How to Become a Digital Convert — The Arri ALEXA Edition

How to Become a Digital Convert — The Arri ALEXA Edition

The Arri ALEXA could seduce any film lover.


The lines that jumped out at us most in the recent Q&A with Dancing on the Edge Producer Nicky Kentish Barnes were those that dealt with the difficulty of switching from film to digital.  Her difficulty and Director Stephen Poliakoff’s difficulty.  Or, rather, their lack thereof: Working with the ALEXA gave us immediate access to our images, which is a tremendous help when you’re having to move so fast…It allowed us to be very responsive.


But that’s not to say there wasn’t difficulty initially, because there was. Their biggest hurdle was perception. The concern wasn’t about how the Arri ALEXA performed, but how digital in general was known to perform. For a period piece centering around the experiences (including murder!) of a black London jazz band in 1930s, digital could come off as too shiny and new. Too “gloosy,” as Barnes put it. That was the concern and, while perhaps an issue with lesser cameras, it proved totally unfounded in the ALEXA’s case.


Dancing on the edge shot with Arri ALEXA


The Arri ALEXA’s success, of course, has to do not just a little bit with being in the skilled hands of cinematographer Ashley Rowe. His influence and expertise was a huge part of what made digital work so very well in the dramatic dustiness of the 1930s. But it was also very much to do with one specific camera, the Arri ALEXA, as Ashley discovered in multiple test shoots prior to filming. (In this way and others, Aimimage is always more than happy to help with your camera quandaries and all ALEXA package needs.) So he adapted; he found the right light and made it work to brilliant effect. With a talented team like theirs, there is absolutely no reason to drive a project financially into the ground by insisting on 16mm. Trust us. The Arri ALEXA makes converting to digital the easiest choice you’ll make on set.

Dancing on the Edge is currently airing in the U.S. on Starz, having been broadcast in the UK earlier this year. It was shot with Arri ALEXA cameras provided by Aimimage and ICE Fim.

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