AbelCine Breaks Down Arri Alexa XT: Codex Virtual Media & Live Grading Metadata
There has been some significant news on the Arri front over the past few months -- namely, that the growing Alexa family is forking out 'budget' HD-specific and Doc-friendly body implementations. All the while, AbelCine has been a great resource on keeping us all up to date on the family's tech specs & specifics. This trend continues as AbelCine's Andy Shipsides walks us through Arri's Alexa XT system. Briefly, the XT series upgrades Alexa to Codex-powered internal ARRIRAW recording. Andy's videos go through the ins and outs of this system -- detailing everything from virtual media to live-grading metadata. Read on to check out the videos.
Once again, this material comes to us courtesy AbelCine. First, Andy goes over the major details of Alexa XT -- the 'special guest stars' include the following module and accessories:
- Alexa XR ARRIRAW Recording Module, which records to the
- XR 512 GB Capture Drive, or alternatively the
- XR SxS Adapter w/ Sony SxS Cards (see above XR Module link, accessories section)
Next, Andy goes over both the familiar circumstances of shooting/offloading ProRes and DNxHD, as well as the futuristic Codex VFS interface for RAW. The Virtual File System is very customizable, generating dailies or proxy files in codecs of your specification that become truly self-contained when 'offloaded.' In this way, the VFS (see Codex's PDF for more details) is pretty amazing, because you don't need to actually record any physical proxies to have eventual access to them in many desired formats. Check it out:
Finally, Andy goes over the creation of CDLs, or 'color decision lists,' live on set. Key players include:
You may have been keeping up on NFS's recent posts about defining the role of the DIT on-set, wherein top DITs explain the importance of primary color correction performed on the spot. The ability to create, modify, and apply a LUT on the fly, as the camera rolls -- and to do so non-destructively since the CDL LUTs are applied as metadata -- makes progressively more sense as the gap between production and post shrinks.
It's also nifty because everyone monitoring the camera can view the most up-to-date "color decisions" being applied to a scene. In fact, live-LUTing evokes the real-time coloring DITs used to perform via "paint box," except now, such color decisions aren't baked in.
The Alexa XT system is not only powerful, but may also be indicative of where RAW acquisition is going -- as such, I'll be excited to see if and when (and how) flexibility like this reaches lower-end camera systems. For further reading on these topics, check the links below.