The WVR-1s, which can be paired with ARRI's wireless video transmission system being used on set.

ARRI Wireless Video System an on-set favorite

Camera crews from around the world share their positive WVS feedback.

Mar. 20, 2019

The ARRI Wireless Video System (WVS) forms one element of ARRI’s complete Electronic Control System, itself part of the company’s Pro Camera Accessories range. Allowing crews to wirelessly transmit camera images to various on-set monitors, the WVS consists of the HD video transmitters in ALEXA LF and ALEXA SXT W cameras, a standalone transmitter for use with other ARRI or third-party cameras, and a standalone receiver that picks up signals from either transmitter.

In March 2019, a new receiver was added to the WVS product line: the WVR‑1s. Smaller and lighter than ARRI’s long-range WVR‑1 receiver, the WVR‑1s is particularly well suited to handheld configurations. Focus pullers will combine it with the ARRI WCU‑4 wireless hand unit and a small onboard monitor, reducing the bulk and weight of their remote focus setup. Directors will pair it with just a handheld monitor, keeping their eyes on each take as it happens, even when on the move, or in challenging locations.

Camera crews all over the world are increasingly coming to realize the benefits of ARRI’s Wireless Video System. Australian cinematographer Marc Windon, an ALEXA LF owner, relied on the WVS when shooting the TV series “Infiltration” in Belgrade, Serbia and Lebanon: “The wireless video signal is the best I’ve come across,” he says. “It’s almost as good as the recording quality, it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s no noise, you can see everything just as if the cable were hardwired directly from the camera to the monitor.”

In the UK, focus puller Fran Weston used the WVS on the movie “Ironbark,” captured with ALEXA LF cameras and ARRI Rental Prime DNA LF lenses by Sean Bobbitt BSC. “We would predominantly run one transmitter at a time, with a second transmitter when we had an additional camera,” she notes. “The fact that the transmitter is built-in was something we liked, as we didn’t have to add a separate transmitter on camera. We would use up to three receivers per camera, and generally the signal was good for long-range line of sight, and through a minimum of two walls for shorter distances. The pairing process is very easy and quick, which is useful when swapping or adding receivers from one transmitter or camera to another.”

The second series of the popular UK series “Killing Eve” was also shot with ALEXA LF. “The ARRI wireless receivers are simple and easy to use, with phenomenal signal range and have the added bonus of a V-Mount plate and two SDI outputs,” reports the camera crew. “They are robust, versatile, and better than any other option when paired with an ARRI camera.”

Another series to have used using the Wireless Video System in the UK is the long-running “Top Boy,” broadcast on Channel 4. “We are using the built-in transmitter in the ALEXA LF and found the wireless video system to be great,” says focus puller Kate Molins. “Personally I found the receiver was a bit big and heavy when mounted onto my WCU‑4, but ARRI was kind enough to give me a prototype of the new, smaller WVR‑1s receiver, which worked brilliantly and made the WCU‑4/monitor/receiver setup much lighter.”

David Ansah, another member of the “Top Boy” camera crew, adds: “The ARRI WVS was an invaluable tool. It offers exceptional range and multiple outputs, which made it easier to offer varied monitoring needs in many difficult situations. The pairing of receivers is quick, simple and intuitive, requiring no tools, and being a built-in system meant that we didn't need any additional accessories or cables on the camera, reducing its footprint and weight.”

In the Unites States, the system is also finding ardent proponents. “We have become dependent on wireless video on today’s sets, and there are usually issues with losing signal, but I’ve been very impressed with the ARRI WVS— it’s been rock solid and we’ve had no problems with connection or range,” says focus puller David Edsall, using it on “Legion,” a sci-fi series. “It’s been such a relief to have dependable wireless video that we can count on, and I’m looking forward to using it on my next show.”

Justin Simpson, A-camera focus puller on “Untitled Henry & Rel Sci-Fi Project” (aka “Power”), says, “Shooting with an ALEXA SXT W or LF, I would choose this system over any other. Having the transmitter built in is a godsend, especially for someone who likes to keep a clean and minimal camera build. For syncing receivers to cameras and transmitters, this is probably the easiest and quickest system out there right now. After three months with it I can say that the signal and range are very reliable. The whole system is really durable and doesn't get too hot, as expected with ARRI products.”

Pulling B-camera focus on the same project, Christopher Flurry adds, “I found the range and resilience of the ARRI WVS signal to be excellent. Having the transmitter built into the camera made the camera body considerably less cluttered; it also made switching between studio, handheld and Steadicam easier. The mounting hardware is well thought out and useful, and pairing additional receivers was easy and intuitive.”