ARRI Alexa In-Camera Recording Using AVID's DNxHD MXF File Format

The Avid DNxHD recording function for ALEXA will be distributed as a cost-effective software upgrade during January 2012

ARRI announces a major new recording feature for its ALEXA camera range, offering in-camera support for Avid®’s open standard and widely adopted Avid DNxHD® codec.

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The ability to record native Avid DNxHD, as MXF files in-camera, creates a unique proposition for the 35 mm digital capture industry and is another first for the ALEXA camera system. The combination of ARRI ALEXA quality and mission-critical reliability with Avid’s respected codec and editing technology delivers a powerful, uncomplicated workflow into the film and broadcast TV market, building on ALEXA’s position as the first choice digital camera for capture and postproduction.

As a benefit to cinematic productions, ALEXA cameras record ARRIRAW uncompressed 3K images that preserve the true 35 mm ‘digital negative’ for mastering and feature archival. Expanding ALEXA’s parallel recording capability to include native support for Avid DNxHD eliminates a transcoding step for the dailies generated by the Avid editing system and creates a more streamlined editorial workflow with seamless final conformance back to the archived ARRIRAW digital negative.

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Neil Fanthom, ARRI’s head of digital camera strategy, comments, “The Avid editorial environment is an important cornerstone of the broadcast and motion picture postproduction industry, and ARRI is very pleased to be able to provide Avid DNxHD MFX file-based recording within the ALEXA camera for Avid-centric productions. This further confirms our commitment to add significant ongoing value to the ALEXA camera family, in this case by allowing customers to choose which workflow suits their own capture and postproduction requirements. No other camera in this industry fulfils such diverse workflow needs.”

Angus Mackay, pro video segment marketing manager at Avid, says, “The Avid Media Composer family of non-linear editing systems, featuring the high quality, low bandwidth SMPTE standard Avid DNxHD codec, are the industry’s first choice for professional editorial. By providing native Avid DNxHD recording with the ALEXA camera, ARRI is allowing producers to use high quality ALEXA cameras and quickly and easily view dailies, and begin editorial, without the need to transcode or re-wrap footage. Media Composer version 6 now offers the Avid DNxHD444 codec, which will permit customers to preserve the high color information in ALEXA footage while still having a low bit rate codec suitable for editorial. This is great news for ARRI and Avid customers, who will benefit from the advantages in quality, speed and streamlined workflows.”

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The Avid DNxHD recording function for ALEXA will be distributed as a cost-effective, downloadable software upgrade during January 2012 and is now entering Beta phase testing with selected broadcast productions. Avid DNxHD codec data rates of up to 145Mbit/s (bit depth 8 bit) and 220MBit/s (bit depth 10 bit) will be supported in the initial release. Avid’s highest quality version of the codec, Avid DNxHD 444, will record at 440Mbit/s at 10 bit depth and will be provided as an upgrade for all adopting customers later on during the first quarter of 2012.

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