April 6, 2014

ARRI Announces They'll Begin Shipping The Lower-Cost AMIRA in April

ARRI AMIRA

Geared more toward documentary, news, or TV work -- yet using the same sensor as some of the higher-end ALEXA cinema cameras -- the lower-cost, ENG-style AMIRA is expected to provide the usability that a run-and-gun shoot would require without sacrificing too much in image quality. Earlier this year, ARRI revealed the prices of its different upgradable camera packages, but yesterday they added another very important piece to the puzzle by announcing that they'll begin shipping the highly anticipated camera this month.

At one point we were promised a pre-NAB release date, but that's looking less and less likely. However, according to Creative Cow, ARRI is planning on releasing the AMIRA this month, though an actual specific date hasn't been established. In case you're not familiar with the camera or just need a refresher, here are the key 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

When it does come time to order, there are 3 available camera configurations with different features. Lens and battery mounts, and bottom plates are chosen to meet your specific needs. Furthermore, with the purchase of a license (available on ARRI's website), your camera set can be upgraded later on. Here are the 3 different camera packages:

The Economical - AMIRA CAMERA SET

Features include: HD 1080i and 1080p; 0.75-100 fps; ProRes 422 and 422 (LT) recording in Rec 709; three looks; adjustable in-camera image parameters for knee, gamma and saturation; peaking for focus control; zebra and false color for exposure control.

The All-Rounder - AMIRA ADVANCED

Features additional to the economical AMIRA set: 100-200 fps; ProRes 422 (HQ) recording; Log C; unlimited Look functions; import Looks; ASC CDL in-camera grading; dynamic auto-tracking white balance; WiFi remote control; Bluetooth audio monitoring; pre-record function.

The All-Inclusive - AMIRA PREMIUM

Features additional to the AMIRA Advanced: 2K (2048 x 1152) and ProRes 4444 recording; import custom 3D LUTs.

ARRI certainly had a certain kind of user in mind when they designed the AMIRA. It's design is optimized for a single operator: built-in ND filters, full audio controls, extendable shoulder mount, with most of the important settings accessible on the outside so you don't have to go into the menu. These features will appeal to shooters who need to pick up and go quickly and easily, but those same features, as well as the 35mm 16:9 sensor, the newly added Adobe Premiere Pro support, and lower rental price will more than likely draw the attention of independent and low-budget filmmakers as well. Though the AMIRA can only shoot up to 2K, it may be a fair trade-off to get still really excellent image quality at a relatively reasonable price.

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Your Comment

28 Comments

The form is great, and I'm sure this will be a solid workhorse of a camera, but c'mon. It's 2014 and 1800 dollar cameras are pumping out 4K. I have a feeling this camera will get updated within a year, and these originals will be worth far less than their initial high cost.

April 6, 2014 at 3:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Paul Watt

First of all this camera is not 4k , size of the camera still same ENG style which cannot take every place, no RAW recording , & finally the price $0000000 , maybe BBC the only company who gonna buy this product , Arri still not understanding the changed market & the result same as RED struggling from Black Magic & other manufacturing companies including Digital Bolex , panasonic (GH4)

April 6, 2014 at 4:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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arn

BBC bought a bunch - like 500 - of JVC cams last year. Nowhere near Amira's $40K price point. This is for major TV specials and docs. You won't use it for your run-of-the-mill ENG. One might as well get an updated F55 at this range and chances are,that, at $14K, C300 will still rule the 1080p side.

April 6, 2014 at 5:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

You seriously are mentionning Digital Bolex as something that would cut sales of the Amira? Do you really get what is the target of the Amira?

While I do not work yet on the BIG budget doco productions, many people I know are dying to have the Alexa sensor coming in an ENG style body. Of course mid to high mid productions will never invest that much for a camera with so few features. But they are not Arri's target. Also as a rental it will also bring the Alexa image to a lot of narrative productions that could not afford the Alexa.

This camera will never sell as much as the Alexa but it does have it's public.

April 6, 2014 at 5:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Haroun Souirji

The camera is not approved for BBC use.

April 6, 2014 at 5:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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A little off topic, but apparently the Bolex team announce a new camera tomorrow.
http://www.digitalbolex.com/upcoming-events/

April 6, 2014 at 6:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

Hi there.

Was wondering what is your source of information as "creative cow" is just another site and on Arri's web site there is no trace of information regarding April being a shipping date.

Thanks!

Johnnie

April 6, 2014 at 5:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'm not really sure what hold this camera is going to plug... Perhaps it might be used for reality shows, or news gathering, but I really don't see it being used by documentarians, mainly because of the high cost; starting at $40,000, and with codec upgrades, $50,000. You could get ten Canon C100's for the same price, lol!

Granted, I'm certain there's a fair amount of magnificent engineering with the Amira, and I know it's built like a tank, but like other cameras, we're all just looking at a sensor in a box. Is the sensor worth $50k? Is the box worth $50k? The only feature that is desirable is the 200FPS @ 2k, but even that is available with cheaper options (FS700).

Today's NAB is going to be very interesting :)

April 6, 2014 at 5:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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neil

This camera is for the NAT GEO, DISCOVERY & HISTORY CHANNEL type crowd. Not for most of us. I can see History using this camera as a workhorse ..... Will they get a few, we may never know. The camera has a space albeit a small one but companies like ARRI don't make stuff without having somewhere to sell it.

April 6, 2014 at 6:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel

Dude its a friggin Arri! It doesn't need a market, the Alexa is a success whether this model sells or not. How many of you care if they sold a lot of M's or Studios or insert model here? Who really cares at the end of the day, they got a lot of Alexas packaged a lot of ways. The last thing they are worried about is 4k or market share....as for Red and BMC/digital bolex cmon guys this is a very very expensive camera, this is clearly not aimed at people buying 1,000 dollar pocket cams, or Scarlets or anything not in the 5 figures for HD category. This is as pricy as HD is going to get besides other Arri models. What interests me a lot more is the new 4k/6k arri we keep hearing rumors about! Now that is a sensor I want! I bet it will rent for years like the original Alexa!

April 6, 2014 at 6:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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brian merlen

Would you agree that, rightly or wrongly, the 1,000 dollar pocket cams have changed perceptions and expectations though, because people can't visualise the extensive behind the scenes quality control of, say, Canon but look at the end price of a Blackmagic camera which certainly can be visualised, regardless of the fact they explode from time to time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMbIhCNGYnE

April 6, 2014 at 6:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

I think the significant market will continue to be cinema rentals, Arri rumors the weight at 4kg's (body) which means a smaller grip requirement, maybe even MOVI :)

April 6, 2014 at 6:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ash

Everyone who doesn't understand why this camera's price is so high is an amateur.

April 6, 2014 at 7:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FabDex

Yup. Unless you've attempted a big long tough project with different types of cameras you can't really appreciate it. Alexa is far and away the best camera I've ever worked with. It shot our feature, never crashed, never messed up, gorgeous images, so simple to use. Everything handheld but the DOP doesn't care. It's just the daddy. I know many bang on about the f65 as the true daddy but I've never shot on that one so can't comment

April 6, 2014 at 8:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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and anyone that can't make something look good on a Pocket Cine camera has no talent. Get off your high horse. The name of the game these days is innovation and creating newer cheaper methods of production. I know you union-thug "pros" are enjoying your over-bloated monopoly on mediocrity... But it's coming to an end by the people who "don't understand" why they have to pay $20,000 for 5 year old technology.

April 6, 2014 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bwhitz

You spelled auteur wrong.

April 7, 2014 at 6:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

"Lower-Cost" - I cant exactly say if its attempted sense of humor or serious tone.

April 6, 2014 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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test

This camera has a very specific use. If you have never worked on large production with high stakes involved you might not understand why people choose Arri, especially top DoP's.

Compared to kitting out a RED the price is compelling (not to mention ease of use over an Epic). ENG will be attractive for run and gun doc style shooting as well (RED cams are way too modular). This shape won't work on a MOVI however, too tall and long, it's not really meant for that type of shooting. Think shoulder mounted indie/Hollywood films.

Most films are mastered at 2K btw, even IMAX(they have proprietary method of blowing it back up to 4K if needed).

Also keep in mind these cameras not owned, but will be 90% rented out by large rental houses.

April 6, 2014 at 11:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pietro

And why would ´"ENG person" buy this camera, instead of Sony F5 / F55 ?

You know, in broadcasting world (news, sports, docs) Arri has no presence when compared to Sony (and Canon, even Panasonic). And I am talking about everything else outside expensive HBO TV-series etc.

Also, if the rumours are true, after this night / day at NAB 2014, there is no reason to buy any other camera than Sony...

April 6, 2014 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juhan-i

If you don't need the ultra low light capability of the Canon cinema series, this really seems to be the ultimate camera for bringing the classic cinema narrative look to documentaries. If the price point were in the 20 - 30k range and thus somewhat more accessible to film makers like myself, I'd buy one.

I wish Arri would get out of the "priced for rental" game. Maybe that's like asking Ferrari to make an affordable fun hatchback though...

April 6, 2014 at 1:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Is everyone also forgetting that this camera shoots

200 Frames Per Second.

Sure its 40k but its as well rounded a product as you can get.

April 6, 2014 at 4:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heather Shawns

I think its unfortunate that this camera is being overlooked for narrative feature use. This really is a perfect camera for Sundance style independent productions.

Think about it. Its got the sensor of the Alexa which seems to be the go to cam for most digital bug-budget features. Its got the organic (vague term I know) look and the low light sensitivity of its big brother. Its got the lightweight form factor and balance of an Aaton Super16. It's got built in ND filters. It has a very robust codec.

There have been a number of successful Indies that have had theatrical distribution which used ProRes 444 such as Drive and Blue Caprice. Watch these movies and tell me that ProRes 444 isn't good enough for theatrical distribution. 4K is overrated and at the moment, impractical for most (95%) of the films being shot across the country. After dealing with the post nightmare of the Blackmagic, this camera will be a breath of fresh air. Manageable file sizes, wide dynamic range, good lowlight sensitivity. This camera has win written all over it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdIj1x_HTN4

This is the kind of image quality we can expect from this camera.

Really, this seems to be the best digital replacement I have seen for Super 16.

April 6, 2014 at 6:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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AndrewR

Agree on the ProRes 4444: shooting in log with that codec you can get a STUNNING image in the grade.

April 6, 2014 at 7:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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WillS

Completely agree @AndrewR. I think this will be great rental choice for indie, great design and easy workflow.

@Juhan-i -Sorry if you misunderstood, but I didn't mean this camera will convince anyone to switch to Arri. What I did mean however Amira will be an excellent camera for a lot of DoP's doing run and gun narrative with its form factor and ease of use. Regarding Sony F series, purely my personal opinion and experience, excellent but I have never worked on any Sony camera or footage for post on any studio movie or television series so far(everything seems to be Alexa or RED), but that could easily change.

One must also have to factor in brand loyalty, support and service, which really matters when talking about productions in the millions. When I started renting out my RED, one exec producer friend told me many DoP's are moving towards renting full package Arri Alexa's. I also remember one local DoP who was able to rent his Alexa for year for a television series before it arrived, made enough money to buy one more. More risk, more reward I suppose!

April 6, 2014 at 8:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pietro

It's not a documentary camera, whatever the marketing says. We bought the premium and will be shooting music videos, corporates and feature films on it. It's the best of all worlds - 30% lighter than an Alexa, compact and full of features, and with the same Alexa sensor. It's a no-brainer. It's not only for big networks at all. It's a camera for anyone who wants Arri quality in a portable, more single-user style package. Frankly, that could and should be everyone.

April 6, 2014 at 11:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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djfern

And also, I think people get way too hung up on this 4k stuff. I just watched Game of Thrones Season 4 opener - all shot on a lowly 2k Alexa. It looked absolutely stunning on a 42" Sony TV - not exactly top of the line, and missing lots of K's. As I sat there watching this stunning cinematography, I just could not imagine how 4k would make it a shred better. I don't have space for a TV larger than 42" and at 10ft back, the pixels in a 1080p monitor are already too small to see, so what the hell would 4k do to improve on that? Answer: giant nothing.

April 6, 2014 at 11:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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djfern

4k was this year's 3d fad from past years. 4k will eventually obviously become the norm but atm there's no need. give it another 3-4 years before people will have tv/screen setups that are decent enough. moreover a lot of - even fibre-optic connections- aren't up to scratch to stream 4K (they should do on paper but realistic broadband speeds suck).

April 7, 2014 at 6:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pat

Arguing that this won't take hold because of cheaper cameras, is like saying Game of Thrones won't be shot on an Alexa for long because the Black Magic Cinema Camera is out.

Arri's primary market is not owner/operators. Arri's market is 100% about reliability, slow upgrade cycles, familiarity of use, standardization. All the things big productions (who barely bat an eye at rental costs) care about.

The owner/operator market is a race to the bottom. Good for us, but not a game Arri wants to get involved with.

April 8, 2014 at 9:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ongbak