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ARRI ALEXA Mini LF


AlexTrinder96

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Interesting.  I watched some of the wolfcrow review of the LF (I know some people here don't like him, but he has more experience of the industry than I do) and he said that the feedback from rental houses was that the cameras with larger than S35 sensors just aren't that popular.  He suggested that the manufacturers might have overestimated lots of people would be coming from FF DSLR revolution to cinema cameras, but who knows. 

 

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43 minutes ago, kye said:

Interesting.  I watched some of the wolfcrow review of the LF (I know some people here don't like him, but he has more experience of the industry than I do) and he said that the feedback from rental houses was that the cameras with larger than S35 sensors just aren't that popular.  He suggested that the manufacturers might have overestimated lots of people would be coming from FF DSLR revolution to cinema cameras, but who knows. 

 

Definitely so, I remember even Roger Deakins opted against using the alexa 65 for Blade Runner 2049. He didn't like the look and went with the mini and alexa xt! Full frame/large format isn't replacing super 35mm anytime soon imo

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The problem lies in the lens selection. DP want textures and look, and there isn't so much choice in vistavision for now. I am pretty sure everyone and their mothers will soon rehouse all the old FF glasses available to give a nice selection. But the sad truth is that it will solely be stills glasses, with all the caveats they bring (breathing for one). And in some particular case, like anamorphics, the old and legendary glasses will still be only available in S35.

The folks at Panavision told me Arri was about to come up with something new in the S35 segment. I said "4k?", they answered "Higher".  I guess we'll see;

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23 minutes ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

Definitely so, I remember even Roger Deakins opted against using the alexa 65 for Blade Runner 2049. He didn't like the look and went with the mini and alexa xt! Full frame/large format isn't replacing super 35mm anytime soon imo

 

1 hour ago, kye said:

Interesting.  I watched some of the wolfcrow review of the LF (I know some people here don't like him, but he has more experience of the industry than I do) and he said that the feedback from rental houses was that the cameras with larger than S35 sensors just aren't that popular.  He suggested that the manufacturers might have overestimated lots of people would be coming from FF DSLR revolution to cinema cameras, but who knows. 

 

Well, The cameras are massively more expensive to buy/rent, most content end up in 1080p on youtube so that a cost hard to justify.

4k+ camera also mean more data and more expensive post production.

Plus the DOF is more shallow, when you pull focus it make things harder, and if you want a deep DOF you need more light if you want to keep the iso low.


 

18 minutes ago, Julien416 said:

The problem lies in the lens selection. DP want textures and look, and there isn't so much choice in vistavision for now. I am pretty sure everyone and their mothers will soon rehouse all the old FF glasses available to give a nice selection. But the sad truth is that it will solely be stills glasses, with all the caveats they bring (breathing for one). And in some particular case, like anamorphics, the old and legendary glasses will still be only available in S35.

The folks at Panavision told me Arri was about to come up with something new in the S35 segment. I said "4k?", they answered "Higher".  I guess we'll see;

I don t think that much of an issue, they are many options available both modern and vintage, available already and rehousing solution for those have already been here for years
Even the alexa 65 use rehoused mamiya 645 glass for the Arri DNA set ,and people are fine with it, vintage cinema glass also breath, much more than modern glass .
For FF/vistavision you can get old cooke double panchro, panavision glass, leica R glass, russian glass ect....

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From my perspective it has got a slightly somewhat smarter body design for audio, at least compared to the original Alexa Mini which was pretty awful.

The timecode connector is in a more sensible location, and it has gained an internal scratch mic (wish it had four track recording, like say the FS7 has, then you could have both internal scratch mics plus an external audio source being recorded all at once). Plus the audio input is no longer in the awkward spot at the front, but why oh why did they have to change the Lemo connector to a completely different type??? (previous it was 5 pin Lemo line level only, now it is a 6 pin Lemo connector for audio. Oh well, I guess that is yet more audio cables I must buy)

1 hour ago, Mattias Burling said:

Dual card slots?

No.

 

https://www.facebook.com/DavidCMPeterson/photos/a.277946442237979/2435658336466768/

 

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53 minutes ago, Julien416 said:

The problem lies in the lens selection. DP want textures and look, and there isn't so much choice in vistavision for now. I am pretty sure everyone and their mothers will soon rehouse all the old FF glasses available to give a nice selection. But the sad truth is that it will solely be stills glasses, with all the caveats they bring (breathing for one). And in some particular case, like anamorphics, the old and legendary glasses will still be only available in S35.

The folks at Panavision told me Arri was about to come up with something new in the S35 segment. I said "4k?", they answered "Higher".  I guess we'll see;

Exactly. Hoping people all jump on vistavision and all sell their S35 cinema lenses cheap ? So I can do some shopping. 

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2 hours ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

Definitely so, I remember even Roger Deakins opted against using the alexa 65 for Blade Runner 2049. He didn't like the look and went with the mini and alexa xt! Full frame/large format isn't replacing super 35mm anytime soon imo

That's really interesting. I remember loving the look of the Revenant (not my favorite movie, but I loved the cinematography), but feeling that a lot of subsequent Alexa 65 shows were a little more clinical and boring. Bandersnatch I thought looked good, but might as well have been Red or something.

There's a rumor that Arri uses a diffusion filter over their OLPF. It's not true. But if you look at this footage carefully (download it):

You can see the C200 has more fine detail and the Arri has more sharpening (unsharp mask) and a "smoother look." (The Arri also has a much nicer noise texture, superior linearity in color over exposure, and 1.5 stops more highlight detail, which this comparison masks.) I'm trying out Tiffen's Digital Diffusion FX 1/2 filter to try to get a similar softening effect, but it's incredibly subtle. Obviously, that smooth/soft effect and the Alexa's "film like" noise texture would be reduced with the larger sensor.

So I think the S35 sensor for whatever reason has this smooth look that the LF and A65 lack. They feel more clinical and more textureless. But I've only worked with the OG S35 and watched footage from the others. Granted, the others still look great and are perfect for as a Venice competitor (or for Netflix), but it's really interesting to read that Deakins prefers the S35. I do agree there's a lot more great cinema glass for S35, even if it's mostly very expensive, and that sensor has an organic "feel." 

But the opposite is sort of true on the affordable end of the spectrum: there's a real dearth of affordable fast wide glass for S35 and tons of it for FF.

The only good options I can think of for S35 at consumer price points are the Sigma 18-35mm for a modern look, or for a vintage look the Olympus 21mm f2. I think there's a Rokinon 16mm f2, too. I found an Olympus 55mm thread wide angle adapter on a swap table... maybe it's a sign that I should get the 21mm and use the adapter on it. 14.7mm f2. :/ And that would look VERY "vintage." I almost see FF making more sense for consumer cameras than for pro cameras due to lens availability. Nikon's 24mm f2 AI is a weird looking lens–I personally love it. But it's neither that fast nor that wide. (Nor that sharp wide open.) On full frame, however, it feels like a decently sharp 16mm f1.2 that's full of character... Canon's new 20mm t1.5 cine lens would be pretty great on FF and is relatively affordable, too.

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From the Vimeo C200 vs ALEXA Mini, I preferred the lower contact image of the C200 in daylight shot in C-log2 (as indicated in the Vimeo comments).  I thought the ALEXA Mini looked better for the night scenes.  I don't think there is a $50k advantage for the ALEXA Mini over the C200.  I do think for polished commercial work, some may prefer the look of the ALEXA Mini. So, it would probably be better to rent the ALEXA Mini for that special occasion than to purchase it as your daily driver, unless you have money to burn and can afford multiple highend camera bodies.

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18 minutes ago, majoraxis said:

From the Vimeo C200 vs ALEXA Mini, I preferred the lower contact image of the C200 in daylight shot in C-log2 (as indicated in the Vimeo comments).  I thought the ALEXA Mini looked better for the night scenes.  I don't think there is a $50k advantage for the ALEXA Mini over the C200.  I do think for polished commercial work, some may prefer the look of the ALEXA Mini. So, it would probably be better to rent the ALEXA Mini for that special occasion than to purchase it as your daily driver, unless you have money to burn and can afford multiple highend camera bodies.

The images are graded, which imo makes the difference in contrast less relevant. But I agree the night scene is where you can see the difference in DR and color linearity, elsewhere it's not as apparent. But if you look really carefully, the texture of the Alexa (imo) is smoother with a little more micro contrast, and I prefer that look. It's a little more organic and I don't think the LF and A65 have it as much. 

Just in terms of ergonomics, I wouldn't want to touch the Alexa Mini without a crew, though. I think for me a FF raw C300 Mk III would be a dream camera. But at a price I couldn't afford.

I guess I find the C200 a bit too "sharp," same as most digital cameras, though. The FF C700 appears to be, too. But diffusion filters and vintage lenses are a quick/easy fix. I just love the S35 Alexa look I guess. But I agree it's a rental camera, and a rental camera for when you have a crew. And of course the price is high. 

Rumors of a 4k+ S35 Alexa are intriguing...

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2 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

That's really interesting. I remember loving the look of the Revenant (not my favorite movie, but I loved the cinematography), but feeling that a lot of subsequent Alexa 65 shows were a little more clinical and boring. Bandersnatch I thought looked good, but might as well have been Red or something.

The revenant wasn't shot entirely in Arri 65, IIRC the majority of it was done with regular alexa's. As far as I am told, the sensor on the LF is exactly the same sauce, they just stick two of them (3 for the Alexa 65). Maybe it's the added resolution that bothered you.

 

3 hours ago, Laurier said:

I don t think that much of an issue, they are many options available both modern and vintage, available already and rehousing solution for those have already been here for years
Even the alexa 65 use rehoused mamiya 645 glass for the Arri DNA set ,and people are fine with it, vintage cinema glass also breath, much more than modern glass .
For FF/vistavision you can get old cooke double panchro, panavision glass, leica R glass, russian glass ect....

Well, let's say that in spherical there MIGHT be a lot of FF options... But when it comes to anamorphic, which represents a fair share of the professional productions, there isn't that many options. Old anamorphics covering the 29/30mm of FF 4/3 aren't that many I am effraid...  

Of course many of us will be forced to use LF if we want to bring the arri look to Netflix, but as much as I love the Alexa look, I think I'd switch to Varicam instead of letting go my precious Panavision anamorphics that won't cover LF...

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30 minutes ago, Julien416 said:

The revenant wasn't shot entirely in Arri 65, IIRC the majority of it was done with regular alexa's. As far as I am told, the sensor on the LF is exactly the same sauce, they just stick two of them (3 for the Alexa 65). Maybe it's the added resolution that bothered you.

 

Well, let's say that in spherical there MIGHT be a lot of FF options... But when it comes to anamorphic, which represents a fair share of the professional productions, there isn't that many options. Old anamorphics covering the 29/30mm of FF 4/3 aren't that many I am effraid...  

Of course many of us will be forced to use LF if we want to bring the arri look to Netflix, but as much as I love the Alexa look, I think I'd switch to Varicam instead of letting go my precious Panavision anamorphics that won't cover LF...

They are the same sensor, but the larger the sensor the more the grain texture and "smooth" quality of the OLPF (or whatever it is that makes the Alexa feel a little more diffuse) are obscured. Similar to S35 having more "texture" than 65mm and 16mm having the most. I did like the look of the Revenant, though, and yes it was shot on a mix of A65 and Minis. I just think that the A65 can look sterile. It works for the Marvel movies, though, it just looks a bit more like Red to me.

I also prefer S35 for cinema glass, but Panavision anamorphics aren't cheap to rent. 

I love the Varicam's image but is it 4:3 or 17:9? I'd think you'd prefer FF for the Panavisions (cropped on the sides of course) unless your S35 sensor were 4:3. I do love the look of those lenses. Aren't they PV mount or do they come in PL mount now?

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28 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I love the Varicam's image but is it 4:3 or 17:9? I'd think you'd prefer FF for the Panavisions (cropped on the sides of course) unless your S35 sensor were 4:3. I do love the look of those lenses. Aren't they PV mount or do they come in PL mount now?

Varicam is 16:9 but it has an anamorphic mode that puts the 4:3 crop around the size of the GH5 open gate sensor. In 4K.

The problem with legacy anamorphics on the LF is that the pixel density doesn't change, so no 4K. We are stuck with the good old 2.8K, hence no Netflix :). Of course, the varicam is really not a perfect solution as it's a crop mode, but I have used the panavision AL in anamorphic mode on the varicam with great success for some very dark scenes where we needed the 5000 base iso. Loved the look, and managed to match them with Alexa footage without too much hassle.

As for the Pana lenses, they only come in PV mount unfortunately. I have almost tried them all. They really mean business, it's really addictive. In France they are not THAT expensive. Probably a lot cheaper than renting them in L.A.

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24 minutes ago, Julien416 said:

 

Varicam is 16:9 but it has an anamorphic mode that puts the 4:3 crop around the size of the GH5 open gate sensor. In 4K.

The problem with legacy anamorphics on the LF is that the pixel density doesn't change, so no 4K. We are stuck with the good old 2.8K, hence no Netflix :). Of course, the varicam is really not a perfect solution as it's a crop mode, but I have used the panavision AL in anamorphic mode on the varicam with great success for some very dark scenes where we needed the 5000 base iso. Loved the look, and managed to match them with Alexa footage without too much hassle.

As for the Pana lenses, they only come in PV mount unfortunately. I have almost tried them all. They really mean business, it's really addictive. In France they are not THAT expensive. Probably a lot cheaper than renting them in L.A.

I think it's who you know. I definitely can't afford them.

I love the Varicam's image–my second favorite to the Alexa, probably. And technically the second best, too, imo, or arguably better if you favor resolution over highlight detail.

But I still disagree about anamorphic. On the Alexa Mini you might be shooting 2.8k with them, but on the Varicam it's a 4:3 (or even 5:4) extraction of 4k... which is... you guessed it, 2.8k.

Except the Alexa Mini covers the full coverage of the lens, whereas the Varicam is cropping substantially. Regardless, still a great image I'm sure. I love the Varicam's image and don't think there's anything better for the money.

I also really liked the cinematography on Maniac, which it think was shot on Red with an in-between sized sensor.

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5 hours ago, Julien416 said:

The revenant wasn't shot entirely in Arri 65, IIRC the majority of it was done with regular alexa's. As far as I am told, the sensor on the LF is exactly the same sauce, they just stick two of them (3 for the Alexa 65). Maybe it's the added resolution that bothered you.

 

Well, let's say that in spherical there MIGHT be a lot of FF options... But when it comes to anamorphic, which represents a fair share of the professional productions, there isn't that many options. Old anamorphics covering the 29/30mm of FF 4/3 aren't that many I am effraid...  

Of course many of us will be forced to use LF if we want to bring the arri look to Netflix, but as much as I love the Alexa look, I think I'd switch to Varicam instead of letting go my precious Panavision anamorphics that won't cover LF...

Well , If you shoot open gate 2x anamorphic on a normal alexa you already get a 4k image and the image circle is not that far of FF 4/3 so I guess you can get away with 50mm+ focals .
Since you have a larger sensor you probable get the same FOV in the end.

Beside, they are not many vintage anamorphic under 35mm to start with .
I think a few netflix Film/show where shot like that on Monstro and on alexa 65, using normal 2x anamorphics 

I don t want to really argue about that , but I really don t think the lens selection is the issue , a lot of content is shot on relatively common gear anyway.

I think the LF is here specifically for the netflix/movie market productions that want to shoot spherical and output 4k, but that still a minority of the content shoot overall .

 

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10 hours ago, Laurier said:

Well, The cameras are massively more expensive to buy/rent, most content end up in 1080p on youtube so that a cost hard to justify.

Is that where the majority of ARRI footage ends up?

Genuine question - not trying to be rude or anything - I don't have any visibility of this part of the industry.

I would have thought that Alexas were too expensive for 'free' distribution unless it was advertising materials, and that they'd mostly be used for movies and TV behind paywalls or at least licensed by broadcasters who pay with advertising revenues.  These cameras sure seem expensive to me!

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54 minutes ago, kye said:

Is that where the majority of ARRI footage ends up?

Genuine question - not trying to be rude or anything - I don't have any visibility of this part of the industry.

I would have thought that Alexas were too expensive for 'free' distribution unless it was advertising materials, and that they'd mostly be used for movies and TV behind paywalls or at least licensed by broadcasters who pay with advertising revenues.  These cameras sure seem expensive to me!

 I mean for the Alexa LF specifically over a regular Alexa, I don t have the exact numbers in mind but It cost about  3 times the money to rent a LF over a regular Alexa , plus the extra storage and battery consumption. 

So for a small commercial that just overkill, in my experience the majority of decently produced jobs will try to be as cost effective while maintaining a good output, that why the Alexa mini with let say a set of kowa anamorphic is popular, it s fairly cheap to rent and get you the look .

 

 

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