ARRI has released SUP 4.0 for their ALEXA Mini camera. The latest firmware update adds major new features to the already feature-packed cinema camera. Some of the new features include a S16 recording mode, internal Raw recording, 4:3 anamorphic shooting modes and many more.
New features & overview of changes SUP 4.0.15:
- 4:3 Recoding modes - enables use of the larger sensor area as well as 2x anamorphic de-squeeze for the monitoring paths
- Internal MXF/ARRIRAW 16:9 2.8K recording – ARRIRAW recording to CFast 2.0 cards
- Internal MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate recording – Open Gate recording to CFast 2.0 cards
- 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
Here is a breakdown of the resolutions available on the ALEXA Mini with SUP 4.0:
- Super16 HD: 1600 x 900
- HD: 2880 x 1620
- 2K: 2868 x 1612
- 3.2K: 3200 x 1800
- 4K UHD: 3200 x 1800
- 4:3 2.8K: 2880 x 2160
- 2.39:1 2K Ana.: 2560 x 2145
- HD Ana.: 1920 x 2160
- Open Gate 3.4K: 3424 x 2202
The S16 mode is an excellent way to even further expand the capabilities of the Alexa MINI. This recording mode uses a 1600 x 900 sensor center crop and scales it to 1920 x 1080 for a Full HD delivery. According to ARRI, 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 tested this and noticed that this slight increase is tolerable as we have only observed minor vignetting outside the active image area for all lenses they tested.
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.
Internal MXF/ARRIRAW Format
With the latest SUP 4.0.15, the ALEXA Mini now supports internal ARRIRAW recording to CFast 2.0 cards. The new format is called MXF/ARRIRAW and 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.
Please 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.
The other major features in SUP 4.0.15 are the new 4:3 ProRes recording modes which utilise the 4:3 sensor area and support the use of 2x anamorphic lenses.
The new 4:3 ProRes recording modes are:
- 4:3 2.8K (2880 x 2160) up to 50fps
- 2:39:1 2K Anamorphic (2048 x 858) up to 150fps.
- 16:9 HD Anamorphic up to 150fps.
In order to use the 4:3 ProRes recording modes the ALEXA Mini 4:3 License Key must be installed on the camera. The ALEXA Mini 4:3 License Key is available at the ARRI License Shop.
For more information on pricing give us a call on 0208 977 1222.
IMPORTANT UPDATE from ARRI - re SUP 4.0 Dated 06/04/2016:
Due to an inconsistency in the scaling node in SUP 4.0, recording resolution 2.39:1 2K Anamorphic produces an image artifact that leads to aliasing and jagged edges. We highly recommend to refrain from using this recording resolution for any shooting. We are currently resolving this issue. The solution will be included in the SUP 4.0 bugfix release, and we will keep you informed.
We strongly urge our customers who have purchased ALEXA MINI's to avoid shooting in this resolution and aspect ratio for the time being until ARRI releases a firmware fix, which will be hopefully very soon.