Users of ARRI’s documentary-style Amira camera will be able to upgrade to recording Ultra HD at up to 60 frames per second, in a paid firmware update due later this year.
It will record all ProRes codecs in UHD directly onto the in-camera CFast 2.0 cards, thanks to what Arri promises will be “an affordable software license (and a sensor calibration for existing Amiras)”.
The Alexa/Amira sensor has already proved it can deliver the image quality needed for 4K or even Imax theatrical releases of such films such as Gravity, Maleficent and Iron Man 3, but this requires post production up-sampling, which may not be suitable for fast-turnaround or lower-budget documentaries.
The Amira’s UHD output uses the same efficient 1.2x up-sample filter that allows Alexa’s Open Gate mode to optimise image performance for 4K, which will take place in camera — in realtime.
Wildlife cinematographer Rolf Steinmann, who was nominated for an Emmy for his work with Alexa on the BBC’s Wild Arabia, is currently using his Amira on a movie for Disney Nature. “For cameramen like me who own their gear, the UHD upgrade is a great way to stay future proof. From now on when there’s pressure from the production side to deliver UHD, I can continue to work with Amira and won’t have to compromise on image quality or on the camera’s robustness and reliability,” he said.