The smallest and most affordable ALEXA XT camera
While sharing all the features of the ALEXA XT family like a Super 35 sensor with Open Gate and 4:3 sensor modes, in-camera ARRIRAW up to 120 fps, ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 3.2K, internal ND filter, Lens Data System, integrated CDL capture, ARRIRAW checksum, included anamorphic de-squeeze and high speed licenses, new viewfinder mounting bracket as well as a new, super silent fan, the ALEXA XT is the smallest and most affordable of the bunch. This camera is ideal for all those who do not require wireless remote control (ALEXA XT Plus), a separate head/body design (ALEXA XT M) or an optical viewfinder with a rotating mirror shutter (ALEXA XT Studio), but still need a camera that delivers exceptional image performance, efficient and versatile workflows, simple and safe operation and an open, future-proof architecture.
Record it all: Open Gate sensor mode
Using the full ALEXA sensor area, Open Gate mode is great for VFX shows, up-sampling to 4K, image repositioning, resizing, rotating or stabilizing. While some use it as their main recording format, others shoot in 16:9 or 4:3 and only certain scenes in Open Gate.
True anamorphic with 4:3 sensor mode
For the most effective use of anamorphic lenses, each ALEXA XT model is equipped with an Open Gate sensor of the same size and shape as a Super 35 mm film frame, a feature only found on ALEXA digital cameras. The 4:3 sensor mode is crucial for delivering the unique and cinematic widescreen look that can trace its origins back to the CinemaScope films of the 1950s. It is a look that has long been appreciated by cinematographers, directors and the viewing public. For convenient viewing of anamorphic images an anamorphic de-squeeze license is included with all ALEXA XT cameras.
In the images below, the sensor area used for shooting with anamorphic lenses is shown. Since an anamorphic lens squeezes the CinemaScope 2.39:1 image by a factor of 2, it needs a sensor area with a 1.195:1 aspect ratio. Film (orange) and the ALEXA sensor (blue) are tall enough to easily accommodate this, as can be seen in the left image. Since film and the ALEXA sensor have almost exactly the same dimensions, they exhibit the same angle of view for anamorphic lenses, which will be welcome news for cinematographers. Cutting the required 1.195:1 aspect ratio out of a 16:9 sensor (right image) results in a significantly smaller sensor area (grey area), which means fewer photosites and a different angle of view than what cinematographers are used to.
Space for VFX markers in 4:3 sensor mode
The 4:3 sensor is also useful for productions shooting with spherical lenses, as it permits the placement of tracking markers above and below the image, a shooting method popular with VFX heavy feature films. Alternatively, the extra room can be used for reframing in post, similar to shooting 4-perforation 35 mm.
Faster, lighter and more affordable ARRIRAW
All ALEXA XT cameras come with the new XR Module (Xtended Recording), a side panel that was co-developed with Codex to replace the previous SxS Module. The XR Module allows in-camera recording of uncompressed and unencrypted ARRIRAW, ALEXA's highest quality image output, all the way up to 120 fps in full image quality. This not only makes for a smaller, lighter and more affordable camera package, it also simplifies setup and operation while avoiding unnecessary cabling.
ALEXA XT cameras record ARRIRAW onto exceptionally fast and rugged 512 GB XR Capture Drives, including advanced and time-saving features such as capturing the ASC Colour Decision Lists (CDL) and a checksum for each frame into metadata. 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 workflow.
Powerful and Unique ProRes & DNxHD Options
As an alternative to ARRIRAW it is also possible to capture ProRes or DNxHD in-camera. ALEXA XT cameras provide two unique ProRes recording features: ProRes 4444 XQ, the highest quality ProRes codec, and ProRes 3.2K, the ideal recording resolution for an up-sample to 4K UHD or for extra room to resize, reframe, rotate or stabilize a 2K or HD image. Additionally, the XR Capture Drives allow for significantly longer recording times and faster speeds: ProRes 4444 can be recorded for a total time of 107 minutes (at 24 fps) and can be recorded as fast as 120 fps. Recording onto SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ cards is also possible: with the SxS Adapter ProRes or DNxHD can be recorded to a single SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ card, thus protecting the inventory of existing cards. And with the CFast 2.0 Adapter it is possible to record onto CFast 2.0 cards, the same medium used by AMIRA, the new documentary style camera.
A high speed license for filming at up to 120 fps in 16:9 and 96 fps in 4:3 is included with all ALEXA XT cameras.
As an extra feature, the black protective top cover of the XR Module can be replaced with red, green, blue, yellow or white top covers to identify A, B, C, D, E and F camera units.
High quality internal full-spectrum ND filters
The In-camera Filter Module IFM-1 for the first time offers neutral density (ND) filters that maintain a neutral colour balance at all densities.
Using internal ND filters allows a rating at the base sensitivity of EI 800 without the need for external ND filters, even in bright sunlight. Filtering behind the lens rather than in front saves time and reduces weight, reflections and complexity. In addition it decreases narcissism, which is an unwanted reflection between the last lens element and the sensor and protects the sensor from dirt contamination during lens changes.
The FSND (Full Spectrum Neutral Density) filters used with the IFM-1 are based on a number of high-tech manufacturing methods that are very different from common external filters. A spectacularly neutral colour balance at all densities is achieved through a broadband absorptive coating that attenuates the full spectrum. To maintain a high contrast, an anti-reflective multi-coating reduces internal reflections. A sharp image is assured through a base of water-white optical glass that is precision polished to create perfectly parallel surfaces. While all ALEXA XT cameras come with the IFM filter holder installed, the FSND filters themselves are available separately in 8 densities from ND 0.3 to ND 2.4 plus an optical clear. Out of the box the ALEXA XT cameras can be used without a filter, and when FSND filters should be used, a IFM shim has to be installed in the lens mount.
More efficient VFX through lens metadata
Lens metadata is invaluable for efficient working on the set and for a speedy VFX post workflow, which is why all ALEXA XT models are equipped with an LDS lens mount and why all ALEXA XT models insert a plethora of metadata into all recording and output formats.
On the set, streaming lens metadata is used for an overlay in the ALEXA display, viewfinder or MON OUT image. In addition, it is used by the Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 for an easy to use graphical lens display. At the same time, the HD-SDI image carries streaming lens metadata (as raw encoder pulses and as interpreted lens data) which can be displayed on some monitors or used for real-time virtual set applications.