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I am wondering, are there any well-known documentaries shot on DSLR?
Hi Alan - I am the Social Media manager for AFI Docs - and I can say yes, we have plenty of Docs shot on DSLRs now. Ill try to hunt down a list from recent programming. Especially with uncompressed HDMI output on higher end models a lot of filmmakers are finally embracing them vs the standard HD camcorder approach - especially for subject interviews.
September 10, 2014 at 7:10PM
Not exactly the most specific answer to your question, but exactly a year ago, PBS did a 147-person documentary filmmaker survey. You can find it here:
Basically, its a breakdown of equipment most commonly used by filmmakers. Some recent documentaries shot on DSLRS include "The Internet's Own Boy" (5DMk2), "No No: A Documentary" (5DMk2), "Ivory Tower" (5DMk2), "E-Team" (5DMk2 and 5DMk3), "Fed Up" (5DMk2), and "Dinosaur 13" (7D and 5DMk2). All of these screened at Sundance 2014 and atleast half of them screened at AFI Docs.
I think the saying "people capture stories; cameras help" applies to documentaries more than it does almost any other genre. I've watched documentaries filmed on iPhones (ex. "Searching for Sugar Man" which won the 85th annual academy award for Best Documentary Film) which blow others shot on high-end cinema cameras out of the water.
Anyways, hope this helps!
September 10, 2014 at 7:35PM
It is very common, won't even call it a "trend", as it appears to often. But as you want an example, here is a good one:
"Hell and Back Again" is a feature length documentary that won the Grand Jury Prize as well as the prize for Cinematograhy at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II.
Do a google search and you can find plenty more :-)
September 10, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 10, 8:38PM
Thanks for the answers!
September 11, 2014 at 11:28AM
I shot my last doc on a Magic Lantern hacked t2i and it got picked up for 2015 distribution by Samuel Goldwyn. For details see: http://www.ayearinchampagne.com
So there's one more to add to the list : )
September 12, 2014 at 6:48PM
The photography looks awesome. Which lenses did you used? What are the pros and cons of working with magic lantern?
November 14, 2015 at 10:16PM
Griffin Hammond shot his entire documentry 'Sriracha' on a DSLR. It was either his Panasonic GH3 or it might have been a GH4.
Movie's Official Site: http://srirachamovie.com
He was for a time a host of the YouTube channel Indy Mogul, and some of their videos show BTS: https://www.youtube.com/user/indymogul/videos
September 13, 2014 at 10:16PM