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Header image for article ARRI ALEXA MINI LF SUP 7.0 Now Available

ARRI ALEXA MINI LF SUP 7.0 Now Available

ARRI has released SUP 7.0 for their popular ALEXA Mini LF camera system. The update includes some long-awaited features, with new dedicated Super35 recording modes that match those found on the original ALEXA Mini. In most cases, these new modes can achieve higher maximum frame rates than the original ALEXA Mini. There are new LF (Large Format) recording modes, an expanded list of framelines and anamorphic squeeze factors, and a number of other enhancements as well.
Super35 Recording Modes

The biggest additions are the new Super35 sensor/recording modes. Operators who "upgraded" from the original ALEXA Mini to the Mini LF have been asking for these modes to be added since day one. While it was possible, previously, to shoot a larger format and crop out, or extract, the classic ALEXA Mini frame dimensions, this resulted in higher data rates and more post-capture work to achieve the same results as with the older camera (such as if, for example, one was shooting with an ALEXA Mini LF as the "A" camera and the ALEXA Mini as "B" or "C" cameras). Here's a list of the new Super35 modes:

  • ARRIRAW 3.4K S35 3:2 - 3.4K — 3424 x 2202 @ 60 fps
    This is the Open Gate or "full sensor" mode from the original ALEXA Mini. On the Mini LF, this mode can achieve 2x the frame rate possible on the original Mini.
  • ProRes 3.2K S35 16:9 - 3.2K — 3200 x 1800 @ 75 fps
    This is the classic 3.2K ProRes recording mode that debuted on the AMIRA, and is a favorite among episodic shooters when 4K capture isn't a requirement.
  • ProRes 2.8K S35 4:3 - 2.8K — 2880 x 2160 @ 75 fps
    Here we have the 4-perf S35 gate in 4:3 aspect ratio, suitable for shooting with spherical or classic 2x anamorphic lenses that cover the Super35 format.
  • ProRes 2.8K S35 16:9 - HD — 2880 x 1620 (downsampled to HD 1920 x 1080) @ 100 fps
    Again, this is the "classic" ALEXA HD 16:9 resolution format downsampled to HD resolution as on the original ALEXA EV (which is also present on the ALEXA Mini). While this mode can only achieve half of the maximum frame rate that the ALEXA Mini can, the other new ProRes modes have a nice, new 75 fps top-end.

A few LF "Large Format" ProRes modes have been added as well:

  • ProRes 4.3K LF 16:9 - UHD — 4320 x 2430 (downsampled to 3840 x 2160) @ 48 fps
    This is a "best fit" 16:9 crop of the LF imaging area with modest downsampling to UHD resolution. This mode should preserve as much of the Large Format "look" as possible while providing the standard UHD deliverable resolution. 
  • ProRes 4.3K LF 16:9 - HD — 4320 x 2430 (downsampled to 1920 x 1080) @ 75 fps
    This mode is the same as above but with further downscaling to HD resolution and good maximum frame rate.

 

Framelines, De-Squeeze Factors and Other Enhancements

New default framelines and an expanded list of anamorphic de-squeeze factors are present in the SUP 7.0 update as well. For the existing LF 3:2 Open Gate and new Super35 3.4K 3:2 (the Open Gate mode of the original ALEXA Mini), we have:

  • Framelines: 1.33:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1, 2.00:1, 2.39:1
  • De-Squeeze Factors: 1.25x, 1.3x, 1.5x, 1.65x, 1.8x, 2x
  • Recording modes targeted towards spherical lenses have: 1.33:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1, 2.00:1, 2.39:1

Several nice additional enhancements are also available. The Mini LF's CAP (Camera Access Protocol) server can now perform a wider range of settings functions when accessing the camera remotely over a network. These include being able to control audio gain, image sharpness, the ability to add/remove framelines, read the current reel and clip numbers, and adding/removing various list values (frame rates, shutter angle/exposure time, and white balance). Additionally, the Mini LF's CAP Server can now delete look files and upload or download setup files.

Lastly, due to improvements in the ECS (Electronic Control System), the WCU-4 three-axis hand unit can now override the OCU-1 to regain control of focus, iris, and zoom motors much more quickly.

See the chart below from the SUP's release notes PDF, for a comprehensive list of all Mini LF, Classic Mini, and full-size ALEXA LF recording modes. This makes it easy to see which modes are supported in the new SUP as well as how they compare to ARRI's other popular camera bodies.

ALEXA Recording Modes

SUP 7.0 is available now, free of charge, for all existing ALEXA Mini LF cameras via the ARRI website.

 

Geoff Smith
Camera Technology Specialist, AbelCine NY

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