At BVE in London, Newsshooter got a preview of the new firmware release for the Arri Alexa Mini, and now that firmware is available to download. SUP 4.0.15 ads a host of new features and improvements, that further enhance the cameras capabilities.
There is a Super16 crop mode that will allow the use of vintage Super16 lenses, and B4 ENG lenses with optical adapters like those from MTF or IBE. The Super16 mode can only be used in HD frame sizes. You may be wondering how Arri has managed to do a Super16mm crop from the ALEV III CMOS sensor. The S16 HD recording mode uses a 1600 x 900 sensor center crop and scales it to full HD 1920 x 1080. The image circle of the S16 HD mode is 15.1 mm, which is slightly larger than the usual Super 16 image circle of 14.5 mm. Arri testing showed that this slight increase is tolerable and they have only observed minor vignetting outside the active image area for all the lenses they tested. Arri warn that care must be taken when mounting S16 lenses to ALEXA Mini for the first time. Lenses that reach very deep into the mount may not work and may collide with the internal ND filter system. ARRI say the S16 is a little noisier than regular shooting – although they characterise the noise as filmic. There is no indication as to whether you can use this function as a way of doubling the focal length of Super 35mm lenses in the same way that you can on certain Sony cameras.
Additional features include 4:3 Recoding modes, which enables the use of the larger sensor area as well as 2x anamorphic de-squeeze for the monitoring paths. The Alexa Mini offers three new ProRes recording modes which access the full 4:3 sensor area and support the use of anamorphic lenses. The monitoring path of all 4:3 modes offers SDI setups featuring 2x 1.5G or 3G outputs. The new 4:3 recording modes are: 4:3 2.8K, 2:39:1 2K Ana. and 16:9 HD Ana.
Also now available is internal MXF/ARRIRAW 16:9 2.8K recording as well as internal MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate recording. The new format is not a sequence of single files anymore (as with ALEXA ARRIRAW recording), but an MXF file which wraps the single frames into one clip like a QuickTime file (.mov). ARRIRAW frames generated in the classical single file scheme and in the MXF-wrapped files are mostly the same: both are uncompressed, both are unencrypted and contain the same metadata and MXF/ARRIRAW clips can be converted to frame sequences though the ARRIRAW converter (or third-party tools capable of handling MXF/ARRIRAW), e.g. when copying clips from CFast 2.0 cards to disk.
Arri are quick to warm users to be aware that due to the revision of the ALEXA Mini ALEV III sensor, the so-called packing of the ARRIRAW frames generated by ALEXA Mini is different. In order to do ARRIRAW processing in the ARRIRAW Converter or in third-party tools (such as Codex, DaVinci Resolve, Baselight or Colorfront ́s OSD) these tools need to be updated to include the newest version of the ARRIRAW SDK (software development kit). Without the update postproduction tools won’t be able to handle the files even if MXF/ARRIRAW clips are unwrapped and turned into single files.
Both Open Gate recording and 4:3 recording are done to the CFast 2.0 cards. 4:3 and Open Gate recording options will only work if you purchase the licenses from Arri. The licenses are €2950 each.
Other features include:
• Lens Data Archive and ECS improvements
• Super 16 HD recording mode – recording mode that crops a S16 sensor area and scales it to HD
• SDI Metadata – metadata embedded into the SDI signal
• Transvideo Starlite HD5-ARRI interface improvements – UI improvements including access to user buttons and playback control
• SDI enhancements in 3.2K and UHD recording
• Support for the CCP-1 – support for the camera control panel including daisy-chaining the MVF-1 viewfinder
• Wi-Fi toggle via user button – ability to toggle Wi-FI power via a user button to quickly enable and disable the Wi-Fi interface when the camera is used on a drone
• Switchable zoom position in the viewfinder – ability to select the position of the zoom area using the buttons surrounding the LCD panel on MVF-1
• Recordings with longer exposure times – the camera won’t restrict exposure times longer than 1/24 sec any more, but will display a warning
You can download SUP 4.0.15 here.