As we did with our coverage of Sundance 2024, we’re excited to share the results of our filmmakers’ survey.

In particular, we’re always eager to see what cameras were used for the myriad of narrative and documentary shorts and features, plus the countless other television, midnighters, visions, and diverse selections from across the SXSW Film & TV Festival’s broad spectrum.

From the results of our survey, it looks like a lot of the same familiar names are on the list (we’re looking at you ARRI ALEXA), however, we’re also always pleased to see some other new and old cameras pop up, possibly for the first time at the fest.

So, if you’re curious to see what trends are emerging in the film and video camera marketplace for SXSW filmmakers, let’s explore the results.

The Cameras of SXSW 2024

As you can see in the chart below, there was a consistent theme across the narrative features, while there was more diversity and parity which reflects the more creative, and DIY, nature of the SXSW Film & TV Festival itself.

Here are the highlights from our SXSW Filmmakers’ Camera Survey:

The Most Popular Camera of SXSW

It really should be no surprise that ARRI was the biggest camera manufacturer for a festival that has so many narrative features and shorts. Our data was based on voluntary responses to a survey, so it’s not complete, but it would make sense that ARRI would be a leader here.

As far as individual ARRI cameras used at SXSW 2024, the results break down as the following:

RED was the second most popular camera type and it had breakdowns as the following as well:

\u200bThe ARRI ALEXA Mini



Sony and Canon Strong Behind

We also saw some familiar names like Sony and Canon pop up several times, more often for documentary projects and other genres that require more diversity of use for their popular cinema cameras like the Sony FX series and the Canon C500 II.

Here are the individual breakdowns for each:



\u200bSony FX9

Sony FX9


A Diversity of Camera Options

What was perhaps most fascinating, and inspiring really, was the diversity of other cameras listed as the primary camera for different SXSW projects. As far as festivals that reward creative and DIY filmmaking techniques go, SXSW has always been a leader in out-of-the-box projects, so it was cool to see some of these answers range from being shot with old iPhone models to recorded from in-game Grand Theft Auto footage.

Here are the breakdowns for the rest of the camera selections:

\u200bDJI Ronin 4D

DJI Ronin 4D


Insights from SXSW Filmmakers

If you’re looking for some more insights into what cameras SXSW filmmakers used and why, here are some quotes from the various film representatives about what provoked them to make their camera selections and how they were able to get the most out of their choices.

Alexa Mini with Panavision Ultra & Super Speeds. The mini is a reliable and readily available camera, that has been a workhorse for me over the past 10 years. It always looks great, it's small and easy to use, supports a variety of lenses, and shoots great in natural light. I've always found that the Alexa lineup of cameras are some of the few that seem to make every location look better and on a small film with very few lights, the mini really helped pull the look in a more cinematic direction.

Sam Cutler-Kreutz (Director, Writer, Producer) of Trapped

SEW TORN is an unrelenting rollercoaster of a film - and with an incredibly dense shot list, we needed a camera setup that was light and quick. Because my cinematographer Sebastian Klinger is extremely versatile - I knew he could take advantage of a Sony FX6 and G Masters lenses - making our thousands of shots possible. The feature is based on a short film of the same name - and we wanted to capture a similar aesthetic; we were shooting in a small, remote town in the Swiss Alps, and needed a system that thrived in cold, constantly changing conditions. And with a script that focuses heavily on physical action - I wanted Sebastian to have the flexibility to capture multiple planned setups in one fluid take - without having to cut. This is the way we love to work - and how we got all the shots we wanted.

Freddy Macdonald (Director, Co-writer, Editor) of Sew Torn

The majority of Desert Road was filmed on the Venice 2 and the Atlas Orion lenses. A section of the film was shot on the Sony FX3 and Leica spherical lens.
I had been a part of quite a few FX3 camera tests and I loved it - it was so small yet gave great results, particularly at night, and I was hoping to shoot the entire film on it. Nico Navia, our DP, recommended the Sony Venice instead. It was a great compromise - the Venice 2 had internal ND filters, which saved us precious minutes when filming at sunset and dusk. The Venice also gave us a bit more information in the highlights, which Nico pointed out would be useful in the harsh desert sun.
For the lenses, shooting anamorphic just felt right for a film taking place in the wide vistas of the desert. Because most of the film was done on a gimbal, we were looking for lightweight anamorphic lenses, and the Atlas Orion series was both available and beautiful.

Shannon Triplett (Writer/Director/Producer) of Desert Road

We shot the Sony fx9 with some top-secret vintage lenses. The whole package was about utility in the subway, in tight environments while also not sacrificing a cinematic style. We wanted the audience to feel like they were diving into the subjects' inner lives when they dove into the subway system.

Sam Shainberg (Writer/producer / director) of SHOTPLAYER

A Red Gemini and a set of custom, vintage Leica "Classi-crons." I used those lenses because they looked amazing and unique. As color and resolution technology advances, I'm always looking for ways to try and warm up the image. And I find it's always better if I can capture that in the camera first, rather than only relying on post-production tricks. The experience of watching a film is supposed to take you out of your everyday life. But the hyper-real image capabilities of modern cameras and lenses, while impressive, are often working against that basic premise, I find. Things become hyper-real. And I would prefer that things remain more abstract. So that audiences can fill in the gaps of that lack of resolution, so to speak, with their own imagination.

Giorgio Angelini (co-director) of The Antisocial Network

For more SXSW 2024 coverage and interviews, follow along here.