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ALEXA Mini FAQ

  • There are a number of simple steps you can take in the cozy comfort of your home:

    • Read the ALEXA Mini web pages
    • Read this FAQ. It contains many important questions that have been asked by other users. 
    • To familiarize yourself with ALEXA Mini’s control panel you can use the ALEXA Mini Camera Simulator.
    • Read the ALEXA Mini user manual.

     Of course, the best way is to talk to your local rental house and play with an ALEXA Mini when it is available, or, even better, shoot a test. 

  • A sensor mode defines an aspect ratio, which defines the area on the sensor that is being captured. A recording format define what is being recorded in-camera in the file. So while a sensor mode defines a certain number of photosites on the sensor, those may be recorded straight or up or down-sampled to create the pixels of the recording format. A distribution format defines how the final product is delivered to the consumer. The contents in the recording format is often up or down-sampled, cropped, repositioned or rotated in post before it becomes the final distribution format.

    An example: Choosing a 16:9 sensor mode on the camera allows the further choice of various recording formats. Choosing the 4K UHD recording format means that a 16:9 area from the sensor is read out, up-sampled in camera to a 4K UHD image and then recorded. In this case the recording format of 4K UHD is the same as the distribution format of 4K UHD. 

  • Any lens projects an image with a circular (spherical lenses) or oval (anamorphic lens) shape onto the sensor. Inside this shape is the image area, which is the area within which the lens’ manufacturer guarantees the lens optical quality. However, there is still light outside the image area, all the way out to where there is no more light, which is called the illumination area. Both areas of most ARRI lenses are very large, since we wanted to make sure that if a customer shot Super 35 on a film camera but had forgotten to switch the lens mount from N35 to S35, they would still get an image. Because of that our lenses have bigger image and illumination areas than most other Super 35 lenses.

  • The ALEXA Mini 4:3 license key:

    Enables ProRes recording in the following formats: 2.8K 4:3, 2:39:1 2K Ana. and HD Ana. MXF/ARRIRAW Open Gate recording is possible in combination with the ALEXA Mini ARRIRAW license key.


    The ALEXA Mini ARRIRAW license key:

    Enables in-camera ARRIRAW recording. Open Gate recording is possible in combination with the ALEXA Mini 4:3 license key.


    The ARRI Look Library license key:

    A collection of 87 predefined creative color gradings that can be installed in ARRI cameras equipped with advanced look management (only needed for cameras purchased prior to May 2017)

  • Yes, every ALEXA Mini can be upgraded with these licenses.

  • Yes, the permanent licenses can be deleted from the camera and later on be reinstaled from a USB stick. This is not possible for temporary licenses.

  • Yes. You can use both traditional anamorphic lenses with a 2x squeeze factor (like the ARRI Master Anamorphic lenses) as well as anamorphic lenses with a 1.3x squeeze factor with the ALEXA Mini.

  • Following lens mounts are available for the ALEXA Mini

    • Titanium PL LDS mount with L-Bus connector 
    • PL LDS Lens Mount with Hirose connector
    • LPL Mount
    • Leitz M-Mount
    • EF Lens Mount 
    • B4 Lens Mount 
    • PL to B4 Lens Adapter 
  • As there is a huge variety of manufacturers, lens types and levels of iris control integration for EF lenses, we cannot 100% ensure that each and every lens will work correctly. We continuously test various lenses and have a list of tested lenses available on request. 

  • The camera supports controlling the iris through the camera UI, the ARRI Master Grips and the ARRI OCU-1 with the EF mount connected. There are several options to do so, please check the user manual for details.

  • The input voltage tolerance for batteries or bat power input is ranging from 10,5 – 34 Volt.

  • ALEXA Mini has a single power input: the BAT connector. There are various battery adapters available for V-lock or Gold mount batteries that connect to the BAT connector. Power sources can be attached and removed without powering the camera down first. 

  • The power draw of the ALEXA Mini and viewfinder MVF-1 is about 84 W. The power supply should deliver an output of more than 100 W to power the camera and viewfinder sufficiently. Additional accessories such as lens motors will add an additional power draw. It is recommended to power on-board monitors from an external source. Please note that using a 24 V power source is more efficient than using a 14.4 V source, as ALEXA Mini uses 24 V internally. 

  • No cards other than CFast 2.0 cards are compatible with the camera.

  • Yes, other readers following the CFast standard work with the CFast 2.0 cards supported by the camera.

  • The following are the default looks of the camera:

    • ARRI 709 - renders the video image according to the ITU.R-BT709 standard
    • ALEXA Classic 709 - matches the color reproduction to the ARRI ALEXA
    • ARRI 2100 HLG 1K 200 - renders an image for a HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma, ITU-R BT.2100) monitor
    • ARRI 2100 PQ 1K 200 - renders an image for a PQ (SMPTE 2084, ITU-R BT.2100) monitor
    • ARRI 709 Multicam - editable version of ARRI 709 for use with the multicam feature
    • Commercial - renders the image brighter for smoother skin tones
    • Landscape - applies a steeper contrast curve to the image
    • LCC 709 - Low Contrast Curve look that keeps more details in highlights for color correction purposes
    • TV neutral - an ARRI 709 like look, which is more saturated in colors with slightly lower blacks
    • TV warm - same as TV neutral, just with a little bit warmer look overall
    • Vibrant - boosts color saturation except for red and yellow (skint one protection)
    • ARRI Look Library - collection of 87 looks

  • Looks can be created with the ARRI Color Tool. This tool is available for free on our website.

  • Yes, looks can be saved to a USB stick and loaded into other AMIRA and ALEXA Mini cameras.

  • Live grading on set with the ARRI Look Management is supported by Pomfort LiveGrade, Codex Live, Colorfront On-Set Live, Filmlight Prelight, Technicolor DP Lights and others. 

    Automated dailies creation with the ARRI Look Management is supported by DaVinci Resolve, Colorfront OSD, Codex Production Suite, Pomfort Silberstack, Filmlight Daylight and others. 

    Editing with looks through the ARRI Look Management is supported by Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere.

    In all cases, check with the manufacturer to make sure you have the software version that supports the ARRI Look Management. 

      

  • No, it does not. Most digital cameras have the greatest exposure latitude at a specific EI setting (often called the 'sweet spot'). Choosing an EI setting that is higher or lower than the optimal setting will result in a sometimes surprisingly large loss of exposure latitude. ALEXA Mini is unique in that it’s exposure latitude of over 14 stops (as measured with the ARRI Dynamic Range Test Chart (DRTC)) stays constant from EI 160 to EI 3200. 

  • There are different ways to remotely control the ALEXA Mini:

    • Wirelessly control the camera through the ARRI Wireless Control Unit WCU-4. The WCU-4 connects directly to the camera's radio, so there are no extra boxes or cables.
    • Using the built-in webremote; any computer, tablet or phone can remotely control all camera functions via WiFi or ethernet.
    • The General Purpose IO Box GPB-1 offers 14 freely configurable user buttons and connects to the camera’s EXT port.
    • Third party applications that support the built-in Camera Access Protocol CAP offer control over look file parameters and operational parameters.
    • Basic REC/STOP control can be achieved with the cabled RS-4 switch.
  • In jam-sync mode the camera samples the timecode value and simultaneously tunes its internal timecode clock to match the clock of the timecode source, which prevents potential drift between camera timecode and timecode source. During this procedure, the timecode display on the home screen, on the timecode menu screen as well as on the status overlays is flashing. Jamming has finished when the timecode display stops flashing, then the timecode source can be disconnected. The camera now continues counting based on its own high-precision crystal clock. This mode ensures stable timecode with a drift of less than one frame over eight hours, after which the camera has to be re-jammed.

  • With the EXT Sync feature up to 16 ALEXA Mini cameras can be synchronized for various applications requiring sensor and settings synchronization. One camera is set as the master camera and the other cameras function as slave cameras. Cameras can be connected to each other via the EXT connector, using the MINI-EXT-sync cable (K2.0009051) and the EXT distribution box EDB-2 (K2.0013145).

    With EXT sync

    • images are captured from each camera's sensor at precisely the same time
    • recording starts and stops simultaneously on all cameras
    • recorded clips have identical start and end timecode
    • SDI outputs of all cameras are synchronized at all frame rates
    • the master camera's main settings can be inherited by all slave cameras
  • The internal WiFi antenna is located right behind the ALEXA Mini camera label on the camera's right side. 

  • USB memory sticks can be used for data files import and export. This can be look files, user setup files, frame grabs, licenses, manual, software updates and more. Please note that USB sticks cannot be formatted within the camera but need to be FAT 32 formatted on a computer device to be used with the camera.  The USB interface also supports USB power.

  • No, the RCU-4 does not work with the ALEXA Mini.

  • Yes, it is no problem to operate ALEXA upside down. The fan will still work and cool the camera sufficiently.

  • ProRes 3.2K is a recording format that is quickly gaining popularity. It is being used on major TV series like Game of Thrones, on many Amazon projects and on various feature films. The reason is that it has a lower data rate than ProRes 4K UHD (in fact about 33% less data) and thus is less expensive to record on set and to process in post. It can then be used for an HD or 2K deliverable (with extra image area for re-sizing, rotating, re-framing or stabilizing) or, with only a slight up-sample, for a 4K UHD deliverable. 

  • During manufacturing of the camera and after certain service procedures, the sensor of the camera will be calibrated. The calibration maps the sensor’s response to light for proper sensitivity, brightness and dynamic range for all color channels, red, green and blue. This is an absolute necessity in order to create a stable and reproducible image coming from a digital sensor.

  • Yes. Sensors are different from the human eye, and even in environments that are nominally safe for humans (like a laser show, for example), it is possible to damage the sensor with a laser beam. If and how the sensor is damaged depends on a number of factors, including the lens' focal length, lens iris setting, lens focus setting, the laser power, projected pattern and for how long the sensor is exposed to which part of the laser pattern.

  • Yes, for a stable and clean signal, a 4.5 GHz cable is mandatory. You can use this cable (also sold by ARRI): "Belden Video Brilliance 1505F HD-SDI High Flex Precision Video Cable 4.5 GHz", or any other cable meeting the same specifications.

  • The noise reduction (under menu/system/sensor) is minimizing temporal redundancies in consecutive images. It is reducing the noise in a very organic way and perfectly preserves the character and texture of the image. There is also no impact on image sharpness. With the setting "strong" there might be motion artifacts become visible with heavy motion.

  • Tungsten fixtures in the range of 1000 W and below can show pulsing light. Typically this is not visible with the human eye, and it is also hard to see in the viewfinder, but it can result in visible flickering effects on the recorded footage when shooting with high frame rates. Depending on shutter/exposure time, this may be true for frame rates above around 100fps. Tungsten fixtures of larger size do not show this effect, as the light pulsing is more sluggish here.