Canon’s Hollywood Professional Technology & Support Center, formerly located at 6060 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, has been relocated to brand-new, custom-built headquarters in Burbank. Found on 3400 West Olive Avenue, the facilities are expansive and versatile, serving not only as a center for expedited repairs and technical advice, but also for educational events, new product demos, and free seminars, as well as one-on-one sessions with Canon experts. With Monday-Friday hours of 9am-5pm, walk-in consultations and service drop-offs are also welcome at any time.
“I’ve never used the words, that ‘this is an expense’. This is an investment,” said Elliot Peck, Executive Vice President and General Manager Imaging Technologies & Communications Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., who introduced Canon Burbank to a crowd of journalists so large that they had to be divided into two separate tour groups, even though the Canon Burbank facilities cover 12,000 square feet. Peck went on to explain that he had been with Canon for 42 years, starting himself in the industry as a camera operator and soon after in Canon technical service. His goal with Canon Burbank is to help support those with a story to tell.
“We made this to help those who create,” he continued. “I think when you get a tour of the facility and see what we’re capable of doing, this validates the commitment that we made back in 2011 that it’s service and support first. If you ask the the product people, they’re going to say it’s technology first! But actually, this is an integration of both. Because you can’t have the technology without supporting the community.”
Peck concluded by noting that Canon Burbank will always be available for filmmakers as well as photographers to help in anyway that they can help to bring a vision to life. “If I left anybody out, I apologize,” he said, wrapping before the tour started. “This was a tremendous effort by many, many people to not only open the facility but to take us to the next iteration of our products and support.”
Canon Burbank has roughly double the staff — as well as nearly double the size — of Canon Hollywood. With acquisition and workflows changing on a regular basis, Canon says they made it a goal at the Canon Burbank facilities to be able to serve camera testing across a spectrum of new technologies at the same facility where you can purchase needed gear and get advice on everything from the Canon EOS DSLR systems to full-production-prep.
Following the reception, the tour started with the repair area, which has full support for Canon gear all the way up to the top-of-the-line EOS C700 Cinema EOS camera, as well as all four Canon cinema lens lines: the Cinema Cine zoom, Cine Prime and Cine-Servo, plus the new Compact Servo lenses. With lens and camera calibration charts and labs, there are several feet of track laid out to precisely align and test equipment.
The fully staffed room of factory-trained Canon technicians currently offers a two-day turnaround on gear fixes for Cinema-level Canon Professional Services members. (Depending on membership level, CPS members receive phone and email support, discounted equipment maintenance and expedited repairs, on-site support, discounts on select Canon Live Learning seminars and workshops, and more. Canon has also initiated an Enterprise CPS program for high volume support.)
Next to the reception area, printing bays and shooting stage, which was setup with several of the latest Canon cameras, there is also a Canon Burbank lounge with coffee and espresso. It opens bay doors to a patio that can be used for camera testing. There’s even a highly specular piece of metal sculpture in the courtyard that Tim Smith, Senior Advisor for Film & Television Production at Canon, calls the “silver meteor”. He said it has already proven useful for HDR testing.
“You’ve just entered my world,” laughed Smith as he spoke on the intricate design of the Camera Prep room as well as the rest of the Canon Burbank facilities. The side curtains can be drawn in both the prep room and the Multipurpose room to completely black out any external light. Thanks to sliding airwalls, wireless networking, and 25 feet of cable beneath the floor, the Multipurpose and Camera Prep rooms can be connected for the testing needs of longer lenses. “We can check focus at every point on just about every lens that I’ve got, except the 50-1000mm. That’s where we’re going to have to go out on the balcony. It’s going to be tough to focus at 1000mm inside a building. Which is a very unique lens. So unique that we don’t have it here yet!”
“We want someone to come in with our competitors’ cameras, we want to go head-to-head with whoever we have to go head-to-head with to convince them that we have the right product for their show, their film, or their project” continued Smith. “It’s where people get a chance to really experience a camera as deep as they have to go… We could do, in this building, a blockbuster film, from lens to delivery. Between the edit bays and the projection system, we’re a complete unit for that. There are a couple of companies that can do this kind of thing, but not everybody, so this is big for us.”
The sophisticated routing and delivery system is made by Crestron. With panels in every room, the network is WiFi-accessible for remote changes over everything from room lighting to deliverables. Thanks to the networking and also fiber-cabling throughout the entire floor, Canon can control files and edits with immediate transfer and playback across prep bay, editing bay, DI suite, or any of the displays throughout the facility, including screening room and color-grading suite with 4K Barco DP4K-P projector, SGO Mistika color grading system. In the Multipurpose room, a Realis 600STZ laser projector will also run videos for screenings.
With four racks of audio and digital film equipment, including AJA Kumo 64x64 3G-SDI router and a massive 250 TB main bank of online storage, each of the three server rooms can support two full 4K streams of uncompressed at the same time each. So the entire system can run six streams of uncompressed 4K, or one stream of 8K uncompressed. The server room fans were so loud it was hard to hear my recordings. From HDR monitors to consumer displays and computer systems across both Mac and PCs, most NLE systems, including DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite, and Avid’s Media Composer, are available for testing the looks of footage across variety of systems on both Macs and PCs.
“This room is all about integration,” explained Senior Field Application Engineer for Canon Burbank, Loren Simons, while he led us through the variety of Canon monitors available in the DI suite. The systems are centered around 4K DCI 10-bit, HDR-capable $29,500 Canon DP-V2420 24” and $19,990 30” DP-V3010 4K reference monitors, but they also have consumer-grade models to check the look of a project in the way that most people will end up seeing it. Simons also mentioned that the DPX files he was using to show off the system were located centrally on the Canon Burbank server.
“All of the major NLEs are on a system here, so a filmmaker can say, ‘Hey, I’ve got some footage, that maybe the other rooms are going to see, and I want to look at it in my workflow and my environment.’ We don’t want to make them change anything that they are doing other than the camera that they are shooting on. Showing them how simple it is to integrate our products into their existing workflows, is key.”
“That’s sort of what my job is primarily about. I work with the studios and the production companies to show how we can integrate our cameras into their existing workflows. Filmmakers are a finicky bunch. They want to keep things the way that they are comfortable and familiar with. We want to show them that they can use our cameras. They can integrate them right into existing postproduction workflows.”
The Multipurpose and Camera Prep rooms are also designed to be multifunctional for large classes, tutorials, training sessions, and screenings. The Canon Live Learning series of presentations and gear deep-dives, for example, will continue on at Canon Burbank with multiple classes and presentations every single week. (Covering everything from preproduction through final workflows, there are also events in Costa Mesa and San Francisco as well as New York and other locations throughout the country.)
The event rounded up with a luncheon and closing comments. “Those of us who work at Canon are very proud,” said Chris Sedlacek, Senior Director & General Manager, Corporate Communications Division, Canon USA, “because it’s not just about the products. It’s about the technology that we’re able to deliver to this industry to really make that impossible, very, very possible. That extends also today to our facility here in Burbank. To bring this into the community, to provide those services, to our customers, so that we can help and support your efforts in the industry every single day.”