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Cannes 2017: Here Are the Cameras Used To Shoot 29 of This Year’s Films

The world's best DPs explain how they created looks for "Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled," Todd Haynes' "Wonderstruck," and many more.




IndieWire reached out to the filmmakers whose films (and TV shows!) are premiering at the Cannes Film Festival to find out what cameras they used and, more importantly, why they were the right tools to create their projects.

READ MORE: Cannes 2017 – 22 Films We Can’t Wait to See at This Year’s Festival

Before we dive into the details, here’s three big trends that we saw in their answers:

1. Shooting on film continues its comeback around the globe.

2. Arri continues its digital dominance in the narrative feature film space. We saw this at Sundance as well: Increasingly, smaller productions with the need to be flexible and mobile are turning to the small-bodied ALEXA Mini.

3. Filmmakers are applying unique techniques to create different looks. From the Safdie Brothers adapting the 2-perf method of the old spaghetti westerns, to “Wonderstruck” mirroring the shooting style of the ’20s and ’70s, to Sean Baker graduating to 35mm film but not being afraid to mix it with iPhone, many filmmakers sought ways to create different feels and textures from the medium itself.

(Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.)

Competition Films

"120 Beats Per Minute"

“120 Beats Per Minute”

“120 Beats Per Minute”
Dir: Robin Campillo, DP: Jeanne Lapoirie
Arri ALEXA Mini

Lapoirie: “We used two Alexa Mini, and a third one for some sequences. The Arri Alexa is my favorite camera because it gives a result that’s the closest to the 35mm. The picture is more organic than with other cameras. The entire film is shot hand held, so the Mini was definitely perfect for that.”

“Amant Double”
Dir: François Ozon, DP: Manuel Dacosse

Dacosse: “For ‘Amant Double,’ I chose the Alexa with the Cooke S4 and a Zoom Angenieux 18-80 lenses. Francois likes the idea to shoot on film, but for this project, he wants to try digital. So I suggested working with the Alexa. I like the way the Alexa keeps the details in the highlights and with the Alexa I’m really confident so I can work fast — and Francois loves to work fast.”

DP Philippe Le Sourd on the set of "The Beguiled"

DP Philippe Le Sourd on the set of “The Beguiled”

Ben Rothstein / Focus Features

“The Beguiled”
Dir: Sofia Coppola, DP: Philippe Le Sourd
Arricam light, 35mm Film

Le Sourd: “Shooting on film was the right decision because to get muted colors, pastel tones, and porcelain skin tones, textures, only film can get this richness. We forget how beautiful film is and the digital world is still far away from the quality of the 35 mm. The numbers of K in the digital world is not replacing the beauty of the film.

“Sofia Coppola was not interested in having playback on set. We avoided the monitors so she could stay concentrated on the actors during the scene. She had full trust in my judgment for the lights and the frames during the shoot. Shooting on film give us more freedom, even when we had to deal with the technical challenges like shooting exterior nights scenes with candlelights.”

READ MORE: Before ‘The Beguiled,’ Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ Showed Her Genius for Crafting Characters Through Environments

"A Gentle Creature"

“A Gentle Creature”

“A Gentle Creature”
Dir: Sergey Loznitsa, DP: Oleg Mutu
Arri ALEXA Mini

Mutu: “We chose to shoot on ALEXA Mini because it’s a very small and lightweight camera. In the scenes inside the car and bus it was very easy to maneuver, and you have enough space to play around the actors.”

READ MORE: Cannes: Before ‘Good Time,’ the Safdie Brothers’ ‘Daddy Longlegs’ Reinvented the New York Movie

“Good Time”
Dir: Ben & Joshua Safdie, DP: Sean Price Williams
Arricam LT, Kodak 5219/5207

Williams: “We have been trying to make a movie that justified the 2.35:1 aspect ratio for a number of years. This film felt ready for it. So we decided to go the old Italian route and split the frame, saving money and also adding a little of our beloved graininess. Shot ‘correctly,’ 35mm can sometimes be mistaken for digital as it can be so clean! But we embraced the grunge that we inherit from the 2-perf procedure, and the money it saved allowed us to shoot many more takes…. why not get it right?! We were challenging ourselves at every corner. Keeping light levels impossibly low very often. Our subjects were often bathed in colors that are impossible to see sharply to focus. And of course, there are no marks for the actors or camera. It was a very live performance, and the music we made we could never repeat.”

Sean Price Williams shooting "Good Time"

Sean Price Williams shooting “Good Time”

On the next page, “Wonderstruck” DP Edward Lachman goes old school for Todd Haynes’ new film

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged , ,


Thomas Vincent-Townend

Thomas Vincent-Townend

    Thomas Vincent-Townend

    Yeah, nobody asked me what I shot one of the competition movies on this year. Thanks for that. I don’t know who to blame here but I’m not exactly hard to track down for a comment on this sort of thing.

    Anyway, in case anybody is at all interested to know how and why Lynne Ramsay’s Movie ‘You Were Never Really Here’ was shot I can tell you here – in the comments section; where it’ll never be seen most likely.

    The original conception was that the movie be shot 35mm anamorphic 2.39. However, during prep’, on account of there being no active film laboratory in NYC in the summer of 2016 and the tax benefit losses associated with processing out of town, we were forced to switch to digital acquisition at the 11th hour. So the movie was shot on the Arri Alexa, with Panavision anamorphic lenses (a mixture of C & E-series and some AL and G).


      Can’t wait to see it Thomas!

      Je Vizzusi

      You mention tax incentives and no lab availability.. if you commit to film then you can find a way. If you have budget constraints, then you are limited to your decisions. Your script, characters, production overall look should dictate your format.

Je Vizzusi

Its wonderful to hear film is alive and well for narratives. But be aware that processing costs are high and labs availability limited. But young filmmakers today have never heard of the term dailies or 4 walling. I have explored most digital formats and there is a certain organic natural color loss. Its a electronic pixilated grain rather than a real world look. But budget is a huge concern as well. @JEV1A

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