ALEXA software tools roundup

ALEXA software tools roundup


ARRIRAW is ALEXA's uncompressed, unencrypted and uncompromised file format, popular for feature films and commercials. The ARRIRAW Converter (ARC) is a standalone software program for Mac OS X, designed as a reference tool to show the highest quality debayer for ARRIRAW files. The ARC allows ARRIRAW files to be viewed, colored and rendered into various output formats, and is available free of charge from the ARRI website. New features of the ARC 3.0, released in March 2014, include:

  • Up-rez to DCI 4K or UHD-1 
  • Support for ALEXA XT Open Gate mode 
  • Support for the ALEXA black-and-white camera (available through the ARRI Rental Group) 
  • Support for user pixel masks


The ARC is also available as a command line tool (CMD) for integration into postproduction pipelines; it has been installed at high-end post and visual effects facilities around the world. The CMD is available from the ARRI website for Mac OS X, Windows, and the RedHat, SUSE and Centos distributions of Linux.


The ARRIRAW SDK is a Software Developer Toolkit containing the same imaging science as the ARC and CMD. This SDK is used in several postproduction tools created by members of the ARRI Partner Program, such as Flame/Lustre from Autodesk, Pablo from Quantel, OSD from Colorfront, Digital Vision Nucoda, Adobe Premiere CC, Foundry Nuke and Hiero, Eyeon Fusion, Assimilate Scratch, and many more.


One of the promises of shooting ARRIRAW has always been that research into improved debayer algorithms will provide better images from new and existing ARRIRAW material. ARRI is now implementing ADA-5, the latest ARRI Debayer Algorithm, for the next ARC/CMD/ SDK release. ADA-5 shows even more significantly reduced aliasing for a smoother image and cleaner high contrast edges. It also exhibits less noise, especially in the blue channel, which is critical for bluescreen compositing work. 

ALEXA's in-camera debayering, which is used to generate ProRes, DNxHD and the HD-SDI outputs, for now remains at ADA-3 (which was introduced with SUP 7.0). However, ARRI is actively investigating how the more complex ADA-5 algorithm can be implemented in the ALEXA image processing hardware.


ARRI Meta Extract, another Mac OS X or Windows software tool available from the ARRI website, facilitates the exporting of camera metadata from a QuickTime/ProRes clip, a DNxHD clip or an ARRIRAW file. ALEXA and AMIRA cameras store a rich set of metadata such as clip name, reel number, fps, shutter angle and timecode, as well as user information, LDS lens data and other information relevant for VFX. Extracting this metadata allows productions to create a more efficient post workflow. The ARRI Meta Extract tool has been updated to work with the latest ALEXA Software Update Packet (SUP 9.1) and with AMIRA.