New cameras are now approved for Netflix original series.
The Panasonic LUMIX S1H made headlines after being the first mirrorless camera approved for use on original Netflix series, and since then, the Netflix tech team has been busy adding the RED Komodo, Canon C70, and the Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 as shooting options. Before that, both ARRI LF cameras were added to the growing list.
So, what does this mean?
Well, not much, unless you're about to shoot a Netflix original, and even then, the streaming company only mandates that 90% of the total runtime of a final program should be captured on approved cameras. And for non-fiction content, like documentaries, they're even more flexible.
However, with the addition of these three inexpensive cameras—the LUMIX BGH1 costs only $2,000—it provides flexibility for production companies working with shoestring budgets. You'd be surprised how little producers and UPMs have to work with when it comes to line-items for an original series, especially smaller companies trying to leg up, or those overseas. BBC is known to not be frivolous when it comes to big budgets for its programming that has yet to be sold to Netflix, so any bit helps.
Now, let's be clear. As an indie filmmaker, you don't need to run out to rent or buy a Netflix-approved camera to be able to sell your show or film to the streaming service. The approved camera list doesn't include the original ARRI Alexa, any Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras, or the URSA Mini Pro 12K. Does that mean you shouldn't use them? Of course not.
The mandates are only for original series and films produced for Netflix. Think Stranger Things, The Queen's Gambit, and Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story or Scorsese's The Irishman. If you produced your own project using a camera not on the approved list, it won't be the reason why they didn't pick it up.