This was one of our more unusual projects, at least in terms of its conception.
We approached camera manufacturing giants ARRI with a proposition:
“You send us an ARRI Amira, we’ll film something nice with it and review it.”
They admired our ballsy nature, and lo and behold, two weeks later, an Amira turned up on our doorstep, along with loads of lovely kit to play with. This was at a time when the Amira was fresh on the market, and hardly anyone had actually used one, so we felt pretty proud of ourselves for blagging it. In our haste, we hit up our old friend Novo Amor to see if he had any plans on releasing a new single. As it turned out, he had been putting the final touches on a new song that he was happy to get a video made for. We had less than a week to produce the video from start to finish, so we put pedal to the metal, got a treatment, storyboard, actors and locations all sorted, and began production in record time.
This was our first hands-on experience with the Amira, but what better way to really learn about what it could do than on a shoot. Thanks to the 30-80mm Alura Lightweight Zoom lens that was sent to us, we could handle a good variety of shots to test out the looks this thing could give us. And by God was it pretty.
The video’s story revolves around two characters whose lives intertwine as the narrative plays out. They never meet, but the relationship between one another is evident in their actions and emotions. It’s a story of loving, longing and letting go, and how we deal with these feelings in our own way.
Our day was spent around Penarth, just outside of Cardiff city centre, in a house that would be considered a hoarder’s paradise. Tons of boxes and knick-knacks littered every room, giving it a claustrophobic atmosphere, which helped to reflect the main character’s busy and troubled mind. We, on the other hand, were like kids in a sweet shop – eyes alight with the sight of tons of old tech and gaming consoles.
The lack of natural light was an important factor, to illustrate his self-confinement, as he shuts himself off from the outside world. The Amira did extremely well in coping with the low light scenes, despite not being fitted with the fastest lens. The scenes in which natural light poured in during moments of clarity and freedom, however, were greatly emphasised by the Amira’s colour reproduction – a renowned feature of Arri cameras. Even though this was a very early model, prior to Log C having been installed on it, the standard picture profile still delivered a surprising amount of dynamic range, which was more than appreciated coming into post.
We graded in Adobe Speedgrade, teamed with ol’ trusty FilmConvert, which gave it that slightly faded and filmic look we were aiming for.
Getting to use the Amira was a great experience, and was a great chance for us to show what we could do with a lovely bit of kit. Arri even showed the video at two showcase events at the BBC and the RTS. What they didn’t tell us, however, was that it was to be shown directly after their Alexa showreel, which consisted of clips from Marvel’s The Avengers and other huge blockbuster movies. We still got a roar of applause, but more importantly, a cheeky thumbs up from the Arri guys. *fist pump*