What’s SUP with Arri Alexa V3.1

Yesterday, Arri updated their Alexa Software Upgrade Packet (SUP) to version 3.1. On top of a very impressive 3.0 update, that included much needed improvements such as video clip playback and audio recording, version 3.1 adds just a bit on top:

  • Support for ALEXA and ALEXA Plus
  • Support for yellow and white radios
  • Support for the Remote Control Unit RCU-4
  • Recording to two SxS PRO cards simultaneously

The big news with this update is that it looks like the Alexa Plus is just about ready to hit the market. The Plus version of the Alexa is that it is controllable remotely from a wireless control unit, an additional monitor out, and something called the Arri Lens Data System, which I haven’t used but looks like it adds metadata about lens position to the recorded video clips. There are some other minor improvements as well, but the Plus is really just about remote camera control. So if you use your Alexa on a crane a lot, this is the model for you.

For those of us with the plain Alexa, the only added value is recording to both SxS cards at the same time. While great for redundancy, I’m actually not to worried about SxS card failure. I’m sure it happens, but not nearly at the same frequency as hard drives or videotape. I’d probably be more worried about something happening to the whole camera (like falling into the sea) with both SxS cards in it, than mechanical failure of a solid state memory card. However the option for more redundancy is always good.

So looks I will be installing this tiny update, but there’s really no rush to do so, unlike with 3.0


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