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Academy Award Winner Janusz Kamiński and Guillermo Arriaga Making a Short Film with the Nikon D800

11.21.12 @ 6:42PM Tags : , ,

Canon has had an ongoing relationship with industry professionals like Shane Hurlbut and Vincent Laforet, but now it seems Nikon is getting in on the action, calling on frequent Steven Spielberg Director of Photography Janusz Kamiński to shoot, and Guillermo Arriaga, writer/director of The Burning Plain and writer of Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, to direct a horror film shot only with the Nikon D800. This is a big step for Nikon, who has lagged behind the rest of the DSLR video world until this generation of cameras.

Here is a little bit about the project from the Broken Night website:


The Nikon D800 produces video so extraordinarily cinematic it can find beauty anywhere—even in a nightmare. To prove it, we invited critically acclaimed writer Guillermo Arriaga, writer of Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros, to team up with two-time Academy award winning cinematographer, Janusz Kamiński, the DP on Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and War Horse. The challenge? Push the limits of the ultimate movie-making HD-SLR to create a short movie as frightening as it is drop dead beautiful.

This is an interesting move for Nikon. Obviously they see that having quality video inside their DSLRs is essential to competing in this market, and having exceptional video quality can actually bring them an entirely new audience. Just as with the other films produced by professionals on DSLRs, there is no doubt someone like Kamiński will get every ounce of quality out of the camera.

I’ve already expressed my thoughts about the D800 many times on this site before, and besides some moire and aliasing (nothing worse than on the Canon 5D Mark II), the image quality is top notch, with tons of dynamic range and a clean 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI. A small difference between the Nikon and Canon DSLRs, the D800′s LCD remains active even when an external monitor is attached — which may not seem like a big deal, but in practice, it makes operating the cameras that much easier.

I’m excited to see what these guys will come up with because of their exceptional resumes. They are also producing an excellent behind the scenes series, so head on over to the website to check out what these guys have been up to.

What do you guys think? If you own a Nikon D800, what have you thought of the image quality?

Link: Broken Night — Short Film from Janusz Kaminski and Guillermo Arriaga Shot on Nikon D800

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  • john jeffreys on 11.21.12 @ 7:27PM

    I’m very ok with the D800/D600/D4, Nikon really stepped their game up- external recording with a blackmagic hyperdeck shuttle sounds like a nice thing to have.

  • I own the D800. With the moire filter its REALLY good for video and it works well with the Ninja2, although its amazing how often we stay internal.
    I hire other cameras for some jobs, (hey, its still an DSLR) but for anything short of a six figure commercial its my first choice. We are using four of them for a feature in Jan. It has a very organic look. It also has the best auto white balance of any camera I’ve ever worked with. :-)

    PS: Also an absolutely f*cking brilliant stills camera.

    • Dave Kendricken on 11.22.12 @ 4:55AM

      I would absolutely love to shoot something on it. D800 + Ki Pro = DSLR history

    • Totally agree. I have a D800 (and a GH2), and the Nikon’s DR really highlights one of the weaker points of the Panasonic sensor. The moire is annoying so it’s good to hear positives about the new moire filter.

      And yes as a still camera, it doesn’t get much better than the D800. Even my X-Pro1, a wonderful still camera, can’t quite compete with the D800.

      • Markus, I don’t know if you have hear of this gamma trick with vivid profile in the GH2. I got a gh2 six month ago, ’cause moire was killing me to use DSLR in interviews (and since i’ve learned to love using photo cameras to shoot video, :D, i can’t live without them! I started as photojournalist and i guess this is the reason i love slr cameras all th way) … anyway, this trick helped me a lot to get a little bit of more dinamic range out of the GH2 when in the right settings (as the drewnet vid explain). After learning about this trick, i got 2 more GH2. So now i record interviews only with them (i can get a wide, close and close up shot at one, using all three, and it gives more dramatic tone in the editing when needed), and i can say the dinamic range, with a smart use of this trick is as good (and better sometimes) as 7D and 5D. But I guess -from de vids i’ve watched -the Nikon D800 has more D.R. than the canons. The D800 sounds like a suberb camera, for photos and vid too. :)

  • VINCEGORTHO on 11.21.12 @ 10:29PM

    Isn’t the low light terrible though?

    • For a drama? No. You want to shoot at iso 5000? No. But I guarantee on set they never need to go higher than 800, maybe 1000. Touch of NR, done.
      This obsession with low light confuses me on these blogs. I can understand if you’re making a doc in a place without electricity (say, Bhutan) but anything else, even if shooting on f3s etc, we usually plug some lights in.

      • VINCEGORTHO on 11.22.12 @ 2:05PM

        My concern with high ISO performance is escaping the super deep depth of field. On my old 5D3, I would keep it at iso 1600 so I wouldn’t let subjects fall out of focus.

    • It’s actually very good. The problem in previous low light “reviews” was they didnt grade the blacks in high iso’s.

  • I have used my own D800 on a short film. We never needed more than 800 iso.
    But in my tests, even at 1600 iso, it’s quite good with noise reduction in post-production.

    I could be a bit soft or a resolve less details (comparing to a Black Magic Camera for example).
    But the full frame sensor is very interesting: you can use winder angles or have swallower depth of field, depending on your needs. And we had both of these needs.

    The only feature lacking is the raw recording (the image may break a bit when heavily graded). Maybe in with the next generation?

  • An excellent tutoring and my big salute sir, even though I don’t own either GH 2 or D 800, but 7D! Want to watch if you could compare 7D price range dslr for Vid work and suggest which one we should choose as poor man’s leisure. Thanks again!

  • janusz kaminski on 12.12.12 @ 5:08PM

    i made the film for the director NOT FOR THE NIKON ,DO NOT WISH TO LEND MY NAME TO NIKON THANKS JANUSZ KAMINSKI

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