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#1 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:15 PM

In NY prepping a new film called YOUNG ADULT, being directed by Jason Reitman. Charlize Theron starring.

Going to be a quick 30 day shoot. Shot tests last week on 35, Alexa, and RED. Film always looks great but both digital cameras were impressive (RED was MX). I gotta say the Alexa has an edge in smoothness and is more flattering on an actress' skin.
RED was recorded raw and Alexa went to ProRes 4444 in Log-C. I really can't see with my eye what more I'd be getting with ArriRaw and the hassle of recording uncompressed to an S.Two.

Still deciding though it does seem to be leaning a certain direction.....
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#2 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:09 PM

In NY prepping a new film called YOUNG ADULT, being directed by Jason Reitman. Charlize Theron starring.

Going to be a quick 30 day shoot. Shot tests last week on 35, Alexa, and RED. Film always looks great but both digital cameras were impressive (RED was MX). I gotta say the Alexa has an edge in smoothness and is more flattering on an actress' skin.
RED was recorded raw and Alexa went to ProRes 4444 in Log-C. I really can't see with my eye what more I'd be getting with ArriRaw and the hassle of recording uncompressed to an S.Two.

Still deciding though it does seem to be leaning a certain direction.....


Is the medium you shoot been left up to you completely or are higher up's pushing more towards one type specifically. (I have no experience in the industry so if that question sounds stupid forgive me) Did you do any high iso tests on the Alexa? Ive seen the mx at high iso looking pretty clean but nothing from the alexa.
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#3 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:00 AM

Does the material warrant looking at something better in extreme low light? Why consider digital? Loved your work on Up in the Air by the way.

Your post people will really appreciate the ProRes, if you go that direction. Arri got it right, with a pro camera, even if it is digital.
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#4 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:31 AM

Does the material warrant looking at something better in extreme low light? Why consider digital? Loved your work on Up in the Air by the way.

Your post people will really appreciate the ProRes, if you go that direction. Arri got it right, with a pro camera, even if it is digital.

Dont know if you were talking to me about the warrant looking at something in extreme low light. I was just curious to wether they had done that. Its just me wondering about the camera's, not really relevant to the movie.
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#5 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:53 AM

Dont know if you were talking to me about the warrant looking at something in extreme low light. I was just curious to wether they had done that. Its just me wondering about the camera's, not really relevant to the movie.


Uhh... that was not directed to you.
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#6 Jed Shepherd

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:54 AM

Uh, not directed to you.

No worries. Wasn't quite sure.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 01:43 AM

I assume you're shooting *Super* 35mm if the RED is a comparison.  Haven't seen the Alexa yet, although I assume it's in the same ballpark (albeit better than RED).

It's amazing what a difference there is shooting slower-speed films than '19. . .

Edited by Karl Borowski, 21 September 2010 - 01:44 AM.

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#8 georg lamshöft

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 05:31 AM

"Up in the air" was great, "Juno" a masterpiece - I`m looking forward to your collaboration with Mr. Reitman any time, even if you would use an Iphone...
I`m impressed with the possibilities of ALEXA but have you talked to the guys from ARRI? As far as I know, the engineers (marketing is a different story) still see it as an alternative to other digital systems and S16 while the "big screen" is still 35mm + 4k+/ARRISCAN territory for them. Didn`t you prefer Panavision anyway?
As long as you don`t want to use extreme low-light work (1000ASA+) I would still prefer 35mm, don`t you have all the possibilities with such a project? Maybe even more exotic formats you wouldn`t have the chance to work with in other projects?
Maybe it`s just my naive outsider perspective, I`m sorry... :rolleyes:

ARRIRAW is the only possibility to capture all the sensor information and propably isn`t too different from well-made internal processing (I`m sure the guys in Munich know what they`re doing) - as long as you don`t push it. What`s happening in a critical situation where lighting/exposure wasn`t right and you want to heavily manipulate the look in post? I guess this makes the difference, Isn`t it nearly ten times the data rate?

Anyway it`s your work, you`re the cinematographer, you gonna decide and I`m looking forward to it!

Edited by georg lamshöft, 21 September 2010 - 05:32 AM.

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#9 Doug Durant

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 04:37 PM

Heard you're shooting in Massapequa. I live a few towns over, If you get a chance, definitely try out All American burger.
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#10 Tom Jensen

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 12:57 AM

On a side note, Charlise Theron lives in Bill Fraker's old house above the Hollywood Bowl. The backyard overlooks it.

Eric,
I forget who I ran into. It might have been your aunt or mother in law at a cooking school called Let's Get Cookin' in Westlake Village. It was a while back.
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#11 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 12:59 AM

Been a long time...

The trailer is now out and attached to The Ides of March. I've seen it online but don't care for the color correction they did on it for video/internet...highly inaccurate. Color in the theater very accurate.

I ended up on the Alexa out of CSC. For various reasons including DI budget and studio comfort, we shot to the SxS cards in 4x LOGC as backup with our primary record source being SRW-1 decks in HQ. I don't believe we ever had to go back to files and recording to tape gave us a less compressed output. The only option for ArriRaw (at the time) was the S.two which I did not like after having it demoed. For me it added another potential point of failure and I had heard of some claims regarding reliability and integrity. Not worth it. This does get into an issue a lot of guys starting out ask me and that is of quality and specs, etc.

Let me say it like this...2k, 3k, 4k, 5k....I could care less. "You can't do that, it's so compressed!" To all of it I say "so what?" Maybe it's confidence or maybe it's being tired of a new camera every year. If it looks right to my eye, I don't care about what is giving it to me. If it's a Super8 camera or a 5D or 35 anamorphic....what's important is what my eyes see. A couple of people in prep asked me why I would shoot Alexa when I could be shooting 4k RED. I like the RED image, but for this project and the tests I did with it, it was not right. I've decided to treat the various cameras as the new film stocks. I just feel bad for the people who buy them and don't have enough time to make their money back before the new one is out. I'll stop ranting now I've got that off my chest...

Anyway, the experience with the camera was good. If anything I think the camera is too sensitive in the shadows. I was constantly creating negative fill to get the shadows down where I wanted them. The look of the film was supposed to feel as if it was lit naturally and by practicals and I found the curve of the Alexa very accommodating to our style. We used Cooke S4s for most of the movie, carried a zoom but maybe put it on twice.

To Georg who asked "What`s happening in a critical situation where lighting/exposure wasn`t right and you want to heavily manipulate the look in post? I guess this makes the difference, Isn`t it nearly ten times the data rate?"

- I do my best to make sure it's right and I shoot so I never have to heavily manipulate in post. It helps that most of my work is not very effected and somewhat natural. Though if I am trying to do an affected look, I'll do as much in camera as possible. And yes it's a much higher data rate, but there are tradeoffs. And the bottom line was that our budget (and post facility) just couldn't support the workflow and tremendous data handling a two camera ArriRaw feature would generate (at the time).


Since I wrapped the film a year ago, I've been doing commercials exclusively and 95% of them have been Alexa to ProRes and I've been very happy. Though recently I've used the Epic on some shoots and am very very impressed with it and it's capabilities. The fact you can shoot RAW built in is great. To do that on an Alexa is a huge added cost and more gear.

I do miss film. Hope I use it again.
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#12 Dominic Gruenberg

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 06:31 AM

Very interesting, thank you for sharing. :)

And I've got to point out that sentence, because it is so well said, with nothing more to add but to quote it:

Let me say it like this...2k, 3k, 4k, 5k....I could care less.


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