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ARRI Unveils Alexa 35 Camera

ARRI
(Image credit: ARRI)

MUNICH, Germany—ARRI has announced the new Alexa 35 camera, a 4K Super 35 camera that offers native 4K and 120 fps and features ARRI’s first new sensor in 12 years.

The new sensor, which is capable of capturing 17 stops of dynamic range, offers a number of technical advances that deliver 2.5 stops more dynamic range, better low light performance, and richer colors. 

ARRI noted that Alexa 35 measures 17 stops of dynamic range (exposure latitude), far more than any other digital cinema camera. It has 1.5 stops more in the highlights and one stop more in the shadows than previous Alexa cameras, while retaining the naturalistic film-like highlight roll-off. 

Sophisticated stray-light suppression in the camera and lens mounts ensures that the full contrast range and character of each lens are captured by the sensor, the company also said. 

Together, the increased dynamic range and stray light control make it easier to handle any lighting conditions on set, increase flexibility in post, and provide the best source for HDR (High Dynamic Range) projects.

With low noise and sensitivity settings ranging from EI 160 to EI 6400, Alexa 35 is a “High ISO” camera, ARRI reported. 

An optional Enhanced Sensitivity Mode can be applied to settings between EI 2560 and EI 6400, producing an even cleaner image in low light. This exceptional sensitivity, combined with the wider dynamic range and stray-light suppression, allows Alexa 35 to capture the most delicate nuances of light and shadow in more situations than ever before, ARRI reported. 

Based on discussions with filmmakers and careful review of the image pipeline, the camera also features significant improvements in image quality and a faster, easier workflow. 

These improvements include Reveal Color Science, a suite of new image processing steps used by Alexa 35 internally and also available through leading third-party post-production tools for ARRIRAW processing. 

It includes an improved debayering algorithm for cleaner compositing, a new color engine for more accurate color reproduction, a new wide gamut color space for faster grading, new LogC4 encoding to contain the increased dynamic range, and new LogC4 LUTs (Look Up Tables) for improved color fidelity.

While bringing out the best of the Alexa 35’s new sensor, Reveal Color Science is also backwards compatible. ARRIRAW footage captured by Alexa LF and Mini LF cameras can be processed with REVEAL Color Science, gaining many of its advantages. This means that the Alexa 35 and ARRI’s large-format cameras can be combined on set and can also share LogC4 LUTs in post.

With its Super 35 4:3 native 4K sensor, Alexa 35 can be used with a vast global inventory of existing lenses—modern and vintage, anamorphic and spherical, Super 35 and large format. Filmmakers wanting to shoot with ARRI cameras while having to fulfill 4K mandates now have an immeasurably broader lens choice.

Another new feature is ARRI Textures, which allows cinematographers to fundamentally alter the way in which the camera records images, should they wish to, the company said. 

Up until now, Alexa cameras have been pre-programmed with a default texture that determines the amount and character of grain in the image, and the amount of contrast at different levels of detail, perceived by the viewer as sharpness. For the first time, Alexa 35 provides the option to choose from a menu of ARRI Textures, much like selecting a film stock.  

In addition, Alexa 35 is the smallest fully-featured ARRI production camera ever, packing the features and processing power of a “larger” Alexa into a Mini-sized body, the company said. 

The camera also features a simple menu structure; support for 1TB and 2TB Codex Compact Drives; and MVF-2 viewfinder, now with HDR. 

Fast and easy operation is assured through a new left-side display, Advanced Color Match, pre-recording capability, and a slew of usability improvements such as additional user buttons, the company said. 

A total of 19 recording formats, incorporating efficient in-camera down-sampling and anamorphic de-squeezing, allow productions to optimize data rate, resolution, and other parameters, based on their individual needs. Mixed reality and virtual productions will benefit from the camera’s ability to record lens metadata in all common standards and output real-time streaming metadata to ARRI’s Live Link Metadata Plug-in for Unreal Engine.

ARRI is also offering a new line of bespoke Alexa 35 accessories that expand the camera’s capabilities and ensure maximum speed and versatility on set. 

Closely integrated electronic accessories offer additional power outputs or extended audio features. A complete new set of mechanical support items provides flexible options for any shooting situation, scaling quickly and easily from a small and lightweight setup to a full-blown production configuration.

Alexa 35 is supported by ARRI’s full suite of online tools, as well as free-of-charge standalone apps like the iPhone/iPad Camera Companion App, ARRI Reference Tool, and ARRIRAW HDE Transcoder.

Temperature resistant, splash and dust-proof, and conceived with future hardware and software updates in mind, Alexa 35 delivers robust and reliable service on set, a long product cycle, and a safe return on investment, the company reported. 

To learn more about Alexa 35, visit www.arri.com/alexa35 (opens in new tab).

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.