ARRI Alexa Studio made her USA debut in Hollywood on Thursday evening. Two working Alexas were set up in the ASC clubhouse for hands-on scrutiny.
Alexa Studio is the third sister in ARRI’s latest family of 35mm digital motion picture cameras. This is the one with a spinning mirror shutter, optical finder and full frame 4:3 35mm sensor.
That is a big deal: Alexa Studio is the only digital motion picture camera (besides the Arriflex D-21) with the equivalent of a full-frame 4-perf gate and optical finder.
Alexa Studio can accommodate 2x anamorphic widescreen as seamlessly as Arricams or Panaflexes. (16:9 sensors require either 1.3x anamorphic squeeze or cropped sides.)
And sure enough, one Alexa Studio had a Panavision Anamorphic G series 75mm lens with Panavision mount. The other Studio camera had a PL mount with a Hawk Anamorphic from Clairmont Camera and Codex ARRIRAW Onboard Recorder.
There were two long lines at the ASC. The first was for a look through the Studio’s stunning optical finder at the equally stunning model Katherine Beer in a setup provided by Bill Bennett, ASC.
The other line was for a refreshing Erdlinger wheat beer or Bitburger Pils to wash down the barbeque of bratwurst, sausages, pretzels and other Bavarian fare. For this was not only an Alexa debut, it was also ARRI Oktoberfest at the ASC.
More than 200 cinematographers and industry luminaries converged on the ASC clubhouse. Someone must have tweeted, “OMG OKT @ ASC” because it was a packed event. The lively band provided a musical tour ranging from Munich Wiesen oompah-oompah to pop to Johnny Cash. Richard Crudo, ASC opened the festivities with an introduction, followed by words from ARRI VP Bill Russell and ARRI Managing Director Franz Kraus.
Alexa Studio’s spinning mirror shutter, groundglass, and optical viewfinder “feels” similar to an Arricam, but it’s a new design. However, many existing groundglasses and eyepiece extenders will fit.
Historically, anamorphic widescreen has followed every big wave of 3D. I think Alexa Studio will help history to be repeated again.
Comparison of ARRI Alexa Sensor Imaging Areas: