The Alexa SXT-W’s (W for Wireless) primary addition to the already exceptional Arri SXT platform, is the addition of a built-in three-radio system that works harmoniously to avoid the usual interference. A built in, low-latency, 10 bit, HDR video transmitter, WiFi, and ECS (Arri’s Camera+Lens Control system) comprise the three and hopes to improve upon the SXT’s ergonomics by reducing the need for external cabling and video transmitters.
The SXT-W ultimately reduces lag time on set by avoiding the inevitable cable failure issues, and by streamlining the different radio based systems into one. The SXT-W will also come released with the SXT-SUP 2.0 software upgrade.
The SUP 2.0 upgrade entails:
Better HDR Monitoring
- Better False Color for HDR
- Accurate HDR Metadata
- Auto Brightness Adjustment for monitor overlays
- Camera level, UDM/Cinetape Data sent to MON OUT
New Media Support
- Support for SxS PRO+ 128/265gb cards
- Support for CFast 2.0 Cards
Better Arri ECS Support
- More live info (i.e warnings and errors) feed to the WCU-4 (Arri’s underrated FIZ unit)
- Faster CLM (Controlled Lens Motor) Response
- Lens motor teeth detection for accurate WCU-4 Lens Data
Where there’s a transmitter, there’s a receiver, and Arri has designed its own brand of Wireless video system to give the unchallenged Teradek a competitor. It includes a stand-alone transmitter (described as ‘long-range’ but not provided number specifics), receiver (Both of which boast the aluminum housing, overall durability, and versatility standards that Teradek set), a "Starlite" wireless focus monitor especially designed for Arri’s WCU-4 FIZ hand unit, and a director’s monitor crafted in collaboration with Transvideo. Arri promises increased wireless LUT Flexibility and camera control capabilities through its built in WiFi signal and assures that many more features are currently under development to take advantage of it.
Untouched is the SXT’s new recording formats, true anamorphic abilities, higher framerates, and look management architecture. Arri’s weakness has never been image, the Alexa SXT is still the finest balance between high-resolution and dynamic range. But, ergonomically and practically the bodies continue to improve. The SXT-W and Arri’s new slew of Wireless Video Systems might just be convenient and streamlined enough to replace the current on-set Teradek standard. Arri showcased the camera and wireless video system off at this year’s NAB convention and put on a lauded show.
We’ll see Q3 2017, when the SXT-W and Arri's Wireless Video System releases, how well they stack against their expectations on set.