Animated Pirates Movie Made With One Million Stills From Fifty 1D Mark IIIs

High-end DSLRs have already made inroads into the world of professional cinematography, but the new animated movie “The Pirates” was actually shot using only Canon 1D Mark III’s — 50 of them to be exact. The movie, made by Oscar-winning British animation house Aardman (the same people that brought us Wallace and Gromit), is the first full-length feature film the studio has ever shot using only DSLRs.

In an interview with TechRadar, technical director Tom Barnes discussed many of the challenges involved in switching to DSLR’s, and why they specifically chose the 1D Mark III. Some of the more fascinating revelations to come from the interview included the fact that Aardman had to alter still photo lenses to fit their more cinematic needs. Cine lenses, Barnes explained, have large glass elements mounted very far back, making them incompatible with the flip-up reflex mirror in DSLR’s.

As for why the 1D Mark III was chosen, it seems reliability and a smaller sensor were the main requirements. They needed to produce adequate depth of field to make 8in tall characters appear life sized, which made them shy away from full-frame alternatives. The Canon sensors also proved extremely consistent, allowing them to swap out cameras or shoot with multiple units at once and come out with identical shots.

Ultimately, the 50 Canons that took the over 1 million stills that comprise the movie are now in a drawer, resting after years of grueling work. They probably won’t be used for another project — not just because they’re outdated, but because of the sheer amount of strain the cameras came under — but when you consider the fact that some of these cameras stayed on live view for two years straight, it’s incredible they’re still running at all.

(via TechRadar)

  • Dan

    First to use DSLRs? Corpse Bride was shot on the Mark II.

  • DL Cade

    Thank you for catching that mistake, we meant to say that it was the first that Aardman studios has shot using only DSLR’s. It’s been corrected : )

  • Netski

    I will give one of the Mark III a home!

  • Netski

    I will give one of the Mark III a home!

  • Cochese

    So uh, I’d seriously love to take one of them off of their hands. repair costs be damned. I love this studio and most, if not all of their work. Especially Wallace and Grommit. :D

  • Michal Rosa

    I’ll adopt one too…

  • Mickthebarber

    I don’t mind taking the rest of the 47 remaining camera’s. Pretty please…

  • Jason Zeis

    If you don’t mind I will hop in their also.
    You can have the rest!

  • Andy

    Please can I have just one of them!?!?!

  • Brett Mirly

    I would gladly provide a home for one of those 1DIII’s ;)

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    Resource wasting at its finest. Put in a draw you say? They can be given away from some charity project, or sold cheap, or whatever. Anything but put them away… can’t even Canon take them back and recycle?

  • Brent Schmidt

    You mention at the end how these cameras had their live view on for two years, so don’t you mean this was shot with Mark II’s and not III’s?

  • Sean Riley

    I think you are confusing the 1D line and the 5D line. The 1D Mark III was released about four years ago.

  • Rajesh Tomar

    I love to have one for myself :-)

  • Aaron Childers

    I would gladly accept one of these if they were to be given away. No point in just throwing them in the drawers.

  • Lance Crowell

    Maybe you could convince them to have a drawing to give them away.

  • BlackWillie51

    what Terry implied I am impressed that some people able to profit $4627 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this webpage ==ಠ▃ಠ===>>>

  • Brent Schmidt

    Ah, gotcha… Obviously I don’t use Canon’s then, lol. 

  • neonspark

    finally the crippled APS-H sensor is good for something.

  • Cornelia

    and what lenses did they use?

  • Martincraig74

    Interesting article but I count about forty camera’s, on a shelf and I can’t see any modification to the lens mount? So I guess there could me a litte journalistic flourishing going on, ike the other posts I’d happily give a home to one of these wonderful cameras.

  • jan

    “this video does not exist” , what a pity…

  • Steven Lissemore

    I’d take one off their hands if they’re not going to use them again! FOC of course!!