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Digital movie cameras: introduction. What cameras were filmed and filmed a movie?

“Any camera in the hands of an amateur is amateur, any camera in the hands of a professional is professional.” This common phrase, popular among filmmakers, is largely true, because a person shoots a movie, not a camera.

After choosing the artistic solution to the film, its style, the director of photography selects the desired technological solution for the implementation of the creative tasks of the director. An interesting, high-quality film image, in addition to the filming process itself, is based on three main parameters: camera selection, optics selection and image processing at the stage of color correction and post-production. All these components are closely related to each other and inextricably affect how the film will end up. Today we’ll talk about choosing a camera to create a movie.

35mm film camera
Initially, films were shot on film, and the standard for professionals was cameras with 35 mm film, while amateurs shot on 8 and 16 mm. Today, mostly films are shot on digital cinema cameras, the film has strongly lost its position, but still remains an unrivaled standard of quality. That is why the originals of many films are still stored on film, because this technology has been proven by more than a century of history, while digital media is not even 20 years old. In addition, many well-known directors are still filming and resolutely refuse to switch to new formats – among them Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, JJ Abrams and others. The thing is the unique softness of color in the transmission of shades, halftones, plasticity of the image, the maximum latitude of white and black. Modern film production technology involves scanning the resulting film negative and further processing and editing of the film using a computer using Digital Intermediate technology. Therefore, often in films shot on digital cinema cameras, there are episodes shot on film to give the scene more expressiveness. About half of the films nominated for an Oscar are still being shot in an analogue way.

The main film camera companies are Panavision and Arriflex. Panavision devices are mainly distributed in the USA and are rented exclusively. In Russian cinema there are several paintings shot on these cameras, including the “Siberian Barber” by Nikita Mikhalkov. Arriflex is a native of Germany, their products are widely represented for rent and sale in many countries around the world.

In addition to the traditional format, there is also a technology for shooting at twice the size of a film – a 70 mm system. The most notable camera in this area is Super Panavision 70. The huge size of the original image gives the resulting image an unrivaled volume and plasticity. The anamorphic analogue of this camera – Ultra Panavision 70 – is also well known and has recently been used in the filming of Quentin Tarantino’s “Abominable Eight” western.

On the market for movie cameras, solutions with three times the frame size – IMAX cameras – are also presented. For the first time, viewers saw films shot using this technology back in 1970 in Japan and Canada. Unfortunately, the size of the film used limited the duration of the IMAX film, so this format was more often used for documentaries and short films. Over time, technological advances made it possible to shoot full-fledged feature films in IMAX, the first film in a new format was Apollo 13, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, one of the first blockbusters partially shot using IMAX technology. Also, a lot of such material was included in the picture “Star Wars: The Awakening of Power.” The upcoming Avengers: Infinity War will be the first feature film to be shot entirely on IMAX.

Digital movie cameras
Since the mid-80s, digital technology has gradually penetrated the cinema. The first films, during the creation of which the film was digitally processed: Star Wars, Tron, Terminator 2.

In the 90s, cinema was swept by a wave of minimalism that came from the Danish Dogma. A fashion has come for a “dirty”, imperfect image. A striking example is the picture of the directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Winterberg “Triumph” and “Idiots”, shot on amateur cameras Sony.

In the 2000s, most Hollywood movie studios switched to digital movie cameras. In fact, this is a high-resolution video camera designed to shoot movies using tapeless digital technology. These solutions are based on photosensitive arrays (an analog or digital-to-analog microcircuit that converts the light signal that enters the lens into an electric one, according to the definition of Wikipedia) of two types: CCD (CCD) and CMOS (CMOS). The first type allows you to get high image quality, less noise, but it has a large pixel size and consumes a lot of energy.

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