ARRI’s Alexa line of cameras is being revamped with new features inspired by feedback from industry professionals.
Except for the company’s original Alexa camera, all of ARRI’s previous models will be replaced with the Alexa XT, Alexa XT M, Alexa XT Plus and Alexa XT Studio. Existing Alexa owners can purchase upgrades that will deliver most of the new XT configuration.
The new Alexa XT cameras come with the new XR Module, a side panel co-developed with Codex to replace the previous SxS Module. This aims to create a smaller, cable-free camera package that can record ARRIRAW inside the camera.
The In-camera Filter Module IFM-1 will allow Alexa XT models to be rated at the base sensitivity of EI 800 without needing external ND filters, even in bright sunlight. Filtering behind the lens rather than in front saves time and reduces weight, reflections and operational complexity. The Precision IRND filters used with the IFM-1 are based on new technologies that aim for high image quality and color balance at all the available ND densities, from ND 0.3 to ND 2.4.
Each Alexa XT model comes with a 4:3 sensor the size and shape of a 35mm film frame. An anamorphic de-squeeze license is included with all XT cameras as well as a high speed license for shooting up to 120 fps.
Alexa XT models are equipped with a LDS (Lens Data System) mount. The LDS reads the position of all lens rings and writes them into metadata in every format Alexa can record. Over 41 lens models have LDS built in. For other lenses the lens table can be stored inside the camera by using the Lens Data Archive feature.
The Viewfinder Mounting Bracket VMB-3 has a stronger, more rigid design in the Alexa XT cameras, achieved primarily though the use of two 15 mm lightweight rods. The rods also allow easier change in camera support, from tripod to crane or Steadicam, since accessories can be hung from the rods rather than cluttering up the base plate. Available separately is the new Viewfinder Extension Bracket VEB-3 with a fold-out arm that holds the viewfinder in place when moving the camera.
ARRI is also offering an upgrade that will equip all Alexa cameras with the new XR (Xtended Recording) Module, which allows ARRIRAW to be recorded in-camera to an internal digital magazine. Getting rid of the need for external recording devices allows for easier camera setups and greater shooting flexibility.
The XR Module, co-developed with leading digital storage company Codex, consists of a side panel with various in-camera recording options and replaces the current SxS Module. ARRIRAW has previously required an external recording device such as Codex Onboard.
Marc Dando, managing director of Codex, said of the new XR Module: “During the transition from film to digital movie-making, ARRI and Codex have formed a strong collaborative partnership and have been fortunate enough to have been the choice for so many feature films over the last couple of years. We decided to tie the camera and recorder more closely together, based on input from our many customers around the world.”
Stephan Schenk, ARRI general manager of the camera and DI Systems business unit, added: “Capturing images uncompressed to a Codex recorder has absolutely convinced award-winning and VFX-heavy ALEXA productions such as Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Hugo and Skyfall. But many customers have asked us to further reduce size, weight and cost, and they also wanted higher frame rates. We are happy to now have a convincing answer – one that has been achieved in a great team effort between our two companies.”