Netflix Approved Film Cameras – If you are an aspiring filmmaker thinking about producing a project to Netflix? Then you will need to know what specific filmmaking cameras are required to broadcast on Netflix.
I know that many independent filmmakers want to create a project they can be proud of, and then find distribution channels like film festivals and streaming platforms like Netflix.
I am an aspiring filmmaker that has been doing a lot of research to find out the right filmmaking cameras to shoot my next project on that can be streamed on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
From the research I have gathered over the past few months, I have come up with the filmmaking cameras that Netflix requires to broadcast on its streaming platform.
In this article, I will discuss the Netflix approved filmmaking cameras that filmmakers need to be approved to be streamed on the Netflix streaming platform.
What is included in this post are the camera brands, which filmmaking cameras from these brands that are approved, and what specs are required for a film project to be acceptable to Netflix for streaming.
By the end of the article, I hope that any filmmaker reading this post will get a better understanding of what filmmaking cameras will be needed to get his/her film projects streamable on Netflix.
Side note: These recommended cameras are approved for Netflix Originals. I don’t want any filmmaker to be discouraged by not creating a masterpiece from a mirrorless camera, DSLR, or even a smartphone.
If your film is outstanding and shot on a non-approved camera…if Netflix wants it, then you are good to go.
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Netflix Approved Film Cameras - Introduction
Why should you read this article written by a nobody in the industry?
I have been in the film industry off and on for the past 20 years, and lately, my interest in filmmaking has taken over my life presently.
Over the past five years, I have been involved in several film projects and learned so much overtime that now I am producing/directing short film projects ready for the festival circuit.
I am still not a known filmmaker, but we all have to start somewhere, and now I am making progress.
That’s how I stumbled across a question in my head of ” Now that I want to direct/produced full-length feature films, how will they be seen?”
I have been researching film festivals and what it takes to get accepted into major film festivals, but what happens after the film festival circuit is over for my project?
If I choose streaming platforms for my projects to be shown to the world, what filmmaking cameras are acceptable to these streaming platforms?
That’s where I found a comprehensive Netflix approved camera list through my research and here are the Netflix cameras you will need to shoot on.
Netflix Approved Film Cameras –The ARRI Alexa LF is probably the most popular filmmaking camera in the film industry and used by the most respected cinematographers today.
Why? Because the ARRI Alexa LF features a sensor slightly larger than full-frame, and the camera records native 4.5K with ARRI’s best overall image quality.
This helps filmmakers utilize the large-format aesthetic while retaining the sensor’s natural colorimetry, amazing skin tones, and extremely impressive capability for HDR workflows.
The movie Joker released in 2019 and directed by Todd Phillips, was shot on digital using ARRI ALEXA 65 Camera, ARRI ALEXA LF, ARRI ALEXA Mini Camera, and ARRI Rental Prime 65 Lenses, ARRI Rental Prime 65 S Lenses, ARRI Rental Prime DNA Lenses.
Side Note: This is one of the Netflix-approved film cameras that comes at a high price.
The ARRI ALEXA LF Large Format Camera Basic Set retails close to $100,000.00 with a pro set starting at $115,000.00.
So, if you have just won the lottery or have a studio funding this project, this is the best of the best in terms of Netflix Approved Film Cameras.
Netflix Approved Film Cameras – If you are looking for something more affordable in terms of filmmaking cameras that are approved for streaming services, then one of the cheapest Netflix approved camera is the EOS C300 Mark II.
The EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera is a 2nd generation Cinema EOS 4K camera system, with major improvements to its features like 4K/2K/Full HD internal and external recording (including 4K RAW output) and a new 10-bit Canon Log 2 Gamma.
This robust camera also features an expanded dynamic range of 15 stops, improved Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, innovative focus assist engineering, and CFast recording technology.
Redesigned with the help of user input, the EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera helps to deliver more creative flexibility for professional studio motion picture production applications, as well as independent productions, TV dramas, commercials, news features, sports, and more.
If you are looking for the lightest Netflix production-friendly camera, the EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera fits the bill perfectly.
If you want to take your Netflix approved film cameras to a new level, Canon’s new EOS C700 FF top-end digital cinema camera features a full-frame CMOS sensor designed to meet an extensive range of production needs.
The camera’s full-frame sensor provides higher resolution and produces footage with shallower depth of field than Canon cameras with Super 35 sized sensors, giving filmmakers a variety of creative options.
When Panasonic announced the development of a 4K Varicam, they announced the Varicam 35, which was a filmmaking camera that featured a 4K CMOS Super 35-sized sensor capable of filming up to 120fps.
Users can transcode additional file formats, including Panasonic V-RAW, Apple ProRes, and Avid DNxHR.
VariCam 35 – Utilizes Panasonic Super 35 mm MOS sensor for 4K image capture. VariCam 35’s sensor captures 14+ stops of latitude, capturing high contrast and wide dynamic range.
The camera offers a broad range of codecs and formats, including Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of advanced codecs, Apple ProRes, and 3.5 Mbps proxy recordings.
VariCam 35 incorporates a modular design whereby the 4K camera head is separate from but dockable with the common, shared recording module (AU-VREC1G).
With a body weighing under 3 kg (6 lb.), VariCam LT is ideal for handheld, Steadicam, jib, crane, gimbal, and drone shooting applications, as well as all types of cinéma vérité filmmaking.
The VariCam LT offers a host of new features including an EF lens-mount, hot-swappable batteries, IR shooting capability, a 23.98 PsF output, cinema-style file-naming, and scene files.
If you are looking at Netflix Approved Film Cameras from Panasonic at a budget you can afford (under $20,000.00), the VariCam LT is your best bet.
If you are looking for the cheapest camera for Netflix, the Panasonic S1H Netflix-approved cinema camera is a fantastic pick! Bo Burnham won an Emmy for a Netflix special he filmed by himself on a Panasonic Lumix S1H.
Another cheap Netflix-approved camera you can afford to shoot your next Netflix project is the newly approved Panasonic LUMIX BGH1. with a camera that costs less than $2,000 means that the BGH1 is the most affordable camera on that list.
Related Article: 5+ Best Tips To Make Your Smartphone Cinematography More Cinematic
Providing a flexible design configuration within a single camera body, the Sony VENICE 6K Digital Motion Picture Camera is meant to provide you with just the amount of camera you need, so you don’t have to invest in more than necessary.
It features a full-frame CMOS sensor with 15+ stops of dynamic range, but in its basic configuration, it windows the sensor to shoot Super 35. The camera comes with a removable PL Mount that supports the Cooke /i Technology lens metadata protocols, allowing you to work with cinema-style glass ranging from vintage to modern.
As is, the camera supports DCI and UHD 4K capture, while planned and scheduled firmware updates will enable anamorphic, full-frame, and select frame rates from 1 to 60 fps.
Remove the PL Mount to reveal a Sony E-Mount with a locking outer ring that allows you to mount your lens and then rotate the ring to secure it, creating a strong mounting system that does not require you to rotate your E-Mount lens when mounting it to the camera.
Eight integrated and motorized ND filters range from clear to seven stops of ND in one-stop increments. The camera features a built-in assistant-side info screen, along with a smaller basic info display screen on the operator side of the camera.
It features dual SxS card slots that allow you to capture XAVC or HD ProRes in-camera.
Expanding on the original FS7, Sony’s PXW-FS7M2 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System is a flexible 4K camera system.
Designed as a camera that is at home on productions as diverse as “Cinéma Vérité“-style documentaries, reality TV, commercial, and corporate applications
It features a Super 35mm sized sensor that allows you to capture images with cinematic depth of field.
Related Article: 5+ Important Stages Of Film Pre-Production – A Simple Guide
RED Digital Cinema is a leading manufacturer of professional digital cameras and accessories. In 2006, RED began a revolution with the 4K RED ONE digital cinema camera.
By 2008, RED released the DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) system that allowed the same camera to be used on features like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “The Hobbit” trilogy; television series such as “Stranger Things” and “Godless;” and magazine covers like “Vogue” and “Harper’s Bazaar.”
RED’s latest camera, DSMC 2 Brain, is capable of data write speeds of 300 MB/s, can simultaneously record in REDCODE RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR/HD, and comes in a lightweight modular design that can be configured however its user needs.
Each sensor delivers incredible dynamic range, up to 8K resolution and utilizes RED’s latest Image Processing Pipeline (IPP2) for a completely overhauled and enhanced workflow experience.
The DSMC2 ecosystem also offers features like cable-free peripherals, an integrated media bay, and wireless control.
RED’s entire lineup of cameras is also compatible with a growing list of modules and accessories—from RED and other third-party manufacturers.
Tack on interchangeable OLPFs and lens mounts, and DSMC2 gives you the ultimate control over your footage. Almost all of the latest Red cameras are approved by Netflix.
Upping the electronics and recording capabilities of its Mini Pro predecessor, the Blackmagic Design‘s URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Digital Cinema Camera brings an expanded control set and even more functionality.
First, the addition of external camera controls allows menus to be accessed to change exposure settings, activate slow/fast motion, or engage focus assist or other functions.
The exterior of the camera also gains a monochrome LCD panel which displays essential shooting data at a glance. Another welcome pro feature is the built-in ND (neutral density) filter wheel.
The four-position wheel switches between two, four, and six stops of neutral density, plus a clear filter for no exposure reduction.
Behind the display, two SD card slots beside the CFast 2.0 slots enable more affordable media to be used for less intensive recording formats.
The G2 introduces a USB-C expansion port so you can record directly to external drives. The default electronic EF lens mount is user-interchangeable and adjustable to ensure proper flange focal distance.
At the heart of the camera is Blackmagic Design’s acclaimed Super 35mm 4.6K sensor block, known for its ability to capture cinematic images with subtle gradients and large dynamic range rated at 15 stops.
The G2 can now capture Blackmagic RAW footage in film and extended modes which makes it more versatile to meet your production needs.
Probably the most impressive update with the G2 is the ability to capture 4.6K footage at 120 fps, 4K DCI at 150 fps, or even 1080p footage at 300 fps which is well suited for fast-action shooting.
If you are looking for the cheapest Netflix approved cameras the Blackmagic Design‘s URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Digital Cinema Camera is a great pick.
Netflix Camera Requirements
Please note, not all cameras that meet these requirements will be approved as primary cameras.
These requirements are the minimum specifications necessary for consideration.
Other attributes must be taken into account such as dynamic range, form factor, stability, workflow compatibility, etc.
The following below can be found here on Netflix.com.
- The camera must have a true 4K UHD sensor (equal to or greater than 3840 photosites wide).
- RAW (X-OCN, REDCODE, Arriraw etc.)
- COMPRESSED (XAVC, AVC-Intra, ProRes, or other I-Frame capable formats)
- Minimum of 16-bit Linear or 10-bit Log processing
- Minimum data-rate of Bitrate of 240 Mbps at 23.98 fps
Capture Transfer Function
- S-Log3, Log-C, V-Log, Log3G10, etc.
Capture Color Space
- S-Gamut3.cine, RED Wide Gamut RGB, Alexa Wide Gamut, etc.
No looks or color corrections should be baked into the original camera files.
Files must maintain all metadata (i.e. Tape Name, Timecode, Frame Rate, ISO, WB, etc.).
- If applicable, black balancing of camera sensors should be done daily, when the camera is at normal operating temperature. See specific black balancing instructions in the camera operating manual.
Aspect Ratio / Framing
- Aspect ratios greater than 2.00:1 must be evaluated and discussed with Netflix for approval.
- Framing chart must be shot before principal photography begins, and processed through the dailies pipeline which will be shared with editorial, post-production, and VFX.
- If anamorphic lenses are being considered, camera selection must take into account the extra resolution required for capture. Contact your Netflix project lead to discuss implications or concerns.
- Any cameras other than the primary camera (crash, POV, drone, underwater, etc.) must be approved by Netflix.
- Footage from non-approved cameras will count towards the total allotment of non-approved capture. The allotment is based on content used in the final edit (per episode if applicable) and not on the total captured content.
- Test footage should be shot and provided to dailies and post-production to ensure compatibility with primary camera.
- Allowing a camera to record spanned clips (single takes spread out on multiple camera cards) is inadvisable. Please avoid this recording method if it is not absolutely necessary.
- For productions seeking to shoot any photochemical film, please contact your relevant Netflix project lead.
From Netflix: “In all cases, such cameras must be explicitly approved by Netflix for a specific project. The use of a non-approved camera on one project does not constitute blanket approval of that camera for other projects. Footage from non-approved cameras will count towards the total allotment of non-approved capture.”
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