Aardman: mirrorless cameras could be a future solution for film-making

Aardman used Canon DSLRs for The Pirates, but says it is looking at a wide variety of options for the future

The technical director of Aardman Animations has said that in the future the company would consider using mirrorless or compact system cameras to create its feature films, if the technology progressed enough.

In an exclusive interview with TechRadar, Tom Barnes explained how Aardman, the Oscar winning Bristol-based animation house used around 50 Canon 1D Mark III cameras to create its latest feature film, The Pirates.

However, as the film is shot with the cameras using Live View and the whole [full] frame isn't needed so any lenses which are used are re-engineered for purpose, a DSLR isn't necessarily the only solution.

"Our ideal camera wouldn't exactly be a DSLR, because the SLR bit isn't actually necessary," Barnes said. "If it was good enough quality, an interchangeable lens compact camera might be appropriate, but at the moment, none of those quite come up to a suitable level."


Barnes said it is the quality of the Live View and durability of cameras, which are usually better on professional level cameras, that is the main concern.

Currently making up around 30% of all interchangeable lens cameras sold in the UK, and over 50% in Japan, the technology of mirrorless cameras is improving at a rapid rate.

Although there are not really any current compact system cameras aimed specifically at "professional" users, several premium models have recently come onto the market, perhaps suggesting that cameras will be heading in that direction for all sectors of the market.

To read more of the interview with Tom Barnes, where he discusses the benefits of using DSLRs to create stop-motion animations, read Why Aardman chose to shoot its latest movie on Canon DSLRs.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.