Feature Film Journal #4: Shooting a Mood Piece On The Arri Amira

If you’ve been following along with this series of posts, you likely already know that I am in development for a feature film titled “Ivy”. At this point the screenplay is complete (the first draft at least), I’ve put together a visual pitch package, and most recently just shot a mood film to help convey the essence of the story.

The Intention

We all know that there is no exact formula when it comes to developing a feature, but I’ve always felt that creating visual references for potential collaborators is essential. Seeing as I am now in the midst of attaching producers, raising funds, and looking at talent, having a visual pitch piece will inevitably become a very useful tool throughout this process. It is especially relevant for this film in particular since there isn’t a lot of dialogue in the script, and the texture and creative execution of the film will play a huge role in the overall viewing experience.

The Shoot

The development and production of this piece was a lot of fun on both a creative and technical level. Creatively speaking, I went through my entire screenplay and cherry picked some key moments that I felt would help set the tone of the feature. I also picked out a couple of dialogue scenes that were relevant and merged them together so they could be shot as a single scene. The intention was to use the dialogue scene as a bookend to open and close the edit with, and then cut to insert shots from other scenes to compliment the dialogue. All in all, it made for a challenging but fun process that allowed me to really identify the core of the film’s thematic premise.

On a technical level, things were just as interesting. Jens Jacob and Scott Davis of Redefine Rentals generously loaned out their Arri Amira and Schneider Xenar lenses to us for the duration of the shoot, and it was undoubtably the best camera setup that I’ve ever worked with. In the next couple of weeks I will be releasing a video featuring my thoughts on the Amira, and why I think in many ways it’s the ultimate indie filmmaking camera, so be sure to keep an eye out for that…


After shooting on the Amira, I really feel that the quality and aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Alexa can easily be achieved on the Amira as well, but the usability of it is far better than most other cinema cameras. It really offers a best of both worlds situation where you can work extremely quickly and stay light on your feet without sacrificing quality. The built in ND’s in particular were a lifesaver on this shoot, and the fact that we could build the camera in under 2 minutes didn’t hurt either. The portability of it was massively helpful on set too, since the crew (including myself) was only 3 people – one of which was a makeup artist.

All of the footage was shot in ProRes HQ at 3.2K, and about half of it was over cranked at 48fps. The rest was shot at 24p.

Here are a few lightly graded shots from yesterday’s shoot. I will be sure to release the cut later this week once it’s complete:





Be sure to check back soon for more updates on this project, plus the usual review articles, news, tips, and much more.

And follow me on Twitter and Instagram for additional updates!


About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

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