There are situations where the ideal camera for a particular shot may not be on our approved list.
When working with a non-approved camera, steps should be taken to ensure optimal capture quality - if you are considering a camera that is not on our approved list, please consult with your Netflix Post Manager and perform real-world tests to verify compatibility with your primary camera and workflow.
Key Settings for Optimal Image Quality
On any given camera system, the highest available resolution should be used. On some cameras, shooting at a lower resolution uses less of the camera sensor and alters the Field-Of-View (FOV) of your lenses. Cutting between clips of differing resolutions can be challenging as well.
Example: “action cam” full-frame UHD vs cropped 2.7k capture
The record format providing the highest quality should always be used. This could be either a "RAW" format or "compressed baseband video". When recording compressed formats, opt for the highest bit-depth and lowest compression available. Intra-Frame formats are preferred over GOP-based formats as well.
- RAW - RedCode, Cinema DNG, ArriRaw, Canon Cinema RAW Light, Sony X-OCN, etc.
- Compressed Video (Intra-Frame) - XAVC-I, ProRes, DNx, etc.
- Compressed Video (Long GOP) - h.264, HEVC, etc.
Color & Transfer Function
Recording should always happen in the camera’s "native color space". This is typically set via one or two menu items. Please refer to the manufacturer documentation for specific settings.
- Transfer Function - Sony S-Log3, Arri LogC, GoPro ProTune Flat, etc.
- Color Space- REDWideGamutRGB, Panasonic V-Gamut, etc.
- NOTE: Many cameras default to the Rec.709 or sRGB color space. While fine for monitoring purposes, this is not a color space that should be used for capture and care should be taken to record in the camera's native color space instead.
A few other things...
Although the primary reason for a camera not being on our approved list in most cases will be that it doesn't adhere to our minimum requirements, there are other common issues you should keep an eye out for. Below are some of the limitations you may encounter when using a non-approved camera.
- Professional cameras offer standardized naming conventions for recorded files. A non-approved camera may utilize non-standard naming or may not allow manual configuring of file naming, which can lead to overlapping file names resulting in issues during conform. Please reach out to your Netflix Post Manager for further guidance.
Example: Action-cam clip sequence using non-standard naming. Clips beyond a certain length are split due to file system limitation of 4GB per file. The camera does not allow custom clip naming and if using more than one of the same model, you may have matching file names on both.
Many cameras do not have dedicated timecode inputs. This makes it nearly impossible to have matching timecode between the sound department and the cameras, requiring extra work in post. It is recommended to record a timecode feed from the sound department onto one of the audio tracks on the camera if a dedicated timecode input is not present.
Camera Card Reliability
All of the cameras on our approved list utilize professional media formats that are designed for the rigors of production. Many other cameras tend to use "consumer" media-card types that can fail prematurely or be affected by data corruption at a higher incidence than with professional media formats.
Most camera manufacturers publish lists of camera cards they have tested and determined to perform consistently. Using brands and models recommended by the manufacturer is advised.
Problematic Compression Formats
- Some codecs/formats may not play well during DI. In these situations, consider creating and testing intermediary media files in proven formats such as DPX, Apple ProRes, etc.
A non-approved camera may exhibit issues during long takes or when shooting in hot weather. If these scenarios are expected, adequate testing should be performed to verify the camera will be able to perform adequately.
Many consumer/prosumer cameras have a built-in limitation on how long a single video clip can be. This can be as little as 10 minutes and must be taken into account if your production requires long takes.