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Alexa / Codex Onboard combination


MarkKaravite
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"hmmm...that might be a bit too much weight to have behind the monitor (making a codex/nebtek combo almost 8lbs). "

 

I tend to agree. Wasn't sure what it weighed - sounds like a bit much for the monitor bracket. That's why I said, if too much, try putting the HD transmitter on the back of the Nebtek and the codex on the back of the camera. To put the transmitter on the monitor, I'm told you'll need a spacer. Ron (mighty good to see you last night) can you post that picture of yours if you have it?

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The shorter post length does help.

 

I tried the Codex on the camera and had problems with power to the codex. The cable from the Alexa acc would not work with the power supplied from my sled. I am not sure what the exact reason it isn't working and I haven't pushed too hard to find out. The Codex seems to be finnicky about the power supply. The DIT hates not having the debayered image sent back to his tent city and badly wants to run fiber (cable) from the steadicam with the codex in the tent so there isn't a lot of support there. The Alexa does draw a lot of juice and I might need to change out batteries to HC's if the Codex were up top. HC's would probably be a good idea in any case and when I replace batteries that is a direction I'll go.

 

It may well be better to mount the Codex on the back of the camera. There would be no cables running down the sled and the transmitter could be sent to the bottom of the sled. Right now I am working with all my A/B gold mount stuff on a V-lock show. Everything here is V-lock and it complicates trying out different configurations. Also, the camera does get pretty long. Mount a LW zoom and it gets real long.

 

The Codex does mount nicely on the top of the Alexa. That also might be a way to go with low mode being an image flip instead of a camera flip (I am doing the image flip now and the Nebtek makes it very easy).

 

Anyway, the Codex on the sled seemed like a good idea at the time and it may well be there are better solutions.

 

Neal

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The shorter post length does help.

 

I tried the Codex on the camera and had problems with power to the codex. The cable from the Alexa acc would not work with the power supplied from my sled. I am not sure what the exact reason it isn't working and I haven't pushed too hard to find out. The Codex seems to be finnicky about the power supply. The DIT hates not having the debayered image sent back to his tent city and badly wants to run fiber (cable) from the steadicam with the codex in the tent so there isn't a lot of support there. The Alexa does draw a lot of juice and I might need to change out batteries to HC's if the Codex were up top. HC's would probably be a good idea in any case and when I replace batteries that is a direction I'll go.

 

It may well be better to mount the Codex on the back of the camera. There would be no cables running down the sled and the transmitter could be sent to the bottom of the sled. Right now I am working with all my A/B gold mount stuff on a V-lock show. Everything here is V-lock and it complicates trying out different configurations. Also, the camera does get pretty long. Mount a LW zoom and it gets real long.

 

The Codex does mount nicely on the top of the Alexa. That also might be a way to go with low mode being an image flip instead of a camera flip (I am doing the image flip now and the Nebtek makes it very easy).

 

Anyway, the Codex on the sled seemed like a good idea at the time and it may well be there are better solutions.

 

Neal

 

flying the codex in the rear of the camera, you can try to power the codex from the 3pin lemo (cam power) on the sled rather than the Alexa acc. if you go dionic hc get the HXC with 120wh.....

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Talking about powering stuff from the Alexa,

Why is it that Arri chose to not include a P-tap on the gold mount? The lack of it is just so inconvenient!

After doing so many RED shoots, I have a lot of P-tap cables that are useless on Alexa jobs.

I know I can just make a cable from my sled to female P-tap, i just don't understand why they would not have that option.

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flying the codex in the rear of the camera, you can try to power the codex from the 3pin lemo (cam power) on the sled rather than the Alexa acc. if you go dionic hc get the HXC with 120wh.....

 

 

 

You can power the CODEX from the 3 pin, but it doesnt like it much. It seems from the setup that I am running that if powered from a 3 pin, it will only turn on at 29.5V. Which can cause a lot of standing around staring at the readout when you do a battery change. The 12v two pin cable seemed the road to take for me. That way there was no "over" powering the deck and having to wait for the batteries to hit the 29.5V mark. Its a nice feature on the Alexa that when you need to switch batteries, simply pull the CODEX deck off the AB mount on the back, put a battery in its place, and the deck and camera is still powered when the battery swap happens. I agree with Neal, that the camera does get long quick. A lw zoom and you are in F900 territory. Below is a photo with the CODEX on the back and a lw zoom. Personally I prefer a prime, but the DP wanted to use the zoom. I am doing some pretty harsh vehicle mounts on this job and the CODEX on the AB plate has been fine.

post-1152-0-82766800-1301918869_thumb.jpg

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We've prepped for our show starting Monday & here's some observations regarding the Alexa / Codex combo:

 

Hardware in setup:

Alexa

Master Primes

Codex

Cinetape

WEVI HD Transmitter (hoping to switch to BOXX or Microlite HD)

Dionic HC's

 

Notes:

- We used a dry Anton Bauer plate to mount Codex directly to AB mount on back of Alexa.

- I tried mounting the Codex on the bottom, but it was too much bottom weight, forcing the gimbal too low on the post. This setup is a little long, but it was the lesser of 2 evils. I was intrigued with Neal's setup, but I think since my rig is so different, it just didn't work for me.

- We're powering Alexa off 2 batteries in 24v mode.

- We're powering Codex from 3rd battery with 12v feed. Note that Codex doesn't react well to more than 25v. If you plan on feeding Codex from a 24v feed from Steadicam (or RS connector on Alexa), you'll need a voltage regulated power cable. My rig with hot batteries starts off at more than 31v, which will give Codex problems.

- Alexa draw 85w, Codex draw 25w.

- Alexa accessory power outputs max out at 2.2amps total for both 24v & 12v accessory power. Depending on what your running, powering the Codex from these could max out the accessory power. Also, if you're in 12v mode, the combination of Alexa / Codex would draw around 9.2 amps, which is more than 1 PRO Camera Power lemo is rated for. You'd be OK in 24v mode regarding the PRO connector, but you'd be over the 25v, which Codex can't handle with hot batteries.

- I use the 3rd battery to power the Codex. It's wired directly to the 2 pin PRO AUX power output. Otto Nemenz made me a couple AUX to Codex power cables.

- Options for camera start / stop from Preston:

1. With a SxS card in, you can put the Codex in GPI mode, and a start / stop trigger signal is sent from Alexa via the dual link cables. In this mode, you need an SxS card. Note that if the SxS card fills up, it will also stop the Codex. We adjusted the compression on the SxS cards to increase the run time to match the Codex running time of 32 minutes. We'll reformat the SxS card as part of reloading. It's nice having the run button & lights on the Alexa active. There is a slight delay, with the SxS rolling a beat before the Codex in this mode.

2. We had a couple cables made from MDR2 to Codex GPI connector. If we decide to drop using the SxS cards, we'll switch to these cables.

3. Otto has rigged a wifi connection to the Codex. You can control the Codex from a remote. We're not using this for Steadicam, but in studio mode, our DIT uses the wifi remote to check playback at his monitors for the DP.

- This setup is fairly heavy, but flies nicely.

- We've ordered an image flip device from Otto, so I'll fly upside down in low mode, making switches much faster. Arri needs to add this for Steadicam & 3D.

- Our DIT is cool with connecting Clockit boxes, then pulling it, so I don't have to fly that box.

- DP normally monitors RAW feed with a LUT & video village views REC 709, via 2 cables from camera in studio mode. With only 1 feed from Steadicam, DP will view REC 709. He knows what he is looking at, and doesn't want to confuse video village with a different feed, so RED 709 for everyone in Steadicam mode.

- I think the combination of Alexa M & Codex would be ideal. It would be nice to take a few pounds off this setup.

- Keep in mind current Alexa models only have 1 monitor out. I have a SD MK-V monitor, so I run through a Decimator to feed the rig, and the HD SDI loop through feeds the WEVI. If you have an HD sled, you'll need a loop through for the transmitter, or carry a HD DA. The next generation Alexa has 2 monitor outputs.

 

Here are some pictures:

 

post-826-0-85351500-1303354156_thumb.jpg

 

post-826-0-64924800-1303352770_thumb.jpg

 

post-826-0-36876500-1303354468_thumb.jpg

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Great post Mark - thanks!

 

Hey, I know it was in here somewhere but I can't find it. Did someone say that by using a right angle power connector on the camera side, you now have room to put an HD transmitter on the back of the camera and power from the sled? Been on a RED show for nine months - gotta learn this stuff. I know Ron Baldwin is using spacer and a conventional PRO Arri power cable (straight). Is no spacer needed with a right angle cable?

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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sorry I am not one to post often however I feel like I really need to chime on this debate. Firstly I would like to shot out to Dave Thomson who has been amazing sharing information when he can whilst working crazy days and nights without phone service!! I am regurgitating a lot of the info that he has fortunately shared with me!

I would like to try and simplify the Alexa/Codex situation as I am soooo not the techy guy! I start a feature next week-alexa/codex. I want to break down what has worked for me after a lot of trial and error, actually more errors!

My set up is this:

 

PRO sled, TB6, HC AB Batts, AJA, canatrans(they are happy to remove the ethernet and let me run wild once the LUT has been established), Preston and cine tape.

This is the best scenario I have found and apologies if I am offending anyone with the basics, from the top.

24V selected on the sled running the 3 battery system. CAM PWR PRO out to the Alexa @ 24V(It will not accept 12V from the PRO and work properly, we tried this, well that has been my experience) this is a PRO lemo 3 pin-arri 435 cable, big 2 pin thing.Now, most importantly what you need to do is get a cable made from the 2pin Alexa lemo out which is 12 V, this will go to the codex, which is a 5 pin lemo(side note Terry West is across all this as he is scrambling to make me new cables to send overnight!)

 

Ideally you want to give the Alexa and the codex it's own uncorrupted power ie. do not add anything to this from the accessory ports on the camera, make the cables for aks from your sled using the different ports that are available. I cannot comment on Greg's XCS system. like I said this is my experience with MY setup.

 

My PRO works like this with the 3 battery system , the Alexa and Codex now are feeding off of 1 HC(C on the block) using the CAM power 3 pin lemo out, 2 pin Alexa out goes to the codex. My monitor is feeding off of one HC as is my canatrans(remember the PRO sled Monitor battery block feeds the monitor PLUS any vid+pwr aks ports that you are running) my canatrans is running off the Monitor batt and I have another cable that has been made to power the aja from the spare 4 pin lemo I have on my upper j box, hence keeping this power allocated to the monitor block. My Preston is powered as normal drawing power from the 3rd battery that is available.

 

You might ask why not distribute more power from the Aks battery, well in 24 v the AUX port on the PRO sled is dead. It only works 12V when your sled is selected to 12V. Apologies if I am offending anyone with this. PLUS in this configuration you can still hotswap the the ALEXA/CODEX. You just shif the codex off it's mount, still plugged in of course and mount a battery onto the plate at the rear of the camera.

Voila, it seems to work.... well for now! Hope this makes sense, I have attached a photo of my codex bracketry, it's pretty sweet , carbon fiber rods and all, plus this setup keeps the low mode plate really close to the camera.

 

Cheers,

Jason

post-2164-0-90578000-1303359110_thumb.jpg

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Dear Jason,

 

I'm afraid I left out a few mods to my rig that allow me to configure the way I did:

 

- My MK-V base is modified for the 3rd battery to plug directly into the base, and utilize the 2nd power cable up the XCS post, then connected directly to the AUX power connector on the PRO J Box. You are correct that this 12v output is dead while a PRO is in 24v mode, but my sled is different.

- This mod was initially made for Genesis / F23/F35 Y power cables, because the MK-V Nexus base (while claiming complete PRO compatibility) never powered the AUX power on the PRO J box in any mode.

- Utilizing 2 power cables up the post will increase my run times by essentially doubling the gauge of wire carrying power, therefore decreasing voltage drop.

 

Some things to consider on your setup:

 

- You are smart to power the Codex from the 2 pin 12v accessory power on the Alexa. That connector is rated at 2.2amps total. At 25w draw in 12v, the Codex will draw 2 amps, so you are close, but within the limit.

- If you find you overdraw that 12v output, you could use a spare PRO 3 pin camera power output, but that cable would need to be voltage regulated to 12v because you are in 24v mode. This might be a nice backup cable to have Terry make for you.

- You mentioned the Alexa will not run on 12v. Are you aware that the only way to input 12v to Alexa is through the Anton Bauer battery plate? With that said, combining Alexa and Codex in 12v mode will draw 9.2 amps on a PRO connector rated at 7 amps, so don't do that as you would burn up your PRO lemo.

- I don't own a PRO battery base, but I believe the only way you can run 24v is by utilizing 2 batteries. Your comment about 1 battery running Alexa & Codex does not make sense to me, as you need 2 batteries combined to make 24v. Are you running your Canatrans off the video / power output on your Upper J Box? If so, then technically you have 2 batteries combined in 24v mode to run Alexa, Codex & Canatrans.

- Having 2 batteries running the camera will give you better run times. I did a TV movie with Alexa to SxS cards. We tried using a single Dionic for some handheld work, and had unacceptable run times from 1 battery. Add the Codex to the mix, and you'd be changing batteries all day long.

 

BTW, don't worry about offending anyone. It's the sharing of knowledge and experiences that makes this forum so great. With new hardware coming out quickly, posts like Neal's and Dave's were instrumental in me finding a very workable solution for my show. I didn't rig my sled exactly like they did, and you probably won't rig it like I did, but we're all learning from each other. Once we get it all figured out, the hardware will change, and we'll be back here figuring it out again.

 

Good luck,

Mark

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Hey Alec,

 

During prep, I tried the Codex on the bottom & WEVI on the back of the camera. The standard straight ARRI power cable didn't interfere with the WEVI. Maybe other transmitters might get in the way, but WEVI fits.

 

It's good to be employed, but RED for 9 months, Yikes!! Our 2nd on this show had the idea to start a rumor that Kodak only had a million feet of film left, hoping to spur a rash of film shooting. Not a bad idea :-).

 

GO RED WINGS!!!

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Mark,

 

Indeed, good to be employed - even on RED! Actually, we had it down to a science on "Blue Bloods". With the Boxx HD transmitter on the back, it flies great. Season two will likely be Alexa though? Thanks for the info on connectors.

 

Jason, mark is correct, you need two batteries on a PRO for 24 volts. With the standard battery block, you are placing the the rear two (Camera and AUX) in series to get 24 Volts. The front battery is powering the monitor and video/power ports. The rear AUX battery is powering nothing when the sled is in 12 Volt mode and nothing is plugged into the AUX port. It was designed to give you isolated 12 Volts for an Arri hi-speed base plate. If you use a Y-power cable or a 12 Volt only block then you are placing the Camera and AUX batteries in parallel and will be getting added run times (on 12 Volt cameras). The Preston is powered from the camera battery in 12 Volt mode and both Camera & AUX in 24 Volt mode since it runs of either voltage (a Bartech always runs on 12 Volts and will only draw from the camera battery). I don't remember if the AUX port is indeed dead in 24 Volt mode, but you can still get isolated 12 Volts from the Camera power ports by using a 12 Volt cable. 12 Volts and 24 Volts run on separte pins so the 12 Volt line remains intact (unregulated though so it is likely you'll get closer to 16 Volts). Of corse you are adding to the burden of the camera battery but it works fine. You can also get isolated 12 Volts from the video/power ports on the sled (again, not regulated) to place the load on the monitor battery. That connector has a somewhat limited capacity but is fine for some accessories. I have cables made to female AB power tap from both the Video/Power connectors and from Camera power to run various accessories and distribute the load how I wish. Sounds like powering the Codex from the camera AUX (because its regulated) and everything else from the sled is a winner.

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Gents,

Apologies, yes the two batteries on PRO in series give 24V.

Yes, it's actually 16.6 volts to be precise. The 24v CAM out metered at 33.3V when I checked it running AB HC batteries.

My set up is to avoid running the battery on the camera. The issue with powering the codex from the AUX port is two fold. Firstly the port is dead when the sled is selected to 24V. Secondly you do not have the ability to hot swap the batteries on the sled risking a codex crash. I am told this is the worst thing that could ever happen! A little over reaction I think!

Cheers

Jason

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Thanks guys for taking the time to share. Jason, stop offending everyone and tell me who made that plate on top of the camera to hold the Codex?

I'm about to start a feature using Alexa, Monster(Master) primes but no Codex at the moment, thank God! This will save time and expense. We will record 4:4:4, Log C on simultaneous SXS cards. The DP said after consulting Roger Deakins, who I believe said if he had it to do over again he would not have used the Codex recorders on his feature. All the problems they had stemmed from those recorders and maybe was not worth the small increase in latitude shooting Arri raw. I do believe he recommended using Master primes if you go in this direction and I assume the Leica lenses will be the next step when available.

A friend of mine os doing a show for TV distribution and recording on Codex. What's the point? I doubt one could see the difference on TV.

The other option for me would be to tether the deck via fiber if they can afford that. I'd rather drag a few cables than carry that weight and deal with the massive battery drain from the recorder.

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