For Barry Sonnenfeld’s “feline comedy” Nine Lives, cinematographer Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK, recalls, “We needed to shoot from the point of view of a cat, which is really low to the ground. I immediately thought of the [ARRI] Alexa Mini.”
During production, Lindenlaub continues, “we put the Mini on a little skateboard rig that we could roll over the floor and then just lift the camera to convey the cat running and jumping; it was a great, simple method for quick shots. There’s a scene in the kitchen where the cat approaches a young girl and she picks him up. I pushed our skateboard about 15 feet, looking at the on-board monitor, and then lifted the Mini into her arms at the right time. Her hands come right up to lens, as though she has grabbed the cat, and then she puts the camera on the table. It worked really well.
Melina Weissman, Kevin Spacey and Christopher Walken in EuropaCorp’s Nine Lives. Photo by Takashi Seida.
“Of all the gimbal rigs we tried, we found the [Freefly Systems] MoVI M15 to be the most responsive and subtle,” the cinematographer recalls. “We used it with the Mini for shots of the cat running down the hall and then looking backwards and forwards, as well as for a couple of other moments where we go into the cat’s POV. We also mounted the Mini on a pole, like a monopod, which worked well.
“There are plenty of fun moments in the film that the Mini really helped us with,” he concludes.