What are the Requirements for Netflix Filming?

Having a Netflix series to your name is quite a big deal these days if you are getting a big break into the filming world or even if you are a veteran Director of Photography. Netflix started only in the year 1997 but has a reputation for both innovation and quality. Thus, they lay down technical requirements for all productions with great detail.

If you are into shooting films and wish to hit the Netflix market, before anything else, you need to own a Netflix approved camera. However, there are many Netflix approved cameras out there and it becomes difficult to choose especially if you are an amateur. Reading this article will help you know which camera to use for Netflix filming so that you can have the much sought after credit under your belt.

Company’s Standard

As an aspiring filmmaker, at least have a camera with a minimum of 4k sensor ready to meet the company’s standard. Netflix is a company that produces and streams content on numerous varied devices. The recommended 4k sensor is for optimal presentation of images. This recommendation is given by the company itself.

Basic Camera Requirements

You will find the company makes 2 main classifications for the approved cameras, namely, primary and secondary. Primary is the main camera that you own. It must have a true 4K sensor that is equal to or greater than 3840 photosites wide. Secondary cameras can be used for capturing any type of B-roll or additional footage for the scenes. Some examples include aerials, crash cams, drones, and underwater cameras.

Recording Format for Primary Camera:

  • 16-bit Linear minimum or 10-bit Log processing.
  • At least 240 Mbps Bitrate (at 23.98/24 fps) recording.
  • You must set the recording format to either RAW (uncompressed or lightly compressed sensor data) or COMPRESSED (Log Gamma – i.e. S-Log3, V-Log, CanonLog3, REDLogFilm, BMDLog, LogC, etc.).
  • You should not bake looks or color corrections into the original camera files.
  • Files must preserve all metadata (i.e. Timecode, Tape Name, Frame Rate, WB, ISO, etc.).

Black Balancing:

Black balancing of camera sensors ought to be done every day if applicable when the camera is at normal operating temperature. You will find specific black balancing instructions in the operating manual of the camera.

Aspect Ratio / Framing:

  • Evaluate aspect ratios that are greater than 2.00:1. You can discuss with Netflix for approval.
  • Shoot the framing chart before principal photography starts. In this way, you can process the framing charts via the dailies pipeline. Then, it can be shared with editorial, post-production, and VFX.

Secondary Cameras:

  • Any cameras film shooters use other than the primary camera (crash cam, tight spaces, drone, underwater, etc.) should be approved by Netflix. Note that, since the wide range of shooting scenarios mentioned can’t always accommodate a large camera, Netflix does allow film shooters to use smaller 4k cameras that are not mentioned under their approved camera list. The non-approved camera has to produce shots that will make up to 10% or less of the final cut.
  • Film shooters should shoot test footage and provide them for dailies and post-production to make sure that they are compatible with the primary camera.

Netflix Approved Cameras

Below is a list of Netflix approved cameras. These are cameras with bodies that meet the company’s specifications of required minimum resolution and recording. You can pick any camera before you start shooting your film.

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K

  • 4.6K — 4608 x 2592
  • CinemaDNG RAW

ARRI Alexa LF

  • 4.5K — 4448 x 3096
  • ARRIRAW
  • ProRes 422 HQ (or higher)

Canon C500

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • Canon RAW
  • XF-AVC (4K)

RED Epic/Weapon Dragon

  • 6K — 6144 x 3160
  • REDCODE RAW

RED Monstro

  • 8K — 8192 x 4320
  • REDCODE RAW (up to 8:1)

Panasonic VariCam LT

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • V-RAW
  • AVC-Intra4K

Panasonic AU-EVA1

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • All-Intra 400
  • Filmware 2.02 or higher required

Sony F65

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • F65RAW
  • F65RAW-LITE
  • XAVC (4K)

Sony Venice

  • 6K — 6048 x 4032
  • RAW (up to 4096 x 2160)
  • X-OCN
  • XAVC-I

Sony PXW-Z450

  • UHD: 3840 x 2160
  • XAVC-I QFHD
  • 300 mode

ARRI Alexa 65

  • 6K — 6560 x 3100
  • ARRIRAW

Canon C300 MK II

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • Canon RAW
  • XF-AVC (4K)

Canon C700

  • 4.5 K — 4512 x 2376
  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • Canon RAW
  • XF-AVC (4K)
  • ProRes HQ (4K)

RED Weapon Helium

  • 8K — 8192 x 4320
  • REDCODE RAW

Panasonic VariCam 35

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • V-RAW
  • AVC-Intra4K

Panavision DXL

  • 8K — 8192 x 4320
  • REDCODE RAW

Sony F55

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • F55RAW
  • XAVC (4K)

Sony FS7

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • XAVC (4K)

Sony HDC-4300

  • 4K — 4096 x 2160
  • 4K Baseband video

Which Camera to Pick for Your Netflix Filming?

With so many Netflix approved cameras to pick from, you might be wondering which camera will be the perfect pick for your next film shoot. It will be a great idea to take a look at few of the popular Netflix originals and the cameras behind the scenes. It might inspire you or give you an idea of what type of images to expect from a particular camera.