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Alexa observations


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:47 PM

I didn't see it posted anywhere else yet and thought it might be appropriate for general discussion.

http://provideocoali...air_with_alexa/
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:43 AM

Well, the Alexa certainly is good for getting that "depth of field look"...

The DP sure loves his rack focus!
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 12:18 PM

Very nice. What Art does not know is that a RED would have looked better, not simply because of the higher pixel count but ultimately just because Jim says it would. :D
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 12:58 PM

Well, the Alexa certainly is good for getting that "depth of field look"...

The DP sure loves his rack focus!



Not having looked all the way through the video, but the shallow DOF gives the impression that the guy is about to top himself from the bridge.
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#5 Andre Labous

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:48 PM

Uh. I think shooting at T1.3 does create shallow depth of field. The point of the "words" in the article is that at EI 800 with Log C the Alexa performs pretty darn well in super low light.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 02:54 PM

Uh. I think shooting at T1.3 does create shallow depth of field. The point of the "words" in the article is that at EI 800 with Log C the Alexa performs pretty darn well in super low light.


I know it's a camera test, but an image can carry more than just looking good in low light and it doesn't lie in words, if it doesn't convey a subtext it's lacking (ironically) in depth.
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#7 XiaoSu Han

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 03:19 PM

the cinematography kinda turned me off that video quite quickly.

I hope we get to see the Alexa in the hands of someone really capable (Richardson or Deakins for example) soon....
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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 05:19 PM

the cinematography kinda turned me off that video quite quickly.


Agreed. It struck me as very blah looking, and honestly reminded me of all the DSLR footage I see floating about.

I'm really perplexed by the growing obsession over lowlight performance. How much lowlight will be good enough? So what if a camera performs in even the dimmest areas? It won't necessarily mean the footage will look good. You'll always need some lighting.

And meanwhile, color just seems to suffer horribly, because it is dependent on adequate light (and light to shadow ratios). The demo footage was milky in the shadowy regions and utterly drab...it made Eastman's debut monopack color look like dye transfer three strip Technicolor. Not long ago, when you shot color, you shot COLOUR, and otherwise, you opted for black and white. Now, it seems like we're steadily moving closer to merging the two to yield an image that is uniformly blah, and likely to induce seasonal affective disorder.

There is something very, very wrong in teh state of Denmark, when a color process (Technicolor) extinct now for fifty-five years remains superior to the most cutting edge processes being developed today. Granted, Technicolor was a major headache to use, but few would argue the resultant images weren't worth the trouble. Today, it seems the greater emphasis is being placed upon what is faster, cheaper, more convenient, and the result is footage that just plain sucks.

Wheewwww, now that I've got that out of my system...

BR
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#9 Milo Sekulovich

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 08:29 AM

Brian,

Bravo....could not have said it better myself.
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#10 XiaoSu Han

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:33 PM

I agree, the colors throw me off too.... apparently the District 9 dusty desaturated orange brown look (sodium vapor does not look like that in my eyes at least) is modern at the moment.
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#11 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:04 PM

Agreed. It struck me as very blah looking, and honestly reminded me of all the DSLR footage I see floating about.

I'm really perplexed by the growing obsession over lowlight performance. How much lowlight will be good enough? So what if a camera performs in even the dimmest areas? It won't necessarily mean the footage will look good. You'll always need some lighting.

And meanwhile, color just seems to suffer horribly, because it is dependent on adequate light (and light to shadow ratios). The demo footage was milky in the shadowy regions and utterly drab...it made Eastman's debut monopack color look like dye transfer three strip Technicolor. Not long ago, when you shot color, you shot COLOUR, and otherwise, you opted for black and white. Now, it seems like we're steadily moving closer to merging the two to yield an image that is uniformly blah, and likely to induce seasonal affective disorder...

BR


I agree that the obsession with low light performance of cameras is annoying. I also find it annoying that everyone craves the ultra shallow depth of field look of 35mm at f1.4. That seems to be the "producer group-think" of the day. The infamous "cinematographer vs producer" xtranormal video is a testament of that: "You don't need a G&E crew / package," "You can shoot at night, stealing locations," "super shallow depth of field," etc.


Thought the Alexa footage looked nice, for a digital cinema camera. Granted, I prefer film. But from what I can see, it looks better that most RED footage off the bat. That is the ultimate litmus test for me: if the footage from a video camera looks like it was shot on a RED, I won't like it, with some notable exceptions. Too damn sharp and plastic-like.

As far as color correcting and color rendition of the clip posted, which is what seems to have ticked you guys off mostly, that is certainly fixable. I mean these guys shot one night and showed the results the very next day, which is what we saw, unless I am wrong. So you guys are being perhaps a bit unfair there.

I for one am more impressed by the softness of the Alexa image compared to a RED, and the lack of aliasing of the Alexa image compared to a HDSLR. Hard to judge from the clip I saw, but it seems the Alexa is much, much better than both of those two systems already, IMHO.
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#12 Brian Rose

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:21 PM

I love Arri, and I have to think the camera is better than this. Having thought about it, the real issue is it was a bad camera test, and I hope someone might have a chance to do some tests with proper lighting in a controlled environment so we can really see what it can do.

BR
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 03:59 AM

Just checking through a long CML thread in which Art says there is a "color anomaly that tinges reds and greens blueish in Color", seemingly this is only found only on this prototype camera.

I imagine these low light tests are part of the current exchange with the DSLRs that RED is also involved with. Good to have the option, but not something you're going to use all the time.

Some lighting rigs for low light levels are pretty big.
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