Fletcher's Dana Hill and Arri's Michael Bravin through the camera's eye
Ok, for me camera testing is not just fun and games just going out to shoot pretty pictures in my world it is often the really boring testing that shows me something cool. I was doing what I call Runtime tests, where you shoot a slate running for the length of a record to check for any discrepancies between formats and capture modes.
My first surprise?
Short of pulling the SxS card out of the camera while recording, I was not able to corrupt the ProRes content on the SxS media.I tried everything I could think of that happens with P2 or the EX formats that cause corruption and I was not able to corrupt the content, however note that there is no card to card or spanning of the recording across 2 cards in the camera at this time.
The various flavors of ProRes and their recording times on the 32G SxS media listed below should only be used as a guide, the ProRes workflow is still being tested and is labeled as beta by Arri. All SxS recordings are using standard 1920x1080 frame rasters.
ProRes 4444 15min
ProRes HQ 22min
The other frame rates were removed at Arri's request. I jumped the gun a little.
Fletcher's Mike Sippel and I discuss Alexa
I am not going to be shy about saying that all cameras at this production level consume quantities of power, and while Alexa is nowhere near the needs of Sony's f23 and f35 with Onboard SR recording, where you can literally watch the batteries drain in real time.
Alexa does consume her fair share of power- I get about 90 -100 Minutes on an standard Anton Bauer Hytron 140 gold mount, I was surprised that the smaller Dionic 90 gave me nearly an hour of runtime, this is amazing when you take into account that Alexa is native 24V power and it is doing live 12v to 24v internally to power the camera and accessory ports ( the camera has both 24v and 12v power output ports)
Yet there is no need to be nervous about the power consumption, Arri has done done something I have not seen so far in a digital cinema camera, truly intelligent power management. If you are recording when your batteries start dying, the camera closes out the record, saving the file completely before fully shutting the camera down. You have the ability to change the remaining percentage of available, but Arri has the percentages close enough that I would leave them where they are. This was a big surprise, I have been one of the many people burned when not using RED Batteries during a shoot and the camera died without first closing out the file, loosing 20mins on the "A" camera during a concert shoot.
Tomorrow I will be talking about Speed and Sensitivity, I am going to leave you with this image, shot with available window light on the kitchen island in my loft on a partly cloudy day. That would not be a big deal, except for the fact that counter I am shooting on is nearly 20ft from the windows. This was shot at 800 asa @ f8 using Arri 100mm Macro, the partially open shades on the windows gave me light level at about 5 foot candles
I was lucky enough to be one of the invitees to the Alexa Launch event in Hollywood last night and Arri Auditorium has shown that they are not about to concede the digital high ground any time soon.'
In the Directors Guild auditorium last night, the Hollywood luminati from the Tech side of cinematography including more than a couple of dozen ASC members, in addition to top people from Apple, Panavision, FotoKem, Technicolor and about every high end tech guy in the industry
Alexa is the next generation of digital cinema cameras from the world leader in FILM cameras Arri. This camera is geared for both mainstream production and digital cinema and designed with the elegant hybridization of form and function coupled with excellent look and feel that one expects from a quality german made hardware.
There will be a lot said about this camera but 2 things are a big deal for the Cow and her users. Alexa records internally as Apple ProRes HQ or as ProRes 4444. If ProRes is good enough for Arri, a name that is synonymous with QUALITY, has decided that ProRes was the best available to handle their 13+ stops of tonal range. As part of the DTE (direct to edit) systems, Arri showed content shot just an our earlier live on screen via Final Cut Pro (and a small tech glitch)
So for all of those nay -sayers whining about ProRes not being good enough, wake up.
Also shown were a new partnership with Arri / Fujinon PL mount zoom lenses, good for both PL mount film and Digital cameras in 18-80 and 45-250 MM focal lengths. With pricing of the lenses at 16,000 Euro and 21,000 Euros respectively.
This is the week before NAB 2010 this is going to be some show this year, so join us in the desert for what will be Cinema Tech Heaven for some of us.