SOAK Studios dive into AMIRA

SOAK Studios is a Toronto-based production company that creates a wide range of media from web series to commercials, films and more. Recently the company purchased the ARRI AMIRA documentary-style camera to offer their clients more cinematic visuals. Matt Marek and Jamie Tiernay immediately put the camera through the paces, testing the dynamic range, image quality and workflow. Watch video from their test below and read their first thoughts on shooting with AMIRA from production through post.

Picking a camera is an almost impossible task, we can say that we banged our heads for months before pulling the trigger. We looked at every make and model under the sun and even when we put down our deposit to purchase the AMIRA, we had our doubts. But after using it twice, our minds are made up; this is the best camera we have ever used.

At SOAK and Ron Piano Productions we needed an in-house camera that could give us cinema quality images, but also allow us to use it for all sorts of run-and-gun shooting. To us, the AMIRA is the perfect blend. We don’t think it’ll be long before music videos, short films and even low budget features will be using this as their A cam. Our first test shoot with the AMIRA we only had myself, Matt Marek and our lovely actress Sara Soligo. No tripod, no crew, no lights -- just the camera, a Fujinon Cabrio lens and our model. In under two hours we shot a camera test that blew our minds with picture quality and was so insanely easy to shoot we could edit on practically any system.

There simply isn’t anything on the market that comes close. We know we sound like a walking billboard, but we have no affiliation to AMIRA besides loving this camera. From the body design to the ARRI image quality, this camera has taken our shooting to another level. We can literally carry a cinema quality camera in a single bag, pull it out and be shooting in seconds. So easy to shoot with -- built in ND's and quick switch controls have made us rethink what's possible on film and commercial shoots. With the flick of a switch, one can jump from 24fps to 200fps and change ND filters the same way. Everything from quick controls to the simplicity of the menu design -- is near perfect.

We not only cut everything on a 15” MacBook Pro, but we used both FCPX and Adobe Premiere just to see how they all worked together. No fussing -- slow motion plays as slow motion, clips are ready to cut, no lag, applying LUTS and grading was easy and somewhat miraculous when you see what you can do with this image.

For the most part, AMIRA gets all the technology out of the way.

We work both in entertainment and commercial spaces, so having an in-house camera that lets us work from the top-down eliminates so many pain points for us production-wise. Having recently finished a shoot for Carleton University in Ottawa (Canada’s capital city), the AMIRA allowed us to run with a small crew while enabling us the ability to pull-off big crew looks. On the flip side, we’ll be shooting a feature film with the camera very soon and have no doubts it will handle it with ease.

So while ARRI is calling this a doc camera, we’re seeing it do a whole lot more and can’t wait to use it every chance we get.

Jamie Tiernay, Founder, SOAK
Matt Marek, DP, Ron Piano Productions

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