Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey ASC, BSC chooses ALEXA 65 cameras and Prime 65 lenses for director Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi thriller

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds, LIFE revolves around the six-member crew of the International Space Station as they come into contact with the very first evidence of biological life on Mars: a small, single-celled organism. As the crew begins to research the specimen, their methods end up having unintended consequences and the life form proves far more intelligent and dangerous than anyone ever expected.

Shot primarily at Shepperton Studios, where multiple International Space Station replica sets were built, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey ASC, BSC selected the ALEXA 65 as his A-camera for main and second unit.

In an interview with British Cinematographer magazine McGarvey conveyed how he chose the ALEXA 65 because of the way the camera’s sensor mimics medium format photography. “Its depth-of-field, the lovely way it records skin tones, and the fall-off on faces. It is a great portraiture format, with minimal distortion, backed-up by fantastic color science from ARRI and Codex’s efficient camera-to-post workflow.”

Seamus McGarvey ASC, BSC chose ALEXA 65 cameras and Prime 65 lenses as his A-camera set-up for main and second unit on sci-fi thriller LIFE

McGarvey teamed the camera with ARRI Rental’s Prime 65 lenses, telling British Cinematographer, “they are modern, with high-performance optics that allow you to use wide lenses without the same distortion that you’d get on a smaller sensor. And they deliver a kind photographic result too.” Shooting in 2.39:1, McGarvey framed either extremely wide or extremely tight, more or less capturing the entire movie with two lenses – a 40 mm and 135 mm.

Pinewood Digital, who invested in its dailies infrastructure and data pipeline for the ALEXA 65 in 2015 following the camera’s launch, performed processing, data cloning, image QC and the creation of the editorial/VFX deliverables.

Following LIFE, McGarvey went on to select ALEXA 65 again for the upcoming THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, a musical about showman P.T. Barnum, who founded the circus he coined "The Greatest Show on Earth".

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