ARRI Reveals New Alexa SXT Camera With 4K Support

ARRI Alexa 65 - H 2014
Courtesy of ARRI

ARRI Alexa 65 - H 2014

ARRI is launching a new Alexa SXT (Super Xtended Technology) digital cinematography camera, an update to its popular Alexa that will provide in-camera recording of ProRes 4K for Ultra HD TV requirements (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) and ProRes 4K to support the digital cinema specification (4,096 x 2,637 pixels).

Glenn Kennel, president and CEO of ARRI, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the SXT incorporates the same 3.4K ALEV III sensor as previous Alexas, but gives the camera model additional capabilities by taking advantage of some new hardware developed for ARRI Rental’s recently announced Alexa 65 (a 6K version of the Alexa that will only be available for high-end rental, pictured above).

“We saw the opportunity to take what we developed for the Alexa 65 and incorporate it into the Alexa to increase its performance,” he says. “We had pushed the Alexa to its limits in terms processing power, and the [Alexa 65] hardware allows us to go further.”

The update also includes new color management capabilities as well as three independent HD-SDI outputs. This allows, for instance, a Log C image to be used to show the director an image with on-set grading, a clean Rec 709 image to be fed to video village, and a Rec 709 image with status information overlays to be displayed on the camera's onboard monitor.

The Alexa SXT will be previewed next month at the NAB Show, and the first SXT cameras are planned for release midyear. The range will include Alexa SXT EV, SXT Plus and SXT Studio models, replacing current Alexa XT cameras (though the Alexa Classic EV model will remain in the lineup). ARRI reported that Alexa XT cameras (except Alexa XT M cameras) shipped after Jan. 1 and before the first shipment of SXT cameras will be eligible for a free SXT upgrade.

With the Alexa SXT release, ARRI will also offer an SXR (Super Xtended Recording) module upgrade to owners of existing Alexa XT, XT Plus and XT Studio cameras. This module will provide "all the features of the SXT cameras, although it might not offer all the future upgrade potential," the company said.

The SXT recording system was developed by Codex, based on the recording technology that it developed for the Alexa 65.

At NAB, ARRI additionally will demonstrate the recently released version 2.0 software for its Amira camera, which is aimed primarily at TV and documentary production. The new software includes the ability to record a flavor of 4K for Ultra HD TV requirements. New demonstration footage lensed with this Amira upgrade was photographed by Kees Van Oostrum (Gods and Generals).

ARRI's NAB exhibit also will include the Alexa Mini, an Alexa model weighing just 5 pounds and aimed at uses including when a cinematographer wants to mount a camera on a drone; as well as ARRI Rental's aforementioned Alexa 65.

Twitter: @CGinLA