How many of you guys have actually rigged up and used an Alexa in single operator mode? It actually works really really well.
Everything I see online points to how its a crew camera, not made for single op use, you NEED a 1st and 2nd AC etc. This usually comes from people who have either only shot it this way, or it's repeated by people who have not even shot with it.
There is nothing unique to the Alexa that makes it require a crew any more than any other camera. In fact, because of how ridiculously simple it is to use and it's great ergonomics, it's more single op friendly than a lot of other camera's I've used.
The trick is setting it up to make it single op friendly.
This is the basic setup for a shoot I DP'd last week. 6 hours, 5 locations, all shot shoulder mount (obviously missing the front handgrips, motor controller/cables and shoulder pad).
Focus is through an RT Motion 3.1 setup, controlled from the thumbwheel mounted on the right handgrip. The thumbwheel also has run/stop control. The EVF is setup with focus peaking, which works really well. Out of the 100 or so takes I did, only 2 were not usable due to buzzed focus.
I'm using EF Zeiss Milvus lenses which only have electronic iris control. Iris is controlled on the operator side directly on the Optitek EF lens mount - super easy.
The setup is powered by IDX 185wh batteries. Each battery powers the entire setup for just over 2h. They weigh 50g less than Anton Bauer's 90wh batteries and half a kilo less than their 190wh batteries. Power for the Optitek mount is drawn directly from a ribbon cable inside the mount, so no external cables. Power for the RT motion setup is drawn from Alexa's 12v output on the operator side, so no DTAP cables running back to the battery - super clean. This makes switching batteries fast and easy as there are no DTAP cables to switch over. I've got a hot swap battery mount arriving next week, so there will be no need to power down.
I'm using screw-on Firecrest ND filters which are completely neutral even at higher strengths, so no need to touch white balance or tint as I increase or decrease ND.
In the EVF I have control of FPS, shutter speed and white balance/tint all controlled via buttons on the EVF, all without removing your eye. The buttons on the operator side below the Alexa logo are user configurable. At the moment they trigger the Rec709 LUT on and off, false colour and fullscreen view inside the EVF. No need to take the camera off your shoulder... Once you setup your project and format your cards on the operator side at the start of the day, there is no need to return to that side as the important functions are all available inside the EVF.
I load in 2 x 128gb SxS cards at the start of the day, which record around 2h of Prores 4444. So theres usually no need to swap them out during the shoot.
From here I'm adding a Movcam MM4 lightweight mattebox. It has Arri rosettes on each side which allow you to attach handgrips directly onto the mattebox. This will shave some weight and further streamline the setup as I no longer need the BP-12 bridge plate, 19mm rods and the handle bridge. Still unsure if 15mm rods are too lightweight for this task, we'll see... I need a new mattebox anyway.
I'm also going to add 2 Dynacore 310wh batteries which will power the setup for around 3.5h each. And they're still 200g lighter than AB's 190wh batteries.
Is it as nimble as an A7 or GH5 setup? No. But from my experience, when shooting Alexa shoulder mount I'm moving just as quick as someone shooting mirrorless. Except if I've done my job right on the day, I can then grade that footage to match pretty much any feature shot on the Alexa. I can't really do that with mirrorless cam footage...