icon account icon cash icon cart icon search main arrow arrow check icon camera icon light icon audio icon computer icon storage icon discount icon facebook icon twitter icon linkedin icon vimeo icon youtube icon instagram icon google plus icon share icon email icon print icon time icon phone icon email-m icon marker-m icon pdf icon remove icon calendar icon list icon comment icon out icon-status icon-star icon-switch pie-chart line-chart icon-user icon-warning icon-heart expand-arrow-1 expand-arrow-2 icon-upload icon-download icon-none icon-date-scheduled icon-date-available icon-is-hazardous
Header image for article Buddy Squires' First Impressions of the Arri AMIRA

Buddy Squires' First Impressions of the Arri AMIRA

Arri's new AMIRA is designed specifically with documentary, run'n'gun type shooters in mind and this past May, the camera was put to the test by award-winning DP Buddy Squires, ASC.

Buddy is best known for his work on theatrical documentaries and television specials including Salinger, The Central Park Five, Masterclass, The Civil War, The National Parks, The War, Jazz, Ethel, and New York. With this kind of experience, it seemed appropriate that Buddy should be one of the first DPs to put the camera through its paces. At this year's Cine Gear Expo, and at our special AMIRA event back in May, Buddy elaborated on his experiences shooting with the new camera. 

It was truly a whirlwind shoot - Buddy was notified on a Saturday that he'd be able to test the camera on Monday. He was introduced to the AMIRA in our NY office that Monday morning by Arri's Guenter Noesner, and by noon was off shooting. According to Buddy, "We spent 45 minutes, with Guenter figuring out the layout of the camera, and then my two assistants (Jared Ames & M'wasi T. Berkley), myself, and Guenter headed off with the camera, tripod, and a couple of lenses." For the curious, Buddy shot with an Angenieux Optimo 45-120 and an Arri/Zeiss 14mm Ultra Prime.

"I wanted to see what the camera could do and how quickly I could move between different styles of working, so I specifically wanted to do a lot of handheld work. I also wanted to try out the slow-motion features," explained Buddy. "I certainly wanted to see how well it focused, because that's really one of the biggest problems in documentary work - out of focus footage." For Buddy, the camera's single-shooter-friendly design was definitely a plus. He appreciated the convenience of having his most-used features, like white balance, easily accessible without having to dig through menus.

Buddy stated that the digital viewfinder was "as good as any digital viewfinder" he'd ever used, and was able to do the majority of the focus pulling himself, without an assistant. The AMIRA's design helped Buddy to move freely and follow the action - even switching between 24fps and 200fps was seamless. "What I really do appreciate about the camera is how thoughtful all the design elements are."

When dealing with exposure, Buddy ended up shooting the way he shoots on film, in that once he set his exposure, he didn't have to worry about continuously correcting it. One of the examples that he pointed out to the audience at Cine Gear was during the scenes in the skatepark. One one side of the park, the light was filtering through some trees, with the effect of backlighting Adam and the children, while on the opposite side, in direct sunlight, were a number of bright yellow buildings. "With any ENG camera I had been using, I probably would have been racking a stop and a half or so as I came around to hold that." Even without stopping down however, the camera was able to hold on to the details in the highlights. "Pretty quickly I got used to the idea that it was pretty hard to overexpose...the camera handles highlights beautifully."

Buddy also found that the AMIRA performed well in low-light situations, for instance, in the shot of Adam playing guitar on the roof, the only non-ambient light in that scene was provided by Buddy's assistant turning on his iPhone screen. And as far as the "digital look" or the overly sharp image that can come from a large sensor camera, Buddy admitted that he is usually forced to use diffusion to minimize it - but not on the AMIRA. When shooting, he only had to use a simple polarizer.

Explaining his hesitance to work with large-sensor cameras, Buddy said that he "was never satisfied with a whole range of things, with the imagery, with the mechanics of the various camera systems that came out." This is why much of his work up until now has been with film and 2/3" cameras. But keeping that in mind, how did Buddy summarize his experience shooting with the AMIRA? "It just works. I guess that's not a very exciting thing to say, but it just works."

Claire Orpeza
Community Manager, AbelCine NY

Related Products

Related Trainings & Events

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

Intro image for article AMIRA Look Files from AbelCine
Tools, Charts & Downloads
The Arri AMIRA is known to be a great looking camera right out of the box but we often get requests to create matching look files for the camera. As you probably know, we make scene files for various cameras including the Sony F5 & F55 to the Canon C100 & C300 cameras. I've created some matching profiles that you can load into the Arri AMIRA or apply in post.
Intro image for article Arri's New AMIRA Camera Simulator
Tech News
If you've ever browsed the Tools section of Arri's website, you've probably seen their ALEXA simulator, along with a number of other great resources. Well, here's some good news for those of you who are curious about the new AMIRA - Arri recently released the first version of their AMIRA simulator.
Intro image for article Arri's New AMIRA Color Tool
Tech News
One of the most important features of the new Arri AMIRA is its ability to load 3D LUTs (Look Up Tables), which really allows you to modify the way the camera looks. The ALEXA allows for basic LUTs with ASC CDL adjustments, but the AMIRA goes a step beyond that to allow for full customization of the image.
Subscribe to our Newsletter