Working With The ARRI Alexa Mini LF

January 7, 2020

A professional DIT shares gets us up to speed on the ARRI's large format mini camera. Plus, learn about its unique ProRes codec.

Day 7: 24 Insights In 24 Days – 2020 New Year Marathon!

On Set and Post Workflows With Arri’s Large-Format Camera

It is not often that we talk about cameras here at Mixing Light. But the new ARRI Alexa Mini LF camera is hitting the marketplace and is being delivered to camera rental houses across the country.

I’ve had the opportunity to get hands-on with it as the DIT for 2 national commercials just before the holidays. Based on my experience, and the enthusiasm of the DPs, I suspect it won’t be long before many Mixing Light members will have its footage hitting your hard drives.

Now seems a good time to share my experience working with the media, because there are a few changes to this Arri camera that my on-set (and post-production) peers will want to know about. This is especially true if you’re unaware of how the Mini LF records its ProRes files.

The ARRI ALEXA MINI LF – ready for the first shot of the day.

Welcome to Large Format

The main thing you will notice between the new Alexa Mini LF and its earlier version of the Alexa Mini is the sensor size. The new LF uses the ALEV 3 A2X sensor (which is also used in the AMERIA LF) and is rated as a 4.5K sensor.

The sensor is 36.70 x 25.54 mm which works out to 4448 pixels wide by 3096 pixels tall. What does this mean to DITs and post pros? The larger sensor means bigger files are being recorded, requiring more time to transfer the media and larger hard drive space to hold it all.

Remember, safe practice is to have 3 separate copies of the media, so larger, faster hard drives for fatter camera original files will affect budgets (and DIT overtime if you’re not properly prepared).

The ARRI ALEXA MINI LF with a 4.5K large-format sensor
The ARRI ALEXA MINI LF has a 4.5K large-format sensor

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Homepage Forums Working With The ARRI Alexa Mini LF

  • Marc Wielage

    Very helpful, Rich. I was thrown a couple of years ago when a client brought us some files that they swore were shot on Alexa, but I was mystified as to why they were in an MXF wrapper. The project worked fine, but it surprised me.

    It’s sad to see the messages that pop up each week on the Red User group and similar forums where people have reformatted or reused camera cards and blown away important shots. I can’t emphasize more the importance of not erasing the first day’s cards and waiting to make sure everything is backed up (twice) before reusing them the next day or the day after. But you see new users repeating these mistakes over and over again, because they don’t want to invest in lots of cards (which to me is a necessity).

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