Jump to content


Photo

Help Chosing a Camera

DOP Camera lighting

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Ryan Jim Rector

Ryan Jim Rector

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, Canada

Posted 24 September 2016 - 03:29 PM

Hi, I am a DoP on an upcoming shoot for a pair of commercials but I'm having a little trouble deciding the camera. I'm more on the lighting side than camera so I'm not to sure about which cameras are better than others.

 

I was looking at a few but other than staring at the specs i didn't really get much information.

I was looking at the Alexa, Alexa Mini, Red Weapon, Red Scarlet, Sony F3 (I've had experience with very minimal).

 

the commercials aren't highly complicated but one of them deals with aquatic themes and the other superhero FX (such as laser beams and freezing) do any of theses cameras have a better read out in colours, which has the best mobility, do any have any serious problems, and your personal choice or opinion?

 

once again I'm not really up on camera side of things so any information will help!

Thanks


  • 0


Support Cinematography.com and buy gear using our Amazon links!
PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless Camera, 20.3 Megapixels, Dual I.S. 2.0, 4K 422 10-bit, Full Size HDMI Out, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DC-GH5KBODY (USA Black)

#2 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1595 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 24 September 2016 - 08:15 PM

I would count out the F3.. this is now a bit old in the tooth. HD only sensor.. and internal recording is limited to 35 Mbps.. and limited Slog gamma..so you would need an additional ext recorder SDI out to get a better spec.. if you are familiar with the menu,s then the F5 or F55 are similar and might be easier for you to work with.. and a far superior camera to the F3..


  • 0

#3 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 954 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 25 September 2016 - 12:28 AM

Yeah I'd also say to go with an F5. If you NEED to stick with your given list, perhaps the RED scarlet because it's quite small and on the lower end of the price spectrum?


  • 0

#4 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3231 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 25 September 2016 - 02:52 PM

Best thing to do is hit up your local rental house and take the different cameras out for a spin. Most people will let you shoot indoors and right outside of the shop in order to get a feel for the package.

I personally like the Alexa over the Red packages, mainly because they feel like a complete camera when using. The Red cameras require crazy rigs to hand hold, which is a real pain. I also prefer the Alexa's color science, it's more akin to film then the Red is. The Alexa can also record in an editing native codec (Pro Res) and deliver a high quality 12 bit 444 workflow every efficiently.

Where I do like many things about the RED cameras, including low light capabilities, size/weight, resolution and even the codec, which works really well in finishing programs on fast computers. The imager is an acquired taste and requires substantial amount of re-working to make look decent. If you're going to RENT, it's a no brainer to go with the Alexa for MOST applications.
  • 0

#5 Jan Tore Soerensen

Jan Tore Soerensen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 167 posts
  • Director
  • Norway

Posted 26 September 2016 - 01:11 AM

Best thing to do is hit up your local rental house and take the different cameras out for a spin. Most people will let you shoot indoors and right outside of the shop in order to get a feel for the package.

I personally like the Alexa over the Red packages, mainly because they feel like a complete camera when using. The Red cameras require crazy rigs to hand hold, which is a real pain. I also prefer the Alexa's color science, it's more akin to film then the Red is. The Alexa can also record in an editing native codec (Pro Res) and deliver a high quality 12 bit 444 workflow every efficiently.

Where I do like many things about the RED cameras, including low light capabilities, size/weight, resolution and even the codec, which works really well in finishing programs on fast computers. The imager is an acquired taste and requires substantial amount of re-working to make look decent. If you're going to RENT, it's a no brainer to go with the Alexa for MOST applications.

How so? I feel like the REDS are very easily shot handheld or with a simple shoulder rig. Just shot with an Epic a couple of weeks ago, and other than being heavy, it was very managable.

 

Can't compare it to the Alexa mini, as I haven't tried it yet.


  • 0

#6 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3231 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 September 2016 - 01:56 AM

How so? I feel like the REDS are very easily shot handheld or with a simple shoulder rig. Just shot with an Epic a couple of weeks ago, and other than being heavy, it was very managable.


Yea, the Alexa feels like a complete package to me. I just don't get that when I'm "assembling" a Red.

Last shoot I was on with a Red Weapon, it took the DP about an hour to set it up and start capturing. The next day I did a quick shoot with an Alexa Studio and we were recording in around 5 minutes. It took longer to boot the camera and punch in the base settings, then it did to set it up.
  • 0

#7 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 898 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:26 AM

I would maybe choose the Alexa Mini for the easier workflow, the look and great handling properties. the MX Scarlet is a bit lacking in frame rates and formats (no anamorphic etc) but the Scarlet Dragon could be enough for the shoot if there is budget constraints which do not allow the Weapon or Epic. 

I second that the F3 is limiting in formats and it also has more "gritty" look compared to the other options. if you need to choose a lower end Sony, then the FS7 is much better choice I think. Personally I like F5 / 55 look and they are very handy cameras especially because of the interchangeable mount but the Alexa looks usually suits commercials better I think (more subtle contrast handling, colors, skin tones and better highlight handling)


  • 0

#8 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1595 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:35 AM

Was with an F5 and RED Raven today.. I,ve never really had any dealings with RED camera,s .. but the fan !!  dual turbo !.. what a racket.. I worry sometimes my F5 fan can be noisy when its totally quite.. but comparing both fans , the F5 seemed a mere murmur in comparison .. how do you shoot Sync sound with this thing in a quite room.. or any int.. :)


  • 0

#9 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 898 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:37 AM

the RED cameras are not much difficult to set up and the menus are not a big nightmare like some people think but the format is more post demanding and will need more filtering and tweaking before looking as nice as the Alexa image with minimum processing. so you will most likely save time and budget by choosing the Alexa and the director and producer will be very happy for the results and very easy and efficient workflow.

 

every camera may need some tweaking at the beginning of the shoot and most cameras are kept halfway built most of the time during the production, you won't normally completely tear them apart after each day so it is not that important how long the first setup will take. if the Weapon was so difficult for the DP why he did not build it in the prep and transport without the lens, it works in most simple shoots and is super easy, takes 2 min to set up and start shooting? why wasting the time for things which can be done in prep and keep everyone waiting?


  • 0

#10 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3231 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:36 PM

Was with an F5 and RED Raven today.. I,ve never really had any dealings with RED camera,s .. but the fan !!  dual turbo !.. what a racket.. I worry sometimes my F5 fan can be noisy when its totally quite.. but comparing both fans , the F5 seemed a mere murmur in comparison .. how do you shoot Sync sound with this thing in a quite room.. or any int.. :)


The F5 is dead quiet compared to the RED.

When you build a camera into a very small box, you loose the ability to convection cool it through a large heat sync and decent air flow. You've gotta then add fan's at high RPM's, which make quite a racket. It doesn't matter on big productions where everything is ADR'd, it does matter on smaller shoots in intimate settings.

I did a shoot earlier this year with my LTR and RED Epic, the film camera made no noise and the Epic was a vacuum cleaner. Which humors me because we've spent so much time building "technology" we have forgotten all the decades of making film cameras quiet.
  • 0

#11 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 898 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 September 2016 - 01:24 PM

I haven't had much issues with epic/scarlet noise but never used the weapon, the dual fans can change the game of course. But if the camera is not overheating you can usually set the fans to low setting during record so that the noise is quite substantial. I don't live in the middle of desert however, it may be different for people who use them in very hot conditions. Taking a red camera out to the desert is a bad idea anyway, those things are not sealed and will collect the whole sahara worth of dust inside...

But why the camera noise would be problem in a commercial shoot? They rarely have any sync audio anyway so who cares. With the same logic we would need to stop hmi lights because their buzzing disturbs the sound guy's thoughts :P
  • 0

#12 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1595 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:35 PM

The F5 is dead quiet compared to the RED.

When you build a camera into a very small box, you loose the ability to convection cool it through a large heat sync and decent air flow. You've gotta then add fan's at high RPM's, which make quite a racket. It doesn't matter on big productions where everything is ADR'd, it does matter on smaller shoots in intimate settings.

I did a shoot earlier this year with my LTR and RED Epic, the film camera made no noise and the Epic was a vacuum cleaner. Which humors me because we've spent so much time building "technology" we have forgotten all the decades of making film cameras quiet.

 

 

Yes I remember the Aaton with mag drive and barny on..   very quite.. just a nice little "hum" of the film through the gate..   The F5/55 has an off in Rec setting.. maybe the RED too.. but Im often in hot locations and worry about the beast over heating.. so usually put in Auto mode..  I,d heard from many sound guys that the REDs were a nightmare with the fan noise.. but first time I had actually heard this dual fan going full blast .. yes CM,s or Music video,s doesn't matter..  but even ADR I,d think that it would be off putting..in a moody quite int scene.. dont let one near Christian Bale !!  


  • 0

#13 Mark Kenfield

Mark Kenfield
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 969 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Australia/Wherever The Wind Takes Me

Posted 30 September 2016 - 01:49 AM

Ryan, when you say 'aquatic themes' do you mean you need to shoot some underwater material? If that's the case, then I'd suggest steering towards whatever system you can find a good local underwater setup/operator for, that way everything will match better.

 

As far as operation goes, the Alexa is basically the simplest to use (by a considerable margin), so if you're not particularly familiar with the other offerings, I think that's the most idiotproof option to save you from yourself. :)

 

They all spit out pretty pictures though, so I wouldn't stress too much about image quality - even the little F3 can become an imaging  beast if you pair it with a 4:4:4 recorder like the PIX-E5 or Odyssey7Q.


  • 0

#14 Ryan Jim Rector

Ryan Jim Rector

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, Canada

Posted 30 September 2016 - 12:45 PM

Thank You all this was all very helpful, I feel like my best option is to go with the Alexa or the Alexa mini (if i have the option). from what I've gathered its the easiest set up and the read out seems to be much high with prores options. It's really intimidating to go into a new camera with limited experience. but once again the Alexa seems to be the best route. I'd love to try the Scarlett but unfortunately it's not 100% up to me to decide and the Scarlett didn't get the approval.


  • 0

#15 Ryan Jim Rector

Ryan Jim Rector

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, Canada

Posted 30 September 2016 - 12:50 PM

Ryan, when you say 'aquatic themes' do you mean you need to shoot some underwater material? If that's the case, then I'd suggest steering towards whatever system you can find a good local underwater setup/operator for, that way everything will match better.

 

As far as operation goes, the Alexa is basically the simplest to use (by a considerable margin), so if you're not particularly familiar with the other offerings, I think that's the most idiotproof option to save you from yourself. :)

 

They all spit out pretty pictures though, so I wouldn't stress too much about image quality - even the little F3 can become an imaging  beast if you pair it with a 4:4:4 recorder like the PIX-E5 or Odyssey7Q.

Yes and No,

 

There is a match cut of a man falling in a chair to him diving backwards into water. so for the aquatic themes i wanted to use a lot of rich blues, such as a steel blue for daylight and so on... but I would love it if when the diver dives back we follow into water, but I'm not sure about that because there are a lot of risks.

 

and yes I'm familiar with the F3 and Pix but our executives are pushing for the Alexa. which ultimately i think is the best option just wanted to get a decent comparison .


  • 0




CineLab

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

The Slider

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS