Arri Rental Launches Alexa 65

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Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:34 -- Nick Dager

Arri's Alexa 65 system officially launched last night in Los Angeles.Arri Rental’s Alexa 65 camera system was officially launched last night in front of a packed audience at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles.

Attended by ASC members and key Hollywood figures, the launch event came just 11 months after proof of concept allowed the Alexa 65 project to be green-lit in January this year. The system, comprising camera, lenses and a complete image workflow, will be available to productions from January 2015. Cinematographers attached to high-profile feature films have already showed significant interest.

Harking back to the golden age of 65 mm widescreen filmmaking, the Alexa 65 camera is a scaled-up version of an Alexa XT, equipped with a sensor slightly larger than a 5-perf 65 mm film frame that is able to capture an uncompressed ArriRaw 65 mm image of staggering intensity and definition.

Arri managing director Franz Kraus said, “Following the success of the Alexa we wanted to build a camera for the most demanding applications in filmmaking and envisioned a true 65 mm format camera, sharing as many of the technology and imaging attributes of Alexa as possible. The dynamic range and colorimetry are retained, but to these is added a far greater capacity for capturing fine detail. Our goal was simple – to meet and surpass the image quality of 65 mm film.”

Collaborations with key technology partners IB/E Optics and Codex have allowed the Alexa 65 system to offer a complete large-format solution for high-end theatrical motion pictures, incorporating custom-designed prime and zoom lenses, and fast, efficient workflow tools.

A large crowd of cinematographers attended the launch.The 50-110 mm Zoom 65 and the eight Prime 65 lenses, ranging from 24 to 300 mm, utilize high-performance, Fujinon-manufactured optics from Hasselblad HC lenses, re-housed in robust lens barrels co-developed with IB/E Optics. Equipped with Arri’s Lens Data System, the lenses permit frame-accurate metadata about focus, iris and zoom settings to be recorded with the image stream, aiding both on-set shot making and visual effects tasks in post.

In addition, a Vintage 765 lens range – originally developed to partner the Arriflex 765 65 mm film camera – has been adapted for use with the Alexa 65. These lenses provide a classic filmic look with a gradual, soft roll-off across the frame.

In common with Alexa XT, Alexa 65 captures in the ArriRaw format, which delivers uncompressed, uncompromised and unencrypted images. Arri Rental has worked closely with Codex to create a unique and seamless workflow capable of processing full resolution ArriRaw 65 mm images while concurrently generating high quality ProRes 4444 HD dailies masters in real time.

At the launch event attendees were able get their hands on the camera, capturing and processing footage for themselves. Close analysis of uncompressed images and the screening of a variety of technical and creative show reels demonstrated the extraordinary fidelity and flexibility of the Alexa 65's large capture format.

Arri managing director Franz KrausVisual effects supervisor and cinematographer David Stump, ASC (VFX DP on Flightplan; X-Men; X-Men 2) noted, “It's a breakthrough in the technology of acquisition. I have always held that for digital technology to succeed in cinema, it needed to meet or exceed the capabilities we have with film. I think we have reached that day. My toolbox is full again – I can make movies that astound the audience with this camera.”

Cinematographer Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC (Still Alice; Before the Winter Chill; Righteous Kill) added, “Somehow with this camera, it seems to open the door to something different – a new dimension where you replace noise or grain by a clarity which is not harsh or sharp. It is not video, it is not HD. It is beyond that, so you can reach the audience. It gives a kind of surplus of truth.”

Alexa 65 is available exclusively through Arri Rental, a global network of Arri equipment rental facilities. Acting together, these multiple operations give Arri Rental the scale and reach to service any type of production, in almost any location.

Martin Cayzer, chief executive of Arri Rental, said, “Our aim is to establish Arri Rental as an innovator as well as a rental company. The depth of skills, knowledge and experience within our group, as well as close collaboration with our partners, has enabled us to develop new technologies that will help realize some very special productions.”

Recent productions serviced by the group include: Unbroken, A Most Violent Year, Selma, Birdman, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Theory of Everything, John Wick, A Most Wanted Man, Expendables 3, The Other Woman, Noah, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, The Monuments Men, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Book Thief, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 300: Rise of an Empire, Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine and Rush amongst others.

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