Schmidt says using ALEXA is like going back to the Golden Age of cinematography where he can shoot a true 800 ISO. “It’s very sensitive,” he says, “so we have to be careful to control the fill because you’re really shooting wide open. Someone turns on their cell phone, and the camera picks up the light from it.
“The other cool thing is that we’re free to use lenses that weren’t available for night shooting,” he adds. “We routinely use the [Angénieux] Optimo 12-1 and can get a 2.8 without a problem. It even helps assistants by saving production time with fewer takes for focus.”
Ride Along was created by the team behind The Shield, and like that show, it’s a deliberately rough-and-tumble series. “You know, those bust-down-the-door-on-drug-dealers-type shots,” says Schmidt. “Daytime. Handheld. And because of the film-like exposure range of the ALEXA, we can get away with one 4K through a window smashing into a white wall that we don’t have to repaint.”
Schmidt may love what he can get visually with ALEXA, but he does admit there are still a few drawbacks. “Like any video camera, it’s not the lightest to handle,” he says. “Also, there’s a bit of a hole in the Lightweight Zooms for PL mounts right now. The Optimo 15-40mm and 28-76mm never seem to cover a scene, so you end up spending time changing lenses just like primes.”
Still, like everyone else who has been fortunate enough to get his or her hands on an ALEXA, Schmidt is definitely sold, and glad that he was one of the first to get the camera that’s going to keep on surprising shooters all over the world.
For more information on the ARRI ALEXA, visit www.arridigital.com/alexa.