ARRI or RED for Video Productions?

It's like Canon versus Nikon but on a slightly different scale. Even if you don't have the money to buy an ARRI or a RED, you can still rent them. Which one would you get? This video will help you get acquainted with their peculiarities.

If we speak about the image quality, no doubt you will choose the one whose look you prefer more. They can both deliver great visuals that can be color-graded in an infinite number of ways thanks to the high-detail file formats these cameras support. In this video, the author goes through the usual features small-production filmmakers seek in a video camera and what to expect if you happen to use any of these cameras for the first time. He compares their menu systems, their reference audio capabilities, image resolution, file sizes, build design, reliability, and others. Each brand has their weaknesses and strengths, but the advices you hear from the video may help you choose one instead of the other in particular situations. For example, if you need reference audio, RED has a built-in microphone, while ARRI expects a pre-amplified (by an audio mixer) audio signal. But if you need to utilize third-party recording media or batteries, you can use trust ARRI's system, while RED works with their own proprietary hardware. The author also will teach you how to make a better guess which camera is which based on their default color and contrast preferences.

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10 Comments

Wes Jones's picture

It would be a thrill to use either one of these cameras!

16mm Camera's picture

Most use ARRI, a lot of post houses don’t like the workflow associated with RED.

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

in my opinion a very difficult discussion that simply cannot be answered definitively as it comes down to personal taste and need. Both are fantastic camera systems, as a RED user since 2009 I'm obviously biased towards my own camera system. both have advantages and disadvantages and it comes down to individual needs on a certain type of shoot where you would go with one over the other. Last week I shot with ARRI even though I own a RED, a lot of it is personal preference too, some like mcdonalds, others prefer burger kind. ford over chevy.
the argument that post houses don't like RED usually comes down to not understanding the workflow or simply not wanting to learn/ adapt it, its P*ss easy for both camera systems and any 13 year old with a macbook pro can handle it.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Maybe the post-production houses are used to the ProRes (straight out of camera) workflow. That's my only explanation.

Not even a debate. Arri is FAR superior in color science and filmic qualities. Yes red has tons of resolution but the images are just too sharp if you're looking for a cinematic image

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

again more a matter of personal taste and not actual measurable science (color space aside), filmic qualities are not a constant everyone perceives the same way. We recently tested the DXl2 with the Alexa XT, Sony Venice and the RED Helium and showed it to several ACS cinematographers, they all picked different cameras as their preference with the majority actually picking the SONY Venice. RED cameras do no internal sharpening in camera to the footage. whatever sharpness you perceive comes from the lens and the post treatment of the footage and has little to do with the camera image recording itself. there are so many factors influencing sharpness along the way from shooting to final render that the camera itself really isn't the issue here. and if not for that exact purpose, what were soft FX, Promist and diffusion filters made for ;) ?

I have been shooting commercials for the last 30 years. When I switched from 35mm film to digital it was only because the Alexa had finally produced an image that was somewhat cinematic compared to any other digital alternative. Just like Kodak buried itself by continually sharpening their film stocks in the 90's and forced me to explore alternatives because it was just getting to clean and sharp, Red continues to chase resolution over image quality. I have tried just about every camera available in the pro realm. NOTHING comes close to the Arri image quality. And by quality i mean cinematic aesthetics. Filmic. There's a reason almost every feature film coming out of Hollywood and beyond are shot on Arri. They value the image over the pixels. That simple

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I'm personally biased towards the ARRI too, but this doesn't mean RED's image is bad. As Dr. Dominik Muench mentioned, it's a personal preference. It's the same for my preference for still photos: I don't like very sharp and photos with almost black shadows.