Netflix Approved: What It Means and Why It Matters for Cinema Cameras - Trust Me Shops
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Netflix Approved: What It Means and Why It Matters for Cinema Cameras

Netflix Approved: What It Means and Why It Matters for Cinema Cameras

B&H explora - All posts
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Netflix is the streaming service. Many others have challenged it and many are doing well. Still, no one compares to the size of Netflix, or comes close in terms of outputting original content. As such, the camera technology decisions they make matter if you want to get a strong deal with the streaming giant for the new film or television series you’re shooting.

“Netflix approved” means that cameras have the minimum specs required to ensure the expected quality of a Netflix Original. While it shouldn’t be your only guide when purchasing a camera, seeing Netflix’s approval as a feature on a certain model might be something to consider, especially since many cinema cameras are a serious investment.

What Specs = Netflix Approved?

Fortunately, Netflix publishes the key specs it mandates for a camera to gain its approval. However, Netflix also states that just because a camera meets the minimum requirements doesn’t mean it will be approved. Netflix takes a more holistic look at each camera, examining aspects such as dynamic range, form factor, workflow, and more.

In any case, here are the minimum requirements for approval.

  • True UHD 4K sensor with a minimum of 3840 photosites across - High-quality capture format, such as raw or an intra-frame compressed codec - 16-bit linear or 10-bit log processing - Capture transfer function (e.g., S-Log3, Canon Log 2) - Capture color science (e.g., S-Gamut3.cine, RED Wide Gamut RGB) - No looks or corrections baked into the original files - Files maintain all metadata (i.e., tape name, timecode, frame rate, ISO, etc.)

Netflix also makes some optional, operational requests for using the cameras. These include:

  • Daily black balancing of camera sensor - Avoiding spanned clips (i.e., single takes spread out on multiple cards) - Extra resolution for anamorphic imaging - Use of aspect ratios less than or equal to 2:1

Again, these are just the baseline specs and I could easily find a dozen cameras that appear to meet them that don’t make the cut. Netflix also doesn’t seem to consider features unlocked through optional third-party accessories, such as raw via an external recorder. That is a solid list of requirements if you are shopping for your next cinema camera. Adhering to Netflix’s conditions ensures your camera is up to spec for contemporary productions.

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