And The Oscar Doesn't Go To...

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(commentary)

Hollywood is a contentious place for gear. You can't walk five feet without getting a different opinion about what's the best product for which use. Cinematographers are probably amongst the biggest gear heads in all of tech. 

One thing I always look to is the gear that's used in the cinematography and best picture categories of the Oscars. This year marks the 86th Academy Awards (March 2, 2014). Twelve films are nominated in those two categories this year, and every one of them used an Arriflex as their primary camera (whether they were film-based or digital). Three of the productions nominated used a Canon C series camera as a second or third unit camera. One used a GoPro. One used a Phantom Flex (high frame rate camera). 

For lenses, things are a bit more diverse. 3 productions used Panavision, 6 Zeiss, 4 Cooke, and 2 Angenieux as primary lenses. Only one production used Canon lenses on a second unit (Her), and only one used Nikon lenses (Captain Phillips). 

You can read into that whatever you'd like, but as I've pointed out before, Nikon's relationship with Hollywood has slipped over the years. 

But even in the more independent type filmmaking community Nikon is not exactly reaching out, either. Canon, for example, has been and continues to be a Sustaining Sponsor at the Sundance Film Festival. Nikon is not a sponsor there, which means they're missing one of the most vibrant ways to get into the minds of the lower budget productions. 

Every week I get multiple people writing me that Nikon should get into video to help them grow. The problem I see is that Nikon would be very late to the game. To unseat both established players and all the upstarts (e.g. RED, GoPro, etc.) would require them to either (a) produce something that's so outstanding in image quality or features or price performance that it'll completely dislodge existing relationships; or (b) spend lots of money to buy loyalties. I don't see either happening. 

Moreover, there's the same old problem: you have to be close to the users to understand what problems they need solved. Given the recent activity I've seen, Nikon looks to be just as far from the video community as they are from the still community.   

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