Cameras: News and Updates

ALEXA XT And XR Module Welcomed By Creatives Worldwide

posted Apr 23, 2013, 16:08

Following launch events in Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Beijing, Milan, Mumbai and London, the new ALEXA XT cameras (Extended Technology) and XR Modules (Extended Recording) have been welcomed by cinematic storytellers around the globe for upcoming productions.

ARRI is refreshing the ALEXA product line, incorporating new features inspired by feedback from professionals. The ALEXA XT, ALEXA XT M, ALEXA XT Plus and ALEXA XT Studio cameras will replace all previous models except for the original ALEXA. All ALEXA XT cameras come with the new XR Module, a side panel co-developed with Codex to replace the previous SxS Module. The XR Module allows in-camera ARRIRAW recording up to 120 fps onto exceptionally fast and rugged 512 GB XR Capture Drives. This not only makes for a smaller, lighter and more affordable camera package, it also simplifies setup and operation. The result is an even faster and more reliable way to record ARRIRAW, ALEXA’s highest quality image output. Once removed from the camera, the XR Capture Drive offers a number of different paths into post, using the proven Codex workflow. Owners of existing ALEXA cameras will be able to purchase individual upgrades to the XR Module. 

Alternatively to ARRIRAW it is also possible to capture ProRes or DNxHD to an XR Capture Drive for significantly longer recording times, as well as ProRes 4444 recording at 120 fps. ProRes 4444 at 24 fps can be recorded for a total time of 107 minutes. With an SxS Adapter it is possible to record ProRes or DNxHD to a single SxS PRO card, thus protecting the inventory of existing cards.

The Internal Filter Module IFM-1 allows ALEXA XT cameras to be rated at the base sensitivity of EI 800 without the need for external Neutral Density (ND) filters, even in bright sunlight. Filtering behind the lens rather than in front saves time and reduces weight, reflections and complexity. The FSND (Full Spectrum Neutral Density) filters used with the IFM-1 are based on high-tech manufacturing methods that assure neutral color balance at all of the eight available densities, from ND 0.3 to ND 2.4. 

All ALEXA XT cameras are equipped with a 4:3 sensor, the same size and shape as a Super 35 mm film frame, allowing true anamorphic capability with anamorphic lenses. An anamorphic de-squeeze license is included with all ALEXA XT cameras, as is a high-speed license for filming at up to 120 fps. The 4:3 sensor is also useful for non-anamorphic productions as it permits significant reframing of the image in post, leaving space above and below the image for VFX tracking markers. 

For VFX projects requiring efficient workflow on set through post, all ALEXA XT models are equipped with a Lens Data System (LDS) mount. The LDS reads the lens settings, distributes them to displays like the WCU-4 or the Transvideo monitors, and writes them into metadata in every ALEXA recording format. Over 41 ARRI lens models have LDS encoders built-in, ALEXA compatibility with the Cooke /i system is in the works, and for all other lenses it is possible to gather metadata by using ARRI lens motors and the in-camera Lens Data Archive. 

These new features implement many requests from the most demanding, talented imagemakers. Deliveries of the ALEXA XT and upgrades of the XR Module are expected in May. 

New ALEXA Accessories 

To provide maximum comfort for the operator, the new Viewfinder Mounting Bracket VMB-3 has a much stronger design, partially achieved through the use of two 15 mm lightweight rods. These rods also facilitate rapid changes in camera support, and de-clutter accessories previously hanging near the base plate. The Viewfinder Extension Bracket VEB-3 also has a sturdier design, a new safety latch and a fold-out arm that holds the viewfinder securely in place when moving the camera. For operator comfort, the new Heated Eyecup HE-6 for ALEXA has a special element that transmits the heat to the ALEXA eyepiece as well as a lock, so it stays securely in place.

ALEXA cameras are already among the quietest digital cameras, but an even quieter fan has become available and ARRI has incorporated this new fan into the ALEXA XT models, providing an extra safety margin in very quiet or hot environments. These ALEXA accessories are available in May. 

About ARRI: 

With 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 recognized ARRI technologies and continual innovation with 18 Scientific and Engineering Awards.