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Christian Hipolito wins NZCS Emerging Cinematographer Award

Christian Hipolito with his ARRI ALEXA on the set of the award-winning Pound.

Christian Hipolito wins NZCS Emerging Cinematographer Award after shooting winning movie with ARRI ALEXA

AUCKLAND, 27 October 2016 – At this year’s NZCS Awards Christian Hipolito won not only the Student Film Award but also the Al Guilford Emerging Cinematographer Award for his movie Pound, which he shot entirely with the ARRI ALEXA camera.

Hipolito explained, “I was studying at New Zealand Film and Television School and for our end of the year graduation film project we were given a budget to make two short films using an ARRI ALEXA. We got trained how to use the camera but we were also advised to do our own research on how to use the settings and even play around with the ARRI Camera Simulator, something that just wasn’t necessary as it was just so easy to operate. You only need 30 minutes or less alone with this camera and you're a pro. When it comes to handling, I think it's every cinematographer's choice.”

For Hipolito the ALEXA’s ease of use played a huge part in the results he got from it when shooting Pound.

He continued, “The engineers who designed the ALEXA thought it through very well. I mean I can adjust the settings from the viewfinder without the help of a 1st AC. The weight of the camera including the PL, viewfinder, battery and cable was also only around 8kg so it was very easy to carry or use on my shoulder.”

The New Zealand Film and Television School decided to invest in some ALEXAs after a great deal of research in 2014, something Hipolito was grateful and praised the school for.

He added, “I am so lucky that the Film School decided to go digital two years ago and made the wise decision to buy an ALEXA as it played a huge part in the success of Pound a film where I was the DP and our budget was less than $8000.”

With only $8000 available to make the entire movie and in order to make every cent count, Hipolito and Pound’s director meticulously planned every aspect of the movie for weeks.

He explained, “The director and I planned everything down to the finest detail. I also had to do a storyboard to know what lights and gear we would need. As the budget was so tight we allocated just $2,000 for the gear, so I was only able to hire a day of the shoulder rig, a few basic prime lenses, a high hat, a carbon fibre tripod and a fluid head. When you bear that in mind, the camera really did have to perform to its utmost capabilities.”

Pound’s director wanted the end product not just in black and white but also to be very intense, dark and have lots of contrast. Again Hipolito credits the ALEXA in helping make this happen adding, “Shooting with the ALEXA gave me the confidence to shoot in low light situations. It produced high detail in dark areas and it gave us that cinematic look that the director and I wanted. In truth the camera gave me the possibility to do whatever I wanted to do and get amazing results. In my opinion when it comes to image quality, I believe the ALEXA tops all others from its dynamic range and colour reproduction to its reliability and intuitiveness. What more can you ask for from a camera like this?”

Hipolito used the ALEXA at what he calls its “sweet spot” of 800 ASA throughout the entire Pound shoot, but he did also push the camera’s boundaries as he explained, “I remember there was a scene in our shoot when we placed the camera on a dolly; it was almost evening and our natural light was dissipating. I had to crank the ASA of the camera to 2000 and to be honest I was surprised to see the result - it was immaculate. Even when I was colour grading it, the image was perfect and I could hardly see any grain at all.”

For Pound Hipolito did a lot of establishing shots, extreme long shots, medium shots, close ups and extreme close ups. Most of the movie’s prison cell scenes were shot trying to achieve a dark noir look to which Hipolito commented, “The sensitivity of the ALEXA was incredibly useful for dark scenes. Also the camera gives you a near-filmic image which is amazing.”

For an exceptionally humble Hipolito this fast rising cinematographer was grateful for many things at the NZCS Awards as he concluded, “I felt incredibly proud to have won the Student Film and Al Guilford Emerging Cinematographer Awards given the incredibly high standard of the other entries. I’m truly grateful to the NZCS and to my teachers at the New Zealand Film and Television School. With that said I really have to also give credit to the ARRI ALEXA which produced an exceptional image quality with the organic look and feel of a film helping me to achieve that chiaroscuro style on all the scenes in Pound.”


About ARRI Australia and The ARRI Group
ARRI Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of The ARRI Group and is based in Lane Cove, Sydney. With its corporate headquarters located in Munich, Germany, Arnold and Richter Cine Technik (A&R) was founded in 1917 and is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of motion picture camera, digital intermediate (DI) and lighting equipment. The ARRI Group comprises a global network of subsidiaries, agents and representatives that covers all aspects of the film industry: design, engineering, production, equipment rental, turnkey lighting solutions, postproduction, film and sound laboratory services, and visual effects. Manufactured products include the groundbreaking ALEXA digital camera system, film cameras, professional camera accessories, cutting-edge LED lighting and DI solutions such as the ARRISCAN and archive tools. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognised ARRI technologies and continual innovation with 18 Scientific and Engineering Awards.

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