ARRI Wireless Video System (WVS)
Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that cannot be answered by the ALEXA SXT W web pages or by this FAQ, please ask in the ARRI Forum.
Version: July 17, 2018.

1. ALEXA Camera Line-up and Upgrades
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What has changed with the ALEXA camera line-up due to the introduction of the ARRI WVS?

With the ALEXA SXT W we introduced an integrated HD wireless video transmitter. The ALEXA LF continued using this built-in technology.
The ALEXA SXT W replaces the ALEXA SXT Plus and ALEXA SXT Studio cameras. The ALEXA SXT W is based on the ALEXA SXT Plus, with the addition of a wireless video transmitter, a WiFi radio and a new internal board that allows faster frame grabs. 


The new ALEXA line-up includes:

  • ALEXA LF (wireless HD video, ARRI ECS camera & lens control, WiFi) 
  • ALEXA SXT W (wireless HD video, ARRI ECS camera & lens control, WiFi) 
  • ALEXA Mini (ARRI ECS camera & lens control, WiFi)
  • ALEXA SXT EV (no wireless)


What are the differences between an ALEXA SXT Plus and an ALEXA SXT W?

The SXT W includes a transmitter for wireless HD video, a WiFi radio and a new internal board that allows faster frame grabs. To accommodate the new radios, the ALEXA SXT W is 400 g (0.9 lbs.) heavier, 3 cm (about 1 inch) longer and uses 8 Watts more power than the ALEXA SXT Plus. 



What kind of upgrades are available for existing cameras?

We offer an affordable upgrade from an ALEXA SXT Plus to an ALEXA SXT W and from an ALEXA SXT EV to an ALEXA SXT W. 

In case of an upgrade from ALEXA SXT Plus to ALEXA SXT W, the upgrade includes:

 

  • ARRI integrated wireless video transmitter
  • WiFi module
  • New fan grill with WiFi antenna connectors
  • ALEXA SXT W name plate
  • CMC-2 board (for faster frame grabs)
  • 5x Antenna Video/WiFi/ECS
  • Upgrade labor

 


Until the SXT W is shipping, the ALEXA SXT Plus will remain available for sale. Any ALEXA SXT Plus purchased between May 1, 2017 and the first customer shipping of the ALEXA SXT W will receive an SXT W upgrade free of charge. 

As before, we also have upgrade options from ALEXA XT to SXT cameras and from ALEXA SXT EV to ALEXA SXT Plus. 

2. ARRI Wireless Video System - Compatibility and Components
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Why is the ARRI WVS not compatible with other wireless transmission systems?

ARRI had the hardware and software of the wireless video transmitter and receiver modified to comply with ARRI’s stringent performance and quality requirements. Therefore the ARRI WVS is not compatible with other systems on the market. In addition, this ensures that all components of the ARRI WVS work seamlessly together and all adhere to the same high quality standards, from the high input voltage range to the easy one-button pairing. 

Can the Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS monitor also control the ALEXA Mini?

No. The Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS monitor is only compatible with the ARRI Wireless Video System and does not have control functions for ALEXA Mini. There is another Transvideo monitor that does that: the Transvideo StarliteRF-a. However, the StarliteRF-a needs a Transvideo transmitter on the ALEXA Mini for the remote control functions. While it would have been desirable to have both functions in one Starlite monitor, this was technically not possible. 

Does the Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS cover the same distance as the WVR-1?

The Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS monitor has a much smaller receiver board inside than the ARRI Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1, and so covers less distance. While the WVR-1 should be able to receive a signal from as much as 600 m (2,000 feet), the Starlite ARRI-WVS is rated for about 200 m (660 feet). 

Why do the new antennas have a blue and a white ring?

These are new dual-band high performance antennas that will work with all three radios on the ALEXA LF and ALEXA SXT W. They can be attached to the wireless video (5 GHz, blue ring), WiFi (2.4 GHz, white ring) and ARRI ECS (2.4 GHz, white ring) antenna connectors. Please note that the old ARRI ECS antennas have no color ring and should only be used for WiFi and ECS. The old antennas should not be attached to the wireless video antenna connectors on the camera or to any connector on the WVT-1 or WVR-1. 





Do you have high gain antenna panels available for the ARRI receiver WVR-1?

While at this time we do not supply high gain antenna panels for the ARRI receiver WVR-1, such panels available from other vendors are compatible with the ARRI receiver WVR-1. 

3. ARRI Wireless Video System - Operation
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Can I use the ARRI WVS to transmit and monitor HDR on-set?

Yes, the ARRI WVS can be used to transmit and monitor HDR images as it transmits a 10 bit signal. 

How can I pair the transmitter to the receiver?

The pairing procedure for the ARRI Wireless Video System devices is a fast and easy one-button process. Essentially, you turn on one transmitter/receiver pair at a time and then pair them. Please note that the pairing process for each of the receivers must be done while the other receivers are turned off.

 

  • Turn on the transmitter and the first Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1. The transmitter can be either the one in the ALEXA LF or SXT W camera (turn transmitter power on in Menu>Monitoring>MON OUT 3/Wireless Video) or a stand-alone Wireless Video Transmitter WVT-1, which has a physical on/off button on the side. 
  • Make sure no other transmitters and receivers are powered up. 
  • Make sure the transmitter and receiver are at least 1 m/3 feet apart. It is counter-intuitive, but this does not work too well if they are closer. 
  • Press the PAIR button on the WVR-1 until the NETWORK LED blinks. 
  • Press the PAIR button on the transmitter until the NETWORK LED blinks. 
  • Pairing is completed when the NETWORK LEDs stop blinking and the VIDEO LED is illuminated. 
  • Turn off the WVR-1 and repeat the procedure for each additional WVR-1.



How many receivers can be paired to one transmitter?

It is possible to pair up to 4 receivers (either the ARRI receiver WVR-1 or the Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS monitor) to one transmitter. See an example setup with three cameras and 12 receivers below. 

How many Wireless Video Systems can I use at the same time in the same area?

The number of WVS systems (one system being one transmitter and up to four receivers) in parallel depends on the number of channels available, which is different for each region, and on the radio noise present. In general, 4 to 6 systems can work in parallel. 

How far can the ARRI Wireless Video System transmit HD video?

The transmitter built into the ALEXA LF, ALEXA SXT W and the stand-alone transmitter WVT-1 in combination with the receiver WVR-1 cover as much as 600 m (2,000 feet) within line of sight. The Transvideo Starlite ARRI-WVS monitor has a much smaller receiver board inside than the ARRI Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1, and so covers less distance, it works for about 200 m (660 feet) within line of sight. Note: The minimum distance for all units is at least 1m/3 feet. The system does not work very well if you get transmitter and receiver any closer to each other. 

Do SONY L series batteries supply enough power for additional accessories through the PWR OUT on the Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1?

Depending on your set-up and the power consumption of the additional accessories, one L series battery might not be able to supply enough power through the PWR OUT connector of the WVR-1. In that case, either add a second L series battery or use the Receiver Power Supply RPS-1. 





4. ARRI Wireless Video System - Technical Aspects
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What frequency bands do the ALEXA integrated radios operate in?

The ARRI Wireless Video System uses the 5GHz unlicensed frequency band (blue antenna color code), while the ALEXA LF and SXT W WiFi and ECS radios work in the 2.4 GHz range (white antenna color code). The new antennas we supply work for both bands and have a blue and a white ring. The old antennas have no ring and should only be used for WiFi and ECS. 

Can I manually enter a frequency on the WVS?

No, in most countries selecting a frequency band manually is not legal. Instead, the system automatically and continually scans the airwaves and selects frequency channels with low interference levels. This is called DFS - Dynamic Frequency Selection. In DFS, all channels are continuously monitored and ranked for immediate use by the WVS. In case of interference on any channel, the system immediately hops to a better channel without losing even a single pixel of video. 

What kind of metadata is transmitted with the wireless video?

The HD wireless video transmission includes 2 channel embedded audio, timecode and the HD-SDI REC flag. 

What is the best antenna for the ARRI Wireless Video System?

During the development phase of the Wireless Video System we experimented with a large range of antennas, including very pretty integrated antennas and strange mushroom shaped omnidirectional antennas. In the end we found that a certain type of stick antenna provided the most robust transmission, especially if transmitter and receiver are not perfectly aligned, as is often the case when the camera is hand held. Also, these antennas cover a large range of frequencies in the 2,4 and 5 GHz bands, allowing the transmitter and receiver to negotiate their frequency based on the largest range of options. Many third party antennas cover only a small part of the 5 GHz spectrum, and thus limit the system's ability to re-negotiate frequencies. 

Are there health concerns regarding the use of radio transmitters on cameras?

Based on all available information, it is safe to operate these radios on the camera. 

The FCC in the US, the European Union and other countries require any device that emits radio waves close to the human body to pass the so called SAR test, which the ARRI WVS devices easily passed. SAR stands for "Specific Absorption Rate", and is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to a radio frequency electromagnetic field. 

Are the transmission and video output of the WVS devices 8 or 10 bit?

The transmission and the video output of the WVS devices are 10 bit. This is important since 8 bit is not enough for monitoring HDR images, but 10 bit is. 

Can the Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1 process 3D LUTs?

No, the WVS takes whatever signal comes from the camera and outputs it without any modifications. In general, we recommend to make color changes (3D LUTs and CDL values) centrally in the camera, as that ensures that everyone on set sees the same image. It also ensures that the color metadata gets recorded with the master images for faster dailies creation, proxies creation and editing with the intended look. 

Does the WiFi radio in the ALEXA LF and SXT W offer access point and client mode?

At this point in time the WiFi of the ALEXA LF and ALEXA SXT W offers only access point mode, which means that external devices can connect to the ALEXA WiFi network, but the ALEXA cameras with integrated WiFi cannot log into existing WiFi networks. 

Where can I use the Wireless Video System?

The use of devices on the 5 GHz frequency band requires regional certifications which will be provided by ARRI for the countries listed below. To comply with regional certifications, different regional software versions will be installed on the Wireless Video devices by ARRI manufacturing or ARRI Service Centers.

  • Region Setting Australia:
    Australia, New Zealand
  • Region Setting Canada:
    Canada, USA*
    *It is legal using the ARRI WVS devices in the USA with the Canada region setting. However, the Canada region setting uses nine different frequencies while the USA region setting uses 11 different frequencies. This may limit the maximum amount of WVS devices on the same set.
  • Region Setting China:
    China
  • Region Setting Europe:
    Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
  • Region Setting Japan:
    Japan
  • Region Setting Middle East:
    India
  • Region Setting South Korea:
    South Korea
  • Region Setting Thailand:
    Thailand
  • Region Setting USA:
    USA, Taiwan


If a customer wants to use the ARRI WVS in a country other than the country it is currently programmed for, ARRI Service can change the regional software. Only devices with the same regional software version are compatible with each other.

Where can I get the ARRI Wireless Video Tool software and WVS Software Update Packages (SUP)?

The ARRI WVS SUP are available in the Downloads section of the ALEXA at:
http://www.arri.com/camera/alexa/downloads/
The zip file includes the ARRI Wireless Video Tool software and the required WVS SUP files.

How can I find out which regional software version is installed on an ARRI Wireless Video device?

To check the current regional software version on ARRI WVS devices, please follow these instructions:

  • Tools needed:
    TX5 Torx screwdriver
    TX6 Torx screwdriver
    USB Cable WVS (K2.0014216)
    Windows computer with ARRI Wireless Video Tool software installed
    WVS device with power supply or ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W with power supply
  • Procedure:
    WVT-1 and WVR-1: Unscrew the two TX5 screws on the bottom of the WVS device to remove the USB cover of the WVS device.

    ALEXA LF/SXT W: Unscrew the two TX6 screws on the bottom of the integrated HD video transmitter at the back of the camera to remove the USB cover.

    Connect the device to the computer’s USB port using the USB Cable WVS (K2.0014216).
    Start the ARRI Wireless Video Tool software.





Until the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W is powered, the ARRI Wireless Video Tool will prompt that no USB connection is available.



Power the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W using a power supply. Please make sure, that the Wireless video power is turned On in MENU>MONITORING>MON OUT 3 of the ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W camera.



The ARRI Wireless Video Tool will check for the device and read out its data.



Once connected, the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W data is displayed.



Module:

  

Receiver Unit or Transmitter Unit

SN:

  

Device serial number

Firmware Version:

  

Currently installed Firmware Version

Product:

  

Device product code, includes wireless region identifier

How can I update the software on a Wireless Video device?

To update the software version on WVS devices, please follow these instructions:

  • Tools needed:
    TX5 Torx screwdriver
    TX6 Torx screwdriver
    USB Cable WVS (K2.0014216)
    Windows computer with ARRI Wireless Video Tool software installed
    WVS device with power supply or ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W with power supply
  • Procedure:
    WVT-1 and WVR-1: Unscrew the two TX5 screws on the bottom of the WVS device to remove the USB cover of the WVS device.

    ALEXA LF/SXT W: Unscrew the two TX6 screws on the bottom of the integrated HD video transmitter at the back of the camera to remove the USB cover.

    Connect the device to the computer’s USB port using the USB Cable WVS (K2.0014216).
    Start the ARRI Wireless Video Tool software.





Until the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W is powered, the ARRI Wireless Video Tool will prompt that no USB connection is available.



Power the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W using a power supply. Please make sure, that the Wireless video power is turned On in MENU>MONITORING>MON OUT 3 of the ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W camera.



The ARRI Wireless Video Tool will check for the device and read out its data.



Once connected, the WVS device/ALEXA LF/ALEXA SXT W data is displayed.



Module:

  

Receiver Unit or Transmitter Unit

SN:

  

Device serial number

Firmware Version:

  

Currently installed Firmware Version

Product:

  

Device product code, includes wireless region identifier


To upgrade to another firmware version, click the Upgrade button.
In the file system explorer window navigate to the folder containing the firmware update files.
Make sure to chose the file which includes the same product code in it’s name as your device (e.g.: OEM11800EUARR). Please always use the latest firmware on all your devices.



Upon confirmation, the upgrade process will start immediately. Please make sure that the device is sufficiently powered and do not to shut it down during the update.



The upgrade process may take up to five minutes. The device will restart automatically. Once the update is finished, a pop-up will be displayed.
Click OK to confirm. The device data is updated and displayed.



The firmware has been updated successfully.



Troubleshooting:
In case the updater states “Incorrect region” please verify that the product code of the firmware update file is correct.



It is not possible to program a firmware with a different region setting. If you need to have the region setting of your device changed, e.g. to match a device with a different product code, please contact your nearest ARRI Service Subsidiary https://www.arri.com/support/technical_service/camera_systems/