The ALEXA XR Module (Extended Recording), which is built into all ALEXA XT cameras, is also available as an affordable upgrade for all ALEXA Classic cameras. The ALEXA XR Module is a new side panel with exciting in-camera recording options, replacing the current SxS Module. It allows ALEXA Classic camera owners to embrace the latest advances in recording technologies without having to purchase a new camera, exemplifying the concept of modular upgradeability that was built into the ALEXA design from the very beginning.
Alongside the highest overall picture quality, unsurpassed reliability and user-friendly ergonomics, ALEXA cameras offer a long product cycle through many upgrade options, providing a sustainable business model to customers and protecting their investment.
XR Module Features
Faster and more affordable ARRIRAW
In addition to its overwhelming success in the world of television, ALEXA has become the go-to camera for many of the world’s top filmmakers. Feature films bound for the big screen are increasingly opting to record ARRIRAW, the highest image quality output possible with ALEXA, delivering uncompressed, unencrypted raw image data that allows maximum flexibility in post and provides a truly future-proof archiving format. Recent films that have taken this route include Skyfall, The Avengers, Zero Dark Thirty and Amour.
Up until now, the ARRIRAW workflow necessitated an external recording device such as the Codex Onboard, but ARRI’s close and continuous dialogue with industry professionals has revealed strong demand for in-camera ARRIRAW recording. ARRI and Codex have therefore combined their technical expertise to develop the new XR Module, incorporating tried-and-tested Codex recording technology directly into the ALEXA cameras.
ARRIRAW is an unencrypted, uncompressed raw image format that contains the full raw data from the sensor for the absolute best image quality from ALEXA.
For the greatest flexibility in post, nothing is "baked" into an ARRIRAW image. Image processing steps like debayering, white balance, sensitivity or downscaling, which are irreversibly done in-camera for a ProRes, DNxHD or HD-SDI output, are not applied to ARRIRAW. Thus they can be optimized in post for the image content. For example, different debayering parameters can be chosen for faces, landscapes or green screen. Of course, the settings you make in the camera for HD-SDI monitoring on the set are recorded in metadata so you can retrieve them in post.
For VFX it is very important that the original material is uncompressed, because all compression artifacts make compositing more difficult. And because of the high overall image quality of ALEXA ARRIRAW images, it is possible to down-sample the image to HD or 2K, to keep it at the native 2.8K resolution, or to up-sample to 4K. Thus shooting ARRIRAW is the best format if you want a 2K or 4K deliverable, or are working with a lot of visual effects.
We firmly believe ARRIRAW to be an excellent future-proof archiving format. First, ARRIRAW is uncompressed and unencrypted, which means that anyone can later retrieve the images with standard software tools and no proprietary decryption of decompression software is necessary. And second, we openly publish our color science and we make our information and our debayering algorithm available to third parties as a Software Developer's Kit. Using this information, a large number of third parties have included native ARRIRAW capabilities into their products. So when you come to your post house with some XR Capture Drives with ARRIRAW on them, they know how to process ARRIRAW, now and in the future.
Exceptionally fast digital magazines
ALEXAs with an XR Module can record ARRIRAW at up to 120 fps in-camera onto an exceptionally fast and rugged XR Capture Drive. This not only makes for a smaller, lighter and more affordable camera package, it also simplifies setup and operation while avoiding unnecessary cabling. The result is an even faster and more reliable workflow on set.
In addition to ARRIRAW, ProRes or DNxHD (1) can also be captured to the XR Capture Drive for significantly longer recording times as well as ProRes 4444 recording at 120 fps. With an SxS Adapter it is possible to record ProRes or DNxHD to a single SxS PRO card, thus protecting the inventory of existing cards.The XR Capture Drive contains highly reliable custom solid-state drive technology in a small and tough aluminum housing, identical in shape to the current Codex Capture Drives. Its high capacity of 512 GB can hold enormous amounts of data, and with its 6.7 Gbit/s it is one of the fastest digital magazine available.
(1) DNxHD recording not possible with SUP 8.0, planned for SUP 9.0
Safely carry CDL color correction metadata into post
An increasing number of productions are setting up on-set color correction systems so the cinematographer can create and monitor a pre-grade of the footage. The resulting ASC CDL (American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List) can be automatically transferred to the ALEXA XT cameras and stored as ARRIRAW metadata, for fast and convenient retrieval in post.
Flexible, Proven Workflow into Post
Once removed from the camera, the XR Capture Drive offers a number of different paths into post for every budget and time schedule demand, using the proven Codex on-set or near-set workflow.
Single Dock Workflow
The small and affordable Single Dock USB3 allows safe copying of data via a Retina MacBook Pro. Further features can be added with optional Codex software, the ARRIRAW Converter (ARC) and other software.
Dual Dock Workflow
The Dual Dock can make clones of XR Capture Drives and connect to a Mac Pro via SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) for high speed copying. The included software provides all features for an efficient digital lab.
The Codex Vault is a modular and rugged stand-alone system that includes all the hardware and software for copying, archiving, metadata management, reporting or dailies creation with the greatest ease and highest speed.