WA Screen Academy at Edith Cowan University chooses ARRI ALEXA


Mahmudul Raz, Media Producer and Post Production Supervisor for the WA Screen Academy, School of Communications and Arts at Edith Cowan University has been investigating digital cine cameras for the university since 2009. Having shot their Post Graduate (WA Screen Academy) student’s films with almost every digital cine cameras that has been available in the market Raz found he was yet to find a camera that offered a complete “A-Z” solution for their teaching and learning environment, until that is he discovered the ARRI ALEXA.

Raz said, “Recently we made the decision that the ALEXA was the best fit for our environment, so we have purchased two of them. Learning outcomes and student experiences were the main reasons behind purchasing the ALEXA. We always encourage our students to use cameras as a storytelling tool and no camera offers that better than the ALEXA.”

It is the university’s requirement that students have the best learning experience possible throughout the productions they undertake whilst studying ensuring they learn as much as possible during their course so when they graduate, they are industry-ready.

Raz continued, “That’s another reason we chose the ALEXA, it has a very simple workflow and yet is very complex under the hood. This means students learn as much as possible about shooting. I have shot on many digital cameras but the ALEXA is the most user friendly and is the only camera that I can truly trust – what I see is what I get. As a cinematographer myself, it is very important for me to be able to operate the camera as a tool rather than worry about numerous technical terms even though I am a very technical person. To me a camera should be like driving a car, you don’t think about how the components in the engine are operating but instead just drive and enjoy the ride. With ALEXA I just enjoy shooting.”

According to Raz shooting with the ALEXA gives the university’s students an edge over other cameras. He makes note that students enjoy learning with the ALEXA and that they understand the technology well not because it is logical but because it is an extension of themselves.

Raz added, “It is also very important for students to learn about film production discipline. I often find it frustrating when I see a lack of on set discipline due to the ease of working with digital cameras but now with the ALEXA we can truly emphasise that discipline. The workflow of the camera and being able to shoot ProRes directly is fantastic as well as having the option for RAW if required in future. Also, because of the workflow we can shoot most of our productions back to back. The turnaround time of rushes as well as editing and grading are incredibly fast. So in truth, the ALEXA has speeded up our full production line dramatically.”

This year the university has scheduled twelve productions to be shot with its new ALEXA using ProRes Log-C for all of them. On location the crews will use REC709 with LUT for monitoring. The production process starts in the classroom with an understanding of the technology and what it offers.

Raz continued, “As a user myself I always encourage our students to have a solid understanding of the basics. They don’t need to be a master at it but as long as they are a comfortable user. By using ARRI equipment we can very easily achieve that. We also have lots of practice shooting with the camera during our DOP class over three semesters. This also helps students become comfortable with the camera. We then shoot all our major productions using the ALEXA and we give every single first stream DOP student the opportunity to shoot at least one drama production with it.”

Typical shooting environments for the uni include TV studios and on location both in class and in production. Typically every year the students shoot six 10-minute drama productions. The students also shoot another set of four 5-minute short productions and work on client-based projects, where they have to design and deliver music videos, TVCs or promotional clips to real life clients outside of the university.

Mahmudul Raz concluded, “We are over the moon with the ALEXA and the sales, service and support from the ARRI Australia team. For the delivery and introduction to the cameras Stefan personally flew all the way to Perth and gave us one on one tuition. It is great to have a direct relationship with ARRI Australia – in this industry, this is how it should be!”

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