Trusted on countless productions and by the world’s top filmmakers, the ARRI ALEXA has set the benchmark by which all other cameras are measured. This year, ARRI celebrates ALEXA’s tenth anniversary.
Launched shortly after the dawn of the digital era in the summer of 2010, the ALEXA won filmmakers’ hearts due to its filmlike look and functionality. “It looked and felt like an ARRI film camera: solid, rugged, ready to endure life on location. It was easy to use. The menu and buttons seemed like old friends, not much different from an ARRICAM. Most important of all, the images had a filmlike look. The dynamic range, the range of exposure, was similar. Highlights and shadow areas could be exposed in familiar ways, using a light meter instead of a waveform monitor if you liked. It did not look like video,” recalls Jon Fauer, commercial DP and Publisher of “Film and Digital Times.”
With a highly upgradeable system architecture, the ALEXA has evolved through software updates and hardware upgrades to keep pace with the industry’s rapidly changing needs. Since the camera’s original launch and in close collaboration with filmmakers, ARRI has continued to release new models and many software updates in order to best suit a wide variety of applications. 2015 brought the compact ALEXA Mini which found instant, widespread popularity and the ALEXA 65 featuring a sensor three times the size of Super 35. The most recent additions to the ALEXA family are the large-format cameras ALEXA LF and Mini LF, both with sensors slightly larger than VistaVision or full-frame 35 mm. Robert Richardson ASC was the first cinematographer to use ALEXA officially in 2010 on feature film “Hugo.” Still enthusiastic about the camera system ten years later, Richardson chose the ALEXA 65 and ALEXA Mini LF to capture his latest project “Venom 2.” Cinematographer Roger Deakins CBE, ASC, BSC shot the 2011 film “In Time” on ALEXA. A decade later, Deakins is still relying on the ALEXA camera system and elected to use the ALEXA Mini LF for his work on “1917.”
The ARRI ALEXA has itself been recognized with a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and an Engineering Emmy from the Television Academy. More importantly, it has helped innumerable filmmakers create award-winning work. Eight of the nine Achievement in Cinematography Oscars© presented since the camera’s launch have gone to ALEXA-shot productions. So have six of the nine Best VFX Oscar winners and six of the nine Best Picture Oscar winners (the other three were shot with ARRI film cameras). Notable Oscar-winning films captured with ALEXA include “Hugo” in 2011, “Life of Pi” in 2012, “Gravity” in 2013, “Birdman” in 2014, “The Revenant” and “Spotlight” in 2015, “Moonlight” in 2016, “The Shape of Water” and “Blade Runner 2049” in 2017, “Green Book” and “Roma” in 2018, and “Parasite” and “1917” in 2019.
ARRI thanks the filmmakers behind these movies for choosing ALEXA, as well as the many others for whom ALEXA has been a touchstone of their careers. On the system’s 10th birthday, we hope that they are all…still in love!