One of the big names in hardware for television and film production, German media group ARRI designs and manufactures a wide range of products including cameras, lenses, lamps and lighting systems, as well as running rental operations across Europe to support major TV series and movie shoots.
ARRI was founded in 1917 by two young students, August Arnold and Robert Richter (the first two letters of each surname giving the company name ARRI). Inspired by the burgeoning cinema business and its potential as an art form, Arnold and Richter set out initially to make films but later turned to designing and manufacturing equipment to help other people produce their own cinematic works.
Their first product, a film printing machine, appeared a year before ARRI was established officially and paved the way for a variety of products that began to appear during the 1920s, including early reflector-based lamps and, in 1924, the company's first camera, the hand-cranked 35mm KINARRI 35. 1937 was a significant year, with the appearance of both ARRI's first Fresnel lampheads and the first reflex mirror shutter camera, the ARRIFLEX 35. This allowed the camera operator to focus through the viewfinder and frame images with no parallax errors. This concept, and the influence of the camera, was recognised in 1982 with an Academy Award of Merit.
Over the years since then ARRI has grown as a company and become a force in international film and TV programme making though its range of cameras, lenses, lighting systems and post-production/archive devices such as film recorders, the Arrilaser, and scanners, notably the Arriscan. ARRI remained a champion of film, both 35mm and 16mm, into the 2000s, with the Arriflex 416 for Super 16 shoots appearing as recently as 2006. But the company has also embraced new digital camera technologies, securing for itself a place on a significant proportion of both film and TV shoots since launching the Alexa in 2010.
At IBC 2013 ARRI introduced the Amira, a documentary-style camera designed for one-person operation. On the lens side of its business ARRI produces its own Prime series of Ultra and Master opticals and in recent years formed a partnership with Zeiss to jointly develop the Master Anamorphic range.