Making its world premiere at the 2024 SXSW Film & TV Festival in Austin, Texas, Alex Garland shared his excitement at screening his latest film in front of the same audience that saw his 2015 breakout Ex Machina premiere nearly nine years earlier.

Yet, when Ex Machina hit the scene, Garland was still a mostly unknown filmmaker, perhaps more famous for his writing credits than his directorial work at that point. But with his latest film, Civil War, Garland is bringing A24’s biggest budget, and perhaps largest scale, production to life.

And to do so he made an interesting choice for the camera to shoot it all with. Here’s Garland talking about his choice of the DJI Ronin 4D at SXSW 2024.

Alex Garland’s 'Civil War' Camera Choice

Garland had already shared insights before into his choice to shoot with the DJI Ronin 4D, a camera he’s called “revolutionary in the same way that Steadicam was once revolutionary,” and “a beautiful tool.” However, at the SXSW premiere, he went on to expand on his admiration for the Ronin 4D and how “liberating” he found the experience.

“All of the work I’ve done previously was shot very traditionally off tracks and dollies with very careful framing… and that wasn’t right for this because the emphasis was all about reality which pushes you towards sort of shaky cam and handheld, but at times we wanted more control than that. So we ended up using this extraordinary camera called a 4D… a DJI Ronin, actually it’s sort of from a drone company…. A wonderful little camera and it’s affordable, it’s a sort of democratizing camera, it’s like $5 grand, which for a film camera is not much. And so we used them and they really formed the aesthetic, it gave a huge amount of freedom.” — Alex Garland speaking at the 2024 SXSW premiere of Civil War.

He would go on to share some examples from some specific scenes in the films and how he was able to shoot with the 4D by moving around on set and not needing to lay down “enormous amounts of architecture” to set up the shots beforehand.

The DJI Ronin 4D Legacy Grows

From a camera market perspective, this is all very high and glowing praise for DJI’s combo gimbal camera. When it was first announced back in 2021, many were excited, but skeptical in terms of form factor and overall design.

However, early and recent reviews of the Ronin 4D and its 4D-8K upgrade, have both been phenomenal as DJI has proven that it deserves to be a household name not only as a drone and gimbal brand but in camera manufacturing as well.

We’re excited to see more news come from Alex Garland’s Civil War film, and hopefully catch some behind-the-scenes featurettes into their production process on set with the Ronin 4D running point for Garland’s, at times, action-filled sequences from the film.

Until then, DJI fans (and stockholders) can chalk this up as a huge win for the company, and a signal that DJI might double down on its camera-gimbal hybrids in the future.