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Filming the sun with the Arri Alexa


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#1 Karim Hussain

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 03:38 PM

Hey all,

I'm shooting a feature on the Alexa in Toronto (stunning camera, love it!) and we have to shoot some direct inserts of the sun in the upcoming days. On film, of course, this wouldn't be a problem, but this is the first time I'll shoot the sun so directly with a CMOS camera. We're planning on piling on the ND's and stopping way down, but anyone know if there's any danger of frying the sensor even when stopped down as such?

Thanks for any help!

Karim Hussain
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#2 Karim Hussain

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:54 PM

If anyone's curious, we shot the sun pretty full on and the sensor took it fine. We just panned away between takes for safety and the shots worked out beautifully. Stopped down with ND's, but even when we opened up the sensor could handle it.

So it's another plus point for the amazing Alexa. Now if they can only get a much better electronic viewfinder going, one that you can actually judge focus and exposure on, then the camera will be pretty close to perfection in my books.

The Alexa is, for my money, the best digital camera out there just the same.

Karim Hussain
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:01 AM

You are courageous. I didn't see this, I don't think, before you shot, but I think a lot of people wanted to avoid telling you advice that could potentially wreck a $100K camera!


I've had still go haywire electronically doing just SMALL sun-in-the-frame shots, and on one of the Apollo missions, they have practically no stills of the landing (not 13 :-p) because one of the astronauts pointed the Hasselblad at the sun and similarly fried its metering system. I am fortunate, thusfar, in never killing a camera with this technique :-D
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#4 Karim Hussain

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:40 AM

Very true! We spoke to enough people, including the technicians at the rental house, to ensure we wouldn't fry the sensor with the shots, and if you're careful about it, those shots are possible with the Alexa. Of course to get the sun proper, the rest of the sky goes dark, so it helps if there's some partial cloud cover to diffuse the glow and it looks great and surreal. Just keep the camera on the sun only for the duration of the shot and the instant you don't need to, pan away, is what I've discovered and the Alexa survived just fine. Wonder if they had the Alexa on the moon how it would handle? :)

Best,
Karim
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#5 Robertas Nevecka

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 06:05 AM

we've just shot solar eclipse with Alexa XT Plus and the camera is just fine

 

our setup:

320ISO

5600K

180 shutter

1 FPS

22 T-Stop

100mm Leica

ND1.2+ND1.8+ND0.9


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