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Make broadcast easier - Fischer Connectors and ARRI Cameras

‘Located in Munich, Germany, Arnold and Richter Cine Technik was founded in 1917 and is the largest manufacturer of professional motion picture equipment in the world. Throughout its 95-year history, ARRI has been associated with constant innovation and revolutionary technologies in all of its core businesses. The company is involved in all aspects of the film industry: engineering, design, manufacture, production, visual effects, postproduction, equipment rental, laboratory services and studio lighting solutions. Manufactured products include cameras, lighting fixtures and digital postproduction tools’, states the website of ARRI.

For its camera applications, ARRI was looking for the right partner to deliver the connecting solutions. Weight, robustness of the connector and cable and the possibility to use the equipment in harsh environment played an extremely important role in the decision making process of ARRI. Fischer Connectors was able to supply ARRI with the right solution.

In addition to camera systems for 16 mm, 35 mm and 65 mm film, ARRI leads the field in digital acquisition with its ALEXA digital camera system, which delivers the highest quality images with minimal noise, wide dynamic range and workflows. Fischer Connectors was able to solve the three major challenges for the Original, Plus, Plus 4:3, M and Studio version of the ALEXA: weight, robustness and high data rate transmission in harsh environment.

Weight saving

There are many key drivers for portable electronic equipment such as space, reliability, and the need for multiple input / outputs. Certainly weight can be a dramatic critical driver if the user can be inhibited from movement due excessive weight, or limited by inertia when required to perform sudden movements.

The Fischer Core Series has been used by ARRI for many years in multiple size and contact configurations, and delivers reliability and robustness in accordance with highest-end brands such as ARRI. The Fischer Core Series used by ARRI is constructed of Brass with chrome plating. Options for weight saving can be offered by material or by size.

Weight reduction by material.

Fischer Connectors offers a significant weight saving compared to core series by constructing their connector shells from Aluminium. The Fischer AluLiteTM Series is fully compatible with Standard Core series connectors and can significantly reduce weight of ALEXA, especially when cabled plugs are mated to the camera. Further, there is no loss of ruggedness; in fact there is no compromise versus the standard Fischer Core Series product. The weight ratio gain is in the region of 50% from a standard metal shell connector.

As an example, multiply the weight saving across 6 female receptacles, and 6 corresponding plugs (fitted on ALEXA) and you shall achieve a weight reduction benefit of (example):

102 series plug and socket = 27g (3 sets per system = 81g)    
103 series plug and socket = 35g (2 sets per system = 70g)
104 series plug and socket = 52g (1 set per system)
105 series plug and socket = 109g (1 set per system)

Total weight standard Fischer Core Series = 312g
Fischer AluLiteTM Series (-50%) = 156g

Weight saving benefit ~150 g

Weight reduction by size.

Fischer Connectors offers the smallest miniature combined power / signal connector on the market today. The Fischer MiniMaxTM Series is capable of carrying 20 signals low voltage, and 4 power lines up to 5 Amps each. The Fischer MiniMaxTM Series was designed specifically to reduce weight, size, and give the user flexibility to reduce the number of connectors needed on their portable equipment. The Fischer MiniMaxTM Series utilises latest technologies but still performs as you would expect in harsh environments.

The corresponding weight loss can be calculated by the potential of connectors that can be combined, and therefore totally removed from the camera, for example the following (currently used connections) could be realised in just one Fischer MiniMaxTM Series connector:

2 pairs of 2 pin power
1 pair of 5 pin signal
2 pairs of 7 pin signal

= Total reduction of 4 connector pairs (8 connectors).

Weight saving of 8 connectors ~ 100 g

 

Connector and Cable Robustness

All outside applications that require the use of connectors and cables are naturally prone to damage. In extreme cases, cables can be crushed by vehicles, dropped in water, or handled so badly they cause damage to the equipment itself. In particular, the junction between the cable and the connector represents a high potential for failure as it is the barrier between solid and fluid parts. Typical failures are caused by poor assembly, extreme bending of the cable, or crush in vulnerable areas. Subsequent damage can be measured in down time or even worse, loss of picture and the consequence of picture re-shoots.

Overmoulding

Moulding the connector onto the cable prevents many failures occurring. Fischer Connectors provide an in-house assembly and overmould service for its Core and AluLite™ Series connectors. Overmoulding protects the potential failure area between the connector and the cable by giving it an additional bend relief. Overmoulding also offers excellent ergonomics which compliment high-end equipment such as cameras.

Cable management shouldn’t be ignored as often a small change can make a big difference. Cables can be made to increase and decrease in length, therefore “moving” with the user simply by coiling them. Connectors can be made to exit equipment straight, or at right angles, just by changing the mould shape. Additional items such as ferrites cores should be considered as part of the design to ensure they work well and don’t hinder the user in anyway.

Although Overmolding is an additional process, Fischer Connectors is able to achieve relatively low volume manufacture at multiple manufacturing sites.

High data rate Fiber Optic transmission in harsh environment

Using Fiber can be a real problem for a lot of users. Lack of understanding, poor maintenance and expensive repairs are just a few of the real world problems encountered over many years in many harsh environments. However, there is a real need to carry high amounts of data which are beyond the limitation of copper cables.

The type of Fiber used in most Broadcast or Cinematography is single mode, meaning a Fiber core size of 9 micron diameter. The human eye can’t even see something that small, and yet a connector should be able to resist vibration, shock, dirt and even water ingress. Such demands are not easily met and often result in high cost solutions.

The Fischer FiberOptic Series has been developed to easily cope with all of these demands, but with additional benefits of lower cost, higher performance and ease of cleaning than other connector solutions. In fact the Fischer FiberOptic Series can be cleaned under tap water in its unmated state. The MIL tactical type cables used are capable of very high resistance to crush, and offer bend insensitivity when exposed to tight bending.