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Alexa for Commercial Shoot - Need Advice


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#1 Luke Hudson

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 05:16 PM

Hi, I will be shooting a spot in a few weeks.  The client says it will have a long shelf life and would like to finish in 4K (preparing for new Ultra HD standard--some of their spots have a 10+ year shelf life).  It is all night exteriors and lots of storybook pretty pictures---(think Werther's Originals holiday spots).  As of now, my plan is to shoot Alexa with a Gemmini to allow me to shoot 2.8K ArriRaw (much less expensive than shooting XT).  This would obviously require somewhat of a blow-up to 4K.  There is no overcranking.  I'm attracted to the Alexa over Red, for example, because of the look, color rendering, etc.  My questions are:

 

1) Do you think we can get away with this blow up?

2) I have Ultra Primes on the job now.  Is it worth trying to move up to Master Primes?  If I did, how would you characterize the difference we would notice?  Sharper?  Better performance toward lower f-stops?  Worth almost double the cost on lenses?  Any other lenses you would recommend for best performance out the Alexa?

3) Not shooting anamorphic, is there any advantage to the 4x3 sensor in the XT?

 

I am kind of basing the resolution aspect of my camera selection off of the experience of watching many Alexa movies projected at 2K in my local theatres.  When they use good glass and are well-shot, I never find myself looking for more sharpness.   I'm wondering if I could get away with this blow up from 2.8 K to 4k?

 

Any other suggestions give the description of this particular job?

 

I apprecaite your help.


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 06:09 PM

Roger Deakins did a blow-up of 2.8k Alexa material to 4k for the IMAX version of Skyfall. He was more than happy. Not sure which algorithm they used, but it wasn't the proprietary IMAX DMR. If the blow-up looks good on an imax screen, I'm sure it'll be fine on a TV set, even an ULTRA HD set.


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#3 Luke Hudson

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:59 PM

Thanks, Stuart.  I just heard that we may have the option to shoot with Primo primes.  Can anyone give me a sense of how these would compare to Ultra Primes and Master Primes?


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 12:41 AM

There is an "Open Gate" sensor option that will get you 3.4K with a 1.55 : 1 aspect ratio.

 

All of this assumes you are recording ArriRaw.

 

Do you need a 4:3 image? 4K is a horizontal measurement, so there is no resolution gain from recording 4:3 unless you are shooting in anamorphic or have to finish for a 4:3 release.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 12:41 AM

Primos are similar to Ultra Primes.


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#6 Luke Hudson

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 01:08 AM

I am shooting 16x9, so I imagine there is no gain to the XT's sensor for our project.

 

Any thoughts on trying to push for the Master Primes?  Any way to characterize the difference I would see on the Alexa?

 

Also, any thoughts on the Ultra Primes vs the Primos as far as being digital-friendly? 

 

Thanks.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 02:18 AM

The Master Primes are sharper but it all starts to get a bit hair-splitty as soon as you stop down any of these lenses.  If you are going to shoot everything at T/1.4, you need the Master Primes. If you are going to shoot everything at T/2.0, the Master Primes would be a bit sharper.  If you are going to shoot at T/2.8, you'll start to have a hard time telling these lenses apart.


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