January 15, 2016

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

It's not all about the camera -- we know. However, it's pretty interesting, as well as important to learn which ones were used on the Oscar-nominated films by both Hollywood and indie filmmakers.

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

Bridge of Spies

Nominated for Best Picture (Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger).

Cameras: Arricam LT, Arricam ST, Arriflex 235, Arriflex 435 Advanced

Lenses: Hawk V-Lite, V-Lite Vintage '74 and V-Plus Lenses

Brooklyn

Nominated for Best Picture (Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey).

Cameras: Arri Alexa XT

Lenses: Zeiss Master Prime, Super Speed and Leica Summilux-C lenses​

Mad Max: Fury Road

​Nominated for Best Picture (Doug Mitchell and George Miller), Best Director (George Miller), and Best Cinematography (John Seale).

Cameras: Arri Alexa M, Arri Alexa Plus, Blackmagic Cinema Camera (some shots), Canon EOS 5D Mark II (some shots), Olympus P5 (some shots)

Lenses: Panavision Primo, Primo Zoom, Ultra Speed and Angenieux Optimo Lenses

The Martian

​Nominated for Best Picture (Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam).

Cameras: GoPro HERO4, Red Epic Dragon, Red Scarlet Dragon

Lenses: Fujinon Premier Cabrio, Angenieux Optimo and Optimo DP Lenses

The Revenant

​Nominated for Best Picture (Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon), Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki).

Cameras: Arri Alexa 65, Arri Alexa XT M, Arri Alexa XT, Red Epic Dragon (some scenes)

Lenses: Hasselblad Prime 65 Lenses, Panavision Primo, C-Series, Leica Summilux-C and Zeiss Master Prime Lenses

Room

​Nominated for Best Picture (Ed Guiney) and Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson), 

Cameras: Red Epic Dragon

Lenses: Panavision Primo and Ultra Speed MKII Lenses

Spotlight

​Nominated for Best Picture (Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust) and Best Director (Tom McCarthy).

Cameras: Arri Alexa XT, Panavision Lightweight 

Lenses: PCZ, Super Speed Z-Series MKII, Ultra Speed Z-Series MKII and Angenieux Optimo Lenses

Carol

​Nominated for Best Cinematography (Ed Lachman).

Cameras: Arriflex 416

Lenses: Cooke Speed Panchro, Varopanchro, Zeiss Master Zoom and Angenieux HR Lenses 
Cooke S4/i Lenses​

The Hateful Eight

​Nominated for Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson).

Cameras: Panavision 65 HR Camera, Panavision Panaflex System 65 Studio

Lenses: Panavision APO Panatar Lenses

Sicario

​Nominated for Cinematography (Roger Deakins).

Cameras: Arri Alexa XT M, Arri Alexa XT Plus, Arri Alexa XT Studio 

Lenses: Zeiss Master Prime Lenses

If you want to learn more about the tech side of each of the listed nominees, including compression formats, aspect ratios, and sound mixes, just click on the titles to be taken to each of their respective technical specifications pages on IMDb.      

Your Comment

30 Comments

Nice mix of old and new tech this year.

January 15, 2016 at 10:43PM, Edited January 15, 10:43PM

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Matthew Devapiriam Emmanuel
Camera Operator
454

Does anyone know how much of The Revenant was shot on the Alexa 65?

January 16, 2016 at 3:36AM, Edited January 16, 3:36AM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
171

According to AC magazine, (January 2016, page 40) :
"According to Lubezki,
approximately 13 percent of The
Revenant was shot with the Alexa 65."

January 16, 2016 at 4:50AM

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Sina
Editor
74

That's a shame, I thought it was the entire film! Anyways, any camera in Chivo's hands would look amazing, and the XT is a powerful beast as well

January 16, 2016 at 2:57PM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
171

Not as much as we were lead to believe by most who commented about it on the internet.

January 16, 2016 at 5:16AM, Edited January 16, 5:17AM

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How you film people holding up? Lots of digital in there.

January 16, 2016 at 5:14AM, Edited January 16, 5:17AM

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Lookin good, still a bunch of great film cams on the list. Stoked that Carol was shot on 16mm! The 416 is a killer rig, glad to see it still getting some love.

January 16, 2016 at 10:07AM

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Carol has amazing cinematography and film is a perfect choice as it seems totally period film, as if shot in the 50s.

January 16, 2016 at 12:20PM, Edited January 16, 12:20PM

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Stel Kouk
Filmmaker
3105

Looks like they underexposed it a lot on Carol, modern 16mm film stock isn't nearly as grainy as that.

January 17, 2016 at 1:58AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
883

Actually film is holding up pretty well this year. There used to be less film cameras in that list.

February 29, 2016 at 11:05AM

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4 out of 10 isn't to bad.

January 17, 2016 at 12:29PM

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"isn't to bad"

That doesn't make sense.

January 25, 2016 at 1:19PM, Edited January 25, 1:19PM

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David Gurney
DP
1297

I wonder which are the Mad Max scenes shot with the 5D Mark II (not even the Mark III!) :)

January 16, 2016 at 7:18AM, Edited January 16, 7:18AM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1203

Probably crash shots :p

January 16, 2016 at 7:41AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
7494

Well, principle photography on Fury Road started in 2012, around the time the 5D Mark III was released, so they didn't have access to it in the prep + some of the footage was shot even earlier, as there was a false start the year before. Movies take a long time :)

January 16, 2016 at 11:51AM

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Hi,

I want to know also which Microphones they were used ???

Thanks

January 16, 2016 at 10:32AM, Edited January 16, 10:32AM

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Hany Rizk
Sound Recored
74

Not sure they document the microphones as they probably use pretty much the same types of mics! But I would think for the shotgun mics, industry standard stuff like the senheiser MKH-70 or MKH-416, or the Sanken CS-3E and for the lavs senheiser MKE2-P or the Tram TR-50. Something like the Neumann TLM-103 for ADR work. And probably sound devices or fostex's for the mixers.

January 16, 2016 at 3:13PM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
171

Hmm I agree with 416, CS3E for exteriors. But you also forgot Shoeps Cmit 5u and Super CMIT. For interiors it would be Sennheiser MKH 50 or Schoeps CMC 641. I haven't heard a lot of people use MKE2 or Tram for narrative. Mostly Sanken Cos 11D or DPA is gaining some momentum. Also haven't heard of Fostex for mixers. But Sound Devices for sure and I would like to add Zaxcom.

March 2, 2016 at 2:56AM

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Victor Nguyen
Student
87

GoPro - first camera on the list for The Martian. Was it the main camera for that film?

January 16, 2016 at 11:04AM, Edited January 16, 11:04AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
888

Obviously not, if you've seen it. (GoPros were used for the various dash-cam's, lab cameras and video-logs used by Matt Damon's character, which made perfect sense).

January 16, 2016 at 11:44AM

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If you watch it it's easy to see what parts are with a GoPro. Most of it was on Red.

January 16, 2016 at 12:37PM

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Red Camera - Red Planet. Makes sense.

January 16, 2016 at 3:55PM

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John O'Shaughnessy
Director of Photography
79

They just can't put Red in the first position, can they. It has to be something else, even GoPro will do.

January 17, 2016 at 2:01AM, Edited January 17, 2:01AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
883

lel

January 17, 2016 at 6:53AM

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matt
672

My guess is the Alexa mini will replace most of the reds on this list next year

January 17, 2016 at 7:00AM

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matt
672

No. 2.8K doesn't cut it for some people.

January 25, 2016 at 1:33PM

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David Gurney
DP
1297

Yes, that's why matt wrote most.

I'm wondering what the red does within the Arri range on The Revenant. My guess would be it was used for the copter footage. As most of it was shot on Alexa XT and XT-M, no need for 4K for the most part.

If you look at which films actually got a 4K master, I don't see Red benefiting from the high resolution the cams deliver, at least not if you look at high end theatrical releases.

February 29, 2016 at 11:10AM

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and for those who want to know :
embrace of the snake : Arricam LT
3 month in the amazonia !

January 17, 2016 at 9:44AM, Edited January 17, 9:46AM

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Martin Flament
Director of Photography
100

Freakin Arri.

January 18, 2016 at 12:42PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1077

Anomalisa - 7D and various nikon slr lenses.

February 28, 2016 at 8:54PM, Edited February 28, 8:54PM

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Hendrikus De Vaan
Producer - Director
240

I wonder if some of film's appeal might be it's rarified status. Digital has allowed amateurs to achieve professional results. Do you think that this has inspired some to look to film as a point of differentiation from the masses?

February 29, 2016 at 5:01PM, Edited February 29, 5:01PM

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I was wondering the same thing.

Is shooting such quality on film that inaccessible for amateurs?

If so, the film differentiation from the masses would make sense.

March 24, 2016 at 1:55PM

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