First Spanish ALEXA feature film
Cinematographer Bet Rourich recently completed her first feature with ALEXA: the Spanish thriller 88, directed by Jordi Mollà and starring Rubén Ochandiano. She felt so strongly about her experience with ARRI's latest digital camera that she wrote to ARRI and gave a glowing testimonial, which is published here in full.
I've been meaning to write ever since I finished my feature shot with ALEXA, but after I wrapped it up I had to finish some postproduction on another feature that got selected for the San Sebastian Film Festival, so I was a little stressed out. But I now have the time to sit down and write properly.
As I told you, the feature film I shot in July/August was shot with ALEXA, and I really felt so lucky because of that. As a cinematographer, I have to do a lot of research trying to decide which format to use for each film I work on. For 88 (my last film), it was hard to decide which camera would be best. I didn't want to shoot with RED, so the main options were the F35 and D-21.
Suddenly, however, every camera was taken (it has been a very busy summer in Spain, with lots of shoots going on) and the only camera left was ALEXA, which arrived only one week before the shoot started. Even though I felt a little bit scared because I was the first to use ALEXA in Spain, I just relied on what Yoshua Berkowitz [a DIT who works closely with ARRI] told me about the camera and I went for it. And I must tell you that I strongly believe that ALEXA marks a turning point in digital cinema.
I had a postproduction lab which helped me by creating a LUT for having an on-set preview, and based on some tips from Yoshua I made some tests and we started to shoot.
Of course, I will not feel fully comfortable and sure of everything until I make the color correction, which is where you are looking at the edited footage and you find out how everything really works. But since I was visiting the Lustre suite with some footage from the film almost every week I feel I can say that, from my humble point of view, ALEXA is the best digital camera that is available now, by far.
I love its colors; the skin tones. ALEXA's range of colors and hues are the most accurate I've seen so far. And it's amazing the way it reproduces the highlights.
I remember we shot in a carwash tunnel; the camera was inside the car, along with the actors. There were no lights inside the car, and outside there were some windows with daylight HMIs coming through.
I brought footage from the carwash setup into the Lustre to see how the camera was dealing with this kind of extreme light situation. The colorist (who has a lot of experience behind him) and I were amazed that even though my exposure was for the low light inside the car (allowing the windows to blow out), not only were the highlight areas beautiful, but also the low lights inside the car had detail.
Also, for POV shots of the car going up the street, if we wanted the windows to burn out it looked beautiful, but if we wanted it to recuperate, there was still some detail, which is an amazing achievement for a digital camera. I'm not sure what my next feature will be, but I have to say that from now on, if I shoot digitally, I will be asking for ALEXA.
And that sums it up; I just wanted you to know my feelings about it; to congratulate ARRI on the amazing tour de force of creating this camera and thank you for your help when I asked for it.
All the best from Bet.
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