ARRI at 100: proud of the past and confident in the future
As its centenary year gets underway, long-standing GTC sponsor ARRI is looking back at its rich history, assessing the values and principles that have helped it reach this milestone anniversary, and setting its sights firmly on the future.
ARRI founded 100 years ago by two teenagers
2017 marks 100 years since August Arnold and Robert Richter rented a small former shoemaker’s store in Munich and set up shop as a film technology firm. The two young friends started with just one product: a copying machine they built on a lathe Richter had received as a Christmas present from his parents. Taking the first two letters of their surnames, they christened their new enterprise ARRI.
Today, the company is headquartered at the same address on Türkenstrasse, although the premises have expanded to the size of an entire city block and this is just one of numerous facilities around the world. Truly a global player and active in every international market, ARRI has major branches in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Youthful exuberance and dedication
Despite its grand age, ARRI is a company that places great value in youthful exuberance and passionate dedication. Dr Jörg Pohlman, one of two Executive Board members at ARRI AG, notes: “I still find it amazing that this company was founded by two teenagers; they were so young that their parents had to sign the incorporation documents. First and foremost they were film enthusiasts, driven by a love for visual storytelling and technology. If you walk around ARRI today you’ll see that same enthusiasm and passion – it defines who we are and what we do.”
Arnold and Richter were camera operators, film producers and an equipment rental outfit before they ever manufactured an ARRI camera. From the very beginning they worked directly with filmmakers and the insight they gained helped them to develop equipment that met real on-set needs. In today’s industry, with technology driven at breakneck speed by marketing hype, this philosophy of listening to what filmmakers want – rather than telling them – is more important than ever.
The secret of longevity
Executive Board member Franz Kraus comments: “ARRI prides itself on being a long-term professional partner to the global film industry. We have never walked away, instead facing difficult times by redoubling our efforts and increasing investment in R&D. The fact that we offer such varied products and services, covering all sides of the industry, gives us a unique perspective and allows each division to benefit from the expertise of all the others. For example, it was our work in digital postproduction that helped us make such a successful transition from film to digital cameras.”
The quality and reliability for which ARRI is renowned remain vitally relevant traits. At every level of the industry there still exists the need for durable tools that are fit for purpose and deliver long-term returns. These days that means more than just build quality and durability, it means flexible system architecture for cameras and lights that are essentially computers. It means software updates that respond to evolving needs and continually transform the functionality of the hardware.
A year of celebrations
ARRI’s actual anniversary is in September 2017, although the whole year will be marked by numerous celebrations, with all of the company’s 1,300 worldwide employees taking part and helping to make it special. The IBC show in Amsterdam, also in September, will form the focus of the celebrations and it is there that the main party will take place.
The long history of ARRI sits predominantly in the celluloid age and it is a wonderful legacy to look back on. But now, in the digital era, the company is bigger than it ever has been, with more employees, more products and more international market share than ever before. At 100 years old, the future has never looked so exciting.
To kick off the company’s centenary, ARRI Group Managing Directors and Executive Board members Jörg Pohlman and Franz Kraus have released the video below looking back at ARRI’s early history, recalling the transition from from analogue to digital and outlining the plans for 2017:
Arnold & Richter Cine Technik (ARRI) is a global company within the motion picture industry, employing around 1,300 staff worldwide. In 2017 ARRI is celebrating its centenary, having been founded in 1917 in Munich, Germany, where the headquarters is still located today. Other subsidiaries exist in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.
The ARRI Group consists of five business units: Camera Systems, Lighting, Media, Rental and Medical. ARRI is a leading designer and manufacturer of camera and lighting systems for the film industry, with a worldwide distribution and service network. It is also an integrated media service provider in the fields of postproduction and equipment rental, supplying camera, lighting and grip packages to professional productions. ARRI Medical focuses on the use of core imaging technologies for surgical applications.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized ARRI’s engineers and their contributions to the industry with 19 Scientific and Technical Awards.
For locations and more information please visit www.arri.com
The Guild of Television Camera Professionals is an independent craft organisation supporting and encouraging excellence in all aspects of television camerawork.
Members are professional cameramen and camerawomen who operate
in all areas of broadcasting.
The International Association of Wildlife Film-makers, whose members are professional camera crew earning most of their income from making wildlife films, has been affiliated to the GTC since January 2016.