As a filmmaker, the gear you use matters, especially when you want to create projects for streaming giants like Netflix. Netflix provides an in-depth breakdown and list of Netflix-approved cameras for you to choose from. In this article, I’ll talk about why there are approved cameras, the technical specs for Netflix-approved cameras, and a complete list of Netflix-approved cameras. I hope this article lets you know precisely what cameras you can use to get your projects on Netflix.
Note: This list of Netflix approved cameras is specifically for Netflix Original content.
Why Are There Netflix Approved Cameras
As a viewer, you may notice that many of Netflix’s original series have a similar look which is no accident. To maintain quality control of their original content, Netflix has specifications for their list of Netflix-approved cameras. Netflix works in collaboration with filmmakers, camera producers, creatives, and recognized experts in filmmaking fields to determine which cameras provide the best workflows.
To help show more about Netflix’s camera selection process, check out this video from Netflix.
To be an approved camera for Netflix, cameras must have specific capture specifications. Camera resolution must be a true 4K UHD sensor (3840 photosite capture width (spherical). Codec can be lightly compressed or Uncompressed RAW or Intraframe Based Codec with 4:2:2 Chroma-subsampling or Greater.
Bit depth must be 10 bit or greater. Data rate must be a minimum 240Mbps at 24FPS (frames per second). Color space must be Scene-referred Color Space (S.Gamut3, ALEXA Wide Gamut, REDWideGamut, etc.). Transfer function needs to be a Scene-referred Transfer Function (Slog3, Log C, Log3G10, VLog, etc.). Finally, for timecode, the system can jam to an external source with timecode written as metadata.
It’s important to remember that even cameras that meet these specs might not be on the Netflix-approved camera list. These are the minimum requirements and specifications for a camera to be on the Netflix-approved camera list. Other camera specifications are considered, including workflow compatibility, dynamic range, stability, form factor, etc.
Netflix Approved Camera Brands
While cameras are updated on the Netflix-approved camera list, there are currently 51 approved cameras. Current brands represented include:
Let’s dive into each of the brands and breakdown which specific model of each brand is approved by Netflix.
Out of all the cameras on this list, the ARRI Alexa LF is one of the most popular cameras in filmmaking today. The ARRI Alexa LF records in ARRI RAW, native 4.5k and has a full-frame sensor. Projects filmed on the ARRI Alexa LF include Stranger Things 4, Emily in Paris, The Umbrella Academy, You, Dune, and The Eternals.
For Arri, the Netflix-approved camera list includes:
- Arri Alexa LF
- Arri Alexa Mini LF
- Arri Alexa 65
- Arri Alexa 35
My first camera was a Canon 5DMIII, so Canon has a huge role in my filmmaking journey. One of my favorite films I’ve created with the Canon5DMIII is “Cerebral.” Cerebral went on to win Best Actress at the 2015 48 Hour Film Project in Baltimore, Md. Canon’s sensor helped us capture the low light, gritty look we were going for.
On the Netflix-approved camera list, I’ve loved working with the Canon C300 MkIII. With a Super 35mm Dual Gain Output (DGO) Sensor and 16 stops of dynamic range, the Canon C300MkIII records in XF-AVC 4K and Cinema RAW Light. The Canon C300MkIII boasts an impressive 4K 120p and 2K CROP 180p. For post-production, the Canon C300MKIII supports Canon Log 2 & 3 for a higher dynamic range. Perfect for independent filmmakers, the Canon C300.
For Canon, the Netflix-approved camera list includes the:
- Canon C300 MkII
- Canon C300 MkIII
- Canon C500
- Canon C500 MkII
- Canon C700
- Canon C700 FF
- Canon EOS 70
With native 4K Super 35mm MOS sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range, the Panasonic VariCam LT is a lightweight powerhouse. Capable of recording multiple formats, including 4K, UHD, 2K, HD, and HD/2K ProRes, for under $12,000, the Panasonic VariCam LT is a wise investment for filmmakers.
For Panasonic, the Netflix-approved camera list includes the
- Panasonic VariCam 35
- Panasonic VariCam LT
- Panasonic VariCam Pure
- Panasonic AU-EVA1
- Panasonic S1H
- Panasonic BGH1
- Panasonic BS1H
- Panasonic AK-UC4000
Approved for anamorphic capture, the RED RANGER GEMINI 5K S35 uses a 5K sensor with REDCODE RAW and ProRes. With 16.5 stops of dynamic range, the RED RANGER GEMINI 5K S35 can capture rates up to 75 fps in 5120 x 3000 5K, 120 fps in the 2.4:1 5K aspect ratio, 120 fps in 4K full format, and up to 300 fps in 2K 2:4:1 aspect ratio with full frame cinema lenses. Coupled with RED’s Image Processing Pipeline (IPP2) production workflow and DSMC2 ecosystem on set control, the RED RANGER GEMINI 5K S35 is an excellent choice for filmmakers.
For RED, the Netflix-approved camera list includes
- RED DSMC2 / WEAPON MONSTRO 8K VV
- RED WEAPON DRAGON 8K VV
- RED DSMC2 / WEAPON HELIUM 8K S35
- RED EPIC-W HELIUM 8K S35
- RED WEAPON DRAGON 6K S35
- RED EPIC DRAGON 6K S35
- RED DSMC2 / EPIC-W GEMINI 5K S35
- RED SCARLET-W DRAGON 5K S35
- RED RAVEN 4.5K
- RED RANGER MONSTRO 8K VV
- RED RANGER HELIUM 8K S35
- RED RANGER GEMINI 5K S35
- RED DSMC2 DRAGON-X 6K S35
- RED KOMODO 6K
- RED V-RAPTOR 8K VV
For Panavision, the Netflix-approved camera list features the Panavision DXL2. The full frame DXL2 features the 8K RED Monstro sensor, 16 stops of dynamic range, and 16-bit color to create quality and rich imagery. The DXL2 is the first camera to feature wireless timecode through the Ambient Communication Network (ACN). Projects filmed on the Panavision DXL2 include Tick Tick Boom, Midsommar, Hustlers, and The Harder They Fall. As Panavision doesn’t sell any of its cameras, the only option is to rent through their rental program, rumored to start at $1,000 a day.
With a 6K sensor similar to the Sony Venice, the Sony Venice 2 records on an ASX card with internal recording formats, including ProRes 422 and 4444. Featuring 8 stops of internal ND and 15 stops of dynamic range, the Sony Venice 2 is a popular choice for television and movies. Projects filmed on the Venice include Creed, Matilda, Barbarian, Coda, Severance, Ozark Season 4, and Avatar: The Way of the Water. Starting at $49,000, you’d be better off renting the Sony Venice 2 6K.
For Sony, the Netflix-approved camera list includes
- Sony Venice
- Sony Venice 2 6K
- Sony Venice 2 8K
- Sony FX9
- Sony F55
- Sony F65
- Sony FS7 / FS7 II
- Sony F5
- Sony FX6
- Sony FR7
- Sony PXW-Z450
- Sony PXW-Z750
- Sony FX3
- Sony HDC-F5500
With a Super 35mm 4.6K HDR image sensor, the Blackmagic URSA Mini PRO 4.6K G2 is a stunning camera to capture your Netflix project. With built-in ND filters and 15 stops of dynamic range, the Blackmagic URSA Mini PRO 4.6K G2 offers Blackmagic RAW and ProRes recording on either dual CFast cards or dual SD cards. While the EF mount comes standard, you can change out to a PL, B4, and F lens mount.
For Blackmagic, the Netflix-approved camera list includes
- Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K
- Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K
- Blackmagic Design URSA Mini PRO 4.6K G2
As for secondary cameras, any cameras besides the primary camera (underwater, drone, crash, POV, etc.) must be approved by Netflix. Only 10% of your project’s total run time can be filmed with non-Netflix-approved cameras.
How do I get Netflix approval for filmmaking
To pitch an idea, game, script, screenplay, or production to Netflix, you must go through a licensed agent, producer, attorney, manager, or industry executive who already has a relationship with the company.
While individual camera specifications may seem daunting, Netflix seeks to maintain quality amongst its original content. Collaborating with filmmakers and industry leaders, Netflix has created a Netflix-approved camera list. While different stories call for different looks to capture the right essence of the film, filmmakers have dozens of options to choose from.
I hope you learned about a few of the cameras on the Netflix-approved camera list. Let me know in the comments your favorite cameras and Netflix series.