ALEXA Mini Footage
We’ve been really excited about the arrival of Arri’s ALEXA Mini for a long time and in March we were given the prototype for a promo shoot making us the first UK UAV operator to get footage with it. We took it to Switzerland for a shoot that involved all sorts of different movement down the mountains, from carrying it on the Cinestar HL to snow boarding with the Freefly MōVI 15 and a good old Fig Rig on a paraglider.
We’ve been carrying big cameras like the RED and Sony FS7 for a while now, and they’ll no doubt remain popular for their markets, but the ALEXA Mini stole the show at both BVE and NAB and orders are already far in excess of Arri’s original expectations. Michael Jonas lead the project and designed the camera with drone and gimbal work in mind so the form factor and weight distribution is perfect and there is literally nothing bad to say about it from an operator’s point of view. We’ll be one of the first in the UK to receive the camera when it ships in May/June 2015.
With amazing support from Arri, Teradek and post production house Clearcut Pictures here is our first ALEXA Mini footage. https://vimeo.com/124741280
Here are our good friends Dan Chung and Michael Jonas at NAB discussing the ALEXA Mini.
What Arri Say
Strength and agility through state-of-the-art materials
To maintain ARRI’s famously rugged build quality in a small and lightweight camera, a number of unique design solutions have been incorporated. These include highly integrated and sealed electronics, a lightweight carbon housing and a solid titanium PL mount that connects directly with the new internal sensor mount – also made of titanium – to ensure a super-stable flange focal distance, even when using large lenses. Nimble in use and hardy on set, the ALEXA Mini is a go-anywhere tool, easy to transport in backpacks or as carry-on luggage.
Versatile mounting and shooting options
The ALEXA Mini can be operated in a number of ways: by wireless remote control, as a normal camera with the ARRI MVF-1 multi viewfinder attached, or with an on-board monitor and controlled via the user button interface on the camera body. Light enough to be comfortably held at arm’s length in a hand rig, its compact size and extremely quiet operation also make it ideal for tight shooting conditions.
The symmetrical design permits filming in any orientation, including upside-down and in portrait mode, while multiple accessory points enable highly creative mounting solutions. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s interchangeable lens mount can be replaced with any of those designed for the ARRI AMIRA, allowing the use of B4 video and EF mount stills lenses.
Uncompromised image quality for specialized shots
The overwhelming advantage of the ALEXA Mini is that it marries such a compact and lightweight form factor with the same unparalleled image quality that has made the ARRI ALEXA system a gold standard for the industry. Combine the Mini with any other ALEXA camera and you will have perfectly matched images, even on anamorphic productions – thanks to the 4:3 sensor and automatic de‑squeeze function. Workflows will also be identical, with options to record ProRes or uncompressed ARRIRAW either in-camera to CFast 2.0 cards or to a specially-designed external Codex recorder.
Save time on set
With the ALEXA Mini, no extra time need be spent on set configuring third-party cameras previously required for specialized shots, or on wrangling the image files coming out of them. Multi-camera setups such as 360° plate shots will be made simpler and faster by the external Codex recorder, which can record image streams from up to four ALEXA Minis simultaneously. The camera’s maximum frame rate of 200 fps means it can also be used for stunning slow-motion cinematography, saving further time and money on set by doing away with the need for a separate high-speed camera.
Save time in post
In the past, productions combining small cameras from other manufacturers with an ARRI ALEXA shooting kit have encountered time-consuming difficulties in the grade, trying to match images from those cameras to ALEXA’s famously natural colorimetry and pleasing skin tones. With the ALEXA Mini these difficulties are eliminated because all images come from the same sensor and share the same color space. The ability to use CDLs and 3D LUTs in-camera for on-set color management will also reduce time and money spent in post.
Integrated lens motor control and ND filters, perfect for gimbals and multicopters
The ALEXA Mini’s camera body has been designed with new-generation brushless gimbals, multicopters and other specialized rigs in mind. It is compact enough in the lens direction to allow the use of standard PL mount lenses even on lightweight and space-constrained rigs, such as gyro-stabilized aerial systems. The camera’s superb low-light performance makes it perfect for underwater work, and dedicated underwater housings are currently being developed by leading manufacturers.
Future-proof technology with 4K UHD, HDR and HFR recording
Like the ARRI AMIRA, the ALEXA Mini can record 4K UHD ProRes images, facilitating real-time 4K UHD output and simple pipelines for high-resolution deliverables. More important than this, however, is the fact that the Mini and all other ARRI cameras with the ALEV III sensor offer unrivalled overall image quality by focusing not just on spatial resolution, but also on other image quality parameters such as dynamic range.
Better pixels, not just more
ARRI’s approach is unique in that it does not prioritize one element of image quality over any other. To achieve the highest overall image quality, ARRI uses bigger and better pixels on the sensor, rather than smaller pixels in larger numbers. The result is that ALEXA captures a wider dynamic range, truer colors, lower noise and more natural skin tones than other cameras, whether the chosen output is HD, 2K, 4K UHD or one of the native resolution outputs like uncompressed ARRIRAW 2.8K or ProRes 3.2K. This approach is vindicated by the huge numbers of professional filmmakers who choose ALEXA after extensive real‑world comparative testing.
Safe for future industry standards
Images from the ALEXA Mini are uniquely suited to next‑generation HDR (High Dynamic Range) displays, which are likely to play a role in defining future format standards. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s camera speeds of 0.75 – 200 fps allow it to be used not just for slow‑motion shots, but also for HFR (High Frame Rate) acquisition, which might constitute another strand of future standards. ARRI’s holistic approach to image quality makes ALEXA the most future-proof camera system available today, and the safest investment for tomorrow.