General

Alexei’s blog posts and articles that don’t fit anywhere else.

DEMO REEL, CV/BIO, CONTACT INFO for 2015

January 22, 2015
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DEMO REEL CV/BIO CONTACT

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Frustrated with OS X Lion

July 24, 2012
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Tally of time wasted. 8 Hours: Merging Mail from server with mail backups generated from Leopard. Problem: Mail.app on OS X Leopard has this “idiot protection” feature that, when moving mail from one mailbox to another, actually creates a duplicate of that message. I discovered about 5 hours into a very complex process that my mailbox was 27 GIGABYTES. Whoa. Start from scratch. 2 Hours: Getting my customized SSH scripts to work on Lion. Problem: Lion inexplicably renames AirPort as Wi-Fi in it’s new Terminal lexicon. Once I figured that out I could change the scripts accordingly. Documentation for such name changes? Good luck. 1 Hour: Getting my Epson laser printer to work. Problem: OS X Lion demands different drivers than Leopard. Epson’s site doesn’t explain this, even on the micro-site for my printer, it just has a driver for “10.5.” Logically, that would be the latest driver for everything newer than 10.5 right? Nope. Google search reveals a mention of “Lion” and “EPL-6200L” as part of the link description – that...

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Replacing Stolen 17″ MacBook Pro – Time For A Retina?

July 24, 2012
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Easy question: Which more painful? Losing your computer or losing your data? I’ll tell you what’s more painful than either: stupidly falling asleep with your front door wide open, waking up to find that you’ve been robbed. Now you’ve lost your computer and your dignity…for you suddenly realize, while walking around in your underwear chewing on a handful of almonds, that in spite of promising yourself to lock the door before going to bed, you not only forgot, but you closed your bedroom door and blasted the AC all night, sleeping the deep dreamless sleep of a real-life Homer Simpson. DOH! Luckily for me, a mere two days before this practically self-inflicted home robbery, during which the ballsy thief made off with my MacBook Pro and my Nikon D700, I realized that I needed to back up six month’s worth of work files sitting on my laptop. In the intervening week since it happened, I’ve managed to reconstruct most of what was lost, with a few paltry exceptions that will cost...

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Hiatus

July 24, 2012
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Apologies for the long silence… I’ve been working hard on many different projects, so I guess this site is working, in terms of reaching out, getting work and so on…but also my laptop was stolen and I’ve spun my wheels for nearly a week getting my digital life back up to speed. Coming Soon: New Sweet Shot of the Week Professional Dilemma: Choosing between 17″ Mac Book Pro and “Retina”

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Away

July 3, 2012
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Apologies for lack of updates – got involved in a whirlwind project, writing, directing and dp’ing a romantic-comedy for educational purposes from International Technology College based in San Jose, CA. When I come up for air in four or five days I’ll try and get back on top of things and continue to post my Shots of the Week and other fun stuff.

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Kodak R.I.P. ~ An Interview With my New Camera

June 13, 2012
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Interview with Arri ALEXA

Me: So how do you feel about the fact that you have contributed to the demise of Kodak. It is after all a company that has lived in the pantheon of Great Companies, great innovators. Alexa: Well if I had time to think about it, I suppose I’d feel a little badly… Me: You don’t have time to think about it! Have you no conscience? Kodak is the company behind the innovations that have made so much great art possible. Kodak is like, THE COMPANY that first let us shoot in the dark, produce indescribably beautiful images… Alexa: I’ve been busy. Me: So busy you can’t even pause to shed a tear? Alexa: Well, I’ve been busy, I’m shooting a lot… Me: Okay, well, moving on. Would you say that this is “the year that film died?” Alexa: Never say die. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I can certainly achieve an image quality that rivals film in a general way, but there are still applications where film...

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Official Site Launch

June 6, 2012
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Apollo 8 launch

Hey All; This is the official launch of www.alexei-alexa.com, my blog about digital cinema and the Arri ALEXA, as well as anything related to my work as a cinematographer in and around China. I’ll be updating this blog on a regular basis, especially the “Sweet Shot of the Week” section, as I post experimental shots and demo reel material. I hope that this site will develop into much more than just a promotional tool. I intend to use it as magazine for articles on visual storytelling, spread good will in the industry, and chart my learning process as I practice my craft as a cinematographer. So far I’ve covered some basic “hot-button” questions concerning 2k and 4k resolution, been noisy about my beefs with Canon in general, and made some remarks about why people may not like 3D movies and 48 fps projection. That leaves a universe of topics for future posts. I’ll soon be writing about how to get the most out of the ALEXA in different situations, experiences with Chinese and Western crews, and other industry...

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Inseparable, starring Kevin Spacey

May 5, 2012
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Inseparable, starring Kevin Spacey

I just watched the preview of a friend’s film (Inseparable, with Kevin Spacey, written and directed by Dayyan Eng) for which I did a day of 2nd unit shooting. By turns hilarious and foreboding, alternately cheeky and crushingly serious, a mash of genres that only Dayyan could pull off. The story always manages to go just where you think it won’t. If you’re tired of the same-old-same-old, it’s a must-see when it comes to a theater near you. Great performances from Kevin Spacey, Daniel Wu and Gong BeiBi. From a directing standpoint, some fantastic visual ideas and visual puns throughout. Congratulations, Dayyan! The movie was DI’d in 2k (scanned from 3-perf S35) and it looked fantastic projected on the big screen. There are a few Red-MX shots in there but they honestly looked different. I don’t think most audience members would see it, but they did have that video feeling to them compared to the stuff shot on Super 35. And gotta love those Cooke lenses, man.

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Canon’s Planned Takeover of Cinema, Part II

April 16, 2012
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graph comparing resolution, fidelity and cost of digital cinema cameras

Prerequisite Reading: Canon announces EOS-1D C 4K DSLR with 8-bit 4:2:2 1080p HDMI output over at DP Review, CANON ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF 4K DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERAS over at Canon Rumors, and straight from the horse’s mouth, Canon developing digital cinema camera for 4K video capture over at Canon Global press release. And, if you haven’t already read it, I hope you’ll take a look at my previous post, Canon — Too Big For it’s Britches? in which I speculate that Canon is getting ready to take on the PL mount and all other digital cinema camera manufacturers. Sometimes it hurts to be right Canon’s latest press release re: the C500 prototype seems to prove out my prediction about Canon’s corporate strategy. Canon will position itself as the new Sony; lots of camera choices, lots of proprietary accessories, a self-styled Player in Digital Cinema. Unfortunately, unlike Sony, Canon doesn’t yet have the industry experience in offering end-to-end image capture, image editing, image grading, and image delivery. Sony, at least, never introduces a camera without having...

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Canon – Too Big For It’s Britches?

April 11, 2012
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A Review* of Canon’s new C300 *Disclaimer: After testing the C300 in a few days’ time, some of the content of this article may change. Canon’s new motto is “Leave no Story Untold.” It gives the indie filmmaker in me goosebumps. But they should change that motto to: “leave no dreamer’s pocketbook unexploited.” Yes, get ready Canon DSLR shooters! Canon is about to reward us all for embracing the incredibly awkward and user-unfriendly 5D-MkII, for making it an icon of low-budget (and even high-budget) film production, spawning a new wave of indie filmmaking, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Canon XL-1 gave us progressive scan. The reward: Three years later, we now have a worthy successor. 1080p slow-motion, uncompressed video out for external recorders, global shutter, better pixel sub-sampling, higher bitrates and better compression internally, on-screen audio level monitoring with on-the-fly level adjustment, and… Oh wait. Wait a minute…you mean the Mark III doesn’t do any of those things? Nope, but the C300 does some of...

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