Charred ALEXA rises from the ashes

An ALEXA camera that was badly burned in a camera truck fire and then found to still be working has caused a sensation on Facebook and at NAB 2011 in Las Vegas. 

The camera, owned by David Wells of Moving Picture Electronic Services in Miami, Florida, was charred almost beyond recognition in the accident. Many plastic parts had melted in the intense, contained heat of the fire; cables had perished and the viewfinder was burned to a crisp. In short, the camera was written off as being completely dead.

Burned ALEXA appears at NAB

ARRI Inc.'s Stephan Ukas-Bradley shows us the now-famous ALEXA that was badly burned in a recent fire. Amazingly, the camera still works, despite its charred appearance.

However, when representatives from ARRI visited the rental house, they decided to see if any life remained inside the blackened outer shell. Having wrenched off the severely melted lens cap, they noted that the sensor looked to be in fine condition, and when they connected a power supply, the camera booted up as normal. There were howls of surprise and delight as the display screen lit up and even though it meant getting dirty, soot-covered fingers, the menu system could be navigated and even the rotary jog wheel still worked.

A pair of pliers was required to rip off the melted viewfinder cable, but when a new cable and viewfinder were attached, and a lens put on the front, it became clear that the camera was still able to output images. The MON OUT and REC OUT outputs worked, and it was even possible to record images to an on-board SxS PRO card.

Of course a burned ALEXA is a sad event, but what better proof of the camera's extraordinary toughness and durability? Sincere thanks to camera owner David Wells from Moving Picture Electronic Services for permission to display this staggering testament to ALEXA's ruggedness on the ARRI booth at NAB.