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Red Dragon? Anyone?


Dave Maze

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also for every movie shot on the red, 99 were shot on the alexa. It's almost endless how many movies are being shot on the Alexa.

I know a lot of DPs who own a mini and have already paid it off.  They just don't brag about it. Reduser regulars except for my friend Nick are their own brand of "interesting" folks. Nearly

I'm so stoked to use the Alexa Mini this fall for a project. Plan on doing some A/B testing with the UM4.6K as well.

In my experience it's nosier than the MX with better highlight exposure latitude. Nicer color when exposed properly, though. And definitely better exposure attitude. Not the huge upgrade it was hyped up to be.

I think a lot of the confusion has to do with there being so many OLPFs. Different ones have more or less noise, exposure latitude, better or worse color and sensor artifacts. Anyhow, I'd take the Alexa Mini over it any day and the rental prices aren't so far apart ($300/day for a Dragon, $500/day for an Alexa). When lit brightly and exposed at low ISOs with great care to avoid clipping (exposed at like 200-400 ISO) and graded at a high end shop, the image can look really beautiful.

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Good to know. Interesting thing about the noise. The skin tones look better to me than MX ever was. I'm considering buying a Raven but I'm a little hesitant because the crop factor and data management. I love my 1DC but long for HFR. Raven has some lovely options for high frame rates especially at that price. 

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People who own Reds really seem to like them. 

Rent one first, my preference for the Alexa has to do with me working in post and not likely the Red workflow. Most shooters couldn't care less. From that perspective it might be a good call at the price. The crop doesn't seem too extreme, there are good wide lenses out there.

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skintones are weird and plasticy with the red dragon.  I have only used it about 4 times.  But after that, I don't really care for it.

 

Kind of beige looking.

At the price range, I think pretty much everyone has switched to shooting on the Alexa mini.

 

I think a working dragon package is about 30k or so.

A working Alexa mini package is $36k.

So I guess, you know, what's the reason then to go with a camera that doesn't look as nice and has more noise?

 

here's some test charts so you compare the look of it with the alexa, etc etc:

http://cinematography.net/edited-pages/cml-uwe-2015.html

 

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57 minutes ago, Ed_David said:

skintones are weird and plasticy with the red dragon.  I have only used it about 4 times.  But after that, I don't really care for it.

 

Kind of beige looking.

At the price range, I think pretty much everyone has switched to shooting on the Alexa mini.

 

I think a working dragon package is about 30k or so.

A working Alexa mini package is $36k.

So I guess, you know, what's the reason then to go with a camera that doesn't look as nice and has more noise?

 

here's some test charts so you compare the look of it with the alexa, etc etc:

http://cinematography.net/edited-pages/cml-uwe-2015.html

 

I agree with everything you wrote. For $13k I would get a C300 Mk II (post-firmware update it should be much better than it is currently–I have an acquaintance on the ACES board who mentioned to me it has been upgraded substantially with the new firmware for no more sensor banding and for reduced noise), but since your needs are specifically for slow motion I can't recommend that. And your budget seems to be around $13k so I can't recommend buying an Alexa Mini as it is three times the price. However, I agree it is the best "all around" owner/op or production camera available and by no small margin. 

However, Red users seem to love their Reds, and most of them are very successful pros, whereas this forum is mostly hobbyists. It is interesting to go to Red user and see so many people making a living off their expensive cameras (anecdotally, my friends who went this route are all making six to seven figures a year), whereas very few Alexa owners seem to pay back the investment quickly. The Alexa owner/op path is surprisingly uncommon.

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7 hours ago, Policar said:

I agree with everything you wrote. For $13k I would get a C300 Mk II (post-firmware update it should be much better than it is currently–I have an acquaintance on the ACES board who mentioned to me it has been upgraded substantially with the new firmware for no more sensor banding and for reduced noise), but since your needs are specifically for slow motion I can't recommend that. And your budget seems to be around $13k so I can't recommend buying an Alexa Mini as it is three times the price. However, I agree it is the best "all around" owner/op or production camera available and by no small margin. 

If you want raw & HFR and your budget is around US$13K then look at the KineFinity Terra 5K/6K, you could get two even for that budget!

Or a FS700/FS5 with an Odyssey 7Q+

 

7 hours ago, Policar said:

The Alexa owner/op path is surprisingly uncommon.

Probably because until very recently owning an Alexa was prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of owner ops!

But with older secondhand ones showing up, and the Alexa Mini, the situation is changing to make it kinda affordable for some.

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Interesting info guys. Thanks for sharing. The Raven is a really attractive camera to me still though because of the weight and size. Fits on a MoVI M5 and would sit nicely in my small think tank bag with my 1DC. Two small little cinema machines. Plus the RED name is so attractive to producers. 

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17 hours ago, Policar said:

I agree with everything you wrote. For $13k I would get a C300 Mk II (post-firmware update it should be much better than it is currently–I have an acquaintance on the ACES board who mentioned to me it has been upgraded substantially with the new firmware for no more sensor banding and for reduced noise), but since your needs are specifically for slow motion I can't recommend that. And your budget seems to be around $13k so I can't recommend buying an Alexa Mini as it is three times the price. However, I agree it is the best "all around" owner/op or production camera available and by no small margin. 

However, Red users seem to love their Reds, and most of them are very successful pros, whereas this forum is mostly hobbyists. It is interesting to go to Red user and see so many people making a living off their expensive cameras (anecdotally, my friends who went this route are all making six to seven figures a year), whereas very few Alexa owners seem to pay back the investment quickly. The Alexa owner/op path is surprisingly uncommon.

I know a lot of DPs who own a mini and have already paid it off.  They just don't brag about it.

Reduser regulars except for my friend Nick are their own brand of "interesting" folks.

Nearly everyone in the LA and NYC commercial scene own or use the Alexa almost exclusively.  I don't know many DPs who would chose to rent a red over an alexa mini.

Before, red dragon was going strong because it was small and lightweight.  that all changed with the Amira and then definitely with the mini.

Red is pretty much, in my mind, over.  Unless Mr Jinnard really does introduce "the next big thing" - which I doubt.

C300ii definitely looks interesting at its price.

3 minutes ago, DaveAltizer said:

Interesting info guys. Thanks for sharing. The Raven is a really attractive camera to me still though because of the weight and size. Fits on a MoVI M5 and would sit nicely in my small think tank bag with my 1DC. Two small little cinema machines. Plus the RED name is so attractive to producers. 

Red was really attractive to producers 5 years ago.

Now, all they want is the Alexa.

But you can easily convince a producer to use your camera if you show them the work you do on it and can explain to them why it's a better choice for the project.  If the producer doesn't listen to you, they aren't being a smart producer.  

 

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Interesting. I've been working (in post) on ads and network tv this year and so far it has all been Alexa. But I know Netflix won't accept Alexa. I find it the easiest image to work with in post by far.

The C300 Mk II really should be a lot better post-firmware update and at 13k it's a great deal. Most of my friends are not high end shooters, they have gone the C300 path, and they're working for Vice, etc. and still making really good livings. They got into the game later than the Red owners I know. That said, Red user is proof positive of how well that investment worked out for a substantial plurality of people.

 

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4 hours ago, DaveAltizer said:

Interesting info guys. Thanks for sharing. The Raven is a really attractive camera to me still though because of the weight and size. Fits on a MoVI M5 and would sit nicely in my small think tank bag with my 1DC. Two small little cinema machines. 

If ultra compact size is what attracts you, then check out the even smaller KineFinity Terra 5K/6K or Sony FS5 

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23 hours ago, Ed_David said:

At the price range, I think pretty much everyone has switched to shooting on the Alexa mini.

This. Most productions I work on are now shooting Alexa Mini where they may have previously been shooting Dragon. 

49 minutes ago, Flynn said:

Why won't Netflix accept Alexa?

Netflix now only want 4k acquisition. Alexa can't deliver that, though I've heard rumours that a true 4k Alexa is not too far off.

Seems most Netflix productions are now shooting Varicam or F55.

Considering a VaricamLT and Alexa Mini are priced similarly to a Dragon, I see no particular reason to go for a Dragon unless you desperately need 6k resolution. WIll be interesting to see how the Varicam/LT fare - one might imagine that a rental company that invested too heavily into these may be able to give you a good deal on them..

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I'm afraid that the Varicam LT will be a dud with rental houses, if only because of the bad taste left over from the original Varicam 35. Despite all the good features, excellent codecs and good image quality, it was a total failure. We have one at the rental house where I work and it only went out a couple of times, which means that it never came close to recouping what it cost to buy.

Anyway, the Dragon still works, and works a lot. It's very versatile, has great options for frame rates and format sizes, and can be stripped down for gimbal use, or built up with an Optimo and all the trimmings. That said, it's beloved mostly by those who grew up shooting DSLRs and are comfortable with the idea that a camera should be modular and customizable. Older cameraman take comfort in the Alexa and the fact that there's one choice of baseplate, one choice of handle, one choice of shoulder pad, etc.

Also, what really keeps RED in second place is the reliability and durability. They freak out a lot. Crash for no reason. Have glitches. Require a very knowledgeable touch. It can be a burden for the cameraman who wants to focus on the craft and the artistry, but must instead spend many hours soaking up technical minutia just to keep his camera running smoothly. I received several hours of instruction on the RED system at my job, and feel that I need several DAYS more in order to really wrap my head around it. Meanwhile, I figured out an Amira in 20 minutes basically on my own.

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12 minutes ago, BrooklynDan said:

I'm afraid that the Varicam LT will be a dud with rental houses, if only because of the bad taste left over from the original Varicam 35. Despite all the good features, excellent codecs and good image quality, it was a total failure. We have one at the rental house where I work and it only went out a couple of times, which means that it never came close to recouping what it cost to buy.

That's why I think there's plenty of good deals to be had on both Varicam 35s and Varicam LTs from rental houses that don't want to see their investment sitting on the shelf (the same thing happened with the F900).

27 minutes ago, BrooklynDan said:

Also, what really keeps RED in second place is the reliability and durability. They freak out a lot. Crash for no reason. Have glitches. Require a very knowledgeable touch. It can be a burden for the cameraman who wants to focus on the craft and the artistry, but must instead spend many hours soaking up technical minutia just to keep his camera running smoothly. I received several hours of instruction on the RED system at my job, and feel that I need several DAYS more in order to really wrap my head around it. Meanwhile, I figured out an Amira in 20 minutes basically on my own.

Totally. Arri cameras aren't without issue, but I've had very few issues, certainly never had an issue that couldn't be fixed with a quick restart.

Not so with RED. Admittedly, the cameras are significantly more stable now than they've ever been, and are much less issue prone... But they're certainly cumbersome and can be very frustrating to work with, even when they run smoothly.

Funnily enough, I was talking to a friend about the Alexa Mini recently and was saying that it's essentially an Alexa that's been made to work like a RED. Not all, but certainly some of the frustrations of working with RED also come with the Mini.

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9 hours ago, Ed_David said:

I know a lot of DPs who own a mini and have already paid it off.  They just don't brag about it.

Reduser regulars except for my friend Nick are their own brand of "interesting" folks.

Nearly everyone in the LA and NYC commercial scene own or use the Alexa almost exclusively.  I don't know many DPs who would chose to rent a red over an alexa mini.

Before, red dragon was going strong because it was small and lightweight.  that all changed with the Amira and then definitely with the mini.

Red is pretty much, in my mind, over.  Unless Mr Jinnard really does introduce "the next big thing" - which I doubt.

C300ii definitely looks interesting at its price.

Red was really attractive to producers 5 years ago.

Now, all they want is the Alexa.

But you can easily convince a producer to use your camera if you show them the work you do on it and can explain to them why it's a better choice for the project.  If the producer doesn't listen to you, they aren't being a smart producer.  

 

I'm not trying to defend red or the reduser forum, especially the forum, because they're definitely a bunch to talk about...

But, I guess... they are just like-minded people that are defending their purchase decisions... Just go say something bad about Canon at canonrumors and see what happens.

In any case, I don't know what producers you are talking about, but who ever they are should've advised the producers of all these guys:

http://www.red.com/shot-on-red/cinema

http://www.red.com/shot-on-red/television

As for the OP, in my opinion, if you are going to match shots with the 1DC then go with the C300II or C500/Odyssey.

If not and you still want to get a RED, then you might not like the results of the red, especially the Raven. You need to be on point with exposure and focus... yes... with RAW you get more room to play when you are editing, but don't be fooled by that 16.5 stops of DR BS that is spouted by them or DXO.

I think this guy learned his lesson:

 http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?147787-Help-With-Raven-Noise-Requested

If you are able to expose properly and nail focus, I think these are the best videos that have come out of the Raven (so far):

 

And obviously:

 

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6 hours ago, mkabi said:

In any case, I don't know what producers you are talking about, but who ever they are should've advised the producers of all these guys:

http://www.red.com/shot-on-red/cinema

http://www.red.com/shot-on-red/television

Take those listings with a MASSIVE grain of salt, unless you first dig deeper into it. 

Often a movie can be listed on there merely because a RED was used to shoot a few 6K VFX plates, but 98% of the rest of the film was shot with Arri Alexas. Or perhaps just a few seconds of aerial shots were done with a RED (which of course they'd now use an Alexa Mini for instead).

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