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Danny Boyle’s Pistol captures anarchy in the UK with Canon

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle used a mix of modern and vintage technology to capture the look of the Disney Plus series

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle used a combination of cutting-edge and vintage Canon cameras and lenses to film Disney Plus series Pistols.

The series, directed by Danny Boyle, focuses on the rise of the Sex Pistols and their subsequent notoriety.

Boyle and Dod Mantle once again collaborated on the project, having worked together on Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting.

The cinematographer used 18 of Canon’s EOS R5 mirrorless cameras, the EOS-1D X Mark III, K35 cinema lenses and Canon XL1 and XL H1.

He approached Canon during pre-production to help create two, multi-camera solutions that would enable him to achieve a ‘bullet time’ effect to manipulate time, with the support from ARRI Rental and UK-based technical production studio The Flash Pack.

The first comprised of 12 EOS R5 cameras mounted vertically, and the other used an ultra-portable six camera system he could hold and be move around with.

The EOS R5 was selected for its compact size and weight, as well as its ability to capture high resolution full-frame video footage in Canon Log at 24p. The multi-camera sequences were captured in 4K video, rotated, cropped to 4:3 aspect ratio and manipulated in post production to slow down time during action scenes.

“When it was decided we would be mixing formats and capturing bullet time, I knew we needed different cameras and concepts – which is where Canon came in,” said Dod Mantle. “Danny likes to keep the momentum up, so I knew I couldn’t spend time getting into extremely complicated rigs and that’s when we came up with the 12 and 6 camera rigs, made up of EOS R5s that I could carry around and even sit in the back of the car with. There’s absolutely no way I could have done that without Canon.”

Anthony Dod Mantle

In order to marry together archive footage with content shot in the 21st century, Dod Mantle used Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark III camera, which is capable of 20fps continuous burst shooting and enabled him to replicate the look of film stock.

“The quality of the image and lenses enabled me to create incredibly visceral, powerful images, while dancing around the actors,” he adds. “It started as a tool to shoot the concerts, but it became something I shot with in every single location, whether it was a prop, a sign or a pair of underpants in Vivian Westwood’s boutique. It’s become a very important montage element of the film that was so enjoyable for Danny and me.”

Dod Mantle also used on Canon’s XL1 and XL H1 MiniDV camcorder on set, which he has owned for over 20 years, and Canon’s K35 lens series paired with the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF. The lenses were first introduced in the 1970s and are still a popular choice for filmmakers searching for a unique vintage.

Full list of Canon kit used:

12 x EOS R5 with 12x EF 24mm F/2.8 IS (Barcam Multi-Cam Rig- 4K 24p Video Capture)

6 x EOS R5 with 6x EF 40mm F/2.8 (Portable Multi-Cam Rig – 4K 24p Video Capture)

1 x EOS-1D X Mark III with third-party Lens Baby lenses (20fps Burst Image Capture with Mechanical and Electronic shutter)

1 x XL1 Camcorder (Vintage 4:3 Video Capture)

Set of K35 Vintage lenses with ARRI ALEXA – A Cam

1 x EOS C70 (Establishing shots / VFX Team)