On set at the moment for an international TVC... gaffer, key grip, camera op all agree, "you can't match the Alexa tonal range, the 13 stops and skin tone quality don't exist on Red," you have to think what can be done about the in-camera image. We talk about producers and post, but the on-set perception of the image is almost more important than the final.
Also, I have to say, in every example--Gunleik's old MX-Alexa tests, Mark's recent post here--the Alexa image stands out to me as more neutral, more human. Purely opinion! Everybody likes something different. When Mark posted his A/B, I immediately thought "dammit, A's gotta be Alexa."
I say this as a Red owner, happy to be making money and great work with it. I'm pretty happy that a $25,000 camera from a 5-year-old American company gets me 90% of the way towards a $90,000 camera from a 95-year-old German company.
And when I say "90% of the way," I mean 90% of the way towards a look I personally like. Directors, art directors and producers I know prefer the "punchier" look from Red to the "creamier" look from Alexa, resolution be damned.
For a while, I was convinced I needed Cooke lenses and a filter package to diffuse the image for projects needing a more "native Alexa" look. Then last week, budged forced us into my Contax primes. With the right filtration--some homemade, some classic stuff--we achieved a look that captured the milky softness of the Alexa with the sexy otherworldliness of Red. Making no money on a friend's project with incredible dancers, great production design, and the best of both cameras, best job of the year.
It's all about the color and range. I don't know how to express in scientific terms what I'm looking for, but "neutrality" comes close. Red skin tones, especially in tungsten light, still leave me wanting more. Regardless of color space and grading in post.
Indeed, especially skin looks pretty and easier to correct. With an Alexa you spend less time in color correction and I understand every DP going for an Alexa.
Additionally the ease of use does the rest. Every 'classic' 1st AC loves Alexa and prefers it way over [any] other electronic camera, but especially REDs, including Epic (though it became much easier on Epic/Scarlet).
The LogC footage is a dream for a colourist and post people where REDraw still and again seems stubborn. No MC6 ? Now you just came over RED footage and you beloved editorial needs to upgrade again...("Then it's all easy guys, promise!")
I still look for an REDraw to LogC-curve to ease up workflow for people used to Alexa footage.
Btw. Gunleik, the examples you posted couldn't be worse.
I'd prefer the Alexa footage everytime over the RED by your images.
The fact that both are obviously shot on the best lenses available and the RED ones are clipped, bloomy (sorry, not the Alexa, it is the RED here being bloomy, look at the halo on the around the bulb) and the skin tones looking clearly more artificial and needing correction whereas the Alexa may go off after LogC-deLUT without any further correction (e.g. for editorial).
A lot of people still don't know about the built-in optical filter on the Alexa.
Thanks for posting.... But every time I see this comparison I feel the Red comes off worse. My worry is that one of the main reasons for this is the subject to bare bulb distance being so different between shots. Where there any frames that where closer.?
Thank you for sharing
The diference is in the filtering...
Can you see how the highlights bloom on the Alexa?
And the Epic is superior ro the R1MX IMHO
I have and have seen the two be matched very closely.
And THAT was the conclusion of the test, in my view.
One comes in unfiltered (except for OLPF) the other has a lot of optical and "other" preprocessing on as default, which I can easilly mimic.
The LUT on the monitors otoh...
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