Just as teased days ago, ARRI has just announced the new ARRI Hi-5: the new pinnacle in wireless camera and lens control for professionals.
Pitched by ARRI as “the most sophisticated hand unit on the market, providing reliable wireless camera and lens control in demanding situations on set”, the new ARRI Hi-5 is set to up the ante and raise the bar, which was set quite high by the current champion WCU-4.
Furthermore, the new Hi-5 is set to replace the current top-end hand unit, the ARRI WCU-4, marking a significant leap forward in the evolution of ARRI’s Electronic Control System (ECS).
In the world of high-end productions, focus pulling and camera control is paramount, hence why top echelon pros in the field usually rely on either ARRI or Preston units. So, I am sure 1st ACs will find this new ARRI unit very interesting to explore as an option when it is released.
ARRI Hi-5: next-gen wireless camera/lens control system
And as anything carrying the ARRI badge do expect a price tag commensurate with performance and intended use case.
Now, with that said, the new Hi-5 is not just the 5th generation handheld control unit by the German film production equipment maker, far from it. It is hailed a new ecosystem developed for the digital film set, made to serve professionals on film, commercials, and TV production sets worldwide in almost any environment.
Built to last, ready for any film set
The new unit is weatherproof and built like a tank, featuring exceptional radio link range and unique, swappable radio modules for different territories and shooting environments.
High level or reliability is a major concern for large productions, and the Hi-5’s construction benefits from a ruggedized housing made for operating in harsh conditions – including scorching hot +50C, to damp, or freezing cold weather of -20C.
As expected the unit is not only rugged, but also sealed, dustproof, and weatherproof.
Together with a new radio system, new intelligent batteries, smart focus rings, and an iOS app, the Hi-5 modernizes on-set connectivity, simplifying complex tasks for film crews.
New ARRI ECS Sync App for iOS
Lens file management and software updates are faster and easier with the new ARRI ECS Sync App (currently available for iOS devices). The app also gives users access to news, and FAQ section for the ECS ecosystem.
Interchangeable Radio Modules
ARRI will release three radio modules in the 900 and 2400 MHz ranges, using direct sequence and frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to cut through interference.
The user-swappable radio modules is a ground-breaking new feature for the Hi-5 as it adds to its versatility. Furthermore, this enables ACs to adapt to any shooting situation with a significantly improved, robust and long-range radio link, while ensuring backwards-compatibility with existing camera equipment.
In addition, as technology evolves, even more modules are added, the Hi-5 will be able to accommodate future standards for on-set hardware communications.
Having access to swappable radio modules is not something seen in a lens control hand unit prior. Moreover, the 2.4 GHz spectrum can get congested easily, and with different frequency regulations in different countries, the ability to exchange radio modules is a huge advantage, allowing crews to choose the module that best suits each shooting location.
Powered by Sony style NP-F L series battery or USB-C
The handheld Hi-5 unit is powered by a single NP-F style battery, and yes ARRI is making their own chipped model, will show you remaining capacity. One interesting note is that this battery can be hot-swapped without powering the unit down, and their remaining capacity is always precisely displayed on the Hi-5 screen.
ACs can use non-ARRI branded NP-F style L series batteries, of which there’s tons out there, however they won’t display remaining power on the screen. Another way to power the unit is via USB-C and a 5V power bank or a laptop.
Additionally, a new feature called Tail Slate Mode prevents the user from stopping recording before capturing a tail slate on shots that need it.
Smart Focus Rings
Another innovative feature of the new Hi-5 is the Smart Focus Rings. In a nutshell, these are basically pre-marked focus rings that can communicate directly with the Hi-5 hand unit via a chip, helping them get instantly recognized and mapped to the lens focus scale.
ARRI Hi-5 Quick Features/New Improvements
- Three Interchangeable Radio Modules
- for different locations or filming styles
- Multi-axis lens control
- Similar design to WCU-4
- 3 x User Assignable buttons on the back
- Adjustable focus knob
- Customizable touchscreen interface
- Smart, pre-marked focus rings
- Rugged Design (new flatter base allows it to be set on a table)
- rain, dust, weather-proof
- Integrated NATO rail, multiple mounting points (1/4″ 20, and 3/8″ 16)
- Monitor Bracket designed for the Hi-5
- LBUS and Serial port
- USB-C and USB-A ports (for power and firmware updates or exchange lens files)
- Compatible with ARRI cameras and third party cameras (licenses required for 3rd party cameras)
- works with select RED, Panavision and Sony cameras
- Powered by NP-F style L series battery
- ARRI branded is chipped (shows capacity remaining on screen)
- non-branded are also compatible, but won’t show % remaining
- Can be powered via 5V USB-C from a power bank or laptop
- Modular hardware, and upgradeable software
- ECS Sync App (iOS devices)
- enables file sharing and upgrades
To learn more about what the ARRI Hi-5 can do and what the ecosystem features, be sure to check out the ARRI Tech Talk below.
For pricing and availability on the new HI-5 system and/or accessories best to get in touch with your local ARRI authorized dealer.
For more info and technical specifications head over to ARRI’s website here.