ARRI camera’s versus RED cameras is debate that has been going on for some time in the film industry, and much like Coke versus Pepsi both sides are convinced that their opinion is objective and correct. The Alexa is ARRI’s answer to digital film making, whist the RED Epic is RED’s flagship cinema camera. A lot of people think that the camera quality is the main differentiating factor, but this isn’t necessarily true. In this article we give you an idea of what the perks and downfalls of each camera are.

Resolution and Dynamic Range

As digital technology advances so too do the resolution possibilities of film cameras. However, other than the rental only ARRI 65 that shoots 6K, most ARRI cameras shoot around 4K, often only, in fact, 3.2K up scaled.

The RED cameras, in comparison, are constantly pushing the limits of resolution and in 2013 they released the 6K Epic Dragon, then two years later they announced an 8K camera called the Dragon Vista Vision. So, why keep adding resolution when audiences are barely catching up to 4K? Well, there are certain productions that benefit from constantly higher resolution cameras, namely CGI heavy productions.

Higher resolution cameras offer much better cropping and digital zooming prospects when the film is in the postproduction stage. With a higher resolution footage means filmmakers can radically change the images in the post-production stage, or they can future proof their projects for days when high resolutions become the standard in the film industry. So, if this is an opportunity you want from your production you may want to choose the RED Camera’s over the ARRI’s.

The Image

Differences in resolution don’t mean much if the image is still exceptionally pleasing. ARRI Camera’s have the reputation of providing the best image in the business, this is because it doesn’t take a lot of tweaking to provide an incredible image.

RED’s Reputation is that it provides a digital, less filmic look. However, this statement is a bit misleading and harsh on RED as non-filmic images can be appealing in their own way. The digital sharpness of a non-filmic image draws attention to the narrative in a unique way. Additionally, RED cameras can shoot a more filmic look if desired, it just takes more careful planning and editing.

Really there is no answer to the ARRI versus Red Camera debate, it depends what you really want from your digital camera. Either of them are capably or producing high quality footage… so maybe you should try both.