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ARRI ALEXA Software Update Packet (SUP) 9.0 Released

Munich - ARRI has announced the availability of Software Update Packet (SUP) 9.0 for all ARRI ALEXA cameras. In addition to numerous improvements to the user interface, SUP 9.0 adds a slew of exciting new features including new recording capabilities, new codec options, new recording media and expanded support for accessories.

By optimizing the image pipeline, ARRI has increased the maximum frame rate of the highest quality ProRes codec (ProRes 4444) to 120 fps in 16:9 HD mode. This requires ALEXA XT cameras or ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module upgrade and the use of XR Capture Drives or CFast 2.0 cards. It is now possible to keep shooting ProRes 4444, no matter what the frame rate.

DNxHD will be available in 444 for all cameras with a DNxHD license. Developed in close collaboration with Avid, the 10 bit DNxHD 444 codec delivers high color fidelity and image quality, which provides an excellent basis for creative grading, colour keying and multi-generational finishing and mastering. DNxHD 444 clips can be recorded at up to 30 fps on 32 GB SxS PRO cards and up to 60 fps on 64GB SxS PRO cards, CFast 2.0 cards or XR Capture Drives.

In response to requests from nature documentary cinematographers, ARRI has developed ProRes pre-recording for all ALEXA cameras. When pre-record is enabled and the REC button is pushed for the first time, the camera continuously captures images, audio and metadata into a temporary ring buffer. When the REC button is pushed a second time, the camera keeps everything in the buffer and continues to record from there, making it possible to capture unpredictable events.

The greater processing power and careful sensor selection of ALEXA XT cameras make possible the new Open Gate sensor mode, which records the entire sensor area in ARRIRAW. While 16:9 and 4:3 modes will remain the standard for most ALEXA capture, some specific situations will benefit greatly from Open Gate mode, including wide-angle establishing shots, image repositioning, resizing, rotating or stabilizing, native 3.4K VFX work, special venue projects or up-scaling to 4K.

From SUP 9.0 on, all ALEXA XT cameras and all ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module upgrade can use the new CFast 2.0 Adapter to record to CFast 2.0 cards. These cards, which are also used for the ARRI AMIRA camera, offer high data rates for up to 120 fps of ProRes 4444 in a robust, reliable and cost-effective package.

With SUP 9.0, ALEXA features the ability to detect an incomplete metadata file, as can be caused by a sudden power loss, compare it with the recorded frames and reconstruct it, allowing the media to be used again.

Support for the Cooke /i protocol as part of the ARRI Lens Data System (LDS), already present in ALEXA XT/XR cameras, will now be extended to ALEXA Classic cameras with a PL-LDS mount. Being able to recognize the ARRI LDS, as well as the Cooke /i system, allows ALEXA to read and record lens metadata from all lenses with built-in encoders for more efficient working on the set and speedier VFX in post.

The Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 now offers an even tighter integration with ALEXA cameras, including proper display of pre-recording status, the ability to switch from regular speed to high speed, and a software switch for lens motor direction.

With the availability of the new 2x and 1.4x Alura Extenders, ALEXAs with a PL-LDS mount will recognize that such an extender has been installed on an LDS lens, or on a non-LDS lens used with the Lens Data Archive. The camera will record the properly re-calculated lens metadata values and show them on all numeric displays.

As always, this SUP continues to improve the ALEXA user interface with many changes including new indications (amongst others: 'Small center dot' and 'Audio disabled' for all cameras, and 'ND filter on/off' for ALEXA Studio) and an improved EVF-1 and MON OUT display in 4:3 mode. It also includes the addition of a PHASE user button for synching the phase of the camera to an external source, like a CRT monitor or rear screen projector, and an increased color correction range.

5th December 2013

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