This weekend, the Cine Gear Expo – a convention for film and photography technology — unveiled a bunch of new devices and innovations. The most exciting was the announcement that unmanned Drones may be used to shoot movies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Currently, in order to conduct a commercial operation (such as filmmaking) with an a drone, users need a certified aircraft, licensed pilot, and FAA approval. But earlier this week, the FAA said it would consider a request by seven aerial production companies for a regulatory exemption to allow for the domestic use of these systems for filming.”
But while Drones shooting movies are exciting and a little bit 1984, the most important piece of equipment displayed at the expo was perhaps the Arri Amira, a high-end digital camera. Arri’s newest uses the same sensors as its popular Alexa model, but at a (comparatively) inexpensive $40,000. It’s being marketed toward documentary filmmakers who don’t possess the same monetary heft as, say, the James Bond series (Skyfall was shot on an Arri Alexa.)
The Alexa has been paramount in the insurgence of digital filmmaking. Introduced in 2010, the camera has been used by more films with each passing year, and has been nominated for an Oscar every year since its inception. After Nicolas Winding Refn used the camera’s immaculately sharp picture to created a neon-soaked nighttime purgatory in Drive, the Alexa caught on with a lot of mainstream filmmakers.