When you're shooting incredibly hi-res video with a camera like the RED ONE, you end up with extremely large and processing-heavy files that take a certain amount of finessing to play nice with your editing software. This post-processing can be taxing on both time and resources, both of which cost money and can break a production on a budget. The ALEXA allows you to record compressed 1080p footage in Apple's native ProRes 444 and ProRes 422 (HQ) QuickTime format to readily available SxS cards, which can be instantly ingested and edited in Final Cut with no transcoding necessary. What's more, the camera has the ability to dual record to a compressed format and to its higher-res, 2k ARRIRAW counterpart at the same time, allowing you to rapidly edit in the field and bring the big, high quality footage online later.
The ALEXA also boasts a super 35 CMOS Bayer sensor promising 13.5 stops of dynamic range and plenty of that buttery, out-of-focus shallow depth of field that you'd expect from a major motion picture camera. ARRI's also promises a host of expansion accessories for the camera, from storage modules and advanced recorders, to HD viewfinders and an exchangeable lens mount so you can use your DSLR lenses in addition to the big-time PL-mount movie lenses.
With some name directors in the field with this camera right now, we should be seeing plenty of footage in the very near future. RED has had a three-year head start in the space, but the movie industry is notoriously hard-headed about gear and we wouldn't be surprised to see even more films shot digitally now that there's a digicam with the word ARRI stamped on the side.
Chad Mumm is our video producer at Engadget, producing and directing The Engadget Show and filming shorter-form stuff when we need it.