3D: TF3 To Use Arri Alexa Pace Cameras From Avatar

07/07/2010 0 By Administratus Prime

After a bit of back and forth, Transformers 3 has been confirmed as yet another action flick jumping on the 3D train.

The good news (unless you were really happy to hear that Megan Fox would no longer be a part of the franchise) is that they’re filming in 3D as opposed to converting it in post production (like Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland and The Last Airbender) as revealed by master of the 3D camera himself, Vince Pace.

Apparently nothing would do for Michael Bay but Jimmy C’s best, requiring the cameras used in Avatar and the upcoming Resident Evil flick. Just in case you were wondering, our friends at Cinematical have put together an impromptu list of recent/upcoming 3D movies that will be using a 2D to 3D conversion process (Harry Potter, Narnia, Piranha 3D) and those originally shot in 3D (Tron Legacy, Saw VII 3D) — so you know what to expect before you put your cash down for a ticket.


I’ve heard only great things about the Arri Alexa camera. It certainly has a multitude of features that seem to poo-poo all over RED’s digital cinema monopoly party. For one, the Alexa does HDR photography within the camera – that is, it takes multiple exposures of the same frame and “stacks” them on top of each other leading to a greater dynamic range of color and luminance. The camera also has a built in shoulder mount, a 720HD EVF that comes with an extension, and in my opinion looks a hell of a lot sexier than RED’s laser gun approach.

3D camera in use

Perhaps most excitingly, the camera also has the ability to record “ARRIRAW” image data alongside Apple Prores 1080p HD (4:4:4 or 4:2:2) simultaneously. What this means is that you could record an HD clip alongside a RAW image clip. You take the HD clips, send those to the editor, he can edit with this footage without having to transcode (as is needed with RED footage over 2K). The editor then can simply do an EDL or offline edit. When the picture is locked, the RAW footage can be brought in using timecode to have a high-quality HD-plus final product. The idea is awesome and one that I think kicks RED’s post-production workflow right in the butt.


While I am less excited about Transformers 3 (the 2nd one was terrible), I am excited that more and more filmmakers are working to shoot in 3D rather than settle for a Clash of the Titans or Last Airbender post-conversion debacle. Not only that, but the fact that these Alexa’s are becoming the camera to use on these systems means we can expect a greater quality out of the films. I am a fan of 3D but only when it’s not flying in my face or a lazy cash grab and I am definitely a fan of Arri’s entrance into the digital cinema market. Even Roger Deakins, ASC (The Shawshank Redemption) gives his heavy endorsement.

In the video below, you can see steadicam op Larry McConkey riding on a handless segway to operate the heavy rig. Estimates in the comments pit the weight around 60 – 80 lbs. Looks expensive, but entirely cool, to me!