ARRI has recently expanded the capabilities of both the Alexa Mini and Amira, enabling new shooting modes and other goodies.
Firmware updates are generally welcome news for film professionals that rely upon equipment, as these updates typically fix issues and offer new features that make the devices more capable and useful.
This week, it's ARRI's turn. The company has just released the SUP (Software Update Packet) 3.0 for Amira cameras. Here's a run-down of the new major features, reprinted from ARRI's release notes:
MPEG-2 recording, 50 MBit/s 422p@HL in MXF container
This new option allows recording with lower data rates and file sizes, while still maintaining a decent image quality. The format follows the specification for MPEG-2 422p@HL, it is limited to 50Mbit/s and the container format is MXF. The recordings are fully compatible with XDCAM HD environments and workflows. Supported frame rates are: 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50i, 59.94i fps.
ProRes 4444 XQ recording
With AMIRA Premium, it is now possible to record also in the highest ProRes quality 4444 XQ as already supported by the ALEXA and ALEXA Mini.
The data rate is about 392 Mbit/s at 1920/25p, which allows recording about 38 min onto a 128GB card. Supported frame rates range from 0.75 to 120 fps in HD/2K; and from 0.75 up to 30 fps in 4K UHD and 3.2K.
AMIRA Multicam interface
This new interface allows remote control of the AMIRA according to broadcast industry standard remote control panels like the Sony RCP-1500. This requires connecting the panel to a Sony CNA-1, which also allows the use of other RCP models from Sony, as well as Sony MSU (Master setup unit) panels. This includes support for remote iris control with B4 or PL ENG lenses.
The interface’s other functions include the return (PGM) input to be triggered by the ENG controls, as well as syncing to genlock with the option to phase-shift. The camera tally can be triggered by an Ethernet command, as well as a tally out signal that can be triggered by the record flag in the SDI stream. A more comprehensive white paper on the features and functions is available from ARRI sales representatives.
Support for Lexar CFast 2.0 cards
Lexar 128GB and 256GB 3600x (!) cards are supported with SUP 3.0. 64GB cards, 3400x cards and 3500x cards are NOT supported.
Interval recording (intervelometer), wi-fi remote control support and display overlays and enhancements have also been added to Amira's feature set. It seems that this update offers a little something for everyone, no matter what your use case.
Earlier in November, ARRI released its version of SUP 3.0 for Alexa Mini cameras, which included 4:3 2.8K Prores, an intervalometer, a stop motion mode, 2x anamorphic desqueeze for monitoring and support for those Lexar cards listed above. Please note: 4:3 Prores 2.8K and anamorphic desqueeze are in public beta, so there may be some weirdness.