Gulf camera is pleased to announce that our Alexa XT+ Camera now has Sup 9.0 installed and the “Open Gate” mode is enabled and is ready for use.
The sensor grade and processing power of the ALEXA XT makes it possible to capture a frame that is considerably larger than the standard 2.8K ARRIRAW format. In Open Gate sensor mode, the active pixel area is 28.17 x 18.13 mm, 3414 x 2198 photo sites, an image circle of 33.5 mm, and an aspect ratio of 1.55:1. This larger area can be helpful for repo, resizing, digital stabilization, rotating, or native 3.4K VFX. The frame includes, and actually extends beyond, the surround view area. We therefore call this mode Open Gate.
ALEXA XT SUP 9.0 makes ALEXA XT cameras ready for the Open Gate sensor mode. To enable this mode, an ALEXA XT camera needs to be upgraded/re-calibrated at an ARRI service center. After the release of Open Gate mode, all new ALEXA XT cameras will ship with Open Gate mode enabled.
Open Gate mode will first be available on the ALEXA XT, ALEXA XT Plus or ALEXA XT Studio. We plan to also enable the mode for the ALEXA XT M later. An ALEXA with the XR upgrade cannot capture the Open Gate format, because its sensor and image processing does not meet the technical requirements.
An Open Gate ARRIRAW frame is approximately 11.30 MB.
At 24 fps, this results in a bit rate of 2.17 Gbit/s and a data rate of 271 MB/s or 976 GB/h.
In addition to Open Gate, Sup 9.0 includes the following upgrades:
Improved ProRes Recording – Higher Speeds
By optimizing the image pipeline, ARRI has increased the maximum frame rate of the highest quality ProRes codec (ProRes 4444) to 120 fps in 16:9 HD mode. The processing horsepower comes from the ALEXA XT/XR cameras and the higher data transfer rates are available on either XR Capture Drives or CFast 2.0 cards. It is now possible to keep shooting ProRes 4444, no matter what the frame rate.
ProRes Pre-Recording – Capture the Unpredictable
Based on requests from nature documentary cinematographers, ARRI is introducing ProRes pre-recording. When pre-record is enabled and the REC button is pushed for the first time, the camera will continuously capture images, audio and metadata into a temporary ring buffer – a section of memory on the actual recording medium. When the REC button is pushed a second time, the camera will keep everything that is stored in the buffer and continue to record from there. It is thus possible to capture an event that occurred before the REC button is pushed for the second time, like the leap of a tiger or the sudden flight of an owl. The ring buffer can be set to short, medium or long, though the pre-record duration also depends on the chosen ProRes codec, aspect ratio, recording resolution and frame rate. As an example, the buffer times for ProRes 4444 16:9 HD at 24 fps at the short, medium and long settings are 4, 13 and 21 seconds.
Better DNxHD Recording – 444 and ALEXA XT/XR Support
DNxHD will be available in 444 for all cameras with a DNxHD license. Developed in close collaboration with Avid, DNxHD 444 delivers stunning master quality images for those who want to stay native in the Avid world.
More and Safer Metadata – Self-Healing and LDS Includes Cooke /i ALEXA continuously closes and re-opens the files it records, so if a memory card is accidentally removed during recording, or power is lost, the files remain intact and uncorrupted. Although the incomplete metadata files would still be readable, the camera would refuse this media for further recording. From SUP 9.0 on, ALEXA will feature self-healing metadata – the ability to detect an incomplete metadata file, compare it with the recorded frames and reconstruct it, allowing the media to be used again.
Support for the Cooke /i protocol as part of the ARRI Lens Data System (LDS), already present in ALEXA XT/XR cameras, will now be extended to ALEXA Classic cameras with a PL-LDS mount. Being able to recognize the ARRI LDS, as well as the Cooke /i system, allows ALEXA to read and record lens metadata from all lenses with built-in encoders for more efficient working on the set and speedier VFX in post.
New Operating Options – WCU-4 and Improved Usability
The Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 now offers an even tighter integration with ALEXA cameras, including proper display of pre-recording status, the ability to switch from regular speed to high speed, and a software switch for lens motor direction. A number of user interface improvements previously released in SUP 8.1 for ALEXA XT/XR cameras have now been added for ALEXA Classic cameras: ‘Audio disabled’ will be indicated in the EVF and MON OUT status display, as will ‘ND filter on/off’ (ALEXA Studio cameras). By popular demand, there is also a new frame line option for a smaller center dot.
New LDS Functions – Greater Flexibility
With the availability of the new 2x and 1.4x Alura Extenders, ALEXAs with a PL-LDS mount will recognize that such an extender has been installed on an LDS lens, or on a non-LDS lens used with the Lens Data Archive. The camera will record the properly re-calculated lens metadata values and show them on all numeric displays, although they cannot be shown on graphical displays or on the LDD-FP. For greater flexibility, it is now possible to choose the source of the lens data – either the encoders built into LDS lenses or CLM motor encoders with a Lens Data Archive table that can be customized to the user’s specific demands.