Not many know about the Arri Alexa Fiber Remote Option:
With the Fiber Remote Option attached, ALEXA and ALEXA Plus models can be connected through a SMPTE 311M fiber connection and remote controlled for live painting of the image. Besides the Fiber Remote Box mounted on top of the ALEXA body, a Telecast CopperHead system and also a monitor are required for typical pedestal use.
This specialized option introduces ALEXA’s legendary dynamic range, latitude, highlight and shadow details, color rendering, natural skin tones, high sensitivity and low noise to entirely new applications. It will allow a dramatic increase in production value for many types of television programs, from soaps, sitcoms and telenovelas to music concerts, talk shows and other TV events or specials.
In addition to ARRI’s Fiber Remote Option, other components, certified by ARRI, must be added for ALEXA to function in a live, multi-camera environment: firstly a Copperhead system from Telecast Fiber Systems, which includes a camera unit, base station, power adapter and remote control panel; and secondly a camera monitor.
Arri has released a case study of its use on the naugural production of André Tchaikowsky’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play THE MERCHANT OF VENICE:
Swiss production company TPC made the decision to shoot the opera exclusively with ALEXA Fiber Remotes, using six of the cameras to create a highly dynamic live transmission.
According to TPC project manager Rolf Allenbach:
This opera was an ideal showcase for a large sensor camera like ALEXA because it suited quite a cinematic look. Obviously it would be less appropriate for sports events, which we often cover as well, but for the drama of an opera like this it was perfect. In particular, the contrast range of the ALEXA Fiber Remote Option was much wider than we’re used to, which worked really well with the stage lighting design of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. It allowed us to capture the full lighting range and the picture just looked a lot better.
We used a combination of different lenses. ARRI provided us with cine-style ARRI/FUJINON Alura Studio Zoom lenses (45-250s and 18-80s) — along with the 2x and 1.4 Alura Extenders — for four of the ALEXA cameras, while the other two used IBE HDx35 lens adapters to accommodate TPC’s own Fujinon DIGI POWER 88 stabilized telephoto zooms, which are a fairly standard lens in the world of live event broadcasting.
The ALEXA cameras were connected to the van via the Telecast CopperHead adapter, which was fairly simple because we have experience using Telecast systems on previous productions.
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