Announced at IBC 2013, the ARRI Amira continued legacy the highly regarded German film equipment manufacturer often associated with exceptional imagery and build quality. The Amira shares its sensor with the Alexa, whcih has been the most popular digital cinema camera for Hollywood productions for the past three years. The Amira has been shipping to customers for the last six months and since captured incredible imagery on various productions from commercials to documentary work and broadcast narrative drama.
ARRI is commited to developing the already stellar documentary camera with further firmware updates and upgrades such as the UHD ProRes upgrade, which utilises upscaling to upres the ALEV III 3.4K sensor to 3.8K required for UltraHD acquisition. Given the phenomenal 14+ stops dynamic range and colour accuracy of the Amira sensor, upscaling the "open gate" sensor acquired images in camera does not have an adverse affect on the footage, which is what upres-ing is usually associated with.
We recently had a chance to see some exclusive UHD Amira shot footage and were blown away by the clarity, colour depth and sheer detail in the images. While other manufacturers are getting a 4K image from 6K+ sensors, ARRI are utilising their strength by going the other way around – and the reason why it works is in the quality of the sensor. A miraculous engineering achievement, and now wonder ALEXA/AMIRA images have been widely adored by the industry.
Big budget Hollywood feature films such as Alfonso Cuaron's sci-fi masterpiece "Gravity" which was shot on ALEXA's in 2.8K ARRIRAW but upres-ed to 4K for cinema exhibition, have been long using this function, albeit doing it in post. Such as was the case with the latest Bond film "Skyfall" DP-ed by the legendary Roger Deakins, who left shooting film after falling in love with the Alexa 'look'.
With the UHD ProRes upgrade, the AMIRA can shoot in UltraHD in camera up to 60fps in all ProRes flavours up to and including ProRes 4444 allowing for maximum creativity freedom in post.
In the latest SUP 1.1 firmware update, the AMIRA is evolving even more. Read the full details provided by ARRI below.
Already at work on a huge variety of productions worldwide, the AMIRA camera is a flexible tool that will evolve and adapt to customers' needs, maximizing the return on their investment. Following the same model that has allowed ALEXA to maintain dominance for more than four years, software updates will deliver new features in response to market changes and the requests of real-world users. With SUP 1.1 now available, for AMIRA shooters, that journey is only just beginning.
Pre-record function – Crucial for wildlife filmmakers, the pre-record function uses an internal buffer in the camera to perpetually record a loop, the length of which depends on what options are selected. When the REC button is hit, the clip recorded to the CFast 2.0 card will include the specified pre-record period at its start.
Bluetooth audio monitoring – This new feature allows the camera operator, or anyone else on set, to monitor audio through wireless Bluetooth headphones. In addition, by using a microphone-equipped Bluetooth headset, spoken comments can be recorded during filming to provide notation or guidance for editing and other postproduction tasks. These comments are recorded to a fifth audio track, aligned with the four main audio tracks, but kept separate from them.
Dynamic auto tracking white balance – For situations that involve a change of color temperature during a shot, such as when a character is followed from a tungsten interior to a daylight exterior, the new dynamic tracking option makes an automatic white balance adjustment. By using a sophisticated algorithm developed by ARRI, this adjustment is seamless and undetectable even for the most extreme color temperature transitions.
Ethernet remote – SUP 1.1 will allow the graphical user interface (GUI) on AMIRA's LCD panel to be displayed live on a device, such as a laptop, that is connected to the camera via an Ethernet cable. The user interface exactly replicates the camera's home screen menu, much like the AMIRA Simulator web tool.
A further, wireless based connection will be supported with a later SUP.
Temporary licenses– SUP 1.1 implements a number of features that were promised when AMIRA was launched. Most importantly, the temporary licenses that allow AMIRA shooters to purchase and download specific features for a specific job will be available at the online ARRI License Shop. AMIRA Advanced and Premium licenses can be activated on a weekly basis, providing a uniquely adaptable solution for the variable needs of owner-operators.
EF and B4 lens support – With the forthcoming EF mount, AMIRA users can benefit from the huge range of available EF mount stills lenses, electronically controlling the iris in these lenses through the camera's user interface. B4-type lenses with an integrated servo module gain support for the auto iris function, while one other servo button can also be used as an assignable user button.
Faster boot-up time – AMIRA already boots up faster than ALEXA, but a number of AMIRA users asked if it could be sped up even more. These requests were made a priority for SUP 1.1, resulting in a more than 25% reduction in the camera's boot-up time of about 13 seconds.
Color bar – The use of color bars dates from the era of recording to tape, when a camera settings reference was needed for postproduction calibrations. These days a color bar is used mainly to judge the colorimetry of the monitor displaying the camera output. With SUP 1.1, AMIRA will be able to generate a color bar that is viewable in the viewfinder, on the LCD panel and on any connected monitors, allowing those monitors to be calibrated to match the viewfinder.
Waveform display – Some AMIRA users, especially those from the ENG world, requested a waveform display on the camera's viewfinder image and LCD panel. This has duly been implemented, with the option to have the waveform full screen, or covering just a portion of the image, providing a further tool for judging exposure levels.
Enhanced HD-SDI outputs – AMIRA's HD-SDI output has been refined to allow the overlay of information about timecode and other parameters that is seen in the viewfinder, to also be seen on monitors. Additionally, it will now be possible to use an HD-SDI signal input as a further 'genlock-like' sync option.
LDS functionality – ARRI's Lens Data System® (LDS) comprises a range of products generating highly accurate lens metadata for use on set and in post. When using an LDS lens on AMIRA's LDS mount, lens data about iris, focus and zoom positions will now be visible in the viewfinder and all lens data will be embedded in the recorded QuickTime files.
Improved debayer – Continuing research at ARRI has led to an improved debayer algorithm for AMIRA, resulting in an even greater reduction of aliasing and noise, for smoother images.
For all your AMIRA needs and to make your order you can contact our ARRI specialists at
0208 977 1222.