HPA 2011: Arri's Alexa, Codex's recorder, media clouds & storage

Posted By Tom Coughlin on February 17, 2011 01:07 pm | Permalink

Arri’s new digital camera, Alexa, was on display at the Codex table in the demo room at the HPA Retreat.  The Alexa records 2880x1620 pixel in a 12-bit ARRIRAW format, with capacity of about 10GB per minute. Image formats supported include 12-bit ARRIRAW, 10-bit HD-SDI, 12-bit ProRes 4444, or any other 10-bit ProRes formats. The whole exposure range of the captured image is mapped from the 16-bit range into the respective target output range. The camera is set up to use SxS Pro flash memory cards, but other recorders can be used, such as the one made by Codex, described below. The Alexa has a 3.5K sensor with 800 EI base sensitivity.  
Codex is offering a digital on-board recorder that is compatible with the Alexa. This flash memory-based solid state drive device comes in 128-512GB  storage capacities (about 25 and 50 minutes of recording time for 12-bit ARRIRAW video). The Codex recorder can record uncompressed or wavelet cinema quality HD materials plus audio and metadata. After shooting, captured material can be offloaded at faster than realtime. The company provides a desktop transfer station that can be used for these data transfers. The recorder interface can be run remotely on a computer or using a Bluetooth remote control. Data conversions with the Codex recorder are processed on the fly by a multi-core processor system. Supported file types include Avid MXFR (including INC, DNXHD and 3D CNXHD), DPX, QuickTime and ARRIRAW.
Some other interesting exhibits at the HPA Retreat included TATA Communications (an Indian Company), which is offering cloud based media tools using their Enterprise Mosaic. TATA is offering a managed file delivery service with accelerated transfers and auto resume with their Content Flow. The company’s Content Vault enables searchable storage and recovery of media content, and its Content Transform provides cloud-based transcoding and publishing for media content. Nirvanix was also showing cloud offerings that are being used by NBC Universal. DataDirect Networks was showing the latest version of their S2A high performance storage system. Direct recording of workflow content onto LTO drives was demonstrated by 1 Beyond, and Cache-A discussed their use of file-based LTO tapes for modern workflows.
Thomas Coughlin is the founder of Coughlin Associates ( www.tomcoughlin.com ), a data storage consulting firm based in Atascadero, CA.