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the business of Alexa

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Pat McGowan
the business of Alexa
on May 20, 2010 at 8:44:38 pm

OK, at the risk of being flogged by the gang....I would like some opinions about the business case in adopting Alexa versus say, Canon 5D MKII bodies or even Red bodies. Given the difference in initial capital cost, what are the subjective justifications? Has anyone run the numbers for a 4 year lease to own on one of these babies taking workflow and future technology shifts into account?

BTW I know how dumb this might sound to some, but to me, it is really a foundation of good decision making when considering big capital purchases.

Pat McGowan
President, inMotion DVS Inc.
Ottawa, Canada
Sony PMW350K, Sony EX-3, Sony EX-1
Final Cut Pro (6 seats, CS5 (4 seats), C4D
Small-Tree GranitSTOR 32TB RAID


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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 20, 2010 at 10:24:15 pm

Pat,

It all depends. I think that there will be a big rush on Alexa when it comes out. If you are a rental house and DP's on big shows are demanding it, well, you sort of try to provide that camera.

If you are running it as an "in house shop" then the technology arguement doesn't really matter because you do not have to keep up with the joneses and you do your production according to how you ahve laid out the outlay for the gear.

Alexa will be a high cost compared to EPIC but low cost compared to FF35.

David


Peace


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Pat McGowan
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 20, 2010 at 10:33:25 pm

We are a house that does our own work and also rents gear out so both imperatives apply! Plus we are in a backwater market.....with big market aspirations.

Pat McGowan
President, inMotion DVS Inc.
Ottawa, Canada
Sony PMW350K, 2 Sony EX-3s, Sony EX-1
Final Cut Pro (6 seats), CS5 (4 seats), C4D
Small-Tree GraniteSTOR 32TB RAID


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Nigel Thompson
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 3:46:41 am

Hey Pat !

We are in the Caribbean so we seem to have a VERY similar situation. We do high end stuff and are seriously considering the Alexa. Primarily because of the PRO RES feature and the time saving it offers.
We use a RED now which we RENT very often, and own an HVX200 with Letus.



check out our latest MV

Hardly even use the HVX these days because we do a lot of ads and broadcast stuff. We actually signed on to do a movie this summer.
The price of the Alexa is definitely a hindrance, but im thinking no pain no gain.
Having one of these units would keep some money in house (rather than renting) and would also give us the flexibility we need. And from what i understand there will be an upgrade path for future sensor enhancements.

What say you ?

HVX200, RED ONE, FCS and more,
High End, Production & Post Production
in the Caribbean
http://www.bistt.com


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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 3:50:37 am

[Pat McGowan] "Plus we are in a backwater market.....with big market aspirations. "

Ottawa is my hometown. :)

But toronto is home.


David


Peace


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gary adcock
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 1:34:18 pm

[Pat McGowan] ".I would like some opinions about the business case in adopting Alexa versus say, Canon 5D MKII bodies or even Red bodies."

OK, first off,
I have a stake in all of these camera systems and I am friends with players at all 3 companies.



DSLR's are great for B-cams, but when it comes to audio and ergonomics they are sorely lacking, add to that no ability to sync timecode, genlock cameras or using industry standard zooms and follow focus DSLR's are niche cameras for working pro's. They take good pictures but are limited by REC 601 encoded LGOP, RGB video files compressed as h.264.

RED- proven. But still bound by R3D conversions, vast majority of RED users never go back to R3D for final conform, lack of and actual cost of true 4K tools inhibit all but the high end players. Cost of entry higher than the cost of body alone, as having proper accessories for the camera push price 3x-4x body only cost. Using PL mount lenses can add huge additional expense over eng style lens. Getting asa 1000 and 13+ stops of latitude requires MX upgrade($$) to existing cameras. Only one of the 3 cameras listed with more than a 2K output.

Alexa- Not out yet, but first look is promising. ARRI 's reputation is unequaled in film industry.
ProRes capture in camera offers users highest quality ( up to 12 bit capture) while not forcing you into having to work in a RAW workflow first. ARRIRAW and / or Uncompressed externally output from camera offers predefined offline with PR then Online with UC or ARRIRAW. 13+ stops of latitude and ASA 800 out of the box. New Electronic Viewfinder and ProRes capture capabilities via SxS cards included in price of camera. Arri offers full debayered output live during recording via HDSDI / 3G/ DL connections. Captures ProRes as 1080 only, to get 2K you must capture externally.



I hope this helps.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 1:56:18 pm



Gary,

I finish regularly from R3D files through Apple Color, off the shelf software. I do not know why more people do not finsih this way. There was a fellow who did image comparisions between RedCine-X and Color 1.5 and the 4K tiff's yeilded the exact same image quality.

It's actually easy to finish with R3D if you know what you are doing? (and I know you do)

Look for RED to come out with "codec" modules (not just h.264) with the EPIC.

Doesn't the ALEXA have the same PL lens issue you are citing with the RED (it's a plus for one and a minus for the other?


David







Peace


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gary adcock
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 2:44:18 pm

[David Battistella] "I finish regularly from R3D files through Apple Color, off the shelf software."

Just because you do does not make it so for episodic or other deliveries. I said the vast majority do not ever go back to the R3D and I stand by that statement. I never said it was not possible, I said that the majority never go back to R3D files and I stand by it.

The process you refer too only works in the Apple and Adobe worlds and the vast majority of content for episodic is still produced on antiquated Avid systems that cannot follow in this workflow.
Since Apple color is NOT by any means an accepted tool in mainstream production or finishing claiming that it can be done in a closed loop does not cover the vast number of other out there forced to work on a vast array of older editing systems that do not support formats beyond 2K.

I Cannot make a case for Color when the limitation on the mac / FCP workflow is cobbled at 2K so going back to the R3D file is not ever going to be fully realized unless there is some manner of workflow that allows the user access to the full rez 4K image.






gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 2:55:16 pm


Gary,
Vaild on all fronts.

One small correction is that Apple Color 1.5 and FCP 7 do actually handle 4K now.
I realize that AVID's high cost an no upgrade path combined with people not wanting to change things means some things are still being edited at AVR2, and it still shocks me that production allows us to be placed squarely 12 years behind, but hey. it is what it is.




David



Peace


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gary adcock
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 24, 2010 at 1:38:10 pm

[David Battistella] "One small correction is that Apple Color 1.5 and FCP 7 do actually handle 4K now.
"


Please tell me how you are outputting a 4K signal from Final Cut?
if you cannot output a true signal the app is not handling the content IMHO.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 24, 2010 at 4:26:40 pm

[gary adcock] "Please tell me how you are outputting a 4K signal from Final Cut?
if you cannot output a true signal the app is not handling the content IMHO. "


I did not say I was outputting 4K I said that the app could handle 4K (frame sizes) as they lifted the 2K limitations in the last release.

Kona 3, Decklink, etc have yet to catch up. :) (that's the half full way of looking at it).

Typically, on the last pass in Color I render (scaled from 4K) to 1080P Prores 4444 for delivery to SR.

If you want to say that the app doesn't output 4K so it's not a professional tool, you have every right too, but I could easily say that 4K is so new to FCP, that the "hardware" folks have not caught up. When they do, I think you will see 4K output from KONA and decklink cards, but delivery will still be 2K/1080P for a while.

To me this is semantics. It's like arguing that you should not have filmed HD when the predominant market was SD. By this logic, no one should have acquired HD on the first HD cameras because there were few or no output options.

Your post is argumentative because all I stated was that two pieces of software in the apple suite could recognize 4K, 4K timelines are a possibility in FCP. It's not my fault the hardware has not arrived yet.

You could export 4K DPX or Cineon files from Color (but that is not playback so maybe it does not count in your world).

David



Peace


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gary adcock
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 26, 2010 at 1:34:15 pm

[David Battistella] "Your post is argumentative because all I stated was that two pieces of software in the apple suite could recognize 4K, 4K timelines are a possibility in FCP. It's not my fault the hardware has not arrived yet. "

It was intended to be argumentative.

You are working with a 3.5K original (on a non-MX sensor) that is being output as 1080- this is exactly what Arri is offering without hoping thru multiple still in beta apps and colorspaces that do not functionally exist outside of the RED workflow.

Arri is supporting both a raw capture and a defined ProRes workflow within the existing workflows on all platforms unlike Red's software "bias" towards FCP and Scratch.

Once again, just because you handle the files in a standalone environment does not mean that everyone else is doing the same. I know of dozens upon dozens of companies that will never handle ANY files in RAW do to the time and hassle- but to discount or ignore that there are those facilities choose to not ever use the native format would be foolhardy in my business.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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David Battistella
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 26, 2010 at 7:10:12 pm

[gary adcock] "Once again, just because you handle the files in a standalone environment does not mean that everyone else is doing the same. I know of dozens upon dozens of companies that will never handle ANY files in RAW do to the time and hassle- but to discount or ignore that there are those facilities choose to not ever use the native format would be foolhardy in my business. "

OK. I get your point. But the point is that is it absolutely doable if you want to.

If people want to shoot on a format that is based on a RAW workflow and then ignore the RAW part of the workflow, then it is absolutely their choice.

I'm kinda using it as it was intended and you make that out to be a bad thing?

I'm not pushing one way or another, i'm talking about what works for me.

AVR2 can still be a codec but I never want to look at it again.

David



Peace


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Lawrence Young
Re: the business of Alexa
on Jun 8, 2010 at 6:35:13 pm

Seems to me this is the same precarious situation that almost all DP/Cameramen are in regarding the purchase of a HD Camera - that is, many clients and lots of different camera's to suit their individual needs.

I have been looking at the purchase of a New HD camera - but I shoot too many formats and can't justify the expense when compared to the rental days/Usage for each camera. To many formats being shot now and the Alexa is just another one.

NOT everyone uses FCP, thought the new version of AVID does support ProRES - and it seems we are all working towards a post flow that makes sense and saves money in the end.

The Alexa may also offer another advantage - you won't burn your face or hands when using it because of unwarranted heat, a la the RED.

If I were shooting a lot of commercials and features - I might buy this camera, however renting seems more likely. It is business after all, and loosing money is not an option.

Lawrence S. Young
Best Shot Productions
Maine•New York•Colombia
421 Paradise Road
PO Box 110
Bethel, ME 04217
Home: 207-824-3119
Cell: 508-494-3111
Email: lsyoung@megalink.net
Link to work: http://my.media-match.com/lawrence.young1


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Pat McGowan
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 21, 2010 at 8:51:58 pm

Gary, thanks for the comments. Pretty much my thinking so far....

Pat McGowan
President, inMotion DVS Inc.
Ottawa, Canada
Sony PMW350K, 2 Sony EX-3s, Sony EX-1
Final Cut Pro (6 seats), CS5 (4 seats), C4D
Small-Tree GraniteSTOR 32TB RAID


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Fred Jodry
Re: the business of Alexa
on May 24, 2010 at 12:04:42 am

Pat, my idea on the output end of the business is that you`ll have to join, and that more likely means make, you`re the founder, a programming consortium. The trouble is, you can make the best programming around, or any other kind, but if the viewers aren`t taking in your stuff in numbers and return, then you`ve just broadcasted your stuff off the side of the Earth. Repetition, advertising, multiple markets, remixing uses, and consorting with other programming makers, is the way to go. We aren`t all lucky always lucky, like when tens of millions of viewers watched Tiny Tim`s wedding, and the fact that a videotape of it survived for a while without needing to be shown, but things happen for a reason. Fortunately you`re already doing this. Think of the Alexa as a very, very good lack of change. My idea, Fred.


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