Designed for high-end video productions, the original ARRI ALEXA made a huge impact on the world of digital cinema. It also cost a ton, upwards of $80,000 around its release.
Nowadays you can pick one up for around $10,000, which is still significant but much more attainable for your indie operators. Or, you could just use your iPhone 11 Pro to get the job done. Apple has made some impressive enhancements over the years
Can you actually compare an ARRI cinema camera to a phone? The folks at Epic Light Media seem to think so. They take the time to go in-depth by showing off A/B comparisons between the legendary digital cine camera and an iPhone.
Should we really be surprised at just how good an iPhone can be these days? You could choose to shoot a feature on one if you want.
However, if you spend a lot of time looking at video comparisons, like myself, you can probably quickly pick out which camera is the iPhone and which is the ALEXA. There is some noticeable sharpening and in some places you can artifacts in the iPhone footage.
As the video points out, there is a reason that cinema cameras, such as the ones from ARRI, are the choice for professional production. It’s control.
Film productions generally have multiple people working on large sets all with different jobs. Everyone needs to be able to work together and there are plenty of people with input on the actual look of the footage, from the director to the producer to the DP. An iPhone can’t exactly allow for an AC or director to be helping guide the shot.
Take a look at the build and design of the ALEXA. It is durable, it has tons of buttons, and an EVF, just to start. The control are even positioned on the right side of the camera, allowing an AC to very easily adjust settings.
Also, there is a little something called ARRI’s color science. One of the reasons ARRI cameras are the choice of professionals is that footage looks gorgeous, especially with people.
Getting back to more direct comparisons between the phone and camera we see how control is critical in creating your images. When shooting outside, the ALEXA with matte box and ND filter is able to create an image with a shallower depth of field. You could also choose a wider or shallower depth of field if you wanted.
Not so much with the iPhone. It’s all automatic, which is nice, but the inability to control many aspects easily is a problem. It doesn’t help that all the controls are buried in the settings or reliant on a touchscreen. Not things to be messing with in the middle of a shoot.
The last word of the video is that you can get an affordable camera that can look amazing. It just takes some know-how and a bit of work to get things right. Is the ARRI ALEXA Classic worth the extra money?
Doesn’t seem to be in today’s world where options like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K are available for a fraction of the price. Would you still pick up an ARRI ALEXA Classic? What camera would you prefer for the $10,000 price tag?
[source: Epic Light Media]
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (B&H, Amazon)
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (B&H, Amazon)
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