By site editor Dan Chung:
The ARRI Amira has been a very successful camera for the German camera maker, but until now its use by some broadcasters has been restricted by the camera’s reliance on Apple ProRes recording. Many TV stations and documentary productions still base their workflows around the XDCAM MPEG-2 format which is space efficient, easy to manage and easier to move around.
ARRI have just announced that they will add MPEG-2 recording to the Amira in the latest Amira firmware release – SUP 3.0, which is scheduled for release mid-2015. It will record 50 Mbit/s MPEG-2 4:2:2 in a MXF wrapper. The file should be compatible with XDCAM workflows and drop straight into editing software like AVID.
ARRI have also said they will produce a new audio accessory that will allow slot mounted wireless receivers to be attached to the camera. I imagine this will be something similar to the Ambient recording Vslot which I use daily with my Sony FS7 and F5 setups.
The SUP 3.0 update will also offer support for Super16 lenses – which I assume is a crop mode similar to that on the Sony F5/55.
Before the SUP 3.0 update there will be a SUP 2.0 update that finally delivers 4K UHD recording in ProRes 4444 with a paid firmware upgrade. Frame rates up to 60fps will be recordable in 3840 x 2160 UHD standard.
For more go to the ARRI website.
Here is the full release from ARRI:
ARRI announces the upcoming release of Software Update Packet (SUP) 2.0 for AMIRA cameras, and the subsequent release of SUP 3.0. The former unlocks 4K UHD recording for high-resolution pipelines, while the latter enables MPEG-2 MXF recording for streamlined, broadcast-friendly workflows. Together they stretch the already wide spectrum of AMIRA’s deliverable options at both ends of the scale, making the camera an even more versatile production tool.
Underlining the positioning and success of AMIRA as the perfect camera for productions ranging from documentaries, reportage and corporate films to TV and low-budget movies, these two major software updates in the first half of 2015 will enhance the feature-set in ways that respond specifically to customer requests and industry trends. With its flexible, re-programmable system architecture, AMIRA will continue to expand in functionality over the coming years in the same way that ALEXA has done since 2010, allowing it to keep pace with a rapidly evolving market and deliver a strong return on investment.
AMIRA SUP 3.0 — scheduled for release mid-2015
The key new feature of AMIRA SUP 3.0 is the ability to record MPEG-2 422P@HL at 50 Mbit/s in an MXF wrapper. This XDCAM-compatible MPEG-2 recording format allows television productions to take advantage of AMIRA’s superior image quality and ergonomics, while utilizing a low-bandwidth codec that can easily be integrated into typical broadcast environments and workflows.
Recording MPEG-2 MXF with AMIRA ensures 100% compatibility with the format already used by many low budget or time-pressured television productions, for which a streamlined workflow through ingest, editing and post is vital. This cost-efficient format minimizes the number of memory cards needed on set, but also reduces postproduction and archiving costs through reduced data rates and seamless integration with standard tools.
In order to further ease the integration of AMIRA into fast-paced television production environments, a new audio accessory will be released. Taking the form of an extension to the back of the camera body, it will equip AMIRA with a slot for a portable audio tuner/receiver. This will allow signals to be received wirelessly from either the sound recordist’s mixer or straight from radio microphones, accommodating the needs of ENG-style productions that capture audio directly in-camera, but value the most cable-free configuration possible.
Other features of SUP 3.0 will include a versatile camera remote control interface for multi-camera live or scripted productions; Super 16 mm lens support; an intervalometer function for time-lapse applications; and a host of general usability enhancements.
AMIRA SUP 2.0 — scheduled for release in March 2015
4K UHD recording is the major new feature of AMIRA SUP 2.0. Enabled by the software update, it is activated through the purchase of a 4K UHD license at the ARRI License Shop (and a camera sensor calibration at an ARRI service center for cameras purchased in 2014).
The new 4K UHD recording format has been developed for productions that need to generate high-resolution deliverables. It allows ProRes codecs up to ProRes 4444 to be recorded in Ultra High Definition 3840 x 2160 resolution directly onto the in-camera CFast 2.0 cards, at up to 60 fps. Optional in-camera de-noising, sharpening and detailing tools permit the image to be optimized for specific applications or matched to different cameras and lenses.
Further enhancements provided by AMIRA SUP 2.0 include ProRes 3.2K recording (allowing cross-compatibility with ALEXA cameras running ALEXA SUP 11.0); WiFi remote support; the ability to monitor audio channels individually; additional lock functions to prevent the accidental pressing of buttons or switches; frame rate adjustments while in pre-record mode; frame grabs from the live camera image; and many more.