ARRI Says: Don’t Believe the (4K) Hype
Before outlining the previously announced line-up of Alexa XT cameras at ARRI's NAB press conference this morning, the company's Marc Shipman-Mueller outlined the company's philosophy when it comes to image resolution. Noting that ARRI is showing footage on a Sony 4K display in its booth, Shipman-Mueller encouraged viewers to take a critical look at those pictures.
"4K, right now, is way overhyped," he said. "What's more important than resolution is overall image quality. Once you have that, you can upres [the images] to 4K, and they look spectacular."
So anyone expecting ARRI to reveal a roadmap to 4K acquisition at this NAB went away disappointed as the company reiterated its commitment to the original Alexa design. The price of a basic Alexa model was reduced to $44,975 effective in February, and the company continues to sell that camera. Also still available is the Alexa Plus, which will sell for $65,250 until ARRI's current stock runs out. The Alexa Fiber Remote will cost $60,300, or $75,400 in the Alexa Plus configuration.
The new Alexa XT, XTM, XT Plus, and XT Studio cameras include the XR Module developed in cooperation with Codex Digital, which moves on-board recording (at up to 6.7 Gb/sec) into the camera itself. (When we saw Codex Digital today, we heard that the company expects its on-board capture devices are likely to disappear completely as more manufacturers opt to build recording into their camera bodies.) ARRIraw and ProRes recording to Codex mags is currently supported, Shipman-Mueller said, with DNxHD to come later this year.
Shipman-Mueller also talked up the Alexa's 4×3 sensor, which is better suited to 35mm-style anamorphic photography than 16×9 sensor configurations. Not coincidentally, ARRI is showing the first three of its seven new T1.9 Master Anamorphic lenses at NAB. The full line-up will range from 35mm to 135mm, and the 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm are on view in the ARRI booth on the show floor. The first three are scheduled to ship in May, with the rest of the line expected to roll out between then and February 2014.
ARRI also introduced the newest member of the L7 family of LED fresnel fixtures, the L7-TT, a "tuneable tungsten" light that can be adjusted to a color temperature between 2600K and 3600. ARRI said the L7-TT is 20 percent brighter than the L7-C, which was introduced last year.
Wildlife shooters may be interested to hear about the HE-6 heated eyecup that was developed after an otherwise-satisfied customer told the company about scraping ice off of his viewfinder with a credit card after waiting out in the cold all day to catch a nature shot. (ARRI thought the viewfinder would give off enough heat to keep that from happening in any but edge cases.) It's $1550, and coming in May.