Roger Deakins CBE, ASC, BSC has spoken about using the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF and ARRI’s Signature Primes. If you want to see the full interview and hear more about his experiences, head over to ARRI’s website.
Deakins is a career-long user of ARRI camera equipment. He started out with the ARRIFLEX 35BL 4 in the 1980s, moved on to the ARRIFLEX 535 B in the 1990s, ARRICAM in the 2000s, and made the transition to digital with ALEXA in the 2010s.
His latest work marks another significant progression; it is Deakins’ first foray into large-format cinematography. Deakins used the ALEXA Mini LF and ARRI’s Signature Primes on the Sam Mendes World War I epic, 1917.
Sam Mendes also collaborated with Roger Deakins on Skyfall back in 2012.
What I find fascinating is that when Deakins heard that ARRI was working on a smaller large-format camera, the ALEXA Mini LF, he thought it would be the perfect camera for the visual approach Mendes wanted to pursue with 1917. At this stage, the camera wasn’t even ready for use so ARRI accelerated its development process to make sure that prototype cameras would be ready for the first day of filming. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the ARRI interview, Roger talks about how the combination of the Mini LF and Signature Primes created images that were very close to what his eyes actually see, more so than any other lens and camera combination he has previously used.
What surprised Deakins was the quality differences he saw between the regular ALEXA and the Mini LF. He particularly noted the roll-of and the subtlety of the tones.
Roger had plenty of praise also for the Signature Primes. As someone who doesn’t understand the fascination with vintage lenses, he prefers to use lenses that show the world for what it is.
Roger doesn’t discuss filming 1917 in the interview as the movie was still under embargo at the time.
If you want to watch Roger and Sam Mendes talking about 1917, that interview is above. A lot of the movie was captured with the ALEXA Mini LF on the ARRI TRINITY in 4.5K RAW.
1917 tells the story of two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) who are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.
Universal Pictures will release the film domestically in limited release on December 25, 2019 and to international audiences on January 10, 2020.