ProRes UHD for AMIRA


Kevin and David Couliau shooting a promo video with French Olympic boxing champion Brahim Asloum using PhotoCineRent AMIRA. Photos courtesy of PhotoCineRent

We got scooped by ARRI. I thought this information was embargoed until IBC–but there it is today on the ARRI website. Here’s what FDTimes learned on a very recent trip to Munich:

Documentarians dragging their feet on the way to the AMIRA store will doubtlessly hit the ARRI speed-dial button when they hear this. If their only hesitation, up to now, was caused by the ominous hyphenate “future-proof,” that anxiety is now assuaged.

Wildlife cinematographer Sophie Darlington recently wrote, “I think many wildlife production companies will be waiting for a 4K version to satisfy the pixel pickers.” Yes, Sophie, this upgrade may be for you and them.

A new software upgrade for ARRI’s documentary-style AMIRA camera will allow it to record ProRes UHD files offering future-proof headache relief.

Producers, studios and companies considering the longevity of their programs wanted assurance that they would be suitable for UHD transmission, viewing, streaming or downloading. The old mantra of “we’ll just do the re-make when the next standard rears its head” is no longer credible. (Remember how long it took stations and studios to move from standard 16mm to Super 16mm, long after every new camera in the world was already fitted with a S16 gate?)

For productions that need to generate UHD deliverables, AMIRA will  offer the ability to record all ProRes codecs in Ultra High Definition 3840 x 2160 resolution directly onto the in-camera CFast 2.0 cards, at up to 60 fps. This feature, available for purchase through a software license (and a sensor calibration for existing AMIRA cameras), comes in response to feedback from AMIRA customers, some of whom have been grilled about UHD/4K deliverables by clients. It is made possible by the camera’s image quality, processing power and reprogrammable system architecture (FPGA).

(Note that this up-rez can be done in-camera because the AMIRA has a powerful processor. You can still up-rez in post, as you can with ALEXA.)

Whether a production is pursuing UHD production from lens to living room, from deal to distribution, or simply want to archive in UHD for future-proofability and potential future profit, AMIRA will have an  upgrade that requires no additional -postproduction.

For major feature films, an up-sample to 4K can be carried out after visual effects and other postproduction tasks have been completed at 2K resolution. For certain fast-paced AMIRA productions, however, there may not be the time or resources for such processes in post, which is why 4K or UHD directly in-camera has been requested.

AMIRA’s UHD uses the same 1.2x up-sample filter that ALEXA’s Open Gate mode employs to up-rez for 4K distribution. In the AMIRA, this up-sample to UHD happens in- camera, and in real time, as just mentioned.

Outputting UHD broadens the distribution options. The 14+ stop dynamic range remains unaltered, as does the colorimetry, contrast, style and look. By making the sensor’s image data compatible with higher spatial resolution formats, the UHD upgrade addresses concerns about a 4K future.

Markus Dürr, ARRI AMIRA Product Manager, said, “Feedback on AMIRA from all over the world has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is clear that the camera is already a great success, as it is being used on an amazing variety of challenging productions. Already acclaimed for its phenomenal image quality, ease of use and versatility, the new ProRes UHD output will take these benefits even further, adding value for customers in areas like China, where 4K is a major focus of industry attention.”

ARRI will be at IBC: booth 11.F21  and at Cinec: booth 3-C01


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