ARRI ALEXA Mini
The ARRI ALEXA Mini is a versatile additional tool in the ALEXA camera range. Crews will find that the ALEXA Mini perfectly complements their ALEXA shooting kit, eliminating the complications of working with third-party cameras for specialized shots and keeping everything within a single system that is trusted all over the world.
To maintain ARRI’s famously rugged build quality in a small and lightweight camera, a number of unique design solutions have been incorporated. These include highly integrated and sealed electronics, a lightweight carbon housing and a solid titanium PL mount that connects directly with the new internal sensor mount – also made of titanium – to ensure a super-stable flange focal distance, even when using large lenses. Nimble in use and hardy on set, the ALEXA Mini is a go-anywhere tool, easy to transport in backpacks or as carry-on luggage.
The ALEXA Mini can be operated in a number of ways: by wireless remote control, as a normal camera with the ARRI MVF-1 multi viewfinder attached, or with an on-board monitor and controlled via the user button interface on the camera body. Light enough to be comfortably held at arm’s length in a hand rig, its compact size and extremely quiet operation also make it ideal for tight shooting conditions.
In the past, productions combining small cameras from other manufacturers with an ARRI ALEXA shooting kit have encountered time-consuming difficulties in the grade, trying to match images from those cameras to ALEXA’s famously natural colorimetry and pleasing skin tones. With the ALEXA Mini these difficulties are eliminated because all images come from the same sensor and share the same color space. The ability to use CDLs and 3D LUTs in-camera for on-set color management will also reduce time and money spent in post.
Greater efficiency through integrated functions An integrated lens motor controller allows new active lens motors to be connected directly to the titanium PL mount, so focus, iris and zoom settings can be controlled from ARRI hand units without an additional external box. Further operational settings can be made remotely when working with the ARRI WCU-4 hand unit.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity facilitates remote control of camera functions from iOS or Android devices, with no need for a special app.
The motorized and remotely-controllable internal ND filters permit rapid responses to changing light conditions, and help keep clutter around the camera to a minimum.
Two ALEXA Mini license upgrades are available, allowing users to get the most out of the camera’s 4:3 ALEV III sensor. The 4:3 License Key enables ALEXA Mini to record ProRes in 4:3, 4:3 cropped or 16:9 anamorphic and to de-squeeze both the viewfinder image and HD-SDI signal. The ARRIRAW License Key enables the camera to record 2.8K 16:9 ARRIRAW both internally and to an external recorder. Open Gate ARRIRAW recording is possible with cameras that have both license keys installed.
ARRI’s approach is unique in that it does not prioritize one element of image quality over any other. To achieve the highest overall image quality, ARRI uses bigger and better pixels on the sensor, rather than smaller pixels in larger numbers. The result is that ALEXA captures a wider dynamic range, truer colors, lower noise and more natural skin tones than other cameras, whether the chosen output is HD, 2K, 4K UHD or one of the native resolution outputs like uncompressed ARRIRAW 2.8K or ProRes 3.2K. This approach is vindicated by the huge numbers of professional filmmakers who choose ALEXA after extensive real‑world comparative testing.
Images from the ALEXA Mini are uniquely suited to next‑generation HDR (High Dynamic Range) displays, which are likely to play a role in defining future format standards. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s camera speeds of 0.75 – 200 fps allow it to be used not just for slow‑motion shots, but also for HFR (High Frame Rate) acquisition, which might constitute another strand of future standards. ARRI’s holistic approach to image quality makes ALEXA the most future-proof camera system available today, and the safest investment for tomorrow.
The ARRI ALEXA Mini Camera Simulator, SUP 5.x is an interactive learning tool to familiarize yourself with the menu navigation of the ALEXA Mini camera. The main user interface on the viewfinder shows a simulation of the real ALEXA Mini camera.
New ALEXA Mini Studio Sets
The compact and lightweight ALEXA Mini is a highly versatile tool on set. Some productions use it as a second or third camera, while others use it as the main or only camera throughout a shoot. As a result, it is frequently moved from one configuration to another, and any time savings that can be made during these transitions will have a big impact on the daily shooting schedule.
ARRI has therefore developed a new studio set for the ALEXA Mini, comprising four accessories. At the core of the new system is the ARRI Compact Bridge Plate CBP-1, a base plate with integrated sliding bridge plate and shoulder pad. This allows rapid, tool-less transitions between configurations, for example from TRINITY, MAXIMA, or Steadicam stabilizers to a tripod head or an operator’s shoulder.
The Rear Accessory Bracket RAB-1 offers flexible attachment options for the Power Splitting Box Mk II, a power distribution unit available in Gold Mount and V-Mount versions, while the Side Accessory Bracket SAB-1 provides a simple interface for mounting accessories towards the rear of the camera. Many previously released ARRI camera accessories for the ALEXA Mini are fully compatible with the new studio set.
ALEXA Mini License Options
ALEXA Mini 4:3 License Key
This license, enabled by ALEXA Mini SUP 4.0, provides three new ProRes recording modes that access the full 4:3 sensor area and support the use of anamorphic lenses. The first mode records the highest 4:3 resolution possible, while the other two de-squeeze and re-scale the recorded images in-camera for an efficient, specialized workflow. Monitoring paths for all 4:3 modes offer SDI setups featuring dual 1.5G or 3G outputs.
ProRes 4:3 2.8K records the full 4:3 sensor area (2880 x 2160) and can be used with anamorphic or spherical lenses. It offers frame rates up to 50 fps and an optional 2x anamorphic de-squeeze for the EVF and SDI monitoring paths. ProRes 2.39:1 2K Ana. records a 2.39:1 standard 2K format (2048 x 858), which does not require any cropping or scaling in post. Due to the in-camera scaling the data rate is reduced, allowing recording speeds up to 120 fps. ProRes 16:9 HD Ana. is for situations where the look of anamorphic lenses is desired but the end product is full 16:9 HD without letterboxing. This mode also supports recording speeds up to 120 fps.
ALEXA Mini ARRIRAW License Key
The ARRIRAW License Key, also enabled by ALEXA Mini SUP 4.0, allows ARRIRAW to be recorded to the ALEXA Mini’s in-camera CFast 2.0 cards by wrapping the files in an MXF container. Like ARRIRAW, the new MXF/ARRIRAW format is uncompressed, unencrypted, and contains audio and metadata. Only the packing is different, so third-party ARRIRAW processing tools such as DaVinci Resolve and Baselight have to be updated with a new SDK, which ARRI has provided for them. ARRIRAW Converter supports MXF/ARRIRAW from version 3.4, available free of charge on the ARRI website.
MXF/ARRIRAW clips do not require specially formatted CFast cards, so MXF/ARRIRAW and QuickTime/ProRes clips can be mixed on the same card.
MXF/ARRIRAW 16:9 2.8K records an area of 2880 x 1620 and supports frame rates up to 48 fps.
Internal MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate recording
Installing both the ALEXA Mini 4:3 License Key and the ALEXA Mini ARRIRAW License Key on a camera activates the MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate 3.4K recording modes enabled by SUP 4.0. MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate 3.4K has a resolution of 3424 x 2202 and a maximum recording speed of 30 fps. As with the ProRes 4:3 recording modes, an optional 2x anamorphic de-squeeze is available for all monitoring paths and a dual 1.5G or 3G SDI setup is supported. In order to offer anamorphic ProRes productions an easy way to capture some shots in MXF/ARRIRAW, three additional Open Gate 3.4K recording modes are being introduced:
- MXF/ARRIRAW 4:3 2.8K (OG 3.4K)
- MXF/ARRIRAW 2.39:1 2K Ana. (OG 3.4K)
- MXF/ARRIRAW 16:9 HD Ana. (OG 3.4K)
These modes record 3.4K Open Gate at up to 30 fps, but the monitoring paths reflect the corresponding 4:3 ProRes modes. The active image area is noted in the metadata, so postproduction tools will crop the images automatically. ARRIRAW Converter and other tools that support the new ARRIRAW SDK are able to override that information and return to the full Open Gate frame if required.
ARRI Look Library License Key for ALEXA Mini
This license, enabled by ALEXA Mini SUP 5.0, provides a look management tool for all ALEXA Mini models purchased prior to 1 May 2017, and is available in the ARRI License Shop. The following ALEXA Mini models will have a version included.
The ARRI Look Library offers 87 predefined creative color gradings, each in three intensities, for all kinds of productions. The looks are numbered within nine themed groups: Black-and-White, Application, Film, Tinted, Environment, Season, Contrast, Period, Special. All color shades are available in Rec709 and other color spaces through ARRI Media.