Dale Bremner Puts ARRI Through Paces In Australia’s Red Centre

Cinematographer Dale Bremner chose the ARRI Amira and a set of ARRI master primes for one of his toughest shoots at the heart of the continent in Australia’s Red Centre .

Bremner selected the ARRI Amira based on the shoot’s deliverables, requirements and predicted hurdles which included having 4K output integrated into a 3D dome experience for the Seven Sisters Uluru exhibition in the National Museum of Australia.

Plates were shot for the dome along with a short 2D narrative film, narrated by an indigenous elder, to accompany the story. According to Bremner the Amira was an obvious choice for the project. “Firstly, the camera’s reliability factor played a big part as the fact that we were shooting seven hours out of Alice Springs in such a remote and harsh environment gave us no backup should the camera fail or suffer media corruption. In other words camera reliability was paramount - there was no plan B in case something went wrong. I had taken the Amira on previous longform jobs before and it has never skipped a beat, even in scorching temperatures.”

Dale Bremner on location.

Dale Bremner on location.

Bremner also highlighted the camera’s features and usability adding, “The Amira’s internal NDs are a big plus as the Australian sun is harsh and unforgiving, especially in the desert. Dust and filters are not always the best combination and keeping the filtering inside the camera was not only completely logical it was extremely practical under those exposed conditions. Some of our setups were on the side of cliffs and on uneven terrain, places where you don't want to be swapping out filters.”

To pay homage to the vastness of the outback and tranquillity of such a spiritual realm the majority of the project was shot using the ARRI 12mm Master Prime lens.

Bremner explained, “A lot of 100mm macro shots were integrated into the project as well, dancing at both ends of the spectrum. The spiritual indigenous dreamtime stories are told through the land and history of the indigenous arts and I wanted the camera to be as unobtrusive and to have as little influence on the look as possible. I didn't feel it was right to add an artistic style or visual signature of my own to the story and the footage conveys results we got as the proof is in the pudding.”

Outside of the plates to be integrated into the project dome piece, the narrative was shot at varied frame rates - predominantly 60fps off a 4ft slider. Bremner and his small crew shot in a multitude of conditions at dusk, dawn, night and direct daylight both inside and outside a sacred cave.

He added, “Magic hour is predictable and safe, however through the intense daytime, the contrast from the cave and the full blooded indigenous elders’ skin tone against the desert sun was unlike anything I had faced before. This presented some fascinating challenges and gave the Amira a chance to ultimately flex its dynamic range. I’m delighted to say it passed with flying colours.”

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