ARRI Debuts Amira Documentary-Style Camera
ARRI gave Alexa a sister today with the announcement of Amira, a new "documentary-style" shoulder-mounted camera built around the same sensor as the Alexa and designed for single-operator use. The camera shoots in 1080p HD and 2K at up to 200 fps, claims the same 14-stop dynamic range as the Alexa, and includes pre-loaded looks based on 3D LUTs for in-camera color grading.
The Amira records Rec. 709 or Log C images in camera to SanDisk's new CFast 2.0 flash memory cards (read on for more on those) using ProRes 422, 422 (LT), 422 (HQ), or 4444 codecs — but not ARRIRAW. That's an indicator that the Amira is built for utility and speed in both production and post — ARRI said it will boot quickly with no set-up tasks or other delays to slow it down in run-and-gun environments and stressed that the Amira has a rugged construction that will be an asset under punishing field conditions.
And ARRI seems to be making sure shooters have options for managing their color in camera, rather than relying on fiddling in post. In addition to the pre-loaded looks, DPs can load custom LUTs into the camera before the shoot, and 3D LUTs can even be modified during the shoot.
Also on board are motorized ND filters, zebra and false-color displays, and an advanced peaking function for aiding quick focusing. Both a flip-out LCD monitor and an OLED eyepiece are included.
Unfortunately, there was no word this morning on the two most important questions: when will it ship, and how much will it cost? But ARRI has indicated that it will be priced well below the Alexa. Stay tuned.
By the way, ARRI was a collaborator with SanDisk in the development of that new CFast 2.0 standard, which is being supported on the Alexa, as well, through a just-announced recording adapter for Alexa XT and XR cameras.
The cards, which have a pinless design to reduce the chances of damage on insertion or removal, will ship in 60 GB and 120 GB capacities, and support writing at up to 350 MB/sec — enough to record ProRes 4444 at up to 120 fps. ARRI said CFast 2.0 card recordings, like those on SxS Pro cards, are closed continuously, so if the card is accidentally ejected or power is lost during a recording, the file on the card is not corrupted.
ARRI's latest Alexa software update (v9.0) enables the higher-speed ProRes recording as well as a ProRes Pre-Recording option that keeps the camera recording in a continuously buffering mode so that nature cinematographers don't miss their shot. Also new is DNxHD 444 support for all DNxHD-licensed cameras, a "self-healing metadata" feature to repair a prematurely closed file an allow the media to be reused, and support for Cooke /i lens data in Alexa Classic cameras with a PL-LDS mount.