Despite popular belief, analog acquisition is alive and well in 2019.
The continual re-birth of photochemical filmmaking has given us at Rule the great joy of keeping our film cameras on hand for new generations to discover. After a long pause we are finally able to bring a new (to us) film camera into our offerings.
The ARRICAM ST (short for Studio) is the flagship culmination of ARRI’s long history in building beautiful motion picture cameras — with the ST combining features from the ARRI 535B and the Austrian Moviecam Compact into one elegant camera system. It is a whisper quiet film camera (under 20dB) with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a studio camera.
One of my favorite features of this particular ARRICAM ST is that it has a 3 perforation Super 35mm movement. This allows you to frame for 1.78, 1.85, and 2.39 while using 25% less film. Less film means longer takes on the same 400′ and 1000′ loads as well as a significant cost savings in processing, prep, and scanning of your film. While not as aggressive a savings as shooting 2 perf, 3 perf affords you more flexibility for choice of aspect ratio and still leaves you some wiggle room for reframing when shooting for a 2.39 aspect ratio.
My second favorite feature is the programmable speed control box on the side of the camera. By working in conjunction with the electronically controlled spinning mirror shutter, the speed control box can generate speed ramps from anywhere within 1-60fps at the push of a button. The ability to “slow time on a dime” is something incredibly special when imaged on film. Cue up your favorite Wes Anderson film for reference.
I’m admittedly quite personally biased to shooting film. While many will find good reasons to disagree, I feel that nothing quite matches the characteristic response of a spinning mirror exposing emulsion. Film after all has the built-in “film look” that many of us try to desperately mimic with every digital cinema camera that races down the track. Film negative has unparalleled highlight handling, smooth motion cadence, and fine organic texture. Film is even more forgiving to focus pulls.
If you haven’t had a chance to experience the guilty pleasure of shooting film, perhaps the ARRICAM ST can be the muse for your next project and your first photochemical romance.
-Adam Van Voorhis, Equipment Manager