Jump to content
soundrolling

Arri Alexa Mini, The Results Are In...

Recommended Posts

Well we have a new camera player against the RED for Movi, drone and even 3D potentially. All I’ll say is its £25k, poor camera guys.

What we care about is how to get sound and timecode in the bloody thing. Had the chance to play with one (and a prototype running Amira software) and here we are.

Being just a body they have kept things very tight. First let me say the fans are as low as the Alexa but exposed like the RED, again because of the small body. It even goes into a “quiet mode” when recording. I was yet to get out of them if it would slowly get louder or how it prevents overheating.

The timecode is like the Amira, BNC. So nice and easy for most. No talk of their own Ambient quality timecode but I’m sure they haven’t compromised, but then I am a fan of the camera so to speak.

wpid-img-20150226-wa0001.jpg?resize=649%

The Arri Alexa Mini Audio Settings are interesting. I picked up the prototype and it said 4 tracks on the menu, this I discovered was just the Amira menu encoded in the camera to show it working. The actual camera has a 5pin lemo as a line in stereo feed for audio and they say they will not be shipping specific cables because of the extra cost of stocking them etc… so I have made sure I have them in my sound store so people will have access to them.

All in all, whether it’s 3D,  drone, M or even a cheaper rig as a multi purpose unit I think we will all get along with it fine. Coming to the market this late is for a reason, proper build quality. That’s what there name stands for in the industry and I’m sure they are not in a hurrah to throw that out the window anytime soon.

Till next time,

Matt Price

Location Sound Mixer London

- See more at: http://soundrolling.com/camera-audio/arri-alexa-mini-audio-settings/#sthash.r46howsG.dpuf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, so the Alexa Mini does have audio inputs after all! I was told "no audio." So much for that!

 

Look forward to seeing/hearing the camera at NAB if I can get away in April...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I remember well, Amira's menu was not so complicated. With a dedicated fader rotary fader, clear enough meter indication, -20dB was very easy to align from the left side of the camera, no need of entering in the menu.

 

What I wonder is how they integrated the Amira firmware to this Mini box where there's less button outside...

 

(In general, bigger fan makes lesser noise. I personally think it is better designed than the other one who puts a loud 4 cm fan in front of the camera)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mini does accept line level input via the Lemo on the front. 

Levels are controlled in the menu (similar to Amira), however only a few choices as I recall, -18db, -20db etc.

No headphone or line out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a 17 day job with it. I had an audio cable made to feed it a mono mix from my ERX. Worked fine, timecode worked fine as well.

Never had any real issues. Maybe 2 or 3 times we had to unplug the TC Lemo and reconnect it to jam. No idea why that happened, but it did. For whatever reason the camera didn't automatically take a jam after a battery change or boot up. Just something to keep an eye on.

Usually I left the ERX on at the end of the day and just swapped batteries.

Post was syncing audio from my Nomad as we went and said everything worked, except those few times TC didn't take jam, if we rolled before catching it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just prep'ing for a commercial with the Mini. John Paul interesting to note the TC weirdness, will keep an eye on that. Re the input connector this is pulled from an Arri forum:

There is only a rather "unique" 5-pin mini Lemo Audio IN connector on the Mini, which only accepts line level.
Because the connector is so new and rare, the best (and likely only) source for it at the moment is from ARRI, who provides it with a unterminated pigtail.  I put a 5-pin Female XLT on mine.

Unfortunately there is not a headphone connector on the camera, so monitoring the quality and level of the audio is not possible.  This really limits its functionality to only being a "cue" track, and for reliable results one should consider a proper double-system recording as a requirement.

I can understand the lack of a headphone jack because of the real estate issues on such a small camera, and also its intended use on Movi's, Drones and Steadicams, but I wish it was available and also a mike level input for radio mikes for the inevitable hand held use and for documentaries.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i showed up to a three day indie shoot with my awesomely awesome sononsax sx bd1 rig, expecting their usual canon 5d but discovered they had the alexa mini--and no audio cable that would get me in the camera. we did dual system. the camera does have noise that permeates the room while rolling, very noticeable within 3-4 feet of the camera, not crazy loud, but it's there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worked (almost) with it for the first time today, package came with an A-box for XLR inputs. After a couple hours it finally had to be swapped back at the rental house for an Alexa ST. Portuguese company needed an aspect ratio of 4:3, which current firmware doesn't support? For the brief moments I thought I'd be working with it it seemed perfectly agreeable. We were outside on a windy day and didn't wind up getting into any real situations, so I didn't get a chance to notice any kind of fan noise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
soundpod   

I used the phone app the other day. once I had my box attached, the 1st AC bought up the settings on his phone and we dialled it in leaving the DP free to continue lining up the shot. It was very cool and worked well. The range wasn't very good, we had to be next to camera, but that's no issue.

All the settings were there, layed out like on the camera menu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
osa   

I have a shoot with 2x of these mini's this weekend. was just looking to confirm - 1) audio is line level into 5 pin lemo at the front and 2) timecode is 5 pin lemo at the rear? 3) no heaphone jack so scratch track only?

just called and fingers and toes crossed cam dept includes the bits they just told me they would to tie it all together. i will be down in nashville close to a certain place and maybe I can get some cables made once I confirm the input situation. thanks in advance!

-Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes but the two Lemos are not the same!  The TC Lemo is the same one we've been using since the TC Nagra days, but the AUDIO Lemo on the Alexa Mini is a NEW connector.  In the pic: new Alexa Mini audio on top, TC Lemo below.  Make sure the camera rental house sends you some adapters.  The one in the pic I had made for me by Remote Audio, and they said they had a tough time sourcing that new Lemo.  Line level only, menu-setup level only, NO monitor out at all.

lemo.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
osa   

holy cow...the madness will never end... is that a specialty 5 pin audio input lemo? looks the size of the 4 pin but i bet it's not.

thanks a TON

-Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a "real" Lemo, but not so easy to find.  A good camera rental house will realize the fuck this causes you and send along some adapters to XLR, but it's best to ask.  If the camera is privately owned and the owner doesn't know what you are talking about you might have to see if you can get the cable from a rental house in a major market.  I asked the cable maker @ Remote Audio if he had seen this connector before and it was a new one on him too, and I figure he'd have seen everything out there.  And btw....it is NOT the Lemo on the end of the RED "000-BNC" cable either (the one used with current REDs for TC and genlock when they have no breakout box mounted), which is slightly smaller and 4 pins and just as impossible to work on yourself.  Lemo: feh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The audio input on the mini is a 00 series lemo, which is the same series as the red tc connector, but a 5 pin version.  It took me 3 or 4 weeks to track down the right angle connector and wait for it to ship from lemo since none of the regular distributors stock them.

Seems like Everytime I work with the mini from a camera house it has an a box, but owner/operators don't always have it, which is why I ended up making cables for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
osa   
3 hours ago, Wandering Ear said:

The audio input on the mini is a 00 series lemo, which is the same series as the red tc connector, but a 5 pin version.  It took me 3 or 4 weeks to track down the right angle connector and wait for it to ship from lemo since none of the regular distributors stock them.

Seems like Everytime I work with the mini from a camera house it has an a box, but owner/operators don't always have it, which is why I ended up making cables for it.

I gave up at 4 pin lemos and now leave those and beyond to experts. You must have solder skills with surgical precision. And immense patience 

-Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, osa said:

I gave up at 4 pin lemos and now leave those and beyond to experts. You must have solder skills with surgical precision. And immense patience 

-Ken

Two things that help a lot when working with these tiny connectors are first, use an appropriate sized cable, and second, prep the cables nicely with minimally tinned leads.  These connectors accept a maximum 28 guage wire, and it's almost futile to try and jam a larger cable in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tried, failed, now "commission" them.  Have yet to see a Mini with a connector box, private or rental house.  Telling folks that the RED 000-BNC is the same connector series as the audio in of a Mini is precisely true but open to misinterp by the unaware.  I prefer to designate it a different connector, since they cannot work in the same context...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I mis read your previous post where you said it's smaller.  You're right they are incompatible with different pin counts.

If anyone cares to attempt their own the part number for the right angle connector is

FPG.00.305.CLAD35Z

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the cables you guys recommend for the Arri Mini?  what cables would provide the most flexibility for the sound team when I show up to set as an operator with this camera? 

How many channels can the camera handle in Analog and in Digital (is digital possible?)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are supplying the camera, you should have an A-box or similar breakout for the audio input since it's on a proprietary lemo plug that few people are likely to have.  

11 hours ago, petersonfilm said:

What are the cables you guys recommend for the Arri Mini?  what cables would provide the most flexibility for the sound team when I show up to set as an operator with this camera? 

How many channels can the camera handle in Analog and in Digital (is digital possible?)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×