Las Vegas — Arri is at NAB this year with its new documentary-style camera, the Amira. It ships this month and will be available in a range of upgradeable packages. In other Arri news the Alexa is getting a free software update packet, the SUP 10.0.
First let’s dig into Amira news. The camera offers high-quality images and CFast 2.0 workflows with a design optimized for single-operator use and extended shoulder-mounted operation. Amira features in-camera grading with preloaded 3D LUTs, as well as 200fps slow motion. It is suitable for a variety of productions, from reporting and corporate films to TV drama and low-budget films.
The 3D LUTs are designed to help productions get into post more quickly. These 3D LUT-based looks that can be applied on set during the shoot. Alternatively, productions can custom build their own 3D LUTs in external grading systems, load them into the camera during prep, and modify them in-camera while filming.
Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud is the first nonlinear editing system supporting the color management of Amira QuickTime ProRes files. Premiere can apply look files (including 3D LUTs) that are included in Amira files and convert automatically from Log C to REC 709 within a fail-safe system. Similar announcements for other major post production tools are expected to follow soon.
There are three camera configurations to choose from, each offering different feature sets. Customers then complete their package by selecting whatever combination of lens mount, battery mount and bottom plate meets their needs. Whichever Amira camera set is initially chosen, it can be upgraded with additional functionality by purchasing a license at www.arri.com.
The Economical – Amira Camera Set includes HD 1080i and 1080p; 0.75-100fps; ProRes 422 and 422 (LT) recording in Rec 709; three looks; adjustable in-camera image parameters for knee, gamma and saturation; peaking for focus control; zebra and false color for exposure control.
The All-Rounder – Amira Advanced includes additional features to the Economical package, such as 100-200fps; ProRes 422 (HQ) recording; Log C; unlimited Look functions; import Looks; ASC CDL in-camera grading; dynamic auto-tracking white balance; WiFi remote control; Bluetooth audio monitoring; pre-record function.
In addition to the All-Rounder – Amira Advnanced, the All-Inclusive – Amira Premium features include 2K (2048 x 1152) and ProRes 4444 recording; import custom 3D LUTs. Pricing starts at $39,999.
Arri is also offering further enhancements to the Alexa with the Software Update Packet SUP 10.0, to be available free of charge in the fourth quarter of 2014. Based on customer feedback, it offers 180º Image Rotation. This feature rotates the image 180º in the viewfinder, on Rec Out and Mon Out and sets a metadata flag. The recorded image is not rotated, but can be easily rotated in almost all post software, with some rotating even automatically based on the metadata flag (like the ArriRaw converter or Codex software). This feature allows Steadicam operators to quickly grab a low perspective when flipping the Steadicam upside down. It also supports the Arri Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5 — 18 mm lens, since the image is rotated 180º in relation to what most other lenses deliver. Rec Out = Clean Mon Out brings back a clean Rec Out for those modes where in the past the Rec Out became a Mon Out clone. These modes include high speed, ProRes 2K, 4:3 and Open Gate.
Fast Switch Between Regular and High Speed offers switching from regular speed (0.75 to 60 fps) to high speed (60 to 120 fps) currently takes about 40 seconds — an eternity when the entire cast and crew are ready for the next take. This switching procedure will be optimized for a quicker turnaround. Open Gate for Alexa M offers Open Gate mode, i.e. recording all available photo sites on the Alexa sensor, has been available since SUP 9.0 for Alexa XT, Alexa XT Plus and Alexa XT Studio. With SUP 10 we are extending this feature to the Alexa XT M, after numerous requests from aerial cinematographers worldwide.