“Civil War” Feature Film by Alex Garland – B-Camera was the DJI Ronin 4D

"Civil War" Feature Film by Alex Garland - B-Camera was the DJI Ronin 4D

During the SXSW 2024 annual conglomerate in Austin, Texas, director and screenwriter Alex Garland showcased the upcoming “Civil War” feature film and revealed that it was partially shot on the DJI Ronin 4D. Are you also curious to learn more about it? So, let’s dive straight into it!

The DJI Ronin 4D-6K was released in October 2021here’s our full video review in case you missed it – and it took the company an extra two years to finally launch the Ronin 4D-8K with the Zenmuse X9-8K camera. While this one-of-its-kind filmmaking device is impressive and can produce unique results thanks to its 4-axis stabilization, the Ronin 4D never really made it to Hollywood and feature films. Indeed, to this day, except for short films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries, the Ronin 4D is struggling to make it on large screens.

During South by Southwest (SXSW) 2024, screenwriter and director Alex Garland presented his new movie, “Civil War,” which stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Nick Offerman. Before diving deeper, let’s watch the movie’s official teaser, which will be released on April 12th, 2024.

Civil War – Partially Shot on the DJI Ronin 4D

You got it; the story behind “Civil War” is easy to summarize: the movie follows a team of journalists who travel across the United States during the rapidly escalating second American Civil War. This anticipation/SF movie received good criticism during the SXSW world premiere.

In an interview with Empire, director Alex Garland revealed that they used a DJI Ronin 4D as a B-Camera on “Civil War”:

It does something incredibly useful. It self-stabilises, to a level that you control — from silky-smooth to vérité shaky-cam. To me, that is revolutionary in the same way that Steadicam was once revolutionary. It’s a beautiful tool.

Alex Garland

Alex Garland mentions that the camera was affordable at around $5000 – well, $6799 if we want to be precise – so we can deduce that they shot with the DJI Ronin 4D-6K. Since the movie will be available in theaters and IMAX, it tells us that Ronin 4D footage can go the extra mile perfectly. It is also worth mentioning that the main camera, also known as A-Cam, was the Sony VENICE 2, and some shots were also captured using Sony A7S III mirrorless cameras.

DJI Ronin 4D 6K during our Lab Test
DJI Ronin 4D 6K during our Lab Test. Image Credit: CineD

Why choose the DJI Ronin 4D to shoot Civil War?

Every tool has its pros and cons, but Alex Garland found that the DJI Ronin 4D was the best tool for the job of shooting Civil War:

We knew we needed to shoot quickly, and move the camera quickly, and wanted something truthful in the camera behaviour, that would not over-stylise the war imagery. All of which push you towards handheld. But we didn’t want it to feel too handheld, because the movie needed at times a dreamlike or lyrical quality, which pushes you towards tracks and dollies.

The final part of the filmmaking puzzle — because the small size and self-stabilisation means that the camera behaves weirdly like the human head. It sees “like us.” That gave Rob (Rob Hardy B.S.C NDLR) and I the ability to capture action, combat, and drama in a way that, when needed, gave an extra quality of being there.

Alex Garland
DJI Ronin 4D Flex tether system. Image credit: DJI

The main selling points of the DJI Ronin 4D for Garland have been the flexibility and built-in 4-axis stabilization. Indeed, time is money on set, so the accumulated saved time on installing a dolly over several weeks can be huge at the end of the day. It also means that the team was faster in setting up and following the action, which can benefit the acting.

Will it be the beginning of a new trend and the start of more movies shot with the DJI Ronin 4D? Only the future will tell, but as Garland says, it is “not right for every movie, but uniquely right for some.”

Source: Empire

featured image credit: A24 / DJI (composition by CineD)

Did you already shoot content with the Ronin 4D-6K or 8K? Do you see yourself shooting entire projects with the Ronin 4D? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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