NAB 2013: ARRI Upgrades Alexa & Shows Off Anamorphic Lenses
COW Library : ARRI : Debra Kaufman : NAB 2013: ARRI Upgrades Alexa & Shows Off Anamorphic Lenses
ARRI's Alexa camera has been hugely popular since its introduction in early 2010, and ARRI promised modular upgradability and software updates. At NAB 2013, ARRI once again made good on that promise, now offering the XR Module and several (though not all) key components of the Alexa XT configuration as upgrades to Alexa owners. The Alexa XR Module, comprised of a side panel and circuit board that replaces the current SxS Module, allows in-camera ARRIRAW recording up to 120 fps onto 512 GB XR Capture Drives. The result is a smaller, lighter camera package and simplified set-up and operation.
The Internal Filter Module (IFM-1) upgrade allows the cinematographer to use special internal Neutral Density (ND) filters, and is available for all classic Alexas (except the Alexa Studio, which has its own motorized ND filter). Internal filtration reduces reflections, protects the sensor from dirt during lens changes, and is lighter and easier to use than matte box filters. The new full spectrum neutral density (FSND) filters offer neutral color balance at all densities, high contrast through anti-reflective multi-coating and high image sharpness through precision polishing.
The Viewing Mounting Bracket (VMB-1) upgrade offers greater operating comfort, and enhanced flexibility. The Alexa XT Fan upgrade makes the Alexa even quieter in all environments and is available for all classic Alexas. The Viewfinder Extension Bracket (VEB-3) offers a new sturdy design; blue safety catch and foldout arm that holds the viewfinder when moving the camera. The Heated Eyecup (HE-6) is designed for Alexa EVF-1 and is an additional heating element with a spring-loaded mechanical lock.
The renaissance of anamorphic lenses was another ARRI story at NAB 2013. Each Alexa XT model is equipped with a 4:3 sensor, the same size and shape as a Super 35 mm film frame, for most effective use of anamorphic lenses. An anamorphic de-squeeze license is included with all ALEXA XT cameras, as is a high-speed license for filming at up to 120 fps. At NAB 2013, ARRI screened A Trip to Remember, a short film directed by Roberto de Angelis and shot by French cinematographer Michel Abramowicz, AFC.
At NAB 2013, ARRI screened A Trip to Remember, a short film directed by Roberto de Angelis and shot by French cinematographer Michel Abramowicz, AFC
The first three focal lengths of the ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphic lens series are slated to ship in May (the MA35, MA50 and MA75), and ARRI loaned the first production model, a 50 mm MA50 lens, to Abramowicz, who described his positive experience. "Of course we only had one lens, which made it easier, but it was clear to me that with the Master Anamorphics you could do a movie in the same way as a regular spherical movie," he said. "You wouldn't need additional people and changing location wouldn't be any harder. Always in the past I would push to work in anamorphic but the producers knew it would be more expensive in terms of people and transportation, but now those days are over, which I'm very glad about. Now, if anamorphic is right for the movie, then there is no reason not to use it -- everybody can work in anamorphic today."
ARRI also showed Pro Camera Accessories for the Sony F5/F55. The ARRI base plate makes the Sony cameras compatible with lightweight support standards and includes a built-in "Touch and Go 35" plate, allowing the camera to be mounted to a head or anything else with a standard quick release plate. Two ARRI rosettes extend out to the sides of the base plate to attach handgrip systems and extensions. The base plate also accepts studio bridge plates such as the ARRI BP-8 or BP-9.
The ARRI base plate makes the Sony cameras compatible with lightweight support standards and includes a built-in "Touch and Go 35" plate.
The top plate is designed to offer multiple mounting interfaces for accessories. An ARRI handle can be attached at three different positions; the Sony handle is still compatible. The top plate can also be used as a low mode plate for Steadicam shots. An optional 15 mm lightweight support rod adapter can be attached to the front of the plate, optically centered to the camera.
The Viewfinder Adapter VFA-1 allows the mounting of Sony viewfinders to all ARRI 3/8- 16" interfaces so they can be attached at the best ergonomic position, in combination with the ARRI top plate and handle. Also shown is the ARRI shoulder pad, which mounts to the underside of the cameras via a hand screw, and the new viewfinder plug protector, to protect the Sony viewfinder cable connector against stress and damage.
Also at NAB 2013 were the new 1.4x and 2.0x Alura LDS Extenders for extending the focal length range of the ARRI/FUJINON Alura Zoom lenses. Via the protocol of the ARRI Lens Data System (LDS), these new extenders can transfer lens metadata to the camera from the ARRI/FUJINON Alura Lightweight Zooms, ARRI/ZEISS Master Prime and ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime LDS lenses. The extenders are perfectly color-matched with the four Alura Zooms.
The new 1.4x and 2.0x Alura LDS Extenders for extending the focal length range of the ARRI/FUJINON Alura Zoom lenses
Also in the booth was the lightweight matte box LMB-6, which succeeds the classic LMB-4A; the LMB-6 makes the innovations of the LMB-25 available for filters up to 6.6" x 6.6", meaning that a lightweight matte box to be utilized even when extremely wide angle lenses are used on the camera.
ARRI also introduced the new Cage System II, a base plate solution that allows standard 15mm accessories to be used with Canon 1Dc and 1Dx DSLR cameras. ARRI also released two new additions to the L-Series range of LED Fresnels: a tuneable tungsten model, the L7-TT, and an optional active cooling version of all L7 models.
Two new additions to the L-Series range of LED Fresnels: a tuneable tungsten model, the L7-TT, and an optional active cooling version of all L7 models
In conclusion, what interests me the most is the imminent delivery of ARRI's new anamorphic lenses. I've heard so much buzz from cinematographers over the last few months about the return of the anamorphic feature film. Once they ship - in only a few weeks - we may indeed see a renaissance of shooting with anamorphic lenses. I can hardly wait.
Follow Debra Kaufman on Twitter @MobilizedDebra