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Bauhaus Festival live stream filmed with six ARRI cameras: “Very convincing”

The opening ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus was filmed with four ARRI AMIRAs and two ALEXA Minis and streamed live on Arte Concert. Director Thomas Janze talks about the camera setup.

Bauhaus celebrated its 100th anniversary year with a grand opening festival on January 16, 2019 at the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin. The ceremony, featuring the premiere of the concert “Bau.Haus.Klang. A Harmony Theory” by Michael Wollny was opened by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The event was streamed live on Arte Concert and shown a few days later in a Berlin cinema. The Institut fuer Bildbewegung (IFBBW) used Ruptly’s transmission technology in the production for which director Thomas Janze employed four ARRI AMIRAs and two ALEXA Minis which were mounted on a Blackcam system.

During the live broadcast of the 100-year Bauhaus opening festival, you as the director were responsible for selecting the images. What special challenges did this project have?

As always, the first challenge was the budget. How many cameras are available? Is there budget for special equipment such as remote-controlled camera systems? Then we move to previewing the venue. Here we need to clarify a number of things: What is the stage setup of the presenters like? Where and how can the cameras be installed? Which lenses are used? Arrangements are then made with the artists, for example, about music. In this case: Is there a score for preparation? This time there was only a fragmentary score, because some parts of the music were improvised. What is the lighting concept like? And, in the end, there is always the central question: How do I achieve a visually expressive live cut?

Why did you want to work with ARRI cameras specifically?

After I learned more about the lighting design, I knew that it would be spartan—which can be very effective, and so it was (lighting design: Oskar Dammel.) And when Bauhaus later requested that the concert recording be shown in the cinema—previously only a live stream on Arte was planned—it was clear: We had to record this with powerful, low-noise cameras.

The event was recorded with four AMIRA and two ALEXA Mini cameras from ARRI. Why exactly this setup?

The local conditions at the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin dictated that we had to put an OB truck in front of the door, at least that was the most comfortable solution. Then we looked for an OB truck with the appropriate equipment (ARRI cameras) on board. There are still not too many options on the market. That´s how we came across Ruptly. They had a really high-quality sprinter built by Qvest Media, with sound and communication technology from Riedel plus four ARRI AMIRAs with fiber optic connections. I wanted a hot head mounted above the stage and a mobile, remote-controlled small Blackcam system. Two small ALEXA Minis were mounted on it. That worked really well. The ALEXA Mini is perfect for the Blackcam system: compact, stable, reliable. And especially small—that’s why we build it with Blackcam. We put the rail on the stage. Behind the linear structure of harmonium, percussion, piano, the phonola—very unique and worth seeing! The pictures and rides were exactly as I had imagined. I liked the lighting design and it went well with the music. 

You only had three hours to set up the technology until the rehearsals began. Was it even possible to complete the set up in this short time?

Yes, the crews of Ruptly and IFBBW of producer Mark Rump did it in no time. During the rehearsals we could tweak things a bit and finalize the setup. But the atmosphere was relaxed. I always have respect for the technicians and organizers, how they do it in such a short time. Michael Wollny and the other musicians had a similar feeling. It was a very good performance from the whole crew. Everybody knew what they were doing. I´d also like to mention my boys on the cameras. Without good cameramen a demanding live cut is not possible. This time Blackcam operator Marc Hennicke has to be mentioned; his artistic framing in motion while always keeping sharp even in long focal lengths is noteworthy. Having relaxed colleagues at the TV station is also important. With Arte you are in very good hands in this respect.

ARRI camera systems are well known for their use in feature film and series production. What is your opinion for live operation?

Everyone who was present at the cinema screening can confirm the good, flowery depth of field of the image even in the wide-angle range. We were also able to pull off a pure live recording without color correction. There was no time for that. Honestly, I found it very convincing and the technology worked wonderfully in combination.

For more information visit:

www.bauhaus100.com (100 years of Bauhaus)
www.totho.de (Thomas Janze)
www.blackcamsystem.com (Blackcam)
www.ifbbw.de (Institut fuer Bildbewegung)
www.ruptly.tv (Ruptly)

Photos: Kolja Skrzypczynsky