ARRI’s ALEXA is getting an update, via a free Software Update Packet (SUP 9.0), which has just gone into final testing and offers higher speed recording, pre-record, self-healing metadata and support for SanDisk’s new CFast 2.0 media.
The maximum frame rate of the highest quality ProRes codec (ProRes 4444) can now go to 120 fps in 16:9 HD mode, thanks to the higher data transfer rates available on either XR Capture Drives or CFast 2.0 cards.
Nature documentary cinematographers have been asking for pre-record and following SUP 9.0 the camera will continuously capture images, audio and metadata into a temporary buffer (on the recording medium). When the REC button is pushed, what is in the buffer is saved. The pre-record duration depends on the chosen ProRes codec, aspect ratio, recording resolution and frame rate. For example, buffer times for ProRes 4444 16:9 HD at 24fps, at short, medium and long settings, are 4, 13 and 21 seconds. DNxHD will also be available in 444 for those cameras with a DNxHD license.
ALEXA will gain self-healing metadata – the ability to detect an incomplete metadata file, compare it with the recorded frames and reconstruct it, to stop the camera refusing the media for further recording. Support for Cooke’s /i protocol as part of the ARRI Lens Data System (LDS) is extended to ALEXA Classic cameras with a PL-LDS mount. The camera will also recognise if the new 2x and 1.4x Alura Extenders have been fitted and recalculate lens metadata values.
The high-end ALEXA XT can now go ‘open gate’, to use all 3434x3303 pixels on the sensor, ideal for anyone shooting plates, doing visual effects or needing stabilisation. It is also a free software upgrade.