First ALEXA 65 footage hits movie theater screens

First ALEXA 65 footage hits movie theater screens

Underwater scenes captured with the large-format system feature in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

The first production to use ARRI Rental’s ALEXA 65 large-format digital camera system has hit theaters: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION. Primarily shot with 35 mm film cameras by Academy Award® winner Robert Elswit ASC, the fifth installment of the successful blockbuster spy series features a major underwater sequence, which was captured with prototype ALEXA 65 cameras in special HydroFlex housings by Pete Romano ASC.

Elswit, Romano and their crew spent a month shooting the scenes in the underwater tank at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden earlier this year. “The sequence was done almost entirely with a virtual background, so it was important to get the best resolution for the best look,” explains Romano, who advocated for the ALEXA 65 to maximize image quality for the heavy visual effects.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION features a major underwater sequence captured with prototype ALEXA 65 cameras and Prime 65 lenses in special HydroFlex housings

ROGUE NATION’s visual effects supervisor David Vickery notes, "We felt very privileged and excited to use the ALEXA 65 on ROGUE NATION. It's a real testament to ARRI's confidence in their product that the 65's first job was a very intensive and complex underwater sequence that really put the cameras through their paces, yet we never had a single problem with either camera throughout the entire shoot. In postproduction, the large format images we captured on the 28 mm and 35 mm Prime 65 wide angle lenses gave Double Negative [visual effects facility] the flexibility to push in up to 280% on the frame and still extract a sharp 2K plate, which we then treated to look like the anamorphic film stock that the rest of ROGUE NATION had been shot on.”

The ALEXA 65 workflow, developed with key technology partner Codex and based on the Vault platform, consisted of ARRI Rental’s purpose-configured Vault S utilized for on-set QC and local backup to eight TB transfer drives. The transfer drives were then shuttled to Company 3 in Soho, London for processing out to full resolution, uncompressed ARRIRAW 65 mm format images by ARRI Rental’s high performance version of the Vault XL, the Lab 65, which was linked into Company 3’s dailies and archival infrastructure.

“ARRI has hit it out of the park,” says Romano, “and what I’ve really appreciated from working with the first two cameras is how dedicated ARRI and its technicians have been to making sure that the transition from R&D lab to the craziness of a real movie set was as seamless as possible. The attention to detail was amazing; we had ARRI Rental representatives with us almost every day.”

Available exclusively through ARRI Rental, a global network of ARRI equipment rental facilities, the ALEXA 65 is being used on a number of high-profile productions that are due for release in theaters over the coming months.