Here I am in action with the trusted Arri Alexa camera and 24-290mm Optimo zoom lens.
The Alexa has fast become the digital camera of choice. It’s rapidly now replacing what would have been previously shot on 35mm film cameras. Even Roger Deakins is using it!
The Arri name and way the camera is physically built and set up plays a huge part in why it’s so popular amongst the filming elite. It’s more like real camera than a computer, the images it capable of producing are beautiful.
The Alexa is not just a piece a tech, but a real Tool a Cinematographer can use to produce artistic images and achieve the Directors vision.
The Optimo 24-290mm lens is a very versatile piece of kit. As the numbers tell you it’s relatively wide and long enough to pick out a mid shot from 60m+ away.
5 Top Tips Shooting on Alexa:
1) You can accurately measure the Exposure using False Colour. Easy access via a button on the view finder or can set up 1 of 3 user buttons on operators side.
2) You can turn the Peaking ON and OFF to check focus and quality of your image. Easy access via a button on the viewfinder or can set up 1 of 3 user buttons on operators side.
3) Set your viewfinder Masks. Shading out the ‘out of shot’ area. Change the colour of your viewfinder Markings
4) Send a LUT or 709 to external Monitors so the Director and Clients don’t get freaked out by LogC Image. You can toggle between LogC and Rec709 again via a custom user button.
5) Set the Camera to capture Still images, which you can easily grade up for the Director and Colourist reference
5 Tips for Using Optimo 24-290mm Zoom Lens
1) Make sure it’s balanced correctly. Using a sturdy head like O’Connor 2040 and setting the Counter Balance so the camera and lens holds in any position (i.e. doesn’t tilt back or fourth by itself)
2) Set the right amount of friction for Pan and Tilt. Each shot may require an adjustment for the style of operating.
3) Screw in the Zoom bar, so you can easily and quickly punch in or out. Make sure it’s in a screw thread that doesn’t get blocked by something i.e. the matte box bars
4) Find your comfortable position with the lens, so you can freely move. Always finish a shot in a comfortable position – you may be there for sometime…
5) Use an Extension Viewfinder so you can keep good posture and ability to clearly view the image. Sometimes if your on a dolly or a crane (like me below) certain shots may be easier to operate from a monitor.
Bonus TIP – Don’t try using the Optimo hand held… Unless your as strong as Olympic Athlete Fatima Witbread.
Harvey Glen Director of Photography and SOC Operator based in Dubai UAE
If you want to BECOME A CAMERAMAN or just learn to film better, then my guides will definitely help you achieve your goal!