ARRI video interviews at Camerimage

Filmmakers sat down with ARRI at the 25th Camerimage cinematography festival in 2017 to discuss how they used ARRI cameras, lenses and lights on their projects.

Nov. 6, 2017

Ben Davis BSC captured with ALEXA on Martin McDonagh’s "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which was entered in the main competition and picked up the Audience Award

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“They’re extreme characters and the dialogue is so profane and so sort of poetic,” says Davis. “It felt to me as though everything needed to be grounded for it to become something that you’d buy into. I didn't want the cinematography to be a statement; I didn’t want people to be looking at the cinematography, so I kept it very natural…Lighting location films is very different to a studio picture because a studio picture you’re creating from nothing, but on a location film you have to embrace what’s there and it’s a mistake to fight against it.”

Director/cinematographer Warwick Thornton and co-cinematographer Dylan River captured with ALEXA on "Sweet Country," main competition nominee and recipient of the Fipresci Award.

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“We tried to break the ALEXA; I try to break every camera I use—not physically picking it up and throwing it, but I try to push them as far as they go, the biggest latitudes, to see where they fail, and it was interesting because the ALEXA just sucked it all up,” says Thornton. River comments, “Really the ALEXA will just work, it’s as simple as that. It wasn’t a look or anything; it was just that it will work where we’re going to take it.”

Cinematographer Adolpho Veloso captured with AMIRA on Heitor Dhalia’s documentary film "On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace."

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“Shooting a documentary was something new to me,” says Veloso. “I’m used to shooting almost all of the time with the ALEXA, especially the Mini nowadays, so when I knew I had to do a documentary…we decided on the AMIRA, which was the same sensor that I was used to and everything that was already part of me, but in a different way—easier for a documentary because you can handle it just yourself, I didn't have an assistant pulling focus for me.”

For the music video of "The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)," cinematographer Drew Bienemann turned to the ALEXA Mini.

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“Really early on I knew, just based on the physical space, that we pretty much had to shoot ALEXA Mini because it's Steadicam already in these small trains and then you add 20 extras and production design; a bigger camera just wouldn’t have been able to do the job,” says Bienemann. “Almost everything I’ve shot in the last few years has been ALEXA, so I’m really comfortable with the sensor…In a shooting situation like that, where there’s so many different skin tones and color temperatures, you might get worried that something might be off or look funky, but the ALEXA just handled it perfectly.”

The Israeli film "Foxtrot," a contender in the director’s debut competition, was shot by cinematographer Giora Bejach with ALEXA cameras and Master Prime lenses.

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“In Israel usually the light goes very high, so we aimed for the wintertime, in December, to have the shortest day but the best light. I think it was obvious that we would choose the ARRI ALEXA because I like the texture of this camera very much; it’s not simulating film but it has some special texture and gives you a better feeling,” says Bejach. “I chose the Master Primes for this project only because of one very special reason…the lenses are very sharp, very clear and very straight, which goes very well with the story of the men in this film.”

Phedon Papamichael ASC re-teamed with director Alexander Payne on "Downsizing," the opening film of Camerimage 25. It was captured with ALEXA XT and ALEXA Mini.

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“I’m not in a DIT tent, I actually operate the camera off a monitor that’s attached to a dolly and the director stands right next to it, so we create this little magical triangle of director, cameraman and actors,” says Papamichael. “The Mini I was introduced to very early on in its development stage; it seemed to be a very versatile tool and turned out to be such. I also bought the very first ALEXA Classic when it came out. I thought, ‘I’ll be fine if it’s usable for three years,’ and it ended up being such a functioning tool that I’m now bringing it to Greece to shoot commercials with. The longevity of these products has been amazing.”

Cinematographer Stéphane Vallée also worked with the ALEXA Mini on the music video for Michael Kiwanuka’s "One More Night."

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“The concept of the video was to have a camera that would be able to kind of fly around these dancers, feeling super light and moving slightly; we needed to give the impression that we are like a dancer,” says Vallée. “We decided to shoot with the ALEXA Mini, which is one of my favorite cameras, so I had no problem with that. In order to achieve the flying impression we decided to use wide lenses, so it’s more smooth in the movement. We also used a crane with a 3D head, and we used a Steadicam, just to keep the flow and the smoothness.”