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Thoughts on Alexa Mini With S16-HD Crop + 16mm Lenses for S16mm look?


Alejandro Arteaga
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On 12/30/2021 at 9:18 AM, Alejandro Arteaga said:

Hello! I will be shooting a small commercial january 14th in Canary Islands, almost everything with available light and the production company just turned down the option of shooting it in film because the deadline and the shooting are very close and we won´t be able to process the film on time.

The Director and I prefer the look of 16mm for this particular project so I was wondering if some of you have any thoughts or if you ever used this combo: Alexa mini S16 crop with 16mm lenses and a little help in the color correction for achieving the 16mm look. Also we are going to use the Inspire 2 Drone for some shots and I think the Super16mm crop on the Alexa could be a good idea for matching the two cameras differences in depth of field and angle of view.

Does this make sense for you? Do you have any other ideas? Thank you very much

I used to use the S16 mode on the Alexa Mini a lot with a variety of lenses. 
The ones that I loved the most were the Old Super Speed lenses for S16 (the ones with the triangular bokeh). 

Here is an extremely low budget commercial I shot with that combo (the grading is almost exactly as I shot it). 

https://vimeo.com/310678277

Here is another one with the Super16 + Ultra 16 (I didn't like the look of it after the grading, I wasn't involved in it)

https://vimeo.com/312168266

Hope it helps. 

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On 1/2/2022 at 5:06 PM, Matthew W. Phillips said:

I looked into this...interesting. But macOS only + $1,000 for full version gets a "no dawg" from me. 

It's like $129 or something for a three month licence. Which is plenty of time to finish the grade on a project. Compared to the cost of doing a film-out or shooting on negative, that's beyond neglible.

And the results far outstrip any other digital film emulation I've encountered to-date (and I've tried most of them). For anyone wanting a "film look" for digital material, I don't think there's any better (and certainly any cheaper) options. 🤷‍♂️
 

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35 minutes ago, Mark Kenfield said:

It's like $129 or something for a three month licence. Which is plenty of time to finish the grade on a project. Compared to the cost of doing a film-out or shooting on negative, that's beyond neglible.

And the results far outstrip any other digital film emulation I've encountered to-date (and I've tried most of them). For anyone wanting a "film look" for digital material, I don't think there's any better (and certainly any cheaper) options. 🤷‍♂️
 

Do you have any footage to prove this or are we supposed to take your word for it?

I looked online and couldn't find anything other than the stock couple of screenshots put up by the creators (which mean nothing if they have exact film shots to draw from; anyone can match closely with time/technique). Would be nice to see work done by actual users of this.

And I still think it is weak to be mac only. Some of us have Windows or Linux systems for our other work and not a dedicated computer just for using a particular program. PCs give you the best bang for your buck performance-wise anyway.

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2 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Do you have any footage to prove this or are we supposed to take your word for it?

Well, yes. That's kinda the whole reason for giving my word. 🤷‍♂️

But here are a couple of samples (Video Village do a "lite" version of the plugin which is free, and can be used on footage up to 1080p in resolution, it just gives you a single, full S16mm and S35mm preset, with no adjustability of the various parameters). These are the same shots with just an Arri Rec709 LUT applied, and then Filmbox's S16mm emulation from the Lite plugin applied (no other adjustments):

Untitled_4.2.1.thumb.jpg.29e0512b87f02114c9fa5bf73deae337.jpgUntitled_4.2.2.thumb.jpg.65f774462c5f898ca47632a31a9fb853.jpg

Untitled_1_102.2.thumb.jpg.912db54b91916c54aec7dd5eda6256aa.jpgUntitled_1_102.3.thumb.jpg.517b656813be51a8d1feb88f0eba8053.jpg

Untitled_1_68.3.thumb.jpg.34dfe9383723471cdb0da6fbf0da60fd.jpgUntitled_1_68.4.thumb.jpg.3e9f5979c72889c65bad20895dd5df17.jpg

In motion, with the halation, grain, gate weave and occasional dust-spec applied. It's remarkably convincing. 

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1 hour ago, Mark Kenfield said:

Well, yes. That's kinda the whole reason for giving my word. 🤷‍♂️

But here are a couple of samples (Video Village do a "lite" version of the plugin which is free, and can be used on footage up to 1080p in resolution, it just gives you a single, full S16mm and S35mm preset, with no adjustability of the various parameters). These are the same shots with just an Arri Rec709 LUT applied, and then Filmbox's S16mm emulation from the Lite plugin applied (no other adjustments):

Untitled_4.2.1.thumb.jpg.29e0512b87f02114c9fa5bf73deae337.jpgUntitled_4.2.2.thumb.jpg.65f774462c5f898ca47632a31a9fb853.jpg

Untitled_1_102.2.thumb.jpg.912db54b91916c54aec7dd5eda6256aa.jpgUntitled_1_102.3.thumb.jpg.517b656813be51a8d1feb88f0eba8053.jpg

Untitled_1_68.3.thumb.jpg.34dfe9383723471cdb0da6fbf0da60fd.jpgUntitled_1_68.4.thumb.jpg.3e9f5979c72889c65bad20895dd5df17.jpg

In motion, with the halation, grain, gate weave and occasional dust-spec applied. It's remarkably convincing. 

It looks interesting! Thanks for posting this!

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It seems to be doing at least some variation on what a lot of similar things do - contrasty cool shadows, low contrast warm highlights.

There's a point to be made about what modern film actually looks like, too. Modern camera negative is very low contrast because they were trying to compete on dynamic range, and they easily could. What that actually means is very, very flat, which of course is exactly what most people don't want when they go for film (or film emulation). It's also very often digitally stabilised, so it's very, very stable, and if you shoot 200 speed stock it's pretty low grain, and then you can degrain it - and that's before we even get to the point of being Christopher Nolan and shooting 5/65.

The better we do film, the less it actually looks like film. Which, of course, was always the point. Before we replaced film, its faults weren't cool.

 

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5 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

It seems to be doing at least some variation on what a lot of similar things do - contrasty cool shadows, low contrast warm highlights.

There's a point to be made about what modern film actually looks like, too. Modern camera negative is very low contrast because they were trying to compete on dynamic range, and they easily could. What that actually means is very, very flat, which of course is exactly what most people don't want when they go for film (or film emulation). It's also very often digitally stabilised, so it's very, very stable, and if you shoot 200 speed stock it's pretty low grain, and then you can degrain it - and that's before we even get to the point of being Christopher Nolan and shooting 5/65.

The better we do film, the less it actually looks like film. Which, of course, was always the point. Before we replaced film, its faults weren't cool.

 

This is so true, Phil! I love film but I love it for what it is; faults and all (looks wise, not workflow wise)

1 hour ago, Mark Kenfield said:

Well, yes. That's kinda the whole reason for giving my word. 🤷‍♂️

But here are a couple of samples (Video Village do a "lite" version of the plugin which is free, and can be used on footage up to 1080p in resolution, it just gives you a single, full S16mm and S35mm preset, with no adjustability of the various parameters). These are the same shots with just an Arri Rec709 LUT applied, and then Filmbox's S16mm emulation from the Lite plugin applied (no other adjustments):

Untitled_4.2.1.thumb.jpg.29e0512b87f02114c9fa5bf73deae337.jpgUntitled_4.2.2.thumb.jpg.65f774462c5f898ca47632a31a9fb853.jpg

Untitled_1_102.2.thumb.jpg.912db54b91916c54aec7dd5eda6256aa.jpgUntitled_1_102.3.thumb.jpg.517b656813be51a8d1feb88f0eba8053.jpg

Untitled_1_68.3.thumb.jpg.34dfe9383723471cdb0da6fbf0da60fd.jpgUntitled_1_68.4.thumb.jpg.3e9f5979c72889c65bad20895dd5df17.jpg

In motion, with the halation, grain, gate weave and occasional dust-spec applied. It's remarkably convincing. 

Those arent bad clips at all but I dont think it looks any better than some clips I have seen of Dehancer.

The one thing I have noticed about all of these plugins is that the saturation cannot be pushed as far as it can with film without the colors falling apart. So we end up with, like Phil said, flatter looking images with large dynamic range, lower contrast, desaturated colors, and a few "token" characteristics of film like grain, halation, bloom, and orange and teal.

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50 minutes ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Those arent bad clips at all but I dont think it looks any better than some clips I have seen of Dehancer.

I own Dehancer's halation plugin and have trialed their full software, and I compared it side-by-side with Filmbox, and (frankly) it wasn't even close. And that's comparing the various effects (colour, grain, weave, dust) both individually and combined.

While Dehancer is certainly a step up from what we had earlier in Filmconvert, Filmbox stomps all over it. You play the clips back to back and one looks like film, and the other looks like film emulation (and that's even if you neutralise the colour differences entirely, by excluding them from the comparison).

Borrow a Mac and try out the free Lite version. I think you'll see what I mean.

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8 hours ago, Mark Kenfield said:

I own Dehancer's halation plugin and have trialed their full software, and I compared it side-by-side with Filmbox, and (frankly) it wasn't even close. And that's comparing the various effects (colour, grain, weave, dust) both individually and combined.

While Dehancer is certainly a step up from what we had earlier in Filmconvert, Filmbox stomps all over it. You play the clips back to back and one looks like film, and the other looks like film emulation (and that's even if you neutralise the colour differences entirely, by excluding them from the comparison).

Borrow a Mac and try out the free Lite version. I think you'll see what I mean.

Wow, you reach for the top shelf with words, don't you?

Would I know the difference side-by-side with Dehancer? Yes, likely so

Would Filmbox "stomp all over it"? I highly doubt it

I am not defending Dehancer and I did not purchase it; I played around with it for over a week and was over it. But even your own screenshots are not that compelling compared to other screenshots I have seen from Dehancer. This doesn't mean it isn't better on a side-by-side comparison but it does mean that Filmbox isnt breathtakingly amazeballs and necessitates me going and begging, borrowing, or stealing a mac to get my hands on it.

Although side-by-side comparisons are useful to "isolate for the control variable", I never thought that you should have to critically scrutinize something to see its benefit. It should be apparent from the first glance that "wow, that is something special."

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9 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

That green probably isn't even a particularly good representation, on a website that's being presented to you in sRGB. 

I never thought the film's color accuracy was its selling point. However, from pixel peeping, I found these colors to be much closer to accurate than all of the digital footage I have shot with a color chart. The colors are more saturated and less tainted from those of the electronic variety. Granted, I am not shooting on an Alexa either so I cannot speak to that end of the market.

7 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

As a sort of social experiement, what would anyone think of these colours, in comparison to the ones which received such a glowing reception above?

image.png.417145accacec0baf8a6f91fcccae1b9.png

I see you are being cynical today. From one glance, I would guess that you used an eyedrop tool to acquire a pixel from red, green, and blue to make those from the Kodak image. The grain will still make it more interesting though because it has close but different values around it to give it more variation in exact color instead of being a single monolithic color block. I guess I would say that grain variation is more "visually interesting" than that representation? Not much different than a textured wall looks more interesting than a perfectly flat wall.

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