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Categories: Features

 

This month I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of ARRI’s newest camera; the quite stunning AMIRA.

 

As I entered Dolby House in Soho, I was excited to behold the camera dubbed the next pick-up-and-shoot darling of the film industry. Billed as a documentary-style camera, the AMIRA had some big expectations to fulfill.

 

Not least of all from ARRI themselves who brought the industry the ALEXA camera; the company’s first major transition into digital cinematography.

 

Designed for single person operation the AMIRA facilitates that easy, self-shooting style. Although, it is clear by its weight and specs that it’s definitely on the high-end of that spectrum.

AMIRA Showreel from ARRI Channel on Vimeo.

 

Bestowed with the virtues of the ALEXA (at the fraction of the price!), the AMIRA will deliver plush filmic yumminess to cinematographers and camera operators alike. It features the same sensor as its famous predecessor, boasting up to 200fps image quality, packaged in a totally new body.

 

And what a body it is… Amira Camera

 

 

Amira camera

 

 

 

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. So I was determined to give this bad boy a test drive. Admittedly I have no upper body strength or broad shoulders so I was tentative to mount it, but with a little help, the AMIRA was easily nestled. I’ve been told this is thanks to the ergonomic design and quite frankly, if it stays on me then it’s safe to say it will rest well on most camera operators.

 

The camera wasn’t the lightest but it was manageable and nicely balanced. It didn’t take much time for me to feel comfortable but bear in mind that the choice of lens will significantly affect the balance of the kit.

 

The side panel switches are intuitive and it really feels like the designers have constructed the camera with the operator in mind.

 

It’s clear that ARRI are proud of this addition to their family – and rightly so. The AMIRA provides a versatile and practical solution for filmmakers. Ready to shoot straight from the bag, there’s a no-nonsense feel to this piece of kit. That being said, it commands respect and a cinematographic eye.

 

ARRI have a long tradition of producing diverse functionality for the industry and the AMIRA continues this into the next generation.

 

What about those specs? For readers of such inclination, here they are:

  • Super 35mm 16:9 Sensor

  • 2K/1080 Rec 709/Log C using ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ, or 444 codecs

  • Up to 200fps

  • Records to CFast 2.0 (New Compact Flash card standard)

  • 1280 x 1024 OLED Viewfinder and Separate LCD Monitor

  • Internal ND filters

  • 4-Channel PCM Audio: 48KHz 24-bit

  • Selectable 3D LUTs can be recorded

  • Aimed at Documentary, TV Magazines, Trailers, Corporate, Factuals, Live Events

  • Interchangeable Lens Mounts: PL, PL Broadcast, B4, and Canon EF

The AMIRA records in HD 1080 or 2K images that are suitable for a range of distribution formats. Additionally the skin tones and natural colour rendering really bring footage to life!

 

The new compact flash memory cards in-camera facilitate a quick and nifty route into post-production. All-in-all the broadcast quality delivered by the AMIRA opens the doors to budget productions.

 

There’s finesse to this product and solidness. It is by no means perfect – in fact ARRI will be continuing modifications to it until its launch next year (TBC). However I feel for any filmmaker or production the AMIRA will serve as a trusty investment with robust functionality as well as artistic image quality.

 

Amira camera launchIt was definitely a privilege to have been invited to the launch, not least of all, as the AMIRA will undoubtedly have a fan base. In the meanwhile, like a predictable groupie, here’s a photo of yours truly with the star…

 

 

 

Posted on Oct 26, 2013

One Response to “The Amira Launch”
Read them below or add one

  1. Avatar Mark says:

    The Amira is marketed as a high-end doc camera where hand-held lens ergonomics are everything. Problem is reviewers miss the fact that servo-zoomable PL mount lenses cost the earth and rent out for £300/day. The Amira is usually pictured with the eye-wateringly pricey Fuji Cabrio lenses. A doc shoot will need 2 zooms for most shoots to cover the limited 35mm zoom range. That’s £600/day in lens hire alone. This is beyond the budgets of most doc shoots. You can hire a complete C300 kit with a decent choice of lenses for around £250/day in UK. A typical 2/3″ broadcast kit comes in at around £350 with 2 zooms. The Amira represents no threats here.

    Arri say that the Amira will have a choice of lens mounts, but is this fixed (like PL of EF with the C300) of can you interchange? Say you opt for a B4 version to use cheaper 2/3″ lenses, then are you stuck with using B4 lenses?

    Then there is the question of image size. Will a B4 mount version use the whole sensor? If, not you are back to 2/3″ dof characteristics which defeats the object of a S35mm camera.

    The only info I can find from Arri is that the alternative mounts are’ in planning’.

    The Amira is undoubtedly a well-designed camera, but forget the tech spec arguments – unless PL zooms come down hugely in price I fail to see who will be using it.

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