Here she is.
I am not different from anyone else here on the Cow, so when there is a new toy in town I am really glad when I get to be one of the first inline. Stay tuned for the next week while I share my thoughts on a camera that is as much of a game changer as RED or the DSLRs have been.
First off, it is not my camera. Tom and the crew at Fletcher Camera are allowing me the first few days of bliss with their new toy this weekend and I am very thankful to be here, so lets take a look at what I have seen so far.
I am not the only tourist shooting the unboxing here is Tom taking the shot I posted yesterday.
Lets get to my first impressions.
Because Alexa is being released in limited numbers, there are only a very few of these cameras even available (maybe a couple of dozen worldwide) and Arri is the careful and cautious company that they have always been. There are a number of functions not yet enabled, but I will get to those that I am able to talk about publicly later in the week.
Alexa has a base ASA of 800, with what appears to be over 13 stops of latitude at that setting, but a range from 160-1600 in the menu.
She so quiet that you have look to be sure that it is on, easily accomplished by the bright and clear LCD on the side of the camera (that changes to green when recording).
The mechanical design is awesome, built in the manner that one would expect from Arnold and Richter, a company that has been building THE professional film camera for 90 years. Like the film cameras before it, Alexa is designed with both the DP and an assistant in mind, with buttons, knobs and mounting points that further define this as a truly professional camera system, designed to accept 99.5% of the existing Arri or other accessories and matte boxes. As an example - there is even an “O”ring around the external access to the SxS cards, these are used as seals underwater or in environments where dust or dirt could be an issue.
The menu structure of Alexa is going to put a lot of guys like me out of business. It is a simple, concise structure that is not a great leap from the early iPod, even having a wheel to make adjustments with. Creating a useable, functioning tree structure that accounts for the current state of the camera as well as placeholders for future additions to the architecture is not something I have ever seen on ANY professional camera but exactly the attention to detail that Arri has put into their digital flagship.
Recording options offer the user access to ProRes capture internally on Sony’s 32GB SxS media cards that offer 19+min of ProRes 422 HQ(@ 10bits) and 15 mins of ProRes 4444 (up to12bits). This camera has been configured so that I am able to test some of the features that have been announced but not yet ready to be publicly released, including the ability to capture of all 5 flavors of ProRes, test the ability to capture externally capture uncompressed or the full 2880 x1620 raster to be available in ArriRaw.
Arri’s Raw format is not anything new, actually over 5 years old, starting on the D20 then later modified on the upgraded D21, a magnificent camera that was not popular until the last year or so, with FOX’s “Lie To Me” being one of the few episodic series that embraced it.
Michael Bravin and Fletcher Director of Engineering Mike Sippel with Alexa.
Later I will cover the menus, recording, monitoring and output modes along with some of the hidden things that make you understand why this just might be the biggest leap in digital filmmaking since RED One was released.
That's all for today - I'm going back to playing with the camera.