State-of-the-art digital monochromatic cinematography

The new ALEXA XT B+W camera represents the state-of-the-art in digital monochromatic cinematography, and the latest addition to the ALEXA camera family, available exclusively from the ARRI Rental Group. The camera combines all the features of an ALEXA XT Plus - including in-camera ARRIRAW recording up to 120fps, 4:3 sensor, and LDS system. The camera has a modified ALEV III ALEXA sensor, which creates high contrast rich monochromatic images with increased spatial resolution and around 15 stops of dynamic range.

Sensor configuration and filter system

The ALEXA XT B+W sensor assembly has no Bayer mask, optical low-pass filter (OLPF) or IR block filter allowing each photosite to capture the full spectrum of visible light increasing spatial resolution and contrast. In this mode the camera's look is very much like a 35 mm camera loaded with panchromatic film – the classic black-and-white look. As well as this the camera can also operate in an infrared mode in which the camera only 'sees' the reflected infrared non-visible light. These images appear dramatically different producing white foliage, blemish-free skin, black eye pupils, and moody dark skies. The camera is also more sensitive than a regular ALEXA XT Plus, with a native sensitivity of around EI 2000. Through the use of two new ALEXA In-Camera Filter (IFM) system compatible filters, the ALEXA XT B+W can be easily configured with either a BG39 filter to shoot stunning B+W images, or a BG87C infrared pass, visible light block filter for infrared capture.

Recording options

The ALEXA XT B+W uses the same internal camera ARRIRAW recording system as the ALEXA XT family, recording to 512GB XR capture drives. Native resolution of the ALEXA XT B+W images are the same as a regular ALEXA recording ARRIRAW – i.e 16:9 format at 2880 x 1620 and 4:3 format at 2880 x 2160. Spatial resolution, sharpness and image contrast however are all improved over a regular color ALEXA XT. ProRes HD/2K and DNxHD recording is not supported in camera, but these file types can be quickly and efficiently generated off-line during ingest and archival using Codex VFS software which has been optimized for the ALEXA XT B+W.


Since the sensor does not have a Bayer mask, images need to be processed using the ARRI SDK / ARC 3.0 reference tools or other ARRI approved image-processing products. ARRIRAW images captured on ALEXA XR Capture Drives can be quickly and easily off-loaded; then LogC DPX sequences can be rendered from the ARRIRAW master prior to transcoding to editorial proxy formats such as ProRes or DNxHD.

For commercial or music video productions more familiar with using a ProRes mastering format, full resolution 2.8K ProRes master files can be very quickly and efficiently generated via the Codex VFS during the offloading of B+W camera ARRIRAW footage into the Vault. An ARRIRAW archive copy can also be stored if required, without slowing down the process of creating editorial files. This streamlined workflow has the benefit of being very efficient on-set for single day shoots where a large amount of footage is captured and needs to be QC inspected and turned around to editorial quickly.

See some projects that were shot with ARRI ALEXA XT B+W

Music Video by 'John Newman'
Directed by Luc Janin
Shot by Richard Stewart


Music Video by 'Kylie Minogue'
Directed by Dawn Shadforth


Commercial for Audi
Shot by cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC


Commercial for Audi
Shot by cinematographer Lutz Hattenhauer


Music Video by 'Zoxea'
Directed and edited by Arthur Jeanroy
Shot by cinematographer Arthur Briet


Directed and produced by Iain Marcks
Shot by cinematographer Alexander Galt