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Alexa 65 called on for ‘Mission: Impossible’ underwater sequence

Pete Romano, ASC.

For the first time since its announcement last fall, the Arri Alexa 65 has been used in a real-world production. Mission: Impossible —Rogue Nation features an underwater scene shot with the Alexa 65. While Rogue Nation was primarily shot with 35mm film cameras (by Robert Elswit, ASC), Pete Romano, ASC, called on prototype Alexa 65s in special HydroFlex housings to capture a major underwater sequence.

Elswit, Romano and their crew spent a month shooting the scenes in the underwater tank at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK earlier this year. “The sequence was done almost entirely with a virtual background, so it was important to get the best resolution for the best look,” explains Romano, who advocated for the Alexa 65 to maximize image quality for the heavy visual effects.

Rogue Nation’s visual effects supervisor, David Vickery, notes, “In post production, the large format images we captured on the 28mm and 35mm Prime 65 wide angle lenses gave [VFX house] Double Negative the flexibility to push in up to 280 percent on the frame and still extract a sharp 2K plate, which we then treated to look like the anamorphic film stock that the rest of Rogue Nation had been shot on.”

The Alexa 65 workflow, developed with key technology partner Codex and based on the Vault platform, consisted of Arri Rental’s purpose-configured Vault S-Series used for on-set QC and local backup to eight TB transfer drives. The transfer drives were then shuttled to Company 3 in Soho, London, for processing out to full resolution, uncompressed Arriraw 65mm format images by Arri Rental’s high performance version of the Vault XL, Lab 65, which was linked into Company 3’s dailies and archival infrastructure.

Whether for an entire movie or selected sequences, the Alexa 65 is being used on a number of productions that are due for release in theaters over the coming months.

 


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