February 11, 2018 at 9:11PM

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RED Epic Helium or Alexa or Something Else?

I'm in pre-pro on my 2nd short film and my DP offered up an option to rent a RED Epic Helium or an Alexa Mini. The Alexa is a bit more per day, and from what I've read and heard, the Mini is a lot better overall. What are your thoughts on the Helium? Is it worth it? Does it look too crisp and not that cinematic? if so, would I be better off going with something like a C500 if that's the case? Is the Alexa Mini that much better than the Helium?

Just trying to figure something out! Any thoughts would be welcomed.

7 Comments

Does you camera budget interfere with your lens and light budget?

If so I would try the C700 and hook yourself up with lenses and lights.

If not go for the Alexa Mini. I prefer the image of the Alexa over Red. Red has done a lot of good work in improving their IQ, especially their highlight rollover but the Alexa still looks better.

February 12, 2018 at 11:06AM

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It’s a preferance between the two-since IPP2 I prefer RED more than Alexa. The flexibility and file sizes of the r3ds are tough to beat too.

As far as sharpness, the images aren’t sharper but more natural looking and smoother. Not to mention the increased resolution gives you more flexibility in post.

February 14, 2018 at 7:23AM

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Chris Kennedy
Director of Photography
105

Its tough to tell without info on what kind of shoot is it. Day exterior? Steadicam? High Key? Low Key? Desaturated look? The aesthetic that your going for matters for the camera choice. With no info the answer always mini, the benefit of the mini is you don't need to be a genius to grade it, the issue with Red is that you need to know what your doing in post to get a good image out of it. You can shoot 3200 on Alexa outside and it will still look great, try that on red, it will look like crap. Red is an overly complicated camera even with the IPP2, but if the DP is already experienced with Red the can probably get Alexa results. Know that the prores 444 is more flexible than the R3ds in post. Don't shoot on a c500 it only has 12 stops of DR, you are way better off with a canon c200 with 14 if the two other cameras don't work.

February 14, 2018 at 11:57AM, Edited February 14, 11:57AM

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Indie Guy
1061

Like above, I think it definitely depends on the shoot. But overall I'd say Alexa Mini. Really hard to beat that camera (in my opinion). I shoot on the VariCam LT, that's also a really nice option many sleep on.
I think someone mentioned it above but lenses are key, too. Lenses and lights. Those will give your film more characteristic than the choice of camera, so that's something to look at.

February 14, 2018 at 10:38PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1283

February 15, 2018 at 5:01PM

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Liz Nord
Editor-in-Chief & Lead Producer
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer

Listened to the podcast, it all depends. If your locations are good enough already, Mini + Anamorphics might be better than a PD in the end, definitely if your shooting outside.

February 19, 2018 at 1:05PM

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Indie Guy
1061

If you or your DP don't know the answer immediately, then get a c300 mark ii and save the money and enjoy batteries that last all day. Put the extra time saved on set into getting more coverage.

February 22, 2018 at 11:12AM, Edited February 22, 11:13AM

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zev st
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