The Cameras Used in 2016’s Oscar Nominated Films Were Diverse– There’s A Good Reason Why, Too

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

There’s this concept ubiquitous in the lower to mid level of the filmmaking industry that there is a camera that captures the, “cinematic” look. When you say the name, “Arri” most often followed by, “Alexa” we speak as if this is the pinnacle of filmmaking.

Now, in no way am I saying that the Alexa isn’t one of the best cameras ever made. What I am saying is that each camera is suited for and can be molded to fit an increasingly wide variety of aesthetics.

Nowadays, the options even at the top tier of filmmaking are so diverse and lower to mid-range cameras have been improved so far in the past decade that we often see an intermingling of cameras that are being utilized for their specific benefits. Size, weight, ergonomics, ability in low light, etc.

Such as Mad Max: Fury Road using a BlackMagic Cinema Camera. Of course, they didn’t shoot the whole film with it, but a strategic, intelligent use of cameras like that can allow your production to go smoother and faster, and not a single audience member would be the wiser.

What I’m getting at is that when we get to the top level of filmmaking, the Lubezki’s, Seale’s and Deakins’s, we see a well thought out use of each camera. Using a Canon C500 in a car scene instead of the larger, Arri Alexa. Thinking this way can open up new avenues of thought and creative ways to shoot a scene.

Which Cameras Were Used on the Oscar-Nominated Films of 2016?

Via No Film School:

Yes — interesting and important, but not all that surprising. Just like in 2015, as well in 2014, the Oscar-nominated films used primarily digital cameras, namely the ARRI Alexa. However, a fairly significant amount of films utilized film cameras to produce that classic cinematic aesthetic, including The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, and of course, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

There were also a couple of surprises. For instance, RED has been almost entirely absent from the Oscars for the last two years, but this year three different films used their cameras, with one film, Room, using one exclusively (though The Martian, for all intents and purposes, did also, but they used a GoPro as well). And hey, Blackmagic even made an appearance in Mad Max: Fury Road, which is pretty exciting for indie filmmakers who have opted for the inexpensive, but powerful, Cinema Camera.

Okay, without further ado, here are the nominees (and the cameras and lenses they used):

The Big Short

Nominated for Best Picture (Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner) and Best Director (Adam McKay).

Cameras: Arricam LT, Canon EOS C500

Lenses: Angenieux Optimo Lenses, Panavision Primo Lenses

The Big Short Trailer (2015) ‐ Paramount Pictures

See full article at No Film School “Which Cameras Were Used on the Oscar-Nominated Films of 2016?”

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(cover photo credit: snap from No Film School)


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