have dropped the camera if two people were after him? Would I have alerted police nearby who could’ve stopped him? How could we have been so careless with the cases? Why weren’t they glued to my leg, or taken to the car before I even headed out the door? The feeling of helplessness, the pit in your stomach, is just awful and doesn’t go away overnight.
We ended up at the Javits center for over an hour between police reports and going to their security center and identifying the guy on their cameras. He was definitely someone who had done this before. He kept his hat down low and his cell phone glued to his ear. It wasn’t until after we left and many more hours and camera searching that they were able to identify a clear shot of the guy. After leaving Javits our day wasn’t over. It was on to the police station to meet with the detectives, go over the story once again and Miguel even looked at pictures of 4,000 suspects who had done this at the Javits Center before.
They say you learn more from your failures than your successes, and we plan to make that true in this regard. Thankfully we have production insurance and while the deductible is significant most of the value of the camera was reimbursed. And in even better news, our new C300 Mark II has arrived once again and was used for the first time on a shoot for McDonald’s yesterday.
We learned a few valuable lessons though, that we will not soon forget. Always have proper insurance. Second lesson, never take your work environment for granted, especially if you are in a public setting. Be weary of anyone hanging around that you aren’t familiar with because they could be the one who grabs your gear. We were always the trusting/loose type that would think this would never happen to us. Now we know we have to always follow proper safety measures. We hope our misfortune can prevent other people from having their equipment stolen, especially if you are shooting in a public space. And if anyone knows this guy or sees a C300 Mark II for sale with a price that’s way too good to be true (Below 10K) please, please do give us a call.
Adam and the ASL team