What are the minimum characteristics required for a camera to project a movie taken by it on a standard cinema screen? I mean anything that affects the quality of the picture seen on the screen. What sort of camera should be used to shoot the video?

Edit: To be more clear:
If I record a movie with my cellphone's camera, there is no doubt its quality is not good enough to be projected on a cinema. So I should use a more professional camera! My question is about the minimum characteristics this professional camera should have. Like the number of frames it can record per second, the size of picture it records, the number of pixels per picture it records, etc.

  • I am not clear on what you are asking. Are you interested in recording a projection of a video with another camera? If so why not just make a copy of the the material being projected?
    – filzilla
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 19:38
  • @filzilla Updated the question.
    – B Faley
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 12:04
  • Thanks for the update. A word of caution, unless you have permission to copy the work, you might be violating copyright laws when taking video of other peoples work.
    – filzilla
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 22:37
  • @filzilla I think my question is still ambiguous and you didn't get it. I am not to copy anything. I want to record something from scratch.
    – B Faley
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


If I understood your question correctly, you want to project a movie on a cinema.

This would depend on the projector used by the movie theatre. Most movie theatres use film projectors, for which there really isn't a "quality", but rather you'd have to worry about getting a decent camera with decent film at the correct size. In this case I don't know much about transferring from digital to film.

If the movie theatre uses a digital projector though, they usually come in 2K (2048×1080) at 24 or 48 frames per second, or 4K (4096×2160) at 24 fps if they follow the DCI specification. Basically, get the best camera you can get. 2K should be enough to have a pretty good quality experience at the distance a cinema projection is seen from.

Also remember though, the quality does not only depend on the amount of pixels on screen, but also on the compression used, and the sensor of the camera itself, so be prepared for large files or a lot of processing to compress your movie to a high quality profile.

If you can't get a 2K camera, 1080p should do: it's not too far from 2k: it the same vertical size, just a little less wide.

Links that might help:

http://www.mkpe.com/digital_cinema/faqs/tech_faqs.php#2K+4K http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_cinema

Hope it helps!

  • Thanks for the answer. I think it's answering the question well. I updated my question to be more clear though.
    – B Faley
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 9:28
  • No problem! Your question is much clear now, btw. Thanks for that.
    – kevin9794
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 1:02

Depends on the look you're after. Searching For Sugar Man won the 2013 BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and it was partially shot on an iPhone, the Blair witch Project used a lot of DV video (standard definition heavy compression) and parts of Natural Born Killers were shot on super-8.

If the content is worth it, or if the style of story telling motivates it people will forgive crappy picture quality (but it certainly needs to be good content).

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