Thread: Lensrentals says UM4.6K not recommended for professional use

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  1. #141  
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    I will try to bring this back to relative calm. :-)

    Having been on a few sets in a technical capacity, from big to small I would be lying if I said the majors (Arri, RED, Sony, Panasonic) don't have issues that crop up with their cameras. No doubt, they do. Here's what separates RED/Arri from BMD at this point in time. When I have been on a major production that has a camera problem, Alexa for example, I have both the rental company and Arri engineers on speed dial. We may have backup cameras but if it's something that I have elevated to big problem that need to be addressed immediately I'm in direct contact with people that can make that happen. Same goes with RED. That's what has to happen on big productions like that because otherwise, things get ugly really fast with so much money on the line. I am not convinced yet that I could get that same support from BM but at the price point, should I? I don't know. But if a producer said to me, your job depends on keeping these cameras reliable throughout the shoot, I'd certainly have to have the same level of support that I get from Arri and RED. Also, we've often had reps from Arri or RED on set, especially when the cameras are new or in early versions of firmware.

    So, when it comes to these cameras on big productions, reliability and support is a major factor.

    But alas, not all productions are $60 million+ movies. So, I try to be realistic about expectations. Blackmagic is offering a powerful digital cinema camera for a few thousand bucks. To expect it to be perfect is probably not realistic. To expect Blackmagic to have a rep on set to support it, not realistic. So, the compromise is that there is potentially some risk using these cameras until any issues that arise have been worked out. And most likely they will be worked out by a combination of the user community and tech support. So, if I flip this around and ask myself would I use it on a paid production? Possibly. But, like the Red One, I probably won't stake a production on it until the camera is throughly tested and passes all of the important check points. That goes for any camera I own and employ on critical shoots. Fortunately, my Red One didn't have a lot of the issues that others were having. I'm sure that's the case with some of these early Ursa 4.6 cameras. Some are having issues, some are fine. But the only way you'll know if you got a good one is thorough testing. So getting it in one day, and shooting a paid gig the next, probably not a good idea. I tested the R1 for 3 months before it went out on big jobs.

    I think LR is doing what they feel they need to to protect themselves. Is it overkill? I can't say because I don't work there and I don't talk to their customers. It was interesting to hear their list of issues, although as Aaron said earlier, a lot was with the earlier URSAs. They seemed convinced they will continue to see some of these same issues. Time will tell. But corrupt media is no joke.

    I can see both sides of the argument. But at the end of the day, you have to assess your own business model, your own needs and determine that if there are risks, how risky are you willing to be? Are you willing to potentially put your reputation on the line? Until BM gets the same reputation as other majors, then it will be far too easy to blame the camera, even when it's not really the camera's fault. It's just human nature. But by building a professional community around the camera(s) that can go a long way to expanding its market share.
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  2. #142  
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    Quote Originally Posted by fahnon View Post
    Yeah my camera arrives tomorrow and I also am going to test for magenta corners and will only be able to breathe easy when I see the image I expect. I do think BMD should address the issue on their own forum in a post. Even if somehow people are making a big deal out of nothing, perception matters. Most people don't have time to follow this stuff that closely; they'll just hear general chatter that BMD cameras are problematic and that will become their impression. Red has proven that can be overcome, but they should address it IMO.
    I truly look forward to hear about your experience with the camera. I think you'll offer an honest appraisal as opposed to some others. And if you can try shooting dual card . Let one card fill up where the camera switches automatically to the second card.
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  3. #143  
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    Pixel-peeping generation.
    My Official Blackmagic Micro Footage: https://vimeo.com/155747487
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  4. #144  
    Senior Member Timothy Cook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimagine View Post
    By the way, I wanted to mention my simple truth (don't do comparisons).
    People like Kholi, Hook (before and post BM) JB and several others have helped work through every solution we've needed resoloved or worked through (like IRNDs, OLPFs etc.) As well as talking very honestly about the relative strengths and weaknesses of BM cameras - very frankly, very professionally.
    I think this paticular forum (which now only shooting BM cameras is pretty much the only one I visit) is pretty cool, balanced with just the right amount of enthusiasm and reality.

    It's not without it's occasional douchebaggery, but hey - we're just peope with cameras after all.
    Man, you hit the nail on the head on all points. I have also found myself pretty much using this forum now for the majority of my questions because of the quality of discussions and debates the members take part in.
    You simplified what I was thinking in a very elegant way.

    I now tend to start threads about other cameras and equipment that do not relate to BMD because I know I'll get a less biased and genuine answer here. I feel like most here realize you don't have to shot on one brand, and they will help guide you to the camera that will best apply for a certain shooting scenario.
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  5. #145  
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesherrick View Post
    I will try to bring this back to relative calm. :-)

    Having been on a few sets in a technical capacity, from big to small I would be lying if I said the majors (Arri, RED, Sony, Panasonic) don't have issues that crop up with their cameras. No doubt, they do. Here's what separates RED/Arri from BMD at this point in time. When I have been on a major production that has a camera problem, Alexa for example, I have both the rental company and Arri engineers on speed dial. We may have backup cameras but if it's something that I have elevated to big problem that need to be addressed immediately I'm in direct contact with people that can make that happen.
    I too share this experience.

    Except.....I find that even being able to talk to THE people, still doesn't often fix your problem when it's an unknown.

    There are several big problems with the Arri Alexa Mini right now. It's coming up on having been shipping for 12 months. It still doesn't shoot RAW internally even though their website says it does. I guess they get a free pass because BM did that for a month and are still being crucified for doing this.

    I had some big problems with TC and with WCU4s on the Alexa Mini on a series I just shot last year. Spoke to Arri Australia. Spoke to Arri Germany. All you get back is the same generic nothing wrong, must be your unit specifically swap the body . Body swapped, and same issues. Then you get silence.

    They stop responding. And you get nothing.

    Same with Sony. I had a large oner shot on a steadicam. 2 min scene through a house. Shooting SOny 4K RAW on an F55, the file was screwed. PLayed back in post cropped and scaled like it was in super panavision anamorphic.

    Sent it to Panavision. Their very experienced engineers couldn't say what happened (recall too they are very closely alighted with Sony think F35 / Genesis / F900).

    They sent the files to Japan. Every now and then for a laugh I ask the PV engineer if they ever heard back about what caused the issue. Nope. Never. Ever.

    We had to reshoot the scene and claimed insurance.

    BM aren't RED or Arri or Sony. They do have service channels and they do respond and fix issues when they come and have form for having done so. The comfort of having someone to talk to is a plus but in my experience it doesn't count for much because $hit happens and stuff goes wrong and by the time you find out why you're already working around it.

    Does it make you feel better to know someone is looking out for you that you can call ? What about if they just we don't know when you call them ? Because that's what happens to me nine times out of ten.

    We're talking about perception. The perception that a big established brand with BOMB squads and worker bees make things happen.

    You know also, here in Australia, till very recently you were totally screwed if something went wrong with your RED. We couldn't even change a fan over. it had to be freighted back to the US at huge expensive. You were without a camera while that happened.

    You guys that are near a RED shop can be really happy that you're at least in proximity to service. The rest of the world is still sketchy....

    Len Rentals are entitled to say whatever they want to about the reliability of the camera. But from where I stand, it's a pretty damning reflection on them as a business that they don't apply the same warnings for similar issues to other cameras. You either warn everyone of problems that can happen on all your cameras, not just one. Warning about not having a lens or not having a hot shoe says more about lens rentals to me than any warning they thing they are giving.



    Quote Originally Posted by stevesherrick View Post
    That's what has to happen on big productions like that because otherwise, things get ugly really fast with so much money on the line. I am not convinced yet that I could get that same support from BM but at the price point, should I? I don't know. But if a producer said to me, your job depends on keeping these cameras reliable throughout the shoot, I'd certainly have to have the same level of support that I get from Arri and RED. Also, we've often had reps from Arri or RED on set, especially when the cameras are new or in early versions of firmware.
    Steve again, in my part of the world, the only time I ever had someone on set was when Ted Shilowitz was in town on a sales tour.

    We don't all live in the center of the universe, i mean LA. Your perception of the attention you get isn't the same the world over.

    JB
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  6. #146  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post
    I too share this experience.

    Except.....I find that even being able to talk to THE people, still doesn't often fix your problem when it's an unknown.

    There are several big problems with the Arri Alexa Mini right now. It's coming up on having been shipping for 12 months. It still doesn't shoot RAW internally even though their website says it does. I guess they get a free pass because BM did that for a month and are still being crucified for doing this.

    I had some big problems with TC and with WCU4s on the Alexa Mini on a series I just shot last year. Spoke to Arri Australia. Spoke to Arri Germany. All you get back is the same generic nothing wrong, must be your unit specifically swap the body . Body swapped, and same issues. Then you get silence.
    Don't forget the monitor output glitch thats on ALL of them. Not a big deal but a pain in the butt. EVERY time you disconnect or re-cycle power you have to go into the menu, change the SDI output menu, change them back.

    I know one DP who had to send his back because the internal ND motor got stuck and wouldn't stop spinning, which has supposedly happened to others.

    BUT..my personal experience, and mine only with the Mini is that even with its current glitches its still pretty solid compared to other cameras. It just kills me that all these DPs want the mini as A cameras...its just as big as an Alexa when built up for studio work...but more like a RED with errant cables all over the place and not as "clean" looking. Though I just saw Panavision's cage set up/ power breakout and its very nice...but again, same size as an Alexa.

    Last time I used Weapons they were prototypes on set with a RED tech...who basically just logged every time the camera screwed up. Which was every 10 minutes. My dealings with RED basically show them to very snobby towards who they choose to help and give support. Sometimes you can be a very name DP and they'll still not give a care. Now, to be fair some of this was while whats his name (I never remember) was still there as #2 to Jannard, but I think it was on this site that I found out he was no longer there.
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  7. #147  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post

    Len Rentals are entitled to say whatever they want to about the reliability of the camera. But from where I stand, it's a pretty damning reflection on them as a business that they don't apply the same warnings for similar issues to other cameras. You either warn everyone of problems that can happen on all your cameras, not just one. Warning about not having a lens or not having a hot shoe says more about lens rentals to me than any warning they thing they are giving.

    My thoughts on lens rentals, having been DP a on couple productions where the producer wanted to use them, are they are good for stills gear or lenses. But they are not a pro-video rental place. They can't be. There is no real support. Anything that happens you are stuck with the gear you have, and pretty much all they can do is not charge you for the failed piece.

    You have no way to properly have a prep day. Because if there are any issues, doesn't matter, its not like you send the stuff back to a tech to gt fixed and returned. If you have a failure its not like they can swap it out that day with a working unit.

    Monitors come with color issues, their solutions for Noga arms are a joke. Having to build in and pay for shipping days as a rental date is a joke.

    But as you say. Not every place is LA, and not every town has a some kind of rental house photo, film, or otherwise. So, they kind of have their place even though Im not a fan. And my guess is there are a lot of tiny know nothing productions getting stuff from them, and when there are issues -user error or otherwise, Im guessing they are/were refunding a lot. And this is their way to try and curb it. Are they going about it in a fair manner as you mention, don't know because I wont let that producer rent from them any more :-P
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  8. #148  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarlacc View Post
    My dealings with RED basically show them to very snobby towards who they choose to help and give support. Sometimes you can be a very name DP and they'll still not give a care.
    Wouldn't that be the opposite of snobbery?
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  9. #149  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugafan View Post
    Wouldn't that be the opposite of snobbery?
    Not when they spoke to some of these people they way they did. Douchey to say the least.
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  10. #150  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarlacc View Post
    Not when they spoke to some of these people they way they did. Douchey to say the least.
    This has been my personal experience as well. They're very helpful until they decide they don't like you. The CEO used to boast about it. Check out his signature line...

    "Everything in life changes... including our camera specs and delivery dates..."

    "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude."

    pretty funny when you consider that RED are PROUD of this culture...and you get RED heads then saying how helpful and communicative they are....


    And yes, I agree with you about the Mini. On my last show we had 2 XTs and 2 Minis and two DPs. I always ran the XTs even for hand held, and the other DP ran the two minis. Drove the poor assistants nuts, but I just didn't the point of dressing a mini to be like an XT.

    Same operator....different DPs. Also we tested Amira's and I just don't get them. Everyone raves about them for handheld, but by the time you put an MDR at the other "tuff" on there, you're at the same weight as an XT, but more annoying for the assistant to work on.


    L1001664

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