What We're Reading: The Top Cameras, YouTubers, Music Videos and More from 2020

By David Schonauer   Wednesday February 3, 2021

Lots of people were happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror.

But in January websites looked back at the year for clues to where we’ll be headed in 2021. Filmmaking blog NoFilmSchool published a number of posts spotlighting the top cameras of 2020, the best cine lenses of 2020, the best shots in films from 2020, the best music videos from 2020, the best video essays from 2020, the best YouTubers from 2020, and the best books about Hollywood in 2020.

There's also a post about what filmmaking gear NFS’s editors would like to see in 2021.

1. Ranking the Cameras of 2020

Pandemic aside, 2020 saw a surprising number of new cameras. And it wasn't just the mirrorless market that made a splash. “We saw Sony, Canon, RED, Panasonic, and Blackmagic release dedicated video cameras that grabbed our attention,” noted NFS. Making the list of ranked cameras from 2020: The GoPro HERO9 Black (17); the Fujifilm X-T4 (13); the Panasonic BGH1 (8); the Sony a7S III (5); and the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K (1).

2. Top Cine Lenses of 2020

While many creators use still lenses for video, cine lenses are in a class by themselves. Making the list: the Laowa OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 lens; the Vazen 65mm Anamorphic lens; the Canon Cine Servo 25-250mm T2.95-3.95 lens; and the Fujifilm Premista 19-45mm T2.9.

3. Favorite Shots of 2020

“Movies provided the escape so many of us needed this year, on several levels. They reminded us of being around those we loved, and about what life was like before the pandemic,” noted NFS, which picked out 10 favorite shots from films in the past year. They include a “gorgeous wide shot” from director Michael Winterbottom’s film The Trip to Greece, above.

4. Favorite Music Videos of 2020

What were your favorite music videos of the past year? NFS had some choices, including the Billie Eilish-directed Billie Eilish video “I Think Therefore I Am” (above).

5. Favorite Video Essays of 2020

Some of the best breakdowns of history's best films are sitting on YouTube, next to cat videos and TikTok fail compilations, noted NFS, which spotlighted some favorites, including  The Royal Ocean Film Society’s deep dive into director David Fincher’s Netflix film Mank.

6. Favorite YouTubers and Educators of 2020

There's also lots of filmmaking insight on YouTube, including Gerald Undone’s gear reviews, Brandon Li’s how-tos and tips, and Daniel Shiffer’s B-roll tutorials.

7. The 10 Best Books on Hollywood in 2020

You may have found yourself with time on your hands during the past year. There were some books about Hollywood and the movies you could have read, including Cinema, MD, a history of doctors and nurse characters in cinema; and The Boxing Film, Travis Vogan’s look at boxing movies.

8. Technology for 2021

Here’s a prediction for the coming year: It will bring lots of new filmmaking tech. On NFS’s wish list: USB-C everywhere; more affordable high-end drones; and RGB replacement fluorescent tubes.


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