The Vision House sees clearly with the ARRI ALEXA

02 October, 2014 by IF


Starting out as Original Cine in 1989 renting 16mm and 35mm film equipment from a small cottage in Albert Park, The Vision House has been built on years of industry experience to become a premier boutique rental house based in Port Melbourne, Australia. Recently the innovative company decided to strengthen their rental fleet with a new ARRI ALEXA XT camera.


The Vision House Manager James MacGregor explained, “We had previously purchased an ALEXA classic about two years ago to add to our rental fleet at The Vision House in Melbourne. As the ALEXA tends to be the go to camera for the TV and commercial industry, it proved very popular. We were looking at expanding our rental fleet to include a 4:3 ALEXA but held off due to industry speculation of a new model of ALEXA being launched which turned out to be the XT. One of our regular clients purchased a XT and we were able to gauge the level of interest in the local market. At the same time there was a lot of interest in anamorphic lenses being used on digital cameras. Given the flexibility that the XT offered in regards to capture format options we made a decision early this year that is was time to expand our fleet to include a 4:3 camera alongside a set of anamorphic lenses.”

Having owned an ALEXA classic for a while before purchasing their new XT it was always the build quality and attention to detail that impressed James and company director Barry Malseed at The Vision House.

MacGregor continued, “The ALEXA is designed as a camera first and foremost. Unlike some other cameras, the menus are logically laid out and easy to navigate. The body is rugged and durable and everything is where it should be. You don't need to purchase third party items to make the camera work, it can work right out of the box. Recently one of our ALEXAs made a trip over to Fiji and filmed in remote locations without missing a beat. ARRI have continued their legacy of building great cameras and continue to hone them with each new system.”

Aside from the build quality MacGregor sees the ALEXA as being a particularly good and reliable camera to work with.

He added, “The ease of use stands out right away in regards to the overall design of the camera. ARRI has built on its reputation as the premier camera manufacturer in the world. A lot of other cameras that are in the same space require a lot of time and patience to get used to how they operate as well as purchasing additional bolt on accessories to make them work. The ALEXA has a very simple menu system and can be used right out of the box. The main edge the ALEXA gives us in the rental market is reliability. Rarely do the cameras fail and if they do it is often a case of doing a reboot and everything is good to go again. We are yet to have an ALEXA fail on us and we don't expect them to either.”

The Vision House mainly uses ProRes and most of the editors they work with use either Final Cut X or Premier. MacGregor also sees the seamless workflows associated with the ALEXA as a big plus.

He continued, “The ProRes file structure seamlessly integrates into either system. We are expecting ARRIRAW to eventually become the mainstream workflow and it was another reason why we chose to get an XT, as the camera can record ProRes or RAW allowing us to future proof productions. The bulk of our rental market use the cameras on television commercials and the ability to record ProRes allows very quick turnaround for our clients without the need to transcode the data from the shooting day. They can then edit pretty much straight away.”

Being a boutique rental house The Vision House has cameras going out to locations far and wide on many interesting shoots. The one thing their clients always expect is high quality equipment that won’t let them down. According to James, they are able to deliver on all fronts thanks to the ALEXA and the service they get from ARRI Australia.

James MacGregor concluded, “We have had our ALEXAs go all over Australia and overseas. No matter the climate the cameras haven't missed a beat. Our ALEXAs have been used on cranes, hot heads, handheld, steadicam, on tripods and on boats. More recently the trend has been for hand held shots where they are often paired up with an EasyRig system. The service and support we get from Stefan, Melaney and Rey at ARRI Australia’s has always been fantastic. If we have a technical question we can generally get an answer right away over the phone. Spare parts are always on hand in Sydney so no items are ever out of service for long which is critical to our rental fleet.”