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ARRI Alexa Vs RED Epic Camera in Low Light from Olivia Kuan

From Olivia Kuan

Alexa vs. Epic in low light from Olivia Kuan on Vimeo.

This was some test footage shot for another party's purposes that I have re-cut into a comparison between Arri and Red. How exciting! First, here are the settings of the two cameras.

Alexa Classic: 2880×1620 in both ARRIRAW and ProRes 4444. Record Speed: 29.97FPS. ISO is 800 unless otherwise noted. Color Space is LogC. Lenses were Zeiss Super Speeds.

Epic: 4800×2700 10 bit. Record Speed: 29.97FPS. ISO is 800 unless otherwise noted. Color Space is RedColor 3. Gamma is RedLog Film. Shot with EF L series lenses: 24-70mm and 70-200mm.

Because of frame differences, the focal lengths of the lenses don't match between the two cameras. It also became evident after a few shots that the Red required an extra stop to reach the same exposure as the Alexa (womp womp). The client requested that we compensate for this using the shutter angle because that is what mattered least for their purposes. Sorry! Because of the many discrepancies, this test is definitely imperfect. But there is plenty to see nonetheless. The most obvious thing to my eye is the noise in the blacks in the Red footage. I also see more detail in the highlights on the Alexa. But why read this boring caption when you can watch and decide for yourself?

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For those who would like the arduous details about the post process, I'll write that out as well. Feel free to tell me if I did anything wrong, this was my first time going through these workflows. The Red footage went into RedCine first where I applied the color space RedColor 3 and the gamma curve RedLog Film. Why? The internet told me to. It seemed to be the recommended settings to start with for color grading. I didn't touch anything else. Then I created proxies and sent them over to Avid MC7. For the ArriRaw footage, I started in Resolve, created proxies, and sent them to MC7. The Arri ProRes stuff just went straight into Avid. (Yes, I know the ProRes footage can serve as ArriRaw proxies but it seemed easiest on my brain to just keep them separated). Then I cut together this masterpiece! Next I exported an ALE back to Resolve when I found that none of my amazing split screens would carry over. Nonetheless, I relinked the sequence to the RAW media in Resolve. Then I transcoded it all to DNxHD 220 and sent the ALE back to Avid. There, I exported it in 1080p with an H264 compression. And then, finally, many times degraded, it appears here on vimeo. Sigh…post is complicated.

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