Arri Alexa On “Elementary”



Recently renewed for a third season, ELEMENTARY is a U.S. crime drama series that puts a contemporary spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes characters, with Lucy Liu playing a female Dr Watson to Jonny Lee Miller’s New York-based Holmes. Cinematographer Ron Fortunato, ASC, has shot the majority of episodes through the first two seasons, utilizing an ALEXA camera package supplied by ARRI CSC and recording ProRes 4444 Log C.

With ALEXA the exposure in the high end is a big improvement.


Ron Fortunato, ASC

What do you enjoy about working in television?

It’s a bit of a cliché but people are saying that we’re in the second golden age of television. It used to be seen as less challenging than feature films, but the writing and the character of the shows has changed, and today’s big-screen TVs are another factor. You have more cinematic possibilities now and you don’t have to shoot everything in close-ups; it’s attracting not only crew people that wouldn’t have done television years ago, but actors as well. Personally I love storytelling and the human aspect of filmmaking, and these days there’s more of that in television than in movies.

Nelson Cragg shot the pilot on ALEXA; was there any discussion of switching to a different camera?

No, I was very happy to have the ALEXA; I first used it on PAN AM and fell in love with it. It’s not very often that a piece of equipment comes along that really is a game-changer, but ALEXA certainly was — just the quality of it, and the speed; I can shoot by candlelight now. It’s a whole different story to when I first shot with digital at the request of Sidney Lumet, for a film I did with him 14 years ago. I idolized Sidney and would have shot with anything he wanted, but when you compare what was possible then with the ALEXA, it’s like night and day.

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