The RED Cam vs Arri Alexa

Oct 2, 2014 7:38:00 PM

Ambient Skies Productions Blog

Posted by John Schaus


I've seen a lot of debate about the subject across the internet amongst cinematography enthusiasts everywhere regarding the debate betwwn the RED Epic and the Arri Alexa. What everyone seems to agree on is that there is no perfect camera and that all cameras have their place for any particular situation or style.



The Redcam vs Arri Alexa? 

or in technical terms... 4k video vs 2k video?

What's the difference and which is better for which budget and production?

When it comes to the higher end camera's such as the Epic and the Alexa, I think it mostly comes down to more of a preference of the DP at that point. If one is used to shooting on film and is transitioning over to digital, I would think the more obvious choice would be the Arri Alexa. I've seen both camera's shot to the length of their ability and I love them both. I would have to say that the Arri Alexa looks closer to what can be achieved on film then the RED Epic does. Although, the RED cameras have come a long way since the release of their first camera the RED one and it's original sensor. I wasn't too impressed with the look of that original camera, but since then they have updated their sensors and hardware and now we are getting beautiful images. 

 When I say it mostly comes down to the DP's preference, I'm talking about factors as small as the menu display and positioning or weight of the camera, to larger factors such as the digital sensors or hardware structures. Other things may play a part in deciding the choice of the camera such as budget. If you need a lot of camera's on your production, the obvious choice is the RED Epic, which can be purchased or rented at a cost that is cheaper then the Alexa. Also if the target audience cares less about a movie's look matching that of film, it is probably best to save some money and go with the RED. The RED seems to embrace more of a sharpened digital look where as the Arri Alexa is trying desperately to match the dynamic look of film. 

 When it comes to 4k and 2K, the only real benefit of 4k is the ability to re-frame a particular shot without a loss of quality to the image. Since all films are still currently being distributed at 2K resolution and will be for quite some time, the benefits are limited. Color Correction options are amplified when shooting in 4k and if the film is going to contain a large amount of VFX, it is a better choice, in my opinion, to shoot on the RED. But when it comes down to it, 4K vs. 2k isn't a huge deciding factor when choosing the right camera. 




Topics: Video Production Equipment