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#1 C.Smith

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:17 AM

I joined the rest of the planet finally and put up a Vimeo channel (full link in my sig). But for now for you VFX kids, here's a sample of a spot we just did. I show most shots raw out of the Alexa then with all the effects and color added to see the transformation:


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#2 destro

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:28 AM

I love watching the changes from RAW to the final product....magic.

Are many people shooting TV shows with the Alexa or is it mostly TVCs?

#3 C.Smith

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:38 AM

I love watching the changes from RAW to the final product....magic.

Are many people shooting TV shows with the Alexa or is it mostly TVCs?


From what I can tell almost all commercials are going with Alexa as the standard. There will be some Red, some F35, some film. But I now have agencies asking for Alexa specifically or making sure it's Alexa or film. I hear from crew that more and more TV shows are using Alexa. Pan Am, Smash, Deseperate Housewives, Awakening, etc are Alexa.
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#4 microdot

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:03 PM

very cool.
Always like seeing what you're up to.

Yeah, Alexa on pure stats has come up in convo more than RED in last year it seems.

#5 AromaKat

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:50 AM

I also have been receiving nothing but Alexa or film assets from commercial. Red from indie (and only Red), and D-SLR h264 for everything else.

Working with Alexa is just such a no-nonsense workflow compared to working with Red.



Nice spot.

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#6 C.Smith

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:42 AM

I also have been receiving nothing but Alexa or film assets from commercial. Red from indie (and only Red), and D-SLR h264 for everything else.

Working with Alexa is just such a no-nonsense workflow compared to working with Red.


I agree. I had a Red EPIC for 5 months over last summer and I have to say it's a mild pain in the ass to always have to do conversions for people as well as babysit all that resolution I don't give a shit about AND with an image that is moderate at best. The Alexa is just a way better made camera, it's sensor is many fold higher quality with a much better looking view of the world, AND the workflow couldn't be any easier. ProRes? Yes, please. I think users and agencies realize the RED is more of an evolution of the old SONY Varicam craze for "video guys" and the Alexa is more of an evolution for film guys. I can say from using both cameras quite a bit now, that the Alexa is worth every cent more than you pay for a Red. And I get paid to turn in the best images, not own a small camera with cool cheap parts to stick on it. Outside of the RED reality distortion field ("Alexa looks just like a RED but softer"....cough....bullshit), one realizes that Alexa is simply the best image produced by a digital camera right now. That being said, on the off occasion I really want to pull keys at 4 and 5k and don't care as much about the look, the RED's are good for effects shooting.

And don't get me started on how cultish and a-hole-like the RED people were about me trying to sell my EPIC-M. Working with AbelCine and ARRI is a thousand times better experience.

okay, end rant. for now.........
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#7 rovino

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:18 AM

Hmm, where can I learn more about the Alexa and its workflow?

Edited by rovino, 08 April 2012 - 06:19 AM.


#8 AromaKat

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:18 AM

http://www.arri.de/c...s/workflow.html

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#9 destro

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:14 AM

I couldn't help but notice the ".de" (Germany) in ARRIs web-link. Something about German engineering gives me a nerd boner.

#10 superegophobia

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:49 PM

Generally how much more does it cost to rent all the gear (cards for raw and prores proxies included) vs red one or red epic? Biggest headache with epic was it didn't generate QT thumbnails/proxies like red one so you had to pull in a full 5k sequence just to see it. I also noticed I'd always get better looking stuff running through RedCineX rather than directly importing sequences. Does Arri use a similar system or can you process the raw directly in AE/nuke (and still retain ability to change raw color temperature, etc)?

Edited by superegophobia, 08 April 2012 - 02:52 PM.


#11 C.Smith

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:18 PM

Generally how much more does it cost to rent all the gear (cards for raw and prores proxies included) vs red one or red epic? Biggest headache with epic was it didn't generate QT thumbnails/proxies like red one so you had to pull in a full 5k sequence just to see it. I also noticed I'd always get better looking stuff running through RedCineX rather than directly importing sequences. Does Arri use a similar system or can you process the raw directly in AE/nuke (and still retain ability to change raw color temperature, etc)?


I've actually never used ARRI RAW in my life. Since I do TV commercials and not feature films, our standard is just ProRes files to the SxS cards. That being said, I use DaVinci Resolve for any conversions that I do. Like when converting Phantom files or just colored dailies for Alexa stuff. Resolve is a swiss army knife for every kind of camera. The only downside is we now record production audio into the ProRes files so there is no syncing stage and Resolve is not meant to pass through audio like RedCine does. That being said a DIT hired a OSX coder to make a shell script to read the audio from the original QT and right it into the transcoded QT (but this now alienates DNxHD). When I used to shoot the Red MX for about a year between my film days and these Alexa days, I would never use the proxies as they are just too bad to look at. I would use RedCine, do a look on them and render out to DNxHD for the Avid editors.

Although when Shooting Alexa ProRes now almost every post house asks for just the ProRes files uncolored/un-transfered. Media Composer 6 now works natively with ProRes so I'm doing way less conversions now. Just shoot the ProRes from Alexa and turn in the harddrives. No dailies, no transcoding. The only downside to that is I used to sit in a dailies session in the film days to approve a look or sit and do my own dailies in Red MX days and set my own look for offline. Right now the client is looking at LogC during offline OR the edit houses give me the option to send them colored TIFFs and they have their avid editor do a quick and dirty visual match in the Avid. Then obviously for final colored selects that all goes into a real system like a Resolve or Baselight from the OG ProRes4444 and get's colored properly. But it's nice to set a dailies look so they know what you are thinking or to get them used to what you like.

EDIT: I never answered the cost question. I can't answer the rental cost question without asking Michelle for past camera orders and comparing them. I can tell you what I charge for my camera packages but they wouldn't be accurate as I undercut my rates in exchange for the production company ALWAYS using my gear when I or their other directors shoot. That way it pays it self off quickly without having to rent it to strangers. I can tell you the cost differences in purchasing though:

RED EPIC-M kit was $58k. It gives you the camera, EVF, SSD Drives, Onboard monitor, a pelican case, and 4 small batteries for the handgrip (also included).
My Alexa equivalent to that part list was about $93k. But understand with ARRI, that everything is piecemeal and everything costs a lot more (but better made). I also spent a lot more on the newer 64Gb SxS Pro Cards to allow the Alexa to do 120 fps while using the full sensor. As opposed to EPIC needing to crop the sensor some to reach 120fps. Red will argue that they have to crop sensor but they are still giving you 4k. And I will counter that I DON'T WANT 4K. I want a great image and a 1080 output. When TV is 4k, I'll consider carrying around a crap load of pixels, but by then cameras will be something completely different. I live in a 1080 world. When I want high res for effects, I'll use an EPIC or rent an ARRI RAW box.

Now, going up from that base package you still need rails, follow focus, matte box, filters, etc. RED will still be cheaper as they make all their own parts and sell them way cheaper than ARRI. So the cost will still keep getting higher on the ARRI side. But once again you will have some of the best, industry standard parts going with ARRI. I do like those carbon fiber rails RED makes though. Those are wicked. However for the Alexa I just use the Zacuto 15mm lightweight extendable rails which are damn near as light as Carbon Fiber rails and allow you to extend them through add on pieces.

Edited by C.Smith, 08 April 2012 - 05:32 PM.

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#12 C.Smith

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:22 PM

I couldn't help but notice the ".de" (Germany) in ARRIs web-link. Something about German engineering gives me a nerd boner.


Oh I hear you. I much prefer German cars. Yeah, ARRI is a fine German company. I own one of their other cameras I used for about 7 years the ARRI 235 35mm film camera. I cannot give that camera away now. Movies still rent it on occasion, but no one will buy it from me. I guess film is lying on it's death bed with that thousand yard stare and the occasional cough.

Speaking of which, ARRI Germany contacted me last month and asked me for an HD copy of my HEB 2012 Superbowl spot to use bits of in their 2012 NAB Alexa reel. So if you're at NAB, look for it ;)
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#13 rovino

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:27 PM

That being said, I use DaVinci Resolve for any conversions that I do. Like when converting Phantom files or just colored dailies for Alexa stuff. Resolve is a swiss army knife for every kind of camera.

So on a side note. DaVinci will take-in / convert cine files from a phantom? No more coverting via the cineviewer? That is hawt. You also mentioned 120fps from the ARRI at 1080 vs the RED. This was one of the reasons I was gonna check out the red at NAB this year. however am I to understand the ARRI at 1080 full sesor is gonna look better than the RED at 4K both running 120 fps? Hmm now I gotta find the ARRI booth.

Edited by rovino, 08 April 2012 - 07:28 PM.


#14 C.Smith

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:25 PM

So on a side note. DaVinci will take-in / convert cine files from a phantom? No more coverting via the cineviewer? That is hawt. You also mentioned 120fps from the ARRI at 1080 vs the RED. This was one of the reasons I was gonna check out the red at NAB this year. however am I to understand the ARRI at 1080 full sesor is gonna look better than the RED at 4K both running 120 fps? Hmm now I gotta find the ARRI booth.


Yes, when I shoot Phantom I put all the Phantom files in one Resolve timeline (or EDL). Resolve not only reads .cine files natively but also adds the proper LUT to get the proper log response from them in Resolve color space. I render that timeline out twice. Once as flat and uncolored as one long ProRes4444 file which will be used as a coloring master by the transfer house. Then I render that timeline again but this time I color each shot to look pretty for the edit. Then the edit house samples in my colored version (which again is a bunch of colored Phantom shots all in a row like coming from a tape). Then when they go for final transfer they just swap out the flat version. That way the post house will never need to "see" the .cine Phantom files ever. They deal with them just like it was a sampled tape (One long Quicktime with sequential unbroken timecode starting at whatever number you want).

ARRI vs RED Overcrank:
120 fps on the EPIC comes "free" with the camera. However because it can only process so much data at a time, to shoot 120fps it needs to crop the sensor to 4k size. Which is the same size as the old RED's so not a huge deal. But it's the little things: your focal lengths will change slightly per lens and your DOF changes some. Then at 300fps it needs to crop a lot. It's 2k on the long side but very short on the "y" side. So unless you plan on blowing up big time or letterboxing the shite out of your final work, I found 300fps on a RED almost useless.

The Alexa will do 120fps. However to shoot more than 60fps you are buying a permanent 'overcrank' license. Meaning the camera can always do it, but you're are paying for the unlock. It's about $2300. Yes, that's where ARRI gets you. However you are still sampling from the entire sensor at all times. So you are not changing the shot in anyway from what you expect. The ONLY thing you have to change is from 4444 to 422 because of the data rate to the cards. That being said, I challenge anyone to really notice a diff under normal conditions.
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#15 levante

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:34 PM

When using Alexa vs a Red, it becomes pretty obvious that Arri has a long tradition in building film cameras, while Red was founded by a guy who successfully sold fancy sunglasses. Now don't get me wrong, the Red epic sure is a fine peace of technology, but the Alexa feels so much more like... uhm... a real camera.

Not to mention that for Broadcast stuff, the Prores Workflow just kicks ass.




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