The camera Roger Deakins used to shoot Oscar-nominated '1917' was the first of its kind. Here's the inside story of the Arri ALEXA Mini LF.
- "1917" was the first movie to be shot on the Arri ALEXA Mini LF.
- The movie's cinematographer, Roger Deakins, hand picked the camera because it could provide a top-quality cinematic look, but was small in size.
- This was vital, as the camera was navigated through some tight areas to pull off the single-shot feel of the movie.
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A major reason why director Sam Mendes' latest movie, the World War I epic "1917," is the frontrunner at this year's Academy Awards is the edge-of-your seat experience that comes from its single-shot feel.
As we follow two soldiers who heroically go behind enemy lines to deliver an important message to a commander, the entire movie is made to resemble one continues shot (outside of a moment in the middle of the movie when the screen goes black).
To pull this off, the movie's cinematographer, Oscar winner Roger Deakins, had to map out a way his crew could navigate through muddy trenches and attach the camera seamlessly to rigs without any breaks in the action. And he also needed a camera small enough to do it all.
Typically, the smaller the camera, the less epic the feel of the footage being shot (because often lenses used for major motion pictures can't fit onto them). But Arri, one of the leading designers and manufacturers of cameras, was able to create something that gave Deakins the look he needed.
"1917" became the first movie to use the ALEXA Mini LF. It's a camera that has a large-format sensor, which is perfect for shooting in natural light (which is Deakins' specialty), but has a miniature body (it's the size of a small radio), making it possible to fit in cramped spaces.
The outcome is a breathtaking visual experience that could earn Deakins his second Oscar.
Here's how the ALEXA Mini LF was used in the movie:
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