Cameras Behind Golden Globe Winners and Nominees
Let’s take a look behind-the-scenes to find out what cameras and lenses where used to shoot this year’s nominated films and television series.
The 78th annual Golden Globe Awards have come and gone, with a rather unique presentation. With the ceremony taking place in remote fashion, the talk has been about what winners were wearing at home, and who the big winners were.
So, let’s take a look at the production of these amazing films and shows.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
WINNER: Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
- Camera: ARRI ALEXA Mini, ARRI Amira
It’s all about getting the camera into the place of intimacy that is not forced, but real. In a way, it’s weird. It’s like a camera that’s kind of listening, and there’s a connection between the camera and the subject. And, I just think that comes about because the operator actually truly cares about the subject.
The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Camera: Sony VENICE
- Lenses: Zeiss Supreme
Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER – The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
- Camera: RED RANGER MONSTRO 8K
The Queen’s Gambit is one of those “perfect storm” types of productions. A masterclass in everything from writing, cinematography, acting, costumes, and more.
There’s a wonderful piece on Vulture that I can’t recommend enough. Here’s a brief excerpt:
While the tale spans the globe, most of The Queen’s Gambit was shot in Berlin, with the exception of some suburban exteriors that were filmed in Toronto and Cambridge. The crew used RED RANGER cameras and Zeiss Supreme lenses for nearly everything apart from a 16-mm segment—a reel on the fictional Russian grandmaster Borgov, Beth’s eventual chess opponent. Operating the A Camera himself (“operating it calms me down,” he says), Meizler took great care in preserving the show’s elegant cinematic identity throughout, allowing the characters to evolve organically within the frame.
– Tomris Laffly via Vulture
Normal People (Hulu/BBC)
Small Axe (Amazon Studios/BBC)
- Camera: Sony VENICE, ARRI ALEXA Mini, ARRICAM LT, ARRIFLEX 235, ARRIFLEX 416
The Undoing (HBO)
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
WINNER – Schitt’s Creek (CBC)
- Camera: ARRI ALEXA SXT
- Lenses: Cooke S4 lenses
Eugene Levy and [son] Dan Levy, the creators, were looking for a certain style. They did not want high key, bright lighting. They wanted it to look more stylized, with higher contrast ratios and source-driven lighting. After referencing several television shows and testing, we decided to use two handheld cameras, using Cooke S4 lenses on two ARRI ALEXAS. I used Rec. 709 and the camera at its native ASA. We tested foot candle exposure, skin tone, and diffusion. We looked over all tests at RedLab with colorist Walt Biljan and came up with our visual palette for the look of the show.
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
- Camera: ARRI ALEXA LF
- Lenses: ARRI Signature Prime and Angenieux Optimo Ultra Lenses
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
- Camera: Sony VENICE
- Lenses: Cooke S7/i full-frame plus prime lenses
The show also had a mandate from HBO Max that The Flight Attendant should have scope, with the importance of close-ups and how they were to be used in the show . . . That led to the selection of the Sony Venice full-frame 6K camera, where two cameras would be the norm, with a third for stunt shots.
The Great (Hulu)
- Cameras: ARRI ALEXA SXT Plus, Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro G2, Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K
- Lenses: Cooke S5/i and ZEISS Super Speed
We shot ALEXA SXT 3.4K ARRIRAW, framing 2:1 aspect ratio. On the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, we shot Blackmagic RAW. But, it was shot full sensor 4.6K, 2:1 aspect ratio, at 3:1 constant bitrate, which is their highest quality encoding. I would say that about 70% of the show is ALEXA SXT and 30% was the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, or the G2 as I would call it.
The ALEXA SXT was for what I’d call our regular, vanilla coverage, where we shot the scene as blocked and staged. While the SXT takes were going down, I was observing the action, what the actors were doing, and I made a checklist of the action.
Then, we would shoot what I called our seasoning, or condiments, pass with the G2. It was for the less conventional coverage because the camera is so small. Essentially, we shot free-form, for want of a better word. It was like visual jazz or improvised operating.
If you do it at the end of the ALEXA SXT takes, when the actors have already expended themselves, they tend to throw it away a little bit more and you can get very loose. Interesting things can happen. We’d run a couple of takes and I would jokingly say to the actors, “I’ll go to whatever’s good. If you’re interesting in this take, I’ll be on you.” I tried to make it a bit competitive with them. They actually started performing to camera. It gives you a very hyper-subjective style of coverage. It’s very effective when you want to try and show if a character’s going through some internal process. It gives you great transparency and insight into what the character’s thinking. There are several charged moments. It’s a great way for the editor to cut to a shot that will give you that energy.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV)
- Camera: ARRI ALEXA Mini LF
- Lenses: Tokina Cinema Vista Prime Lenses
When everyone came over [to England], it became more clear that Jason really wanted the show to take more of a drama/comedy feel. They wanted it to be more film-like . . . We kept suggesting ideas—things that would counter the look of those tropes in [other] sitcoms. Things like handheld, which we started using a bit and then ended up using nearly throughout. [With] things like the locker room, the idea was to be handheld, free, sort of Friday Night Lights-style so we could roam around and look about.
Best Television Series – Drama
WINNER – The Crown (Netflix)
The other cinematographers—and this is something we discussed at the beginning of every season—were welcome to come on set [and observe what we were doing]. But, they also have the freedom to do things differently. Because, in every episode there are only a few very light, subtle rules that we discuss in terms of, for example, how to frame close-ups or shoot close-ups, such as, “Please don’t do close-ups on a 25mm lens.” All of the close-ups should be done with 50mm and 65mm lenses. We don’t appreciate shooting people from awkward angles, like too low or too high. To maintain some sort of visual consistency, there are a couple of rules to follow. But, I never found the other cinematographers to be too frustrated about having to follow some guidance.
Lovecraft Country (HBO Max)
The Mandalorian (Disney Plus)
The series relied on the Panasonic VariCam in past seasons.
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
WINNER – Minari (A24)
There are large periods where the dialogue isn’t necessarily being used to convey what’s happening in the story. Isaac and I wanted to be restrained—that’s the word we kept using—particularly with the coverage. The temptation is, especially when you’ve got young talent that might be unpredictable or that you might have to edit around because one take might be (significantly) better than another, but we tried to be really disciplined with our coverage. Because, if you shoot two takes, the temptation is to use the better one, but if you don’t shoot it, you can dictate the pacing of the film a little more.
La Llorona (Shudder)
The Life Ahead (Netflix)
Two of Us (Magnolia Pictures)
Another Round (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
- Camera is unknown
- Lenses: Canon K35 lenses
Best Motion Picture – Musical of Comedy
WINNER – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Studios)
The camera package for the film is unknown, as it likely constantly altered based on the undercover documentary nature of the film.
Hamilton (Walt Disney Pictures)
Palm Springs (Neon)
Music (Vertical Entertainment)
The Prom (Netflix)
Most Popular Cameras Used by Golden Globe Nominated Films and Shows
So, how did the ranking add up? Here’s a look at the most used cameras from the nominees of the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Cover image via Searchlight Pictures.
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