Enabling the next era of digital cinematography with CMOS imaging technology

14 September 2022

The ALEXA 35, ARRI’s newest digital cinema camera, boasts onsemi’s latest CMOS image sensor technology to produce industry-leading image quality at native 4.6K & 120 fps. During 2022's 75th annual Cannes Film Festival, 30 of 49 films premiered used a camera from ARRI’s Academy & Emmy Award-winning ALEXA family, all powered by onsemi CMOS image sensors.

Intelligent power & sensing focused semiconductor firm, onsemi has announced it developed the customised high-end CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensor for ARRI’s ALEXA 35 camera. The camera uses the ALEV 4 Super 35 4.6K CMOS image sensor from onsemi to deliver a resolution of 4608x3164 pixels (14.6 Mpixel), with a 6.075 um pitch, featuring RGB (red-green-blue) colour filters and a maximum frame rate of 120fps (frames per second). The sensor features onsemi’s latest technology for optimising pixel response, High Dynamic Range techniques (HDR) and the improvement of pixel uniformity while reading out at high speeds; techniques deployed in mainstream onsemi sensors as well.

This latest collaboration between the two companies is another example of onsemi’s strength in developing sensors for high-end cinematography that elevate image quality. This unique high-resolution, large-pixel image sensor with optimised readout techniques result in a 4.6K image, 17-stops of dynamic range at 120 frames per second, producing images with unprecedented quality. The extended Dynamic Range enables higher detail in a high contrast scene in a single frame, resulting in an extraordinary image and colour experience.

All digital ARRI cameras—starting with the first ARRIFLEX D-20 in 2005, followed by the first ALEXA delivered in June 2010, up to the ALEXA 35 introduced this year—are based on CMOS sensors jointly developed with onsemi,” said Walter Trauninger, Managing Director & Head of Business Unit Camera Systems at ARRI. “The close collaboration between the two companies is the foundation for ARRI’s ability to provide the best overall image quality to filmmakers. This kind of long-term commitment is an absolute exception in an ever-changing semiconductor market and is invaluable to ARRI.

The ARRI ALEXA 35 camera elevates digital cinematography to new heights, building on the evolution of the ALEXA family over the last decade-plus. During the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2022, 30 of the 49 films that premiered at the festival, including Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness,” used a camera from ARRI’s ALEXA family, all powered by onsemi’s customised CMOS image sensors.

Developing the image sensors for the ALEXA 35 camera with ARRI shows our ability to develop high-end sensors that are low cost and high quality, while maximising performance,” said Ross Jatou, Senior Vice President & General Manager of ISG (Image Sensor Group) at onsemi. “22 years of working closely with ARRI demonstrates our commitment and skillset to deliver image sensors for the high-end digital cinematography and machine vision markets.

While higher resolution solutions exist, the ALEV 4 CMOS image sensor from onsemi allows ARRI to raise the bar with its latest camera by providing excellent image quality, natural colours and an entire ecosystem for the global film industry.

In 2017, the ARRI ALEXA camera system with onsemi’s CMOS sensor was recognised with a Scientific & Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and an Engineering Emmy® from the Television Academy. onsemi was awarded an Emmy for Technology & Engineering by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) in 2021. Industry experts and peers chose the company’s work in the pioneering design and development of its intra-pixel charge transfer CMOS image sensors for showing excellence in engineering creativity.

Learn more about the latest intelligent imaging technologies from onsemi at: www.onsemi.com/products/sensors/image-sensors

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