China's First Reality Show Shot Entirely with 8 ARRI ALEXA

2020-11-21 15:43:03 admin 151

The reality show "The Name of Youth" produced by Youku is officially launched, this idol-cultivating reality show have begun to form a new market in Asia. The MV opening is completely shot with the film industrial process, how does it work out, eight sets of ARRI ALEXA Mini for reality show, the filmization of reality show, let’s hear it from the Executive Director and the DoP. 

Camera Package (Approximately $2.5 million) 

8x ARRI ALEXA Mini, 

3x ALURA Zoom 18-80mm 

3x ALURA Zoom 45-250mm 

2x Angenieux Optimo 16-42mm 

2x Angenieux Optimo 28-340mm. 

8x Oconnor 2575D fluid head 

8 sets of camera accessories (professional monitors, follow focus, etc) 

9 sets of Vaxis Storm 3000 Wireless Video Transmission systems


(2.5 million USD level equipment on site)


We interviewed the Director Li Junyi and the Cinematographer Sun Lei for a behind the scenes look at the opening music video element of “The Name of Youth”. 

Cameraman Net: Why did you choose the ARRI ALEX Mini with ALura Zooms and Angenieux Optimos to shoot this reality show? What were your considerations? 

Li Junyi: We considered shooting with traditional solutions but thought it was difficult to mee the expectations of the program group in terms of picture quality, depth of field requirements and post-production schedule. The ARRI ALEXA Mini has a larger sensor and larger photosites. This means that we could control the depth of field easier and have a more shallow depth of field that is more filmic. The stage lighting is very complicated, and a cinema camera like the ALEXA MINI will also have more tolerance and latitude in post production. Another thing is that the ALEXA MINI produces very pleasing skin tones and is in line with the needs of the program.


(The beautiful bokeh in the background produced by the ALURA Zoom 45-250mm)

Cameraman Net: Why did you use so many cameras for this project? How were these 9 cameras arranged? 

Li Junyi: The main reason is that the shooting time is very limited; including rehearsal, production was only three and a half days. We had to shoot 84 trainees at the same time, and make sure that the close-up of each trainee is covered in each stage of the music video. 

Hair and make up also increased the interval between each dance. The physical fitness of the trainees is also a problem. We made a detailed split shot preview before production, and after consulting with the DP, we decided to use 9 cameras to ensure sufficient material to complete the post-editing. The specific equipment needs were all decided by Sun Lei. 

Sun Lei: We place a cable cam on the top of the stage, one on a dolly car on the ground, and two cameras on a crane on either side of the stage. The remaining five were basically used as close-ups on the outside of the stage. You can see that we used the ALURA and Angenieux zoom lenses, because the stage is very large and requires a long focal length in order to achieve the medium and close-up framing.


(The motion of 3D simulation lens in the early stage forms a split-lens table)


(Final stage effect)


(The high platform in conjunction with the large zoom moves to capture the close-up of the trainees)

Cameraman Net: It is very difficult to shoot with 9 cameras. Were there any problems encountered during filming? 

Li Junyi: As a director, efficiency is most important. Unlike live TV where they are editing in real time through a director stage, we almost have to ensure that every shot from the 9 camera can be used later in post. So everyone is highly focused on the spirit of shooting in front of the monitor. 

Sun Lei: After rehearsal, it is actually quite simple. Basically, it is shot according to the sub-lens. A reliable and stable video transmission of the picture signal is crucial, because all 9 cameras need to feed the signal to the wireless monitors at the same time, and each camera need to be adjusted after each shot. So we all used Vaxis wireless video transmission systems to monitor. 

We were very worried about the stability of wireless video transmission because there were 9 sets of them. The technical staff from Vaxis wireless video transmission system came to the site and provided technical support and we were very grateful to them. Production went smoothly without any hiccups because of their help.


(Quick Signal check via Vaxis Channel Scanner)


Cameraman net: Are all the eight cameras monitored by wireless video transmission system? 

Sun Lei: Yes, best thing about the Storm 3000 is that it has 20 channels. That is 10 more than any typical wireless video systems. If there is any interference on the two channels on set, we wouldn’t be able to monitor all 9 cameras at one. 

The rental company also provided me with a Vaxis channel scanner. I scan the set before set up and selected the nine channels with the best signal. This was key. We usually use the Storm 3000 in film and the stability of the wireless video feed exceeds our expectations. After all, we are wirelessly monitoring 9 cameras!


(9 sets of Storm 3000 ensuring on-site wireless monitoring)

Cameraman Net: Were there 8 additional sets of Vaxis Wireless video monitors? 

Li Junyi: Yes, the wireless monitors were for the instructor's promotional film. We had a very short time with the talent and the stage was very large. It would have been impossible for us to sit in front of the large monitor when shooting. Everyone is equipped with a wireless monitor around the artists, so that photography, art and lighting can be adjusted quickly. 

Sun Lei: Vaxis wireless monitor is quite powerful. It’s now standard to see 4 sets on any commercial. It’s really convenient. Technology makes the studio more efficient.



(Executive Director Li Junyi checking on Vaxis 058 monitor)


(Chief director Zhou Jun communicates with the staff through Vaxis 072 monitor)


Cameraman net: Do you think it is a trend to use movie processes to shoot reality show? 

Li Junyi: This time it is actually a relatively high production requirement in China. The trend is definitely there. After all, the audience’s eyes are trained to see high production value. However, it is still difficult to shoot a project like this with cinema standards. For this project, we are only shooting the opening music video and the mentor’s promotional video with cinema quality equipment. After all, the program needs efficiency. We even had a DIT on set, but post-production still took a lot of time. I think the final outcome is worthy of such equipment and staffing. 

Sun Lei: Actually, the boundaries between movies, TV and reality show are becoming more and more blurred. We hope to see a better picture. If the budget allows, I think it is possible to use more cinematic practices to complete the whole program in the future. 

Cameraman net: Thank you two directors! 

MV link