The German manufacturer is inextricably linked with the history of cinema
Looking back at the great films of the past, it’s staggering to discover how many of them have been lensed with ARRI cameras.
Stanley Kubrick, a director who made great demands on his crew and on technology, was a big fan of the equipment. He used Arriflex cameras on three visual trendsetters: “A Clockwork Orange,” “Barry Lyndon” and “Full Metal Jacket.”
Tony Richardson’s “A Taste of Honey” was the first British film shot entirely on location and required versatile cameras in order to achieve its level of kitchen-sink realism. Dennis Hopper also demanded versatility and reliability on his counterculture classic “Easy Rider.” On these, as on many other films, ARRI was the camera maker of choice.
ARRI has always taken pride in being close to filmmakers and meeting their demands. “We have always tried to understand the needs of the film and television industry in order to develop the best tools and services to meet these needs,” says Stephan Schenk, managing director of ARRI Camera Systems business unit. “We are grateful to be a part of this family and appreciate that so many creatives have trusted in our products over the last 100 years.”
Other examples of films that captured their images with ARRI cameras include classics such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Schindler’s List,” “Out of Africa” and “The Last Emperor,” which reinforced the notion of seeing movies on the big screen.
And in more intimate efforts like “GoodFellas,” “Cries and Whispers,” and “Bound for Glory,” which included some of the earliest use of SteadiCam operation, the images are kept personal and tight, allowing for distinct memories to be created from within the frame.
|With the ARRI-lensed 2015 film, “The Revenant,” cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won the third of his three Oscars in a row.|
Remarkably, ARRI cameras captured the breathtaking images of the films that won the cinematography Oscar five years in a row, starting with 2011’s “Hugo,” 2012’s “Life of Pi,” 2013’s “Gravity,” 2014’s “Birdman” and 2015’s “The Revenant.”
The latter utilized the ARRI Alexa 65mm camera for optimal image capacity.
“You don’t have to make compromises with your lighting or your cinematic style when using ARRI cameras,” says Glenn Kennel, CEO and president of ARRI Inc. “The Alexa allows you to shoot in any environment from twilight to the harshest daylight, with dynamic range being the key attribute we focus on.”
Kennel points out that the first film to be shot digitally on the Alexa was Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous,” which he calls “a period piece that relied heavily on low levels of light and entire scenes lit by candles. Emmerich and his cinematographer Anna Foerster came to us with a challenge and they used our prototype on that shoot.”
Kennel eagerly anticipates the release of the upcoming ARRI-shot “Blade Runner 2049,” from director Denis Villeneuve and his cinematographer Roger Deakins. Villeneuve and Deakins also used ARRI gear on “Sicario”; DP Bradford Young used ARRI to shoot Villeneuve’s “Arrival.”
Of his work on the new “Blade Runner,” Deakins says: “I used the ARRI Alexa and shot Open Gate. Obviously, I thought it the best choice of all cameras for the film. I’ve used ARRI cameras since the mid-’90s and it continues to be the camera I turn to.”
Mark Pellington (“Arlington Road”) recently used the ARRI Alexa for his Shirley MacLaine romantic comedy “The Last Word” because he was looking for a “soft, creamy, but still vibrant look. You have these wonderful performers and you want them to look great but still natural,” he says.
Nathan Miller (“Lamb,” “Take Me”) has shot three features with ARRI cameras thus far, and says, “cinematographers go back to ARRI time and time again because it has a color space and contrast that’s closest to film, in comparison to other digital cameras.”
Miller lensed the upcoming “Outside In” on the ARRI Amira for indie auteur Lynn Shelton (“Laggies”). “As a director, I couldn’t be happier with the end results,” says Shelton.
Many filmmakers still gravitate to film when they can. Writer-director Sean Ellis (“Metro Manila”), who sometimes serves as his own cinematographer, still loves the old-school nature of celluloid. “While I understand the need to use digital cameras I will always explore the option of using film first,” he says. ARRI honors those needs. “We’re very supportive of film requests and are happy to work with filmmakers who favor that mode,” Kennel says.
Still, digital dominates. DP Paul Cameron has shot his previous three films with ARRI cameras, most recently “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” “Those cameras went through the ringer with fast-paced location and studio work along with drone and underwater units,” he says. “I depended on their consistency and durability and wasn’t let down.”
Pictured: Stanley Kubrick