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ARRI Unveils 6.5K Alexa 65 with a Sensor Three Times Bigger than Super 35

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With a sensor larger than a 5-perf 65 mm film frame, ALEXA 65 harks back to the golden age of 65 mm widescreen filmmaking in the mid-20th century, when this newly introduced format captured the imagination of cinema audiences around the world. 65 mm grew into an inspirational format, providing an epic frame within which the biggest and most visually impactful stories could be told.

In many ways ALEXA 65 represents the evolution of ARRI’s 765 65 mm film camera, first introduced in 1989 and used over the last quarter-century by major cinematographers on feature films including Far and Away, Little Buddha, Hamlet, Sunshine, The International, Shutter Island and Gravity. Whether for an entire movie or selected sequences, filmmakers have long valued the opportunity to capture images in the 65 mm format, with its immersive levels of detail and rich cinematic heritage.

In common with ALEXA XT, ALEXA 65 captures in the ARRIRAW format, which delivers uncompressed, uncompromised, unencrypted images. ARRI Rental has worked closely with Codex during the camera development to create a new high-performance workflow unique to the ALEXA 65, which processes full resolution uncompressed ARRIRAW 65 mm images. Depending on your shooting environment and location, the workflow can run on either a purpose-configured ARRI Rental Vault S or the new high performance ARRI Rental Lab 65.

This new, optimized workflow can also generate high quality ProRes 4444 HD dailies masters in real time to provide a very quick dailies solution given the large format nature of the recorded image. These files can then be further transcoded, if required, to other formats.

At the heart of the ALEXA 65 is the A3X sensor; the largest high-performance motion picture sensor available on the market today. The sensor has a 54.12 mm x 25.59 mm active imaging area, which is even larger than the film gate of ARRI’s 765 65 mm film camera.
 Alexa 65 Sensors:

The maximum recordable resolution from the A3X sensor is 6560 x 3102 photosites, with a dynamic range of more than 14 stops. The sensor design is based on the same photosite technology as the ALEXA XT, therefore image attributes such as colorimetry and dynamic range will match well with any member of the ALEXA family. This allows productions the freedom to mix the use of 35 mm format ALEXA XT cameras with the larger 65 mm format ALEXA 65, without having to worry about adopting different workflows or any additional color correction of images in post production.

Alexa 65 Frame Rates:

In its initial launch configuration, ALEXA 65 will record to the widely adopted and proven ALEXA XR Capture Drives at a maximum frame rate of 27 fps, depending on the recording format selected.

However, a new recording technology is being co-developed with Codex and will be introduced in early 2015. This will provide higher capacity magazines, extended recording times and higher uncompressed frame rates.

Lenses used with Alexa 65:

ARRI Rental have exclusively commissioned a brand new range of 65 mm prime and zoom optics, which utilize Hasselblad lens elements from the world-renowned HC series of large-format lenses.

To create a truly class-leading 65 mm cinema lens look and feel, these lens elements have been re-housed in robust and uniform lens barrels, co-developed with IB/E Optics to our own design specifications – including a new iris system for the prime lenses, and a new focus/iris/zoom control mechanism for the zoom lens. These lenses use a new proprietary XPL mount system with LDS functionality. However, the ALEXA 65 XPL lens mount is modular in design and will allow for adaptation to other medium-format lenses in the future.

This new Prime 65 lens series delivers unparalleled MTF, excellent contrast and geometry, and no chromatic aberrations or focus breathing. Usability and environmental ruggedness is comparable to that of the ARRI/Zeiss Master Prime lenses.

Additionally, a Vintage 765 lens range, originally developed to partner the ARRIFLEX 765, has been adapted for use with the ALEXA 65. These lenses provide a classic filmic look with a gradual, soft roll-off across the image – perfect for creating a softer look that is complimentary to the new Prime 65 and Zoom 65 lenses.

Workflow with Alexa 65:

ARRI Rental have partnered with Codex to deliver a fast, efficient and cost-effective ARRIRAW workflow for the ALEXA 65. The camera uses the same XR Capture Drives as the ALEXA XT, which has proven to be an extremely reliable, robust and widely adopted recording medium.

Two bespoke workflow systems, based on the Vault technology platform, have been developed – the Vault S and the Lab 65. Both can transfer, store and review ALEXA 65 material on set, near set or in a post facility based on production needs.

Vault S
The Vault S is designed for use on, or near set as the hub of a file-based workflow. The Vault S platform integrates world-class image science and high quality processing into a modular design that means it can be customized for any project. It is rugged in design and can be DC powered, running off standard 24 V camera batteries, which makes the Vault S ideal for location-based productions.
As with traditional Vault systems, the Vault S comprises of a series of configurable modules.

Transfer module

  • Contains readers for the media from the ALEXA 65 and all other ARRI digital cameras
  • Clones original camera data quickly with full check-sum verification
  •   Storage module : Contains 8 TB solid state transfer drives that are raid protected and robust: ideal for moving data from set to post
  •   Review module : Allows playback of original camera material on a high resolution calibrated display with the correct look and at the right frame rateA full color pipeline, including support for ACES. Use real-time, non-destructive, primary grading tools or apply pre-made LUTs
  • Allows playback of original camera material on a high resolution calibrated display with the correct look and at the right frame rateA full color pipeline, including support for ACES. Use real-time, non-destructive, primary grading tools or apply pre-made LUTs

Lab 65
Based on a Codex Vault XL platform, the new ARRI Rental Lab 65 is the workflow workhorse behind the ALEXA 65 and can render out full ALEXA 65 Open Gate 6.5K ARRIRAW in near real time, as well as simultaneously produce dailies for offline use. The Lab 65 can also downscale to 4K or 2K depending on the workflow pipeline required.

The system is a rack-mounted, network attached device that is ideal for a near-set or postproduction configuration. It contains multiple CPU and GPU cores for parallel processing of data and network storage. This provides fast access to files and allows for easy administration and integration into an existing facility infrastructure. Along with near real-time processing of ALEXA 65 Open Gate material, the Lab 65 can also play back original camera material to a calibrated display at the highest resolution, with the correct look and at the right frame rate.

With a sophisticated timeline and user friendly interface the QC of original camera material can be carried out efficiently, while also generating detailed QC reports for production use. The system also includes a full color pipeline, including support for ACES, and uses non-destructive, primary grading tools to create new color decisions or simply apply pre-made LUTs.

Most importantly a powerful GPU processing engine can transcode to all the formats required for dailies at speeds far greater than real time.

The Lab 65 also has the ability to archive to dual LTO tapes with full verification, using the industry-standard LTFS format.

The ALEXA 65 is only available for rent through the ARRI Rental organization:

http://www.arrirentalgroup.com/alexa65/

Technical specifications

Overview

Camera type 65 mm format digital cinema camera
Sensor ARRI A3X CMOS sensor
Image aperture 5-perf 65 mm (54.12 mm x 25.58 mm active image area)
Sensor resolution 6560 x 3102 (Open Gate – maximum recordable)
Dimensions Length: 387.8 mm | 15.3 in
Width: 208.3 mm | 8.2 in
Height: 163 mm | 6.4 in
(body only with XPL mount)
Weight 10.5 kg | 23.2 lb
Lens mount ARRI XPL mount with Lens Data System (LDS) functionality
Shutter Electronic, 5.0º to 358.0º. Adjustable with 1/10º precision.
Frame rates 20 to 27 fps (Open Gate) *
Exposure index EI 200 to EI 3200. Base sensitivity EI 800
Dynamic range >14 stops

Recording system

Recording file format Uncompressed ARRIRAW
Recorder crop modes 5-perf 65 mm (Open Gate, 1.78 extraction)
8-perf 35 mm (future)
Storage (type) Codex XR Capture Drive *
Storage (capacity) 480 GByte capacity / 850 MByte per second data rate *
Storage (recording time) 11 minutes @ 24 fps

System interfaces

Viewfinder Electronic color viewfinder ARRI EVF-1
BNC connectors 4 x 3G SDI
– MON (1) OUT: 2 x 3G SDI
– MON (2) OUT: 2 x 3G SDI
SD card For software updates and menu settings etc. as with ALEXA
New high speed operating mode for fast ARRIRAW frame grabs (planned feature)
Miscellanous interfaces Focus / iris / zoom motor control with full wireless lens control support
5 x RS 24 V
1 x 12 V
TC I/O (5-pin Lemo)
1 x LDD
2 x LCS
BAT and ACC connection

Monitoring and playback

Monitoring 3 independent color outputs, all with optional overlays:
EVF-1 OUT
MON (1) OUT
MON (1) OUT
MON OUT assistive displays:
Zoom, overscan, overlay info, frame lines, false color exposure check, peaking focus check
CDL CDL server support is provided as ALEXA XT
In-camera playback Playback via EVF-1, HD-SDI MON OUT including aud