ALEXA 65 productions ramp up

Top cinematographers are using ARRI Rental's ALEXA 65 camera on major movies, while new updates will extend the system's capabilities and appeal still further.

Offering a complete large-format solution for high-end motion pictures, the ALEXA 65 system comprises a 65 mm digital cinema camera, custom-designed prime and zoom lenses, and fast, efficient workflow tools. Interest in the system has spread rapidly, with leading filmmakers pressing to use it on major feature films and IMAX announcing that it has selected the ALEXA 65 platform as its digital option for 2D IMAX productions.

Available exclusively through ARRI Rental, the ALEXA 65 has already been supplied to numerous high-profile projects, some using it as the main unit camera throughout production and others using it as a specialist camera for sequences that require extreme levels of image quality. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," shot by Greig Fraser ACS, ASC, has been utilizing the ALEXA 65 as its main unit A, B and C-cameras. Before that, Stuart Dryburgh ASC, NZCS captured with ALEXA 65 on "The Great Wall," using it as his A and B-cameras on main unit.

The first production to use the ALEXA 65 and to hit theaters was "Mission Impossible -- Rogue Nation." While the movie was shot primarily on 35 mm film by Robert Elswit ASC, a major underwater sequence was captured with ALEXA 65 cameras and Prime 65 lenses in HydroFlex housings by Pete Romano ASC, who comments, "The ALEXA 65 delivers visually and technically astonishing images. It is a significant leap forward for the art of cinema storytelling."

The ALEXA 65/Prime 65 camera and lens combination has proven very successful on other feature films too. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki ASC, AMC used the combination during filming of "The Revenant," stating, "The ALEXA 65 camera and lenses helped us express how we felt when we were there: in the forest, in the snow, the subtle changes of natural light, the motion of the clouds streaming above the mountains -- all essential elements in the fabric of the story that we couldn't otherwise have conveyed."


Anthony Dod Mantle ASC, BSC, DFF, who used the ALEXA 65 extensively on Oliver Stone's "Snowden," says, "I was shooting in natural light in Tong Lau, a very poor area in Hong Kong that's like an organic painting...there's so much detail, so many little things you can see, and if you hold the camera and don't whizz around and stress and edit too fast, but just take your time and let the audience slowly feel this place -- it's like licking the windowsills of these slum buildings; it's just incredible."

Further productions to use the ALEXA 65 camera and Prime 65 lenses for selected sequences include "Captain America: Civil War," shot by Trent Opaloch; "The Huntsman," shot by Phedon Papamichael ASC; and "Allegiant: Part 1," shot by Florian Ballhaus ASC.

Behind the ALEXA 65's latest system updates are pioneering technology advances that will also feature in ARRI's new-generation ALEXA SXT cameras. The updated ALEXA 65 now supports 2 TB SXR capture drives, offering over 40 minutes of recording time at the full 6560 x 3100 sensor resolution. The new SXR capture drive technology also offers very high recording data rates, allowing 60 fps uncompressed recording at full resolution, and facilitates a faster offload time, delivering a quicker, cost-effective and more streamlined workflow solution with the ALEXA 65 Vault S and Vault XL Lab 65 systems.

Preview_image - 2

A scaled-up version of the ALEXA XT IFM-1 in-camera ND filter system is also now available for the ALEXA 65. The new IFM-65 allows ALEXA 65 cameras to use behind the lens, full-spectrum ND filters, optimizing image quality and delivering the full performance of the Prime 65 and Vintage 765 lenses by reducing the risk of multiple reflections that stacked external filter systems can create. The FSND (Full Spectrum Neutral Density) filters used with the IFM-65 provide neutral color balance at all of the eight available densities, from ND 0.3 to ND 2.4.

An exciting new lens option has been added to the already successful lineup of Prime 65 and Vintage 765 lenses for the ALEXA 65. The compact 50-110 mm Zoom 65 weighs just 1.6 kg and produces the same overall image quality as a prime lens, given its impressively high contrast and resolution. ARRI's Lens Data System (LDS) is also integrated into the 50-110 mm Zoom 65, making it the only zoom lens in this format that can supply metadata to the camera.

Other user benefits of the ALEXA 65 update include the same Viewfinder Smooth Mode as featured in ALEXA XT cameras and a programmable monitoring feature called Smart Zoom, which allows users to zoom into the Monitor Out image in any one of seven pre-determined areas for more accurate focus assessments.