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New ARRI Super 35mm 4K camera has been released: "ALEXA 35"


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https://www.newsshooter.com/2022/06/01/arri-alexa-35-first-look/

 

This is a big big development for ARRI, as since 2010 they've been using in all their cameras exactly the same sensor (although offering an LF sized version to meet the 4K demands that the original S35 couldn't do). This is their first new sensor since then, and can natively do 4K with a standard Super 35mm sized sensor. 

 

We can expect to see many many of these AELXA 35 cameras on film sets in the future. Assuming they haven't dropped the ball here (and I highly doubt ARRI has), then the ALEXA 35 is going to be just as popular as all the past ALEXA cameras. Maybe even more popular, if that is possible, thanks to the phenomenal 17 stops of dynamic range the ALEXA 35 has. (& ARRI always measures DR conservatively)

 

Seems they've put a little more thought into audio than they have before. Has built in scratch mics like the Mini LF has, and has optional accessory backs, such as this one made by Sonosax:

 

IMG 1424

 

Hope this Sonasax audio module ends up becoming the industry standard we see on all ALEXA 35's rented out!

 

Even without the Sonosax AEM-1 accessory the ARRI ALEXA 35 still gives you 2x line level inputs (same six pin lemo cable as Mini LF. The lemo connection also supplies 12V power for your receiver) with a total of four audio tracks that can be recorded.  You can choose to record the following on any of the four tracks:

  • None
  • Line in L
  • Line in R
  • AEM-1 L (only if the Sonosax accessory is attached)
  • AEM-1 R (only if the Sonosax accessory is attached)
  • Internal Mic L
  • Internal Mic R

 

Seems however the camera only shows the audio meters for Channels 1 & 2? Maybe a firmware update will come so you can see the audio levels for 3 & 4 as well.

 

As for internal mics, Matthew Allard says:

Quote

The audio recording level of the internal microphones is fixed, with the left microphone (channel 3) using a +18dB higher gain than the right microphone in order to cover a wide range of audio levels.

 

Timecode is still the same lemo cable on all the other ARRI ALEXA cameras. (has genlock too, on a BNC connector)

 

The blurb about the Sonosax AEM-1 from Newsshooter.com: 

Quote
  • 2x Mini-XLR for analog MIC/LINE in with optional 48 V Phantom power for MIC in, and Phase reversal, adjustable low-cut filter, gain and limiter
  • 1x Mini-XLR for AES stereo digital audio in
  • 1x Headphones
  • 1x Regulated 12V accessory power
  • 1x Regulated 24V accessory power
  • Dynamic range: 129 dB (MIC), 135 dB (LINE)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.001%
  • Best studio audio quality to match the best image quality

 

The Sonosax has a menu and navigation buttons, with controls for Input 1 & 2:

ARRI ALEXA 35 89 27

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The Sonosax Module it's clearly aiming for people in documentary market or the ones which like to use AES Output (receiver) to AES In. Build-in microphones is welcome for those productions which does not care about quality playback sound (amen!; not hearing the moan from camera dept. about receiver).

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5 minutes into this ARRI presentation video it goes into details about the Sonosax module:

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Fred Salles said:

At least they give TA3 inputs and that is a relief after the painful Lemo 6pin on mini LF/5 pin on mini...

Sadly it is still a lemo input for audio if they're not using the Sonosax module 😞

 

3 hours ago, Constantin said:

What are those great Sonosax preamps going to be used for? The best sounding scratch track ever?

Eh, now or then you still occasionally get that request for audio to camera because "super quick turn around" (and seemingly their editor is incapable of a couple of clicks to sync up the audio). And why not want the scratch track to sound as good as it can be? Sometimes with some other workflows people might be listening to it for a fair bit, until picture lock and the post production audio team get to work on it. (although yes, ideally it has from the start had that scratch track replaced with my mix tracks recorded on my recorder itself)

 

Audio normally gets ignored so much by camera manufactures, nice to have ARRI come out and make claim "this is the BEST sounding audio in any camera available today". 

 

But it is also not just about the quality of the audio, but the Sonosax module looks to be well designed, and should be easier to work with than any ARRI Mini (OG or LF) ever was.

 

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9 hours ago, IronFilm said:

 

IMG 1424

 

Hope this Sonasax audio module ends up becoming the industry standard we see on all ALEXA 35's rented out!

 

If I ever shoot Alexa... I will use this module for sure.

I'm still happy with my RED Monstro and M2D2 😉

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12 hours ago, Constantin said:

What are those great Sonosax preamps going to be used for? The best sounding scratch track ever?

Or will we be required again to record broadcastable audio on the camera?

You're right the quality of the preamps might not be used often but in case a camera mike is required at least I'll know it will be a bit better than the usuals.

It happens for example on some documentary scenes shot in a crowd or a location with many characters, it can be useful to have a good mike mounted on the cam to get the occasional passers by while I am booming main characters. Also B cam going to shoot B rolls without sound guy, mounting a good small ms setup on top of the cam might save time in post, if the cam team knows how to shut up 😀 Sometimes you might try to ask the guys not to shoot any sync stuff or at least let you know if they do, but you end up having post asking  "where is the sound of the car we see passing in THAT shot" you never heard about... Anyway you don't need a list of situations where you would put a mike on a cam I am sure.

 

Also I agree with  IronFilm here:

 

9 hours ago, IronFilm said:

But it is also not just about the quality of the audio, but the Sonosax module looks to be well designed, and should be easier to work with than any ARRI Mini (OG or LF) ever was.

 

It just feels naively good to get some kind of consideration for sound from cam manufacturers, even for guide track 🙂

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Yes, I agree that it is not totally bad that they have teamed up with Sonosax. Certainly I am happy for Sonosax. And while I can see some special legitimate use-cases for this, I also worry that this is another nail in the coffin of the location sound recordist. Not saying it's the final nail, but one more. 

Had a longer reply planned, but can't find the time at the moment...

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Just thought of another upside: out of the four notable players (Zaxcom / Sound Devices / Aaton / Sonosax) who still exist in the market who make professional recorders/mixers for us, then Sonosax would be the smallest of the four! Thus getting extra revenue (and visibility) thanks to partnering up with ARRI is good news for us, because it improves the odds that into the future there is maintained a healthy competitive market of options we can choose from.

 

We'd be much worse off if those four were to drop down and only be three supplying us. So am happy to see "the little guy" get a big win like that! (although to be fair, in the global grand scheme of things, all four companies who provide us with our hardware, are very small niche players)

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

Yes, I agree that it is not totally bad that they have teamed up with Sonosax. Certainly I am happy for Sonosax. And while I can see some special legitimate use-cases for this, I also worry that this is another nail in the coffin of the location sound recordist. Not saying it's the final nail, but one more. 

Had a longer reply planned, but can't find the time at the moment...

 

I think the ones who use Alexa35 are the one who shoot with a sound recordist.

I'm happy to have a good sound on cam (preferrably MS) because I think a sound in the POV of my picture is critical, but it can't ever replace another mic put by someone else in a better place than my camera.

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I think the Sonosax accessory looks great.  I find the choice to use male mini xlrs a bit odd.  It's just counter to how I've always thought about audio signal flow.  It's always made sense to do power that way to prevent accidental shorts, but not sure why they decided to flip it for audio.  General availability of the connectors maybe???

Either way I'm really looking forward to working with this camera.  I know at least one owner op who has ordered this cam and since it can do 120fps at 4k they are planning on getting rid of their RED cameras which makes me happy :)

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23 hours ago, Wandering Ear said:

 I find the choice to use male mini xlrs a bit odd.  It's just counter to how I've always thought about audio signal flow.  It's always made sense to do power that way to prevent accidental shorts, but not sure why they decided to flip it for audio.  General availability of the connectors maybe???

I think TA3 (mini XLR) have been all male whether for inputs or outputs since the 7 series of Sound Devices as far as I remember. I always though it is both for space saving and ease of contacts cleaning, just like the male XLR for mike inputs on the early Nagras.

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9 hours ago, Fred Salles said:

I think TA3 (mini XLR) have been all male whether for inputs or outputs since the 7 series of Sound Devices as far as I remember. I always though it is both for space saving and ease of contacts cleaning, just like the male XLR for mike inputs on the early Nagras.

I was thinking this as well - a locking TA3 female seems to take a bigger panel mount footprint vs the male where the lock is at the connector at least in my experience with project boxes

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On 6/6/2022 at 10:46 AM, Fred Salles said:

I think TA3 (mini XLR) have been all male whether for inputs or outputs since the 7 series of Sound Devices as far as I remember. I always though it is both for space saving and ease of contacts cleaning, just like the male XLR for mike inputs on the early Nagras.

You're absolutely right.  I wrote my thought without remembering that all the ta5's on my Zaxcom recorders are the same way.  It's true there isn't really a standard there and the way I learned to think about signal flow as it relates to connectors is kind of arbitrary anyway.

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