Canon Cameras Choice for Oscar Worthy Documentaries

Image Credit - NatGeo

While ARRI has been the 800 lb. gorilla when it comes to Oscar nominated films for the last few years, it seems that in the real of documentaries in 2019, Oscar worthy filmmakers have chosen Canon cameras.

We started with C300’s 7 years ago and we would always check the percentage of films that were shot on Canon. In the beginning, and we’d get five films or six films (in a year.) Then finally, we’d start to hit where they’d tell us that 40% of the films nominated for awards were shot on Canon. Now to be able to break it down and say we have 100% of the Oscar nominated documentaries — that’s amazing market penetration. That’s a pretty big deal. And there are a lot of choices. The fact that it could be any camera and it is ours is a pretty big deal.” – Tim Smith, Canon USA, Interview with Cinema5D

Last night at the 91st annual Academy Awards, every single documentary that was nominated for Best Documentary Film were shot on Canon cameras. Here’s how they broke down, along with the lenses used:

“Free Solo,” dir. Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. The film depicts rock climber Alexa Honnold’s attempt to scale sheer vertical rock faces. This challenged prompted the filmmakers to climb as well, and that meant a solidly portable, yet ergonomic platform.

Shot on –

  • Canon Cinema EOS C300 Mark II
  • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
  • Canon Cinema Primes
  • Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9

Free Solo won the award, as it did with the BAFTAs last month.

The other nominated films were:

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” dir. RaMell Ross. A film told mostly in the “Ken Burns style,” with photographs. The film focuses on a basketball coach and photography teacher, who comes to Hale County, Alabama and looks at how life and culture intersect.

Shot on –

  • Canon 5D Mark III

“Minding the Gap,” dir. Bing Liu. A coming of age tale about the fate of three skateboarders, ten years after they would rip around Rockford, Illinois as an escape.

Shot on –

  • Canon 5D (no indication which mark, but at least Mk. II since that’s when Video first hit the Canon collective)
  • Canon EF 16-35mm Lens

“Of Fathers and Sons,” dir. Talal Derki – tells the story of a filmmaker who returns to his Arab homeland and explores the daily life of a radical Islamist family, and what it means to grow up in an Islamic caliphate.

Shot on –

  • Canon Cinema EOS C300

Film: “RBG,” Betsy West, dir. Julie Cohen – Exploring the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and how she has also become a pop culture icon.

Shot on –

  • Canon Cinema EOS C300 Mark II
  • Canon EF 16-35mm
  • Canon EF 24-70mm
  • Canon EF 70-200mm
  • Canon EF 400mm Prime lens

With it’s comfortable footprint and low cost to entry, it’s easy to see why Canon would enjoy popularity amongst documentary filmmakers.


About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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