Arri Offers Updates, Upgrades and More

A massive SkyPanel update, plus new ballasts, RC lens motors, equipment bags, Sony Venice supports, top-shelf film scanner and much more.

Arri announced a number of items in April. 

The company’s new Certified Pre-Owned Program offers a selection of refurbished Alexa Plus and Alexa Classic EV camera systems for sale. After a comprehensive component check and detailed recalibrations, the cameras are subjected by the company to the same final functioning testing as brand-new units. Each will come with a one-year warranty.

“We are excited to offer the Arri Approved Certified Pre-Owned Program,” says Stephan Schenk, Managing Director of Arri Cine Technik and General Manager of the Business Unit Camera Systems, in the press release. “It’s a global initiative which adds a new tier to our products, allowing more filmmakers access to our technology. It also gives educational institutions a cost-effective way of providing high-quality equipment for their students.”

A SkyPanel update, to Firmware 4, available now, brings a total of 10 features previously unavailable to Arri’s versatile LED panel solutions. DMX possibilities in particular have been enhanced across the board. An Ultimate DMX Mode now gives total control over parameters within a single DMX mode, whereas previous iterations could require jumps between DMX protocols to achieve desired effects.

DMX info can now be read directly from the SkyPanel control panels, as well, and a single channel has been reserved in every DMX mode for easy access to strobing adjustments, one of the more popular selections in SkyPanel units. A new Light Engine DMX Control has been created for segmented controls over multiple light engines, such as the two available in the SkyPanel S60, or 12 in the SkyPanel S360.

With detailed controls over CCT & RGBW, HSI, or x,y Coordinates for each color engine, the x, y Coordinate Mode is a new addition to the SkyPanels. It provides exact matches for color points measured from a spectrometer. These can be stored as presets for later access.

An Extended Color Control sequence adds eight refinements for dialing in highly detailed color choice: warmer/cooler, saturate/desaturate, +/- red, +/- green, +/- blue. +/- cyan, +/- magenta and +/- yellow. The RGBW Calibrated Mode, introduced with SkyPanel Firmware 3.0, gives more control over white point with a variable color temperature setting of between 2800K and 10,000K. Previously, it was only available to set at 3200K.

Available through the onboard control panel or via DMX, starting colors like digital gels, HSI values, or color temperatures can be selected quickly, with minute changes made using Extended Color Control to create highly specific colors and tones from there.

Explosion, Welding, Process and Fluorescent Flicker have been added, too. As four pre-programmed lighting effects, these new sequences join 13 other possibilites, including Cop Car, which has been augmented with five more color combinations to further mimic emergency alerts. Another effect, Process, imitates the effect of a street light passing over a car.

For subtle light transitions during live events, the Stage Mode gives smooth dimming to zero without color jumps or noticeable intensity drop-off. The improved SkyPanel Web Portal provides Ethernet or WiFi access from any web browser. It has had a complete redesign with faster navigations and new user-control interfaces.

Building on the EB Max 1.8, revealed at NAB 2017, Arri also released three more EB Max ballasts at this year’s NAB Show. Accommodating a range of 575W to 18,000W, the three models can operate on 75 Hz for standard frame rates as well as 50 or 60 Hz for noise minimization. There are also high speed frequencies at 300 and 1,000 Hz for higher frame rates. Remote control over frequency and operational modes is provided through extended DMX protocols. 

AutoScan, Man (as in manual) or AutoMan selections provide your choice of up to full automation. (AutoMan combines manually set frequency with automatic controls.) Active Line Filter and Compensation for Cable Losses will deliver maximum efficiency in the power supplies and wiring. The EB Max 2.5/4 is designed for 2,500W and 4,000W lamps, while the EB Max 6/9 and EB Max 12/18 run 6,000W/9,000W and 12,000W/18,000W heads respectively.

Bringing a “touch of Arri style and workmanship” to the latest full-frame Sony Venice camera, Arri also released Basic and Pro versions of their support kits. The Basic Kit comes with plate, BPA-5 bridge plate adapter, QRP-1 quick release plate and support rods. The Pro Kit adds an extra top plate, CCH-4 center camera handle and RMB-3 rod mounting bracket.

The top plate allows either the CCH-4 or the original top handle from the Venice. The bridge plate adapter transfers from shouldermount to traditional cinestyle plates BP-8 or BP-9. It’s also compatible with the upper plate to allow lightweight 15mm rods.

For wireless lens control, with 14-channel support on an integrated white-coded radio module, which has also been given improved interference resistance, the Arri Cforce Mini RF is an intelligent lens motor that operates without a seperate receiver unit. It can be paired with up to three hand units, offering split focus, iris and zoom operations.

Full lens data is provided for focus mapping, also capable of being displayed on Arri’s WCU-4 hand unit. Using LBUS interface, it can be expanded with two more Cforce motors. A new CAM connector provides interface for power and start/stop on Arri and third-party cameras from Red, Sony, Canon and more.

Targeting film archivists, Arri’s Arrriscan XT updates their Arriscan and Arrilaser solutions for digitizing and remastering older, fragile and often damaged negatives. Utilizing the sensor of the Arri Alexa XT, the Arriscan XT improves overall image quality while enhancing scanning speeds by up to 65%. It also holds computerized, intermitted frame-by-frame film transport system.

A wet gate system uses a special forumated liquid to conceal scratches and dust. High-powered LED illumination reduces scratch visibility while producing no heat, vital when working with flammable nitrate stocks. Developed by Zeiss in cooperation with Arri, the optics in the Arrriscan XT have variable optical magnification for working with unusual frame dimensions or shrunken film material. Previous Arriscan models are fully compatible with the new design for on-site upgrades.

Sequeling their line of Unit Bags for camera gear and accessories, Arri’s Unit Bags II are adaptable and durable, with padded interior, reinforced edges, waterproof fabric covering and rain cover, which is included for extreme weather situations or, as it is detachable, to be used to protect other gear. Pliable-yet-tough dividers are both long and short in size, and the lid’s underside can also hold up to five removable, see-through accessory pouches. These can also be affixed to the sides of the main compartment.

The exterior holds three more pouches with integral net pockets, waterproof zippers, and fabric pocket on the rear. Carabiners can be used to attach additional items through external fabric loops. In addition to cloth handgrip and two-piece handles, the bags can be converted to backpack (for short distances) through two extra shoulder straps. Available in three sizes, the large and medium versions come with detachable, zipped document bag. The smaller has elastic drawstring and cord lock on the top of the lid, instead.

Finally, an Arri Edition 512GB Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory card has been introduced by SanDisk. Customized specifically for Arri Amira and Alexa Mini camera models, the card boasts Arri-certified compatibility and guaranteed performance that exceeds CFast 2.0 specifications. The cards support approximate runtimes of 50-minute 2.8K ARRIRAW, 30-minute 3.4K OG ARRIRAW, or over two hours of 2K ProRes 4444 XQ at 24 fps.

The extended capacity is ideal for underwater, aerial, live-performance, high-speed and high-resolution cinematography. The Arri Edition 512GB Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 card is available directly from Arri and sales partners. (An incompatible retail version of the same card is also available for use with other camera systems.)

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