Larger photosites allow you to gather more light. But they also fill with light faster as well so have no effect on dynamic range. The dynamic range of the Arri's is also due to other factors in their design which every one keeps skipping over. There are 1000 factors that play into the light gathering, noise and dynamic range capabilities of a sensor. The size of a photosite is only one of those. If you look at sensor tech you will see more and more sensors capable of capturing two images one to gather low light and the other to gather the bright areas which are combined into an HDR mage. Same as we do with 32 bit float in audio now. That will eventually make photosite size irrelevant to dynamic range.
This is shot on MFT. It's the man not the machine.
So now we are talking about film? I thought we were talking digital. Your aware that the new 12K Ursa mini has pretty well the same resolution as IMAX film? It comes in a more pleaseing DCI ratio as well, as opposed to the IMAX ratio. If you have the resolution you can put digital on any size film you want but most theaters are digital now. 2K digital.
There will be a vaccine within the next couple of years, that is if the Russian ones don't already work. Covid won't be around other than isolated hot spots for 20 years. But the movie industry does have structural problems. I am old enough to have seen Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur and others in their original runs. But the world is heading in the opposite direction. Most people are happy watching movies on their cell phones or tablets. Those that still care have a decent home theater setup. The traditional movie chains under Trump got a lot of the laws removed that blocked their predatory douche baggery. Free to abuse their power the big studios will blow their brains out again like they have done over and over. Theaters are going away. Many won't survive the next year never mind 20.
With the RIGHT PEOPLE you can use a CELL PHONE to create incredible video!
But in this case where a prosumer, a film student or a 1 to 5 years experienced cinematographer + director want to explore lighting and camera, they should more focus on larger photosite size and better quality lenses if they've got their OTHER filmmaking aspects down pat.
Many modern hybrid cameras with larger photosites (i.e. Canon 1dx2 or 1Dc, Sony A7s2/3, etc) don't usually saturate the photo-wells because the base CMOS light-gathering substrate has been optimized to NOT blast-out the highlights (i.e. have over-sensitivity). It is USUALLY the DSP chip that affects the quality of the final image. This overt and highly-specific optimization of APS-C and FF hybrid cameras lets one choose between colour depth and dynamic range versus file recording size. In my opinion, most pros SHOULD be shooting at least in 10-bit, 12-bit or 14-bit RAW for the BEST colour rendition which will let you recover shadows that look crushed during initial capture but will be brought out properly when colour correcting.
For those starting out, find a camera that can shoot 10, 12 or 14-bit RAW 4:4:4 and has an APS-C or Full Frame sensor if you are shooting 4K and get the FASTEST LENS you can afford (i.e. f/1.2 stills or a T2 cinema lens!)
In terms of FRAME SIZE, I was merely mentioning a QUALITATIVE difference between the "Sensor Size" of 70mm vs 35 mm imaging, even though I know I am comparing dissimilar formats such as film and digital projection. The resolution and clarity differences was actually quite astounding between the projection formats even though I know Interstellar was mostly shot on high resolution film stock but projected digitally in S-35 in most theatres.
Since Film IS going mostly towards a niche market, the MAJORITY of image capture systems will likely increase in sensor size starting with 56mm Medium Format sensors, which SHOULD allow for an increase in both colour depth (i.e. up to 16 bit per RGB channel!) and a much smoother dynamic range allowing for extreme contrast ratios being NICELY rendered on-screen.
I really do THINK that the future of cinema production is going be HYBRID video cameras with medium format (56mm), Large Format (70mm) and IMAX (120 mm) CMOS global shutter sensors. The Alexa-65 is already paving the way AND WITHIN TWO to FIVE YEARS I expect to see that type of MF sensor camera stuffed into a hybrid body maybe a little larger than the Canon 1Dx3!
While Hollywood Cinema will STILL want an Actual Arri Alexa-65 camera for big budget production, the AVERAGE Netflix or Apple+ Series and Online Movie production will be shot on smaller hybrid camera bodies with larger sensors due to budget constraints. EVERY camera manufacturer worth their salt WILL and MUST introduce an MF 4K or MF 8K sensor hybrid camera body SOONER rather than LATER if they want to keep their own marketshare from being upended by some fast-and-hungry player LIKE Blackmagic.
In fact, I would not be surprised if Blackmagic IS ALREADY working on an MF sensor hybrid camera body that will be designed for the run-n-gun small-crew filmmaker. A DCI 4K 56mm MF sensor with 16 bit colour and 60 fps in a Blackmagic Pocket Camera-like body (with a bigger mount) priced at $5500 to $6500 USD would be a PRETTY COMPELLING PRODUCT for the new guys/gals coming into the video production arena!
So long it has a two hour battery life (i.e. use a bigger hand-grip) and AT LEAST two hours recording time onto a removable SATA-6+ internal SSD drive (i.e. $400 for 4 Terabytes), it would make Sony, Canon, Fuji and Panasonic QUAKE in their boots!
In terms of the major theatre chains, I would say 70% of theatres will close permanently within the next 5 years and the OTHER 30% left over will be IMAX-size screens with DCI 8K at 60 fps or 120 fps digital projection. Ticket prices will rise to around $25 to $40 ...BUT.... the seats will be a LOT NICER and concession stands will move onto carts with staff that deliver snacks and drinks DIRECTLY to your seat before the movie! You will even be able to order a glass of wine/beer in the new setups! These will be very much like VIP screenings with lots of little luxuries BUT at a much higher price. Everyone else will just have to stay home and watch their Hollywood movies on Netflix and Apple+.
This COVID-19 has already and WILL CONTINUE to change the Hollywood Production industry and ALL OTHER sorts of image-making. Directors, Producers, Cinematographers and the associated professionals in the industry MUST ADAPT otherwise they just won't get hired NOR will they be able to sell their imagery to any distributor.
The ONLY IMMEDIATE beneficiaries I see are the Disney's, the Netflix'es, the Apple+'s and the Viacoms of the world who ALREADY have theatre AND online distribution DOWN PAT. You'll be ADAPTING to their rules and formats sooner rather than later, or you just won't get any production work or be selling/renting/leasing any films! What has happened to Bricks and Mortar businesses will happen to video production. It will be the Amazon Effect, where ONLY A FEW TITANS dominate the general public's viewing needs and there will be a much smaller secondary market with only a few NICHE players that cater to up-scale customers. Ergo, you'll be either producing/directing/working a possibly dull/dreary life for the Amazons/Walmarts of moviemaking OR you will niche yourself upscale into the Nordstroms of moviemaking!
THIS IS GONNA BE A HECK OF A SHAKE-OUT in the next five years!
How will YOU ADAPT and CHANGE to meet the demands of those monster-sized and/or niche-sized players?
Or will you just decide it's no longer worth it and go back to working for Uncle Bob in his mind-numbing but solid-paying salaried office clerk job?!