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ARRI ALEXA M Goes Panoramic

In an experiment at Berlin's Arena Hall earlier this week, ARRI principal engineer Johannes Steurer got a chance to see how flexible the ALEXA could be when stacked in the round. As a result of this project, in the works for some time, Steurer and his team tested the first panoramic application of ARRI's modular ALEXA M, which began shipping this month.

Members of the FascinatE Project consortium (Format-Agnostic SCript-based INterAcTive Experience) developed a prototype panoramic rig, dubbed the Omnicam, out of six ALEXA M's, 24mm Ultra Prime lenses and mirrors to shoot a unique dance performance featuring Compagnie Sasha Waltz & Guests and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. “The ALEXA M was born out of this project," Steurer said on Tuesday in a prepared statement. "We decided to separate the sensor head from the body and connect both components by optical fiber cables. That way we reduce the size and weight of the camera head and we can still offer the same well-known image quality.” The camera heads on the rig, configured to create a full 180-degree viewing angle, were connected to the Alexa base systems in the control room 100 meters away.

“The project is about immersive viewing conditions," he added. "As a visitor to a live performance of more than 200 dancers you can see the full panorama and at the same time focus on any individual dancer at will."

The idea and goal of the FascinatE Project is to bring these video panoramas out to viewers at the same fidelity, regardless of the device on which they happen to be watching the performance.

Compagnie Sasha Waltz & Guests in rehearsal for the Carmen-Suite Project.

The dance troupe caught on camera performed Rodion Schtschedrin's Carmen Suite, a recast of George Bizet's iconic opera. The project was developed with the Berlin Philharmonic Education Program and featured young dancers who trained for weeks with Sasha Waltz & Guests.

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