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Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant - Prometheus sequel

Alien: Covenant

The Alien: Covenant, Alien: Awakening & Prometheus Movie Community




Posted Jul-08-2017 4:43 AM

People say it's so beatiful.

At times i think it looks like a straight to dvd movie. I don't know what it is, but the lighting, the camera type, something is off.

If i compare the video and set quality to the 1979 movie or Alien Ressurection, it just looks so plastic-like and cold/digital.

Maybe that's just film vs digital, but hmm i don't know.

Here for instance. Video and set just doesn't look like a big budget movie. Looks more like tv-series/straight to dvd imo.  

Also the weed attack scene looks so ordinary. Like they just grapped some average digital camera and set up som lights.

Are they on purpose going for some "realistic" look? To get some Blairwitch Project vibe going on?

The extra material filmed on GoPro could indicate this.


Maybe it's just a Film vs Digital thing. I'm just not a fan of this cold digital look they ended up with.

Prometheus seemed to pull it of better. Do you agree?

17 Responses to Covenant video looks low-budget?


Jul-08-2017 7:54 AM

I saw the movie 4 times in the theater and every time was different!

Screen size...lighting.... new bulb in the projector? ambient light. Reflective characteristics of the screen.

First time was: *meh* CG looked bad. Digital video feel.

Second time was :*Wow* CG looked fantastic. 70mm film look!!

Just different theaters I guess?

I watch Prometheus in Black and White or sepia and I add film grain with motion blur...I'll try Alien:Covenant the same way.

A:C in sepia tone is going to be awesome.



Jul-08-2017 8:33 AM

You know, I'm never really bothered by something looking "low budget" or like "bad CGI" because I feel like, if I saw something that looked exactly like that in real life it would be freaking terrifying and I wouldn't be critiquing the details.

So, it seems believable to me. If something scary and crazy happened in real life, it would look haphazard, not carefully choreographed with lighting set up from calculated angles.


Wow, that's really interesting that you watch in black and white or sepia! How do you do it??




Jul-08-2017 10:03 AM

I don't know, sometimes you see some quality work in low budget films! Well, you definitely can find good work in low budget stuff, actually! I see your point with the crew messages, that is meant to be them on their gopros making homemade videos for thier family. 

Now, the grass scene, I disagree. I mean, I think it is the lighting. It is one of many scenes with very little lighting, which I really noticed in my second viewing (and after seeing people mention it online). It is also really frantic with the creatures attacking, a lot of quick movement and angle/setup changes, so I think that may give off some bad vibes image quality wise. I think it is just because of the approach to covering the scene.

Oddly enough, the stills you included from the grass attack were a couple of my favorite frames/stills from the production! Waterson is doing great there, her looking into the unkown of the mist/smoke and the light, after (or was the before? It works either way) the scary attack frmo some f&*%ing alien creatures! David's is awesome too, him presenting himself as the savior, all sihlouetted, it's cool. 

Maybe the lighting is a bit even in the grass attack scene, not as dynamic as usual in the film? 

Not a map, an invitation


Jul-08-2017 10:04 AM

Oh and that McBride shot from the trailer, it seems to just be the way they constructed the door. Haha I don't know, that's more of an excuse as I don't see the problem there. Beauty is subjective!

Not a map, an invitation


Jul-08-2017 11:16 AM

I don't think it looks low budget at all.


Jul-08-2017 12:28 PM

One of the movie's strengths is how great it looks. The production design and lighting is simply terrific.


Jul-08-2017 1:02 PM

Ok so i found an answer that better explains what i mean. On another forum a person asked why movies shot on digital look so different that movies shot on film. A poster answers:

“It's interesting isn't it. So far as I can tell both of your examples were shot digitally.

I've seen footage from RED cameras that looks like cheap video, and footage that looks cinematic.

Digital Cinema Cameras are very versatile and capable of mimicking the look of film, but it takes more effort to do so than if you were to simply shoot on film. On their default setting most digital cameras will look like video.

I recently made a post about this, but to summarise, in my opinion it's alot to do with image sharpness.

Overly sharp images look more like video than film (film is highly detailed but the images aren't 'sharp' as such). If you look at Cold in July there's a softer quality to the images than those in The Prince. This is partly down to lenses used and settings on the camera, but they may have added filters in front of the lens or done additional post production to soften the image further.

There is also a distinct lack of grain with digital cinema cameras. It has a very 'plastic-ey' look. Grain is another thing which has to be 'added' with digital cinema cameras, film just inherently had grain.

Basically it's down to whether the production team cares enough (or wants) to make the effort to get a filmic looking image. In the past they would have been shooting on film so they wouldn't have had to care!”


So what I called “cold” is actually a sharp image. As he says, it can look like cheap video and that’s exactly what I was trying to say. At times Covenant has a cheap video look to it.

I think Covenant and Prometheus were possibly shot on same type of cameras, but they spend more time in the post production on Prometheus and made it look more cinematic.



Jul-08-2017 2:37 PM

The 'cheap video' parts of Covenant were the scenes filmed using a GoPro. The rest of the movie was shot using ALEXA cameras.


Jul-08-2017 3:00 PM

@hox, do you know what camera was used during the original Alien in 1979 (so c. 1970-77 era cams, etc)? Surely one could find that camera type for cheap and used by now at a pawn shop or something (for a project I'm working on).

EDIT: I found this am I on the right track?



Jul-08-2017 3:13 PM

A quick search of eBay shows you might be out of luck. Unless you've got a few hundred grand going spare!


Jul-08-2017 3:14 PM

I am happy with the visuals, but I also watch BW Twilight Zone and Star Trek. I can overlook visual limitations if the content is good. I suspect some will say AC had neither- fair enough.


Jul-08-2017 3:15 PM

I found this stuff, some cost a few $100s but that's not that expensive:


Edit: Found this one from the 1980's for $1350, price has gone down $150:


 EDIT: And this one (for $1200):




Jul-08-2017 5:19 PM


"Wow, that's really interesting that you watch in black and white or sepia! How do you do it??"


VLC player has a vast array of video and audio options. You can do just about anything to the movie.



Jul-08-2017 6:56 PM

The issue I see here is about ‘depth of field’ or ‘deep focus’. Certainly over the last few years camera technology has advanced a lot but not at the same rate as what people generally view movies on. Although more people are gradually viewing things on HD, what is starting to jump out more these days is where depth of field has been used in the past as compared to today. Alien is not the kind of movie that lends itself to needing a lot of depth of field, so is not that noticeable, and especially with the equipment that was used back then, but it is there, just not used as much.

The best example for the use of depth of field is to look at old sports pictures where a sports star would be pictured during match action and in the background, the sponsors logos can be seen very clearly on billboards in the background. Sports media now uses the ability of depth of field to blur the background so that sponsors logos can no longer be clearly seen. This is so that payment to those sponsors does not need to be paid. Depth of field is a way of camouflaging a background, which is great for newspapers to save money. The problem is when this same technique is used in movies. In lower budget films, blurring the background with the use of depth of field can sometimes help polish a turd.

When used well, depth of field can give an almost 3D impression without actually being 3D. The problem is that the viewing media around today, highlights and amplifies where it was used in older movies, and also highlights its over use in cheaper productions used today. It is certainly something that has always been part of a film makers armoury, but the severity of lens range that is used now is becoming more noticeable.

Extreme depth of field imo, is something that is now being over used, and is very clearly seen at both ends of the budget spectrum. Some people like it and some people don’t. Alien Covenant was shot with the purpose of viewing in Imax in mind, so this is where there is a depth of field issue I feel.


Jul-08-2017 7:57 PM

To be honest the torrented 1080p Korean version you can find on Piratebay looked better than the theater version I watched. Probably because of sound distortion and worse resolution. 


Jul-08-2017 9:15 PM

Wow, awesome, MonsterZero thanks! :)


Jul-09-2017 5:01 PM

I think the sets looked good, remember Alien sets on the ship were basic but looked the part, some had said Prometheus looked to Advanced and so with AC they was trying to give us some middle ground.

I agree some of the lighting may not be to everyones cup of tea, but some of this could be down to Editing... well post Shooting, we have to remember the Sets are not exactly the same as we see in the Movie.

Digital Photo Editing is added after to play with colors and airbrush out etc scenes,  Wayne Haagg had a lot to do with setting the tone etc to scenes.

Here is a Good Example.. and so you can see a lot of the detail, clouds, lighting are all adjusted compared to the actual Set that was shot.

Many Scenes did have a bit of a colour problem, some scenes had a yellow haze/hue to them.

I do think some of the CGI work was not as good as it could have been but then we have to remember the Budget was $97M  now Prometheus with inflation would have been $144M and so taking that into account Covenants Budget would be like if Prometheus when shooting in 2011 only had $87M to play with...

So i think its a shame that Alien Covenant was not going to be given a $150M Budget i think we would have seen some differences then.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

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