ALEXA Plus 4:3 for anamorphic
True CinemaScope® with the ALEXA family of cameras
Shooting with anamorphic lenses for 2.39:1 widescreen distribution, a process often referred to as CinemaScope (trademark 20th Century Fox), results in unique images that have long been appreciated by cinematographers, directors and the viewing public alike. The fundamentals of the process apply to digital acquisition in exactly the same way as they always have done to film, so long as one has a sensor that is about the same size and shape as a film frame, and a viewfinder that can de-squeeze the compressed image. The ALEXA system ticks both of these boxes.
The ALEXA Plus 4:3 is a new ALEXA model that has similar functionality to the ALEXA Plus but features a 4:3 Super 35 sensor and the ability to switch from 16:9 sensor mode to 4:3 sensor mode.
The camera joins the ALEXA Studio and ALEXA M, which already have 4:3 sensors, rounding out a line-up that now represents the perfect solution for anamorphic productions. The Studio might typically function as an A-camera, the Plus 4:3 as a B-camera and the M as a compact, versatile C-camera.
Anamorphic lenses squeeze the image by a factor of two, thus projecting a 1.195:1 aspect ratio image onto the sensor. When using sensors that are natively 16:9 or even wider, it is necessary to crop the sides, resulting in a much smaller used sensor area and a different angle of view for the lens.
With the ALEXA 4:3 cameras, the full area of the sensor is used and a much higher image quality retained. The 4:3 sensor area also allows for more vertical repositioning in post, a feature that is appreciated by those shooting (and posting) commercials. In addition, the unique optical characteristics of anamorphic lenses – the magic at the heart of anamorphic cinematography – are rendered faithfully and fully in the digital image.