September 13, 2013

ARRI AMIRA: Same ALEXA Sensor in New Lower-Cost ENG-Style Body, Shoots 2K & Up to 200FPS

ARRI just announced a brand new camera at the IBC conference in Amsterdam they are calling the AMIRA. Not to be confused with the budget ALEXA HD that was just recently announced, the AMIRA features the same sensor and similar recording resolutions as that camera, but is housed in a completely new body design designed to be more ENG/TV/Documentary-friendly. Check out their intro video below:

More on shooting with the AMIRA:

The specs:

  • Super 35mm 16:9 Sensor (Same Exact Sensor as Other 16:9 ALEXAs)
  • 2K/1080 Rec 709/Log C using ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ, or 444 codecs
  • Up to 200fps
  • Records to CFast 2.0 (New Compact Flash card standard)
  • 1280 x 1024 OLED Viewfinder and Separate LCD Monitor
  • Internal ND filters
  • 4-Channel PCM Audio: 48KHz 24-bit
  • Selectable 3D LUTs can be recorded
  • Aimed at Documentary, TV Magazines, Trailers, Corporate, Factuals, Live Events
  • Interchangeable Lens Mounts: PL, PL Broadcast, B4, and Canon EF
  • Shipping: Sometime before or near NAB 2014
  • Price: TBD, but said to be well under the ALEXA (but which one?)

The Canon C300 and the Sony F3 were huge steps up for TV and Doc work that had previously been using DSLRs. With better resolution and ND filters -- and in the case of the C300 almost no rolling shutter -- they made getting the shot that much easier. There is a market between low-end (under $10,000) and high-end (over $40,000) that wants a camera with some of those features, but also the ability to expand if possible. The Sony F5 and F55 fit that market perfectly, but with expansion are actually aimed for high-end cinema as well. AMIRA doesn't quite fit that market perfectly, but their goal is ultimate image quality at 2K/1080.

ARRI is not positioning the AMIRA that way because they are satisfied with their high-end solutions, and they would rather not introduce compromised versions at the lower end with 4:3 sensors and 2.8k ARRIRAW (that's what the big boys are for). Many like the ALEXA look, and obviously ARRI saw an opportunity to try to get that look into more hands on less predictable and more run & gun shows. They've made the AMIRA weather-sealed internally. This means that as long as your lens can hold up, you can use it basically anywhere under any conditions. It goes without saying that weather-sealing is extremely helpful for Doc or TV work.

ARRI AMIRA Side 2

The AMIRA will have interchangeable mount options, including PL, PL Broadcast, B4, and Canon EF (that last one will be huge for smaller budget productions). There is absolutely a huge market who are going to eat this up. How much though, will come down to price. If ARRI wants to hit C300 or F5 owners, it has to be somewhere closer to $20,000. Otherwise it's just going to be too big of a jump for many owner-operators. I would be surprised if ARRI can get the price under $30,000, especially with the ALEXA HD featuring similar specs starting over $40,000. If they hit $20K for a working camera it will literally sell by the truckloads.

If the camera becomes a relatively inexpensive rental, somewhere around $500 a day (give or take a few hundred), it's going to find its way on a lot of film sets and music videos, especially with 200fps capabilities (even thought they aren't necessarily aiming at that market). 14 stops of dynamic range, ND filters, gorgeous colors, and 2K resolution will be perfect for lower budget productions that can't quite afford the big ALEXA, but could still benefit from the image and don't really need anything more than Log ProRes. I know that I would rent one for a short or feature without even blinking if they can keep the price down and make a rental comparable to a C300 or F5.

Unfortunately, much like Sony does with their cameras, it will require completely new media. SanDisk is one of the first out of the gate with what is known as CFast 2.0, the next standard of Compact Flash technology. These cards are capable of much higher write speeds as they are closer in nature to SATA SSD drives, but are much smaller and use less power. These cards are not backwards compatible with older hardware, but ARRI is making CODEX adapters to use them in the new XT/XR recorders.

CFast to CODEX ARRI Adapter

The AMIRA is a smart move for ARRI, especially since plenty of TV and Doc work will continue shooting well under 4K for some time to come. Getting that ALEXA look is now looking to be even more affordable, which means we have even more choices for how we want our projects to look.

What do you think? Where do you think it will be priced? Would you buy one? Rent one?

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77 Comments

If they hit that magical 20K price point I'll be running to buy one with my C300 in hand to sell. In theory anyway. I'd have to use one first. But it sounds amazing. My fear is it will come in at 30K which is too rich for that (my) market for an HD cam.

September 13, 2013

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Yeah, I'd like to hold my breath for a sub $25K pricepoint, but that seems too good to be true. It is nice that Arris is reaching out to the indie-doc-corp people, tho.

September 13, 2013

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Chris H

I have a hard time seeing how it will be less than $35K. The Alexa HD is actually around $55-65 once you get enough necessary accessories on it to use it (like a viewfinder). And this has almost all the Alexa HD capabilities plus 200fps, 2k, and it's lightweight. IMO, if 4K isn't your every waking design, this would leaps above the F55 (from my experience with the F55 and Alexa). F55 is $30K. Alexa HD is $60K. This is somewhere in the middle in terms of functionality (a little more towards Alexa than F55).

September 13, 2013

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Boyd

How is it in between F55 and Alexa? F55 records 4K internally XAVC, 16-bit RAW to R5, has global shutter, does 240 fps 2K RAW, 120 fps XAVC, and on and on.

September 14, 2013

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Art

Price is the issue, and it looks like Arri delibrately did not set the price until after seeing reaction. I agree at $20k it will fly, at $30k the F55 still looks more attractive.

September 13, 2013

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Philip Lipetz

The gossip around the net is that it will be under $25K ... but with what accessories?
.
BTW, the in-camera grading is an interesting step too.

September 13, 2013

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DLD

The 1080p Alexa was announced as one price, but then it required $10K in accessories to work.

September 13, 2013

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Philip Lipetz

finally

September 13, 2013

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20K will be a great price. with No lens and a PL mount. u effectively have an Alexa that can record audio direct to source ... And for some commercial work even, this can make a whole lot of sense. a versatile camera. That's what everyone wants i think. Multifunctional.
This is a GREAT move by Arri. Its basically their version of a Scarlet but with more functionality and versatility. Their entry level "Alexa" there by cutting off others. These wars are getting to be quite fun and interesting. More power to us ..... the filmmakers .....

September 13, 2013

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nigel Thompson

Scarlet is not exactly a doco camera with intertnal 4K RAW.

September 13, 2013

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Natt

I agree but if you read my post you will see i said the camera is versatile ... can even work in filmic situations

September 13, 2013

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nigel Thompson

Whoa, if they price it right this will be awesome! (Basically what everyone is saying)

September 13, 2013

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Peter

Doco guys will LOVE this babe.

September 13, 2013

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Natt

it will be at least 50K...they released the Alexa HD for 65k ready to shoot pack...so if this shoots 2k and 200fps why would the sell this for less than $50k??? It's Arri my friends. :)

September 13, 2013

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jesuan

you totally just killed my buzz dude..lol

September 13, 2013

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Hahahahaha don't worry...it's better thinking it is goint to be 50K and then cost 25k than thinking is going to cost 25k and then 50K. Now i've watched the videos and I assume that yes is going to be very very expensive....more than the Epic...

September 13, 2013

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jesuan

i so want this camera

September 13, 2013

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geraldo

So I don't get it. we get a camera that is smaller then alexa hd has better sound possibilities and the same functions. why would anyone buy alexa hd? Why is everyone talking about this as a docu camera it is easier to use as a documentary camera but it can almost do everything the alexa does c-log etc.This is a movie camera of the same caliber as alexa(if you use prores). Won´t this canibalize on the Alexa. Most tv-shows and commercials shoot prores anyway.

September 13, 2013

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T

40k at least

September 13, 2013

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T

Superb. I guess, more than anyone else, Arri seems to get things right. I wish there were multi-lens options on BlackMagic Cameras Too.
Amira is a fantastic cam. If they price it right, like Arri killed film, this might kill Canon's 'C-Series'.

September 13, 2013

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sanveer

At least they confirmed it will be well under the price of an Alexa.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151840844599061&set=a.11745152...

September 13, 2013

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Sean B

surely they could've shot better footage

September 13, 2013

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what the

I'm gonna guess the price ready to shoot (minus lens) right under $28,000 and I'd certainly rent this camera in a heartbeat. It's a smart move on Arris part with all the reality programming (across the globe)...sounds silly but for an HD camera with no "special k's" attached there's nothing like it. Lets face it they're going straight for Sonys jugular taking full advantage of Sonys identity crises. The f55 different league, different market that Alexa already ownes as for the f5 apparently they believe they got it beat. Not a very exciting announcement for some but I can think of a few who are jumping for joy.

September 13, 2013

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Anthony Marino

I could see it's ENG style popular with filmmakers, especially for the quick set-ups needed for shooting multiple locations on the same day.

September 13, 2013

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Marc B

I wish that it will be a sub 20,000 USD camera

September 13, 2013

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arturo sanchez

F5 is $17K body only ... + $5K for the viewfinder ... + $5K for the 4K outboard recorder + $1K for the SxS card + lens+ battery ... will run $30K or more ... but you do get 4K 16-bit Raw with that.

September 13, 2013

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DLD

Also, Sony announced the updated FS-700 today under the FS-700R name. This one has the early summer updates included and runs about $8K with the lens. Add Convergent Design Odyssey Q7 for ~ $3,800 (whenever it ships) and you get a 4K ProRes camera for about $12K, including the recording media and an outboard monitor. And that will probably be about half of Amira's invoice.

September 13, 2013

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DLD

I will be at IBC on monday, maybe I can find out more about the price.
By the way, 25k$ is quite the same price for a broadcast sony or panasonic hd 2/3" videocamera.
So it isn't way out of the price range for an hd cam.

We will see.

September 13, 2013

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andrea

This would be fun for some cinema verite or reality tv style shit

September 13, 2013

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john jeffries

as I said before this is going to be more than $50K..... even the cards a f**king expensive
CFast 2,0
16GB-256GB priced from $220-$1,810

ajjaajajjaja and everybody is think in a $20k camera......

September 13, 2013

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jesuan

I'm in the camp that is expecting a $30K+ price point (base model). But... Arri might be feeling the pinch from other brands now. The elite beasts will be the F65, Dragon and Arri, although Arri still only holds that title by reputation and great results, not because of its specs. But below that, the market is wide open, and every other brand has a 'gateway' camera. So as people who are budget conscious learn to shoot with the C300's, F5/55's and Epic's of the world, they develop brand loyalty and when they graduate to larger productions, that's where these brands hope that the customer remains loyal. At this point, Arri can only hope that people have the attitude of "when I grow up, I want to shoot on Arri". But if they become satisfied with the results of their more affordable brands, Arri might lose that selling point. So... a $20-25K camera could certainly make sense from a marketing POV.

September 13, 2013

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FWIW, Panasonic announced a high end/production 4K camera also ... well, they announced they're working on one ... it might be ready in time for the 2014 NAB ... or not.
.
Off the global IBC news articles, it seems like most companies are working very hard on incorporating some portions of the HEVC into their software packages and these new products will take a while to materialize. Maybe there will be more in time for CES in January but, more likely, they'll be announced at the same old 2014 NAB.

September 13, 2013

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DLD

ARRI says 1080p/2k is the standard, not 4k.

September 13, 2013

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ishoot720p

That isn't stopping them from developing a 4K camera as we speak.

September 14, 2013

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Coty

they're doing it reluctantly. 1080p images have not been perfected.

September 15, 2013

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ishoot720p

Huhoooo Even if I could not by one, that camera is sooo beautiful, like watching to a work of art (engineering one). It made me have feelings for it, LOL ;-)

September 13, 2013

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Leonardo

WHAT??? 200FPS mini Alexa??!? Changeable lens mounts??? NEED. That viewfinder looks absolutely amazing. Full resolution while still having a small monitor for framing low angle shots? NDs? Perfect.

Regardless of actual cost this will make for an inexpensive rental item, which is good for everyone. More chances of booking one for rentals during certain times of year (Alexas are in very high demand in L.A.) Probably will rent for close to what an Epic rents for.

I can see this being used in reality tv. Not every show but some of the more edgy, cinematic ones. Music video camera of choice too (200FPS). Easier post workflow than RED (although I do love working with R3Ds). Prod companies will be buying these too, so I would expect a lot of (web) content to now be filmed on ARRI.

Good times to be a filmmaker.

September 13, 2013

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Miles

I agree with you. This is a killer music video camera. Put some Hawk 70's on it? Whew.
Don't forget the HUGE sports doco market: this camera is catnip for those guys.
Also, an indie feature package with lenses for @$2k a week. You could make a hell of a pic with a couple of these.

And don't underestimate the ability to bake in the LUT: speaking as someone who has edited a lot of fast turn-around news stories that could be heaven: to have a set LUT available to an entire raft of freelancers. Its kind of done now, but mainly through Canon Log :-)

One quick point on this being an HD camera: Arri are right to think there's at least 3 full years left in the production chain for HD only in TV, especially HD at this quality. Its going to take another full tech cycle before we can edit, monitor and store it cheaply and quickly, whether or not people have TVs to watch it, and cable/satellite/over air find the bandwidth to broadcast it.

September 14, 2013

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marklondon

Plus, one has to assume that Arri has a plan to update it whenever they do the same with their entire line. Once you got the body and the lenses worked out, replacing the electronics inside it shouldn't be too difficult.

September 14, 2013

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DLD

My showcase showdown guess: $35,000.

September 14, 2013

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James

Without raw and or 4K its not offering anything more really than a C300. I think Arri really missed the mark with this one. Not what I'd call future proof.

September 14, 2013

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By that I mean the immediate future.

September 14, 2013

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Prores 444, 200fps?

September 14, 2013

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Gus

Your right, I should have used the Sony F5 as a comparison. 4K, 16bit raw, 240fps coming in this months firmware. I dont see the Arri competing with that.

September 14, 2013

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That 240fps is in 2K but still raw 16bit :)

September 14, 2013

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[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3bCN0KwwGc] - from the horse's mouth ...

September 14, 2013

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DLD

Here ( http://vimeo.com/74490204 ) they say it will be under Alexa price...but remember that alexa HD $65k and Alexa $85K...so it will be around $75k ...it means that only for the body it will be $45-50K... and if it is under the $30K point...the Alexa HD should lower its price quite a lot...and they won't do that......And they also say they changed the color science so it won't look as the Alexa and for me it looks just like normal TV...anything but filmic

September 14, 2013

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jesuan

One can hope that the market competition will help put this product in the $20k category. With Alexa moving to develop a 4k camera, as much as they don't want to, and with the competition with RED and SONY, I can only imagine in a couple years seeing the 4k ARRI taking the Alexa's price niche knocking down the Alexa and leaving the AMIRA in the lower end of $20k. Pure speculation, this is ARRI we're talking about after all. If this Camera is 30, 40, 50 even 60k, I don't think anyone will be surprised.

September 14, 2013

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Steve

Many who have tried to say that IBC is about 9 kg in weight 4kg against f55's full. Epic Dragon with 5kg.
Too Heavy. Only in the shoulder or on a tripod ...
No movement, no Octocpter ..... always with large luggage and bulky ..
The ergonimia I like, comfortable and balanced, but 1080p and native iso 800, if you do not like Alexa goes beyond the ISO 1200 otherwise too much noise, I want to see 200 fps in low light .... For documentary where you are working in difficult conditions also is not 'the best, in fact, many use a c300 or c500.
All with a high price ..
I'd rather have a backpack C500. and a RED Dragon at this time.

September 14, 2013

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Alexis

Who, on any doc shoot, is going to use an Octocopter? This camera is meant for the shoulder or the tripod, maybe a Wally Dolly or something of that nature, which is ultimately still on a tripod. Break this baby down and it'll fit in a backpack. A C500 can't do high speed and has a DSLR sensor. I'd much rather have high speed and THE BEST sensor to ever be put into any camera. Yes, I think Alexa looks better than Dragon, especially on skin tones. And I don't see any RED camera doing 200fps at full sensor size. This is the "baby Alexa" we've been waiting for,

October 30, 2013

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Daniel Christensen

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