亨宁：根据市场定位有所区别。广告片和电视节目基本都靠Avid。Adobe在广电领域势头也很强劲。纪录片和低成本制作一般使用Adobe Premiere和Final Cut Pro。
马克：有些片子用了DNxHD，但是现在才刚起步。其实我们也感觉挺意外的，当时以为DNxHD的使用率会很高。这次SUP 9.0版加入了最高画质的版本DNxHD 444，我想应该会有越来越多的人开始选用这个格式吧。
亨宁：我觉得大部分人还在使用传统的ProRes格式。但我们都很期待能有更多人使用DNxHD配合Log C拍摄。DNxHD 444比之前改进很大，质量上跟ProRes 4444也没什么区别。抠像的时候能保证最好的效果。数据精度是10 bit，码率也相当高。
马克：大部分高端广告片和电影用ARRIRAW，其它则用ProRes 4444 Log C。
很多人都使用Resolve配合ARRIRAW进行后期制作，当然这也取决于后期公司自己的软件配置。包括Autodesk Smoke，Falme，Lustre，Scratch，Cliipster，Nucoda和Pablo都整合了ARRIRAW SDK来优化ARRIRAW的处理效率。另外，也有人用Codex做去拜尔或是在Baselight里进行后期制作。这些工具也都通过了ARRIRAW认证。
亨宁：ARRI影视部门一直以来都混用各种软件。之前我买了一套Digital Vsion Nucoda，因为我觉得来自胶片工作间的传统调色师对这套系统会更熟悉，应该是最容易上手的。当时Lustre非常昂贵。不过我们还是购进了德国第一套Lustre系统，现在一共有两套，Lustre非常复杂，上手也比较困难。因为做广告片的人特别偏爱Baselight，我们也安装了几套。所以说我们什么都用。后来我和流程部门的团队买了Resolve还和Blackmagic Design建立了良好的合作关系。
FDT interview about ALEXA SUP 9.0 (III)
Where do you do the software?
Marc: It’s all German software. A lot is done right here in Munich. A lot of our camera is software, but the thing that really surprised me is how much we have to do in testing. With our film cameras we had a testing department with maybe three or four people. We now have a huge testing procedure that goes in steps. When a piece of software is written it goes first to the research and development internal testing department. They do the first testing. If anything is wrong, it goes back to the programmers. Then back to the R&D internal testing department, until they find it OK. Then it goes to the second stage testing, with some people in Henning’s group who are more practical and try to break it. They’re very good at it.
Henning: Yes, we are good. R&D hates us.
Marc: When they find bugs, it goes back to the programmers. When Henning’s people think it’s okay then it goes to the quality control department who do their own round of testing and look at everything. In reality, some of this happens in parallel, but all software goes through the whole process.
A camera cannot have a software crash on set or on location. That’s why you don’t want to cut any corners and all these testers are there to make sure. It’s tedious. You change one thing, you have to retest everything over and over again.
In Europe, what are people using mostly for editing?
Henning: It depends on the market. Commercials and broadcast are very much Avid driven. Adobe is getting stronger, mainly in the broadcast industry. Documentaries and low budget productions are using Adobe Premiere and Final CutPro.
Marc: I think editing in Hollywood and on high-end features happens in Avid, but that’s mostly as proxies. The idea of mastering onto a compressed format really started with ProRes. It is slowly starting to take a foot hold with DNxHD.
Are they mastering in DNxHD?
Marc: There are some productions mastering in DNxHD, but it’s a slow start. We were actually surprised. We thought there would be many more people doing this. Now in SUP 9.0 we have DNxHD 444, which is the highest quality DNx, we think there will be more people mastering that way.
You think they’ll be mastering on the Avid or are they still going to finish traditionally?
Henning: I think most are finishing traditionally. But we would like to see DNx productions shooting in Log C. DNxHD 444 is a big improvement and quite equalto ProRes 4×4. It also has the possibility of providing very good keying capabilities. It’s 10-bit and the data rate is high.
What are most of the high-end jobs, commercials and features, finishing on right now?
Marc: Most high-end commercials and feature films are going ARRIRAW and the rest are ProRes 4×4 (ProRes 4444) Log C.
How are they finishing the ARRIRAW jobs?
Henning: DaVinci Resolve is getting stronger and stronger. Many conform and color grade in Resolve. It’s actually ARRIRAW certified now since Version 9.1 and Version 10 and has a very good image quality. We like it very much and think it has the same debayer quality as the ARRIRAW converter.
A lot of people are using Resolve for ARRIRAW finishing, but of course, this depends on what the postproduction company has installed. The ARRIRAW SDK is also used on Autodesk Smoke, Flame, Lustre, Scratch, Clipster, Nucoda, and Pablo to easily process ARRIRAW in the best quality. Also, many use the Codex debayer or finish in Baselight. Those tools are also ARRIRAW certified.
Marc: SDK (Software Developers Kit) means they have our debayering engine and put it in their product. Resolve has written their own debayering engine which we consider on par with ours.
What are you using at ARRI Film & TV Services?
Henning: At ARRI Film & TV it’s historically like a mixed drugstore. A while ago, I bought Digital Vision Nucoda systems because I felt that traditional color timers coming from the film lab would feel comfortable with their system. It was the easiest to understand. Lustre was, at that time, very expensive. However, we had the first Lustre in Germany and still have two, but they were more complicated and harder to understand. Commercial people like Baselight very much, so we got those as well. So it’s a mixed bag. Then our workflow crew and I brought in Resolve and built up a good relationship with Blackmagic Design.
What are you using for online mostly?
Henning: When we do camera tests and that kind of stuff, we’re doing that all on Resolve.
You’re doing the assembly and the color grading on Resolve?
Henning: Yes. You know, it’s kind of an automatic process. The assembly takes about the same amount of time for me to get a quick coffee and then it’s done. It is always nice to leave the dark room.
Are more people just buying new ALEXA XT cameras, rather than upgrading to the XR?
Marc: More than we thought. At first, more people upgraded. But now we see it’s the other way around. More people are buying the new ALEXA XT cameras. The really interesting thing is they are not selling their old cameras, as we thought they would. A lot of rental houses buy the XT cameras on top of the existing Classic cameras. They want to use the ALEXA Classic camera for lower budget shows. And the XT cameras are for those productions that demand the latest equipment. I also think what’s happened is that unfortunately shooting film has dropped off. So all those people in the 30% of the market that still had been shooting film now also need digital cameras. I think there is a demand for more digital cameras to come to the market to replace the film cameras. The XT cameras have been a huge success.
And a lot of productions are shooting with more than just one camera. They are shooting with multiple cameras for every scene. So you’ll see features with 3 to 9 cameras on many setups.
Henning: Pity the editors.
But good for you, selling a lot of cameras.
Marc: I was recently updating the website. We now have 11 cameras with 3 licenses and 5 different modes, sensor sizes, high speed, low speed – so we need really good overview charts.
Henning: Our online Tech Talks are little stories of the week—short tutorial films, where Marc and Hendrik and others explain products. Hendrik is our product manager for wireless accessories. We have also posted 50 short videos explaining the ARRIRAW converter. We discussed writing a manual, but we decided to do these short 2½ minute videos instead (see link at end of article). We can guide people directly to a link to a short video that answers their question. For example, “How do I extract metadata froman ARRIRAW file?” I send them a link, they spend 2½ minutes watching and then they know.
What do you have in store for us for Software 10?
Marc: Well, we’re still looking at that. There is still some haggling going on. I have a huge list of over 500 feature requests. They keep coming in and that is good. Many customers send me ideas, or somebody from the testing department comes to me and says, “Marc, we could put this menu item here and do this and it’ll all be a little easier.”
So I collect all these suggestions and I think it’s great that peoplemake all these suggestions. Whenever we have a new software update we clearly have a limited budget and I’ll try to see what the most important thing is to put into the new software upgrade. Then we assess how much it will cost, what the risk is, who has to work on it, and how long it’ll take, and then we make choices. Right now we are in the process of that and we’ll probably have a finished plan for SUP 10 in early 2014.
We’ve gotten feedback from a number of people saying it’s good to see that ARRI continues to provide significant features. We love our cameras and want to make them as good as they can be. And from a slightly less romantic angle I think that makes the business model represented by ALEXA something that really works: long product cycles.