The ARRI ALEXA is a Digital Cinema camera designed to meet the needs of real, working cinematographers and producers, not as some theoretical concept of what a camera should be. In every aspect of its design, the ALEXA is a model of versatility and flexibility, fitting into existing production workflows and deliverable outputs for post. No jumping through hoops to shoot with this Digital Cinema camera. The machine serves as an instrument of the craft instead of an impediment to it.
For crews accustomed to broadcast cameras or 35mm film cameras, ALEXA’s user interface is familiar and comfortable in the field. ALEXA is small and lightweight and runs very quiet without getting hot. The controls are clearly marked and positioned logically for intuitive use. Commonly used controls are available on the operator’s side of the camera, while the assistant’s side offers a deeper, yet easily-navigated, menu interface with a large LCD display panel. The camera is comfortable to handhold and sports an all-new, full color, fully orientable F-LCOS HD viewfinder that can show a 10% look-around area to the recorded image. ALEXA has built-in lightweight 15mm front rod mounts and can be accessorized for either broadcast-style V-lock tripod plates or film-style sliding bridgeplates in 15mm or 19mm studio. The camera can be powered over industry standard Anton Bauer or V-mount onboard 12v batteries or large, off-camera 24v block batteries. ALEXA can be used as a fully accessorized feature-style studio camera, or stripped down for handheld use.
There are many post-production paths to choose from these days, based upon your technical specifications, production schedule and budgetary requirements. ALEXA can fit into any of these, and the necessary hardware and software is already widely in use. Just choose what is best for your production’s needs.
Shoot to Edit allows recording to ProRes4444 or ProRes422 directly on small SxS memory cards. A 32GB card can hold 15 (4444) or 20 (422) minutes of 1920×1080 HD video, and the cards can be hot-swapped in the camera and loaded directly into a Final Cut Pro or latest Avid Media Composer system for immediate editing. Uncompressed HD (4:4:4 or 4:2:2) is also available directly out of the camera in 1920×1080. For true “digital negative” control of the image, 12-bit ARRIRAW data in 3.5K resolution is available directly off the sensor without any compression.
ARRI knows that pixel count isn’t everything; MTF (functional resolution) is what really matters. In essence, MTF represents how much information one can perceive within the image. Since the vast majority of productions will, for some time, continue to be finished in 1920×1080 HD video, ALEXA offers two paths for optimal workflow and image quality in this output. ProRes is an impressive, high quality codec that is often used as a project’s deliverable format. In these instances, Shoot to Edit recording with ProRes over SxS cards is a fast and easy process, both on set and in post, yielding very high quality results. By oversampling the sensor 1.5x times to scale down to the HD image, ALEXA improves Dynamic Range, reduces noise and aliasing and raises MTF. For feature films or projects requiring heavy post-processing, the full sensor data is available in the ARRIRAW file. Having both these choices available within the camera makes for a versatile machine.
And finally there’s one more appealing aspect to ALEXA – it’s from ARRI. The reputation, craftsmanship and design excellence of this venerable industry leader brings a great deal of comfort to the legions of ARRI customers worldwide. After nearly a century of motion picture camera design and manufacturing, ARRI has certainly earned this level of trust and respect from discerning industry professionals.