An interview from the 2019 Cine Gear Expo at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles with Chase Hagen of ARRI. With headquarters located in Munich, Germany, ARRI was founded in 1917 and is the world's leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of motion picture camera, digital intermediate (DI) and lighting equipment. The ARRI group comprises a global network of subsidiaries and partners covering every facet of the film industry, including worldwide camera, grip and lighting equipment rental through ARRI Rental; turnkey lighting solutions through the ARRI System Group; and film production, postproduction, lab services, visual effects and distribution through ARRI Media.
In this interview Chase talks with us about the new ALEXA Mini LF camera. Combining the compact size and low weight of the popular ALEXA Mini with the large-format ALEXA LF sensor, ALEXA Mini LF brings exciting new creative possibilities to ARRI’s large-format camera system. Robust and reliable, it provides the best overall image quality for large-format shooting, and features three internal motorized FSND filters, 12 V power input, extra power outputs, a new Codex Compact Drive, and a new MVF-2 high-contrast HD viewfinder.
ARRI’s large-format camera system launched in 2018 and is based around a 4.5K version of the ALEXA sensor, which is twice the size and offers twice the resolution of ALEXA cameras in 35 format. This allows filmmakers to explore their own take on the large-format look, with improvements on the ALEXA sensor’s famously natural colorimetry, pleasing skin tones, low noise, and suitability for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) workflows. ALEXA Mini LF now joins the existing system elements: the high- speed ALEXA LF camera, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, LPL lens mount, PL-to- LPL adapter, and Lens Data System LDS-2. The combined feature sets and form factors of ARRI’s two large-format cameras encompass all on-set requirements.
Following in ARRI’s long tradition of manufacturing rugged, reliable cameras, ALEXA Mini LF is built for a prolonged life of tough usage in challenging professional conditions. With a hard-wearing carbon body and a uniquely wide temperature range of -20° C to +45° C (-4° F to +113° F), each ALEXA Mini LF is put through a vigorous stress test before leaving the ARRI factory and is then supported by ARRI’s global service centers.
While ALEXA Mini LF is compatible with almost all ALEXA Mini accessories, it brings significant enhancements to the Mini camera design. Among them are extra connectors, including regulated 12 V and 24 V accessory power; a new 6- pin audio connector; built-in microphones; and improved WiFi. Six user buttons now adorn the camera’s left side, and the camera and viewfinder each have their own lock button, while user access to the recording media, and VF and TC connectors, has been made easier.
ALEXA Mini LF allows internal recording of MXF/ARRIRAW or MXF/Apple ProRes in a variety of formats and aspect ratios, and is the first camera to feature the new Compact Drive recording media from Codex, an ARRI technology partner. Small and lightweight, but solidly built, the 1 TB drive offers a reliable, affordable recording solution. With it comes a USB-C Compact Drive Reader that can be used without any extra software or licenses on Mac or Windows computers. In addition, a Compact Drive Adapter can be used in any dock that accepts SXR Capture Drives, potentially more than doubling download speeds.
Another development from Codex now makes large-format shooting a more practical and budget-friendly option: Codex High Density Encoding (HDE) uses sophisticated, loss-less encoding to reduce ARRIRAW file sizes by around 40% during downloading or later in the workflow. This lowers storage costs, shortens transfer times, and speeds up workflows, which translates to a direct 40% saving in time and money. HDE is free-of-charge for use with Codex Capture or Compact Drives, openly shared, and fast: ARRIRAW Open Gate 4.5K can be encoded at 24 fps on a modern MacBook Pro.
At the heart of ARRI’s new MVF-2 viewfinder for the ALEXA Mini LF are the same high-contrast HD OLED display, color science, and ARRICAM eyepiece as in ALEXA LF’s EVF-2 viewfinder, allowing optimal judgement of focus, dynamic range, and color on set. In addition, the MVF-2 features a large, 4” flip-out monitor that can display the image or the camera control menu, providing maximum flexibility for different camera configurations. The MVF-2 can be used on either side of the camera and connects via a new, flexible, and reliable CoaXPress VF cable that has a reach of up to 10 m for remote camera operations. It features a refined user interface, a built-in eyepiece lens heater for de-fogging, and a built-in headphones connector.
ALEXA Mini LF cameras are scheduled to start shipping from mid-2019.
For more information visit: www.arri.com