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Arri Alexa cameras get 4.0 software update

July 7, 2011
Arri Alexa cameras get 4.0 software update MUNICH, GERMANY — Arri has updated the software for its Alexa and Alexa Plus film-style cameras with the Software Update Packet (SUP) 4.0. All new Alexa cameras will have SUP 4.0 installed, and all existing cameras can be upgraded to SUP 4.0 via a download from http://www.arri.com/downloads/alexa.

Arri also reports two more models of the camera are due to release before the end of 2011: the Alexa Studio, featuring an optical viewfinder and 4:3 sensor; and Alexa M, with a separate camera head for 3D applications and tight shooting environments.

But now back to the SUP 4.0 updates, many of which are based on feedback from film and television pros who are working with Alexa on productions. Here are some new offerings from SUP 4.0, for both the Alexa and the Alexa Plus:

- Custom looks via Arri Look Files: You can now apply a customized look to all Alexa outputs through the Arri Look File, which alters the way the camera image is converted to video color spaces.

- New SxS Pro card options: Audio playback from SxS Pro cards is now possible. When playing back a clip, the audio is output as embedded audio on Rec Out, Mon Out, and as an analog audio signal through the headphones jack. A new option to disable SxS recording switches off the compression and SxS boards inside Alexa but still outputs the HD-SDI record flag.

- Auto White Balance: In addition to the white balance options already available, the new Auto White Balance can automatically determine the red/blue white balance and green/magenta CC values.

- Anamorphic de-squeeze: The first Alexa feature to be enabled with the purchase of a license key, anamorphic de-squeeze allows images shot with 2x or 1.3x anamorphic lenses to be displayed in their proper aspect ratio on set, either in the viewfinder or on a monitor.

- Peaking focus check: The new peaking function makes it easier to determine if an area is in focus or not by highlighting everything that is in focus, either in the viewfinder or on a monitor.

- False color exposure check for Log C images: The false color exposure check available in the viewfinder and the monitor output will now show accurate exposure levels for Log C images as well as Rec 709 and DCI P3.

- Fan improvements for hot shooting conditions: Alexa now achieves silent running at ambient temperatures of up to +30 °C with the fan set to ‘Regular’ mode. When it’s even hotter on set, ‘Rec Low’ mode runs the fan fast during standby to pre-cool the camera, but slowly and silently during recording.

- Image comparison options for the camera operator: Return In video has been enabled, allowing the camera operator to see a reference image such as a second camera feed or a previz image with VFX elements already added. In addition, a JPEG still image can be loaded from the SD card into the camera and displayed for comparison with the live image.
Here are new features of SUP 4.0 for the Alexa Plus only:

- Master/Slave lens motor control and 3D sync: When two Alexa Plus cameras are connected in Master/Slave mode, the motors of the slave camera will follow the motors of the master camera. 3D lens sync ensures that in a Master/Slave setup, the focus, zoom and iris on the slave camera lens precisely follows the lens on the master camera.

- Enhanced Lens Data System (LDS) integration: LDS information can now be displayed in the viewfinder or on the monitor, detailing the lens being used and its settings. Even non-LDS lenses can be displayed, as long as the lens profile has been added to the Lens Data Archive.

- Electronic level: A virtual horizon can be displayed on the monitor or in the viewfinder; its sensitivity can be adjusted in five stages.

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