InCinematographer - Issue 1 - June 2017 - 20
www.incinematographer.com | Issue 1 | June 2017
ALEXA Mini receives
Software Update Package (SUP) 5.0 brings new features with better WCU-4 integration, multi-camera
syncing, a Look Library, and a studio accessory set allows fast configuration changes...
he ALEXA Mini has been wholeheartedly
embraced by the worldwide film and television
industry, and is used in many different configurations
on all types of production.
ALEXA Mini Software Update Package (SUP) 5.0,
planned for release as a free download from mid-May
this year, responds to user feedback and refines the
feature-set still further. Meanwhile new hardware
accessories improve the camera's on-set versatility
In addition to the ARRI Look Library (see side
bar) one of the key advances of ALEXA Mini SUP
5.0 is enhanced integration with the ARRI WCU-4,
a comfortable and ruggedly built 3-axis wireless
control unit. Already widely used on ALEXA Mini
sets, the WCU-4 will become an even more ideal
companion with the new camera control features
being introduced as part of SUP 5.0.
Wireless transfer of lens files: Previously, lens files
of lenses mapped for use with the ARRI Lens Data
System had to be manually transferred to the ALEXA
Mini via a USB stick. Now, users can select a lens file
stored on the SD card in their WCU-4 and - using just
the hand unit - wirelessly transmit the file to the
ALEXA Mini, saving time and effort.
Wireless lens file transfer is also useful in situations
when setup times are short and the camera becomes
inaccessible straight after a lens change, for example
when rigged on a crane or car mount. The AC can
mount the lens and then do the rest of the setup,
from lens calibration to lens files transfer, remotely.
Wireless playback control: Full remote playback
control is now possible from the WCU-4. This allows
users to wirelessly select, play back and shuttle
through any clip from the CFast 2.0 card in the ALEXA
Mini without needing direct access to the camera,
which again is useful when it is rigged in a hard-toreach location. Both this feature and the wireless
transfer of lens files will be made available to other
ARRI cameras with future software upgrades.
Wireless user setups: SUP 5.0 extends the user
setup feature of the ALEXA Mini, which allows
all user-defined settings to be stored in a single
file. Partial settings are now possible using five
parameter groups, enabling more flexible and more
specific control, and the camera can now store
multiple different setups. Most importantly, these
user setups can be wirelessly accessed and activated
from the WCU-4, permitting ACs and drone operators
to rapidly switch camera settings remotely, for
example shifting from ProRes to ARRIRAW recording
or activating various looks from ALEXA Mini's
internal ARRI Look Library.
EXT Sync For Multi-Cam
Another of the new features of ALEXA Mini SUP
5.0 is an EXT Sync function that allows the sensors
and operational parameters of up to 15 ALEXA Mini
cameras to be synchronized to a master ALEXA Mini.
Slaves can assume parameters like the frame rate,
shutter angle, or ND setup of the master camera,
which also provides a status summary of all cameras.
Facilitated by new cables and EDB-2 distribution
boxes, EXT Sync simplifies the configuration and
control of multi-camera 3D, VR and VFX applications
in a way that permits the entire multi-camera setup
to be operated as if it was one single camera.
The ALEXA Mini's latest software update introduces
numerous other new features and refinements.
Support for EF lenses has been increased in general
with SUP 5.0. A much wider range of lenses is now
supported, including control of focus and iris, and
the use of image stabilizers. This will be of particular
interest to gimbal and drone operators, who often
use EF lenses due to their lower weight and who
can now make mid-flight adjustments to focus and
aperture with the WCU-4.
Support for the ARRI Master Grips has also been
extended, with 3-axis control of ENG lenses and the
option to configure Master Grip user buttons. The
ability to adjust focus and iris of EF mount lenses
using Master Grips opens up a very interesting
package solution for documentary and handheld
operators, who prefer smaller EF lenses due to their
weight and cost.
Additional features include support of 1.3x
anamorphic lenses, easier and more stable timecode
synchronization, a new concept for handling user
setups, support for WiFi infrastructure mode,
multiple monitoring and display improvements, and
better integration with the ARRI Electronic Control