News: ARRI Amira / BMW Test Shoot
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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:26 AM
We the producer team Fero Andersen, Tobias Koertge, Philipp Schumacher tested the ARRI AMIRA for three days of shooting for the BMW M5 commercial. Let me just say, right off the bat that the ARRI AMIRA cannot be compared to any other camera. The handling and images of the AMIRA are nearly unparalleled.
ARRI gave us the opportunity to test the ARRI AMIRA extensively at the end of February. Because we didn't want to change course with the color charts, I got some creative support from Producer Philipp Schumacher, who has lent his creative talents to Adidas, Red Bull and Siemens -- and Moderator Fero Andersen, famous for the programs "Schau dich Schlau", "BMW TV" and shows on ZDF Neo. I wanted to film something with cars because cameras often reach their limits here due to high contrast and rolling shutter problems. We were able to get M-GmbH to kindly provide us with a BMW M5. After a little brainstorming, it was clear that we wanted to portray the car as dynamically as possible using the ARRI AMIRA at 200 frames per second.
To commemorate the 30th birthday of the BMW M5, we came up with a concept that would do justice to the car and its past. In order to put the camera through the ultimate endurance test, we decided on a traditional advertisement. And because I also wanted the greatest flexibility possible and to be able to film without long conversion times, Kameraverleih Licht&Ton KLT GmbH provided us with the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 mm zoom lens as well as comprehensive lighting such as the ARRI M18 and a camera platform.
Shortly after filming, ARRI asked me about which camera I would have used to film the spot if the AMIRA had not been available. I couldn't really answer this question because I had already finished filming with the AMIRA and in my opinion there is no other comparable camera out there.
The ARRI AMIRA sensor is the same as the ARRI ALEXA. The ALEXA is so successful because the colors, acuity and dynamic range are nearly unmatched. This sensor is available in the AMIRA with the added bonus that the handling of the camera is very ergonomic for any camera operator, regardless of whether it's an advertisement, film or documentary. For example, we shot with the camera attached to the outside of the car showing our presenter Fero Andersen. During the day, we had wonderful sunshine and thus a high contrast range. I was able to film without extra light in the car.
The ARRI AMIRA has a dynamic range of 14 stops. AMIRA is extremely fast, which makes it possible to film free from noise even when the hour is late. The internal ND filters, which are available up to a power of 2.1, are absolutely indistinguishable. Everyone knows that the look changes slightly when you use an ND glass filter; however this is not the case at all with the AMIRA.
It records to the new CFAST 2.0 cards. This enables a 4444 recording, internally! The complete spectrum can be used, 2K, ProRes 4444, C-Log. Forty-eight minutes of material fit on one 120 GB card in full HD resolution; however, only seven minutes fit on the card at 200 frames.
What really stands out with this camera is its handling. All functions that are required for a day of filming can be assigned directly to the buttons on the camera. I set functions such as frame rate, white balance and ISO values to the function buttons. For the rest of the day, I never needed to access the menu. I could spontaneously decide to film for example, at 200 frames. The menu is typical ARRI easy and uncomplicated. Additional functions can be added directly to the function buttons of the viewfinder, such as False Color, Exposure or Peaking.
The viewfinder of the ARRI AMIRA also has a high resolution OLED display with a folding monitor that is also equipped with OLED technology. I set the colors in the viewfinder and activated the False Color function on the monitor to check the exposure. I recorded in C-Log and set the look via the 3D LUTs on the viewfinder. ARRI offers a huge selection of customisable 3D LUTs.
The monitor can be used to access the AMIRA menu. When recording handheld, my camera assistant, Maximilan Schmelzer, was still able to make changes in the menu or check the picture detail. The menu and all additional functions are easily accessible without having to put down the camera.
We equipped the AMIRA with the ARRI Broadcast Plate, which made it possible to switch from a stand to the shoulder in seconds. The AMIRA is very solidly built, which makes it a bit heavier. In return though, you don't have to worry about how you handle the camera or that something might break. The upper handle of the camera (as well as other parts of the camera), are moveable. The major benefit of this is that the handle can be moved so that it is over the camera's center of gravity. This results in a well-balanced AMIRA with which you can comfortably film from the shoulder.
Audio inputs are designed as an integral unit with the camera. No cable gets in the way; they are simply nestled against the camera. Audio functions are accessible like with an EB camera. In addition, via two XLR three-pin inputs, there is also a five-pin input as well as the option for a Bluetooth microphone.
Personally, I am completely blown away by the ARRI AMIRA. It incorporates several camera models in one and offers easy and straight-forward handling. This camera can be used for any type of filming - documentary, corporate video or advertisement. ARRI has once again proven that they not only know their customers well, but they also know what we go through on the set every day. Im certain that I will not be the only one who will be completely wowed by the ARRI AMIRA.