One of the most famous film festivals of the world – the Cannes film festival – opened its gates last week. Let’s take a look at what cameras were used on the premiered films.
Cannes! The film festival in France is known for its highly acclaimed film premieres, and this year is no exception. Due to the pandemic, the festival couldn’t take place last year, but this year it is, and with Spike Lee as the host.
But since you’re reading this on CineD, I suppose film tech is somewhat important to you, right? Deep down we’re nerds craving for the latest and greatest camera and lens gems. So what can we be envious about this time? What cameras did the filmmakers premiering their films in Cannes? Maybe something unusual, like a smartphone, a videotape camera? Or did they stick with the good old ALEXA Mini like the last few years?
ALEXA Mini takes the lead in Cannes lineup – again
Well, yes to both. It is no surprise that the ALEXA Mini still takes the lead, being used in 20 of 52 films. It’s been around for over 6 years now (the ALEV III sensor was launched over 11 years ago), but it still holds up pretty well with newer cameras. ARRI still takes the crown, because apart from the Sony VENICE used on 6 productions, 4 out of the top 5 cameras in Cannes 2021 films are all made by the German manufacturer (ALEXA Mini, ARRICAM, ARRI 416, ARRI Mini LF).
Though, a few new cameras joined the list this year: Sony VENICE, Sony FX9, ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, the Panasonic S1H, and – if you want to count that in – the iPhone X and 11 Pro.
“Zero Fucks Given” was the movie that made use of the Panasonic S1H, a quite popular and relatively affordable camera rivaling the Sony a7S III. DoP Olivier Boonjing chose it for the size and quality combo. And they used the iPhone 11 Pro for some scenes as well.
Also, using analog film got popular again. With about a quarter of the premiering films being shot on film stock, it’s no surprise we find various 35mm, 16mm, and Super 8mm cameras in the lineup. A bit more unusual nowadays is the use of videotape, in this case, Video8 to be exact. Besides an ALEXA Mini and ALEXA XT, DoP Germain McMicking used a Sony Video8 for some stylistic shots of his feature film “Nitram”.
6 different cameras in one film, including an analog stills camera
Probably the funkiest combination of cameras used in this year’s selection goes to “Mariner of the Mountains” and its DoP Juan Sarmiento G. They used a Canon C300, a Sony a7S, a Canon 814 XL-S Super 8mm camera, the Canon AE1 Program 35mm analog stills camera, the iPhone X and the FUJIFILM X100F. Yes, you heard right, stills cameras. The documentary was full of varying formats, including analog and digital stills from the latter three cams.
Sarmiento G. told IndieWire:
This film is a sci-fi cine-memoir. Our crew in Algeria consisted of three people (Karim, myself and a fixer). We shot the film on many different formats, analog and digital, looking for what our gut told us was the right thing to do at any specific time. I remember letting the C300 roll on a tripod, shooting S8mm ektachrome in parallel and taking analogue and digital stills while Karim shot on the Sony as his “pen-camera,” which I also often took into my hands, specially when it became dark.
You can take a look at the full list of cameras and lenses used on IndieWires post.
What do you think about the various cameras used? What would your go-to camera be if a budget wasn’t an issue? Let us know in the comments.