Jump to content


Photo

Skeptics and progress.


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 12:47 PM

I fully understand why there are some who think this project will never happen... sounds too good to be true? We are in development of this camera and will get to the finish line. We made a conscious decision to release news of our project early for two reasons. In the inverse order, we needed time for people to become comfortable with the name and program. Call it marketing if you like. That works fine. But the real reason we came out during development was to listen to the community for ideas that we could incorporate into the 1st release. Many complain, including myself, the the "big" companies just don't listen. We are here to listen. And we have already added several key features to our program based on comments made in forums like this one... We are keeping our eyes and ears open everywhere possible.

So if you are skeptical, fine. No problem with that. But please realize that clogging up the message boards with "it is a scam" doesn't help with the real purpose of these boards... to pass along ideas, tips, and information. We are listening.

Jim Jannard- RED
  • 0

#2 Kim Vickers

Kim Vickers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 67 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 02:00 PM

the real purpose of these boards... to pass along ideas, tips, and information. We are listening.

Jim Jannard- RED


Two words: OPTICAL VIEWFINDER.
  • 0

#3 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 02:16 PM

RED ONE will not have a mechanical shutter nor an optical finder although it will have Surroundview, which allows you to see 10% outside the recoding area. We also have several new "tricks" for focusing that we can talk about in the fall when the 1st 4k footage is presented. Additionally, we are working on a mechanical shutter body with optical finder, but it would be released in the future and will carry with it a significant increase in price. All accessories will work with both bodies.
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 April 2006 - 02:29 PM

RED ONE will not have a mechanical shutter nor an optical finder although it will have Surroundview, which allows you to see 10% outside the recoding area. We also have several new "tricks" for focusing that we can talk about in the fall when the 1st 4k footage is presented. Additionally, we are working on a mechanical shutter body with optical finder, but it would be released in the future and will carry with it a significant increase in price. All accessories will work with both bodies.


In 35mm we have many types of cameras of various shapes and sizes -- my suggestion is to build a separate "b-camera" model where the sensor, viewfinder, and lens mount can be separated from the processor, ala the T-block design of the F950, for "Eyemo" type shots where a small camera is needed.

I'm also for an optical viewfinder version of the RED camera.

Obviously though the number one priority is a camera that makes a good-looking picture and being able to record & post it in a reasonable manner.

I'd also consider the 2.39 : 1 scope issue, since half of Hollywood movies are released in scope prints. Should the sensor be 4x3 to allow standard 2X anamorphic lenses to be used, or should you build some 1.33X or 1.4X anamorphic lenses for a 16x9 sensor, or build a 2x1 sensor where you crop a little to achieve 2.39 or 1.85.
  • 0

#5 Kim Vickers

Kim Vickers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 67 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 03:49 PM

From the specs I've read, you're in good shape -- spec-wise. I think you'll find a lot of pros will wait for the mechanical shutter version, regardless of the extra cost. Every dp I've worked with HATES electronic viewfinders. I cannot emphasize that enough.

4K doesn't make a pro camera. It's the attention to detail that separates the amateurs from the pros. If the "pro" version of the camera has an optical viewfinder/mechanical shutter and costs $100,000, you will suffer far less skepticism. Hiring a widely respected film dp to advise on this "pro" version wouldn't be a bad idea, either. May I suggest Mr. Mullen?

The last thing I'd like to plead for is a proprietary workflow solution. When I buy the camera, I'm also going to want to buy some sort of security that my footage will be post-able on my quad G5. Whether this translates into some kind of "red plug-in" for Final Cut Pro that I can buy for $1,500, well, that's up to you. I just don't want to be left on my lonesome to figure out how I'm going to post my footage.

I wish you all the best with Red.
  • 0

#6 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 03:56 PM

Thanks for the comments... the beginning of many we hope. All post solutions will be announced prior to the 1st camera being shipped. No surprises or empty promises.
  • 0

#7 Jonathan Benny

Jonathan Benny
  • Sustaining Members
  • 166 posts
  • Other
  • Vancouver, Canada / Paris, France

Posted 29 April 2006 - 03:59 PM

Two words: OPTICAL VIEWFINDER.


I second that. Particularly when I'm directing and shooting at the same time, I find optical viewfinders to be a much better tool for taking in what is happening within the frame.

AJB
  • 0

#8 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5069 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 04:09 PM

You should get hands on feed back from various grades of camera people. The focus puller/1st assistant is key because they have to work with the kit and assemble it. The ergonomics are extremely important, it's a big failing on the Canon XLH1.

You should have a format that can operate on a number of editing systems during post production. There are currently formats on cameras that are not really fully supported.

You need a robust recording system that production insurers are confident in. What the lower end of the market will live with may not be what you'd want to use on a higher budget production with more at risk.
  • 0

#9 Alan Lasky

Alan Lasky
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 05:00 PM

Thanks for the comments... the beginning of many we hope. All post solutions will be announced prior to the 1st camera being shipped. No surprises or empty promises.


Mr. Jannard,
I work for DALSA, the "other white meat" of 4K acquisition. We met briefly at NAB, and as we said at the show we, unlike some of the other camera companies, sincerely wish RED well. Any data-centric camera solution will help the market along and will be beneficial to the community at large. None of us here at DALSA subscribe to the "RED as hoax" mentality. Indeed it is clear that a great deal of effort and resources were put into the RED camera. Since we also build cameras we have a perspective on this sort of product development that many (especially on this forum) might not share.

I would like to bring up some points regarding the RED presence at NAB that I believe I am qualified to talk about. I would venture to say that my team and I have shot more 4K digital footage than anyone on the planet at the moment and we are in a unique position to have the benefit of hindsight on many of these issues. Please understand that these questions and issues are not meant as a challenge to you regarding RED, but are meant to focus on some of the practical realities of digital acquisition that we all face. Focusing on reality is somewhat critical here, especially with a user-base that is often prone to 'magical-thinking' when it comes to technological development. Concurrently a good, open dialogue between manufacturers is important for the industry.

1. SENSOR. Having worked at DALSA going on 2 years now I can say without hesitation that the creation of image sensors is a very, very complex and difficult process. Especially when the sensor is meant to have imaging characteristics comparable with silver-halide crystals suspended in jello. As you know there is no magic leprechaun that can help with fill-factors, dynamic range, and slew rates. Most of the skepticism I heard at NAB regarding your camera (at least from people who actually know what they are talking about) was directed at the "Mysterium" sensor. Those of us in the sensor fabrication business know all of the sources for CCD's, CMOS, and FOVEAN (!) chips that are out there (and there are just not that many). The question I have is when will the actual specifications of the sensor be released? When will we see actual production footage from the Mysterium? This, possibly more than any other factor, will "call off the dogs" as far as the skeptics are concerned.

2. RECORDING TECHNOLOGY. This, I have to say, was where I fell off the wagon at your presentation. I saw an opening in the camera body only slightly bigger than an Ipod for a recording medium. Yes, if we are recording DV or HDV that might work, but I assume that a camera costing $17,500 with a PL mount will want to record at much higher resolutions and bit rates. "Problem Solver" Graeme Nattress was quick to point out that any 4K recording will be an "off-board" solution (whew!) but that everything up to 2K will fit in that Ipod sized slot. That, truthfully, is a tough sell. I stated my concerns to Mr. Nattress and he assured me that a propietary Wavelet Codec was in development for this purpose. That may in fact be the case, but coming from a digital visual effects background my first reaction is: "For the love of God! Do not compress my material at source!! I need all the bandwidth for my composites and keying!" This is a real issue. We are actually recording 4K today, and we have several more recording solutions on-deck, but I assure you none of them are anywhere near the size of an Ipod.

3. BACK-END WORKFLOW. I am sure you are aware that the camera is about 20% of the problem. We at DALSA have spent a great deal of time dealing with pipeline and workflow issues relating to 4K edit, conform, and VFX production. As we stated at NAB we would be happy to meet with you to share some of our experience regarding this area and to get your perspective on these matters. This has nothing to do with competitive analysis, it is simply imperative that all the manufacturers keep the workflow as tight as possible so we do not have vendors and post facilities supporting a number of unique and mutually exclusive data pipelines. Some of the Camera companies (but not all) have been working quietly with each other, software and hardware vendors, and some governing bodies (such as the ASC Technology committee) to make sure we are all on the same page regarding what happens to the image data once it leaves the 'digital lab.' Hopefully we will see RED join up with us.

As I said, we wish you well. I myself love this kind of 'disruptive technology' as it makes waves in what has been a bit of a stagnant pond for a while. In today's "competition for eyeballs" we are fighting a mighty battle against video-games, the internet, and that pesky Ipod and if recent box-office is any indication we had all better do something damn quick or it wont matter what 'K' any of us record at or indeed what size our silver halide crystals are.

Certainly I have more questions regarding what I saw at the show but this is simply not the forum for me to ask anything specific.


sincerely,
Alan Lasky
DALSA Digital Cinema
  • 0

#10 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 06:25 PM

Alan... thanks for the supportive and respectful post. We also have the highest respect for Dalsa. Couple of points. While Dalsa may know most of the fab houses, I am sure that there are sensor design teams that you and others are not aware of (ours is just one example). I do agree with almost everything else you said. We will show 4k footage in the fall. That is where we will have to earn credibility. We are fully prepared. Our test slice sensor gives us tremendous confidence that we will not disappoint. BUT... until we provide the footage there is room for legitimate questions about our capability. As for recording technology, no question that 4k is off camera (at least not in our SATA slot. And best 2k solution will likely be off camera as well. But we have a clear shot at providing an incredible on camera 2k solution. Remember, we have an on camera flash program as well as a drive option. And until one sees our codec program, it may seem hard to figure out why we are so excited. We'll announce the codec about the same time as we release 4k footage. Another thing to consider, with our cage setup, we can add hefty "on camera" recording solutions that will handle tons of data. But it won't be done in a 2.5" SATA housing. The modularity and flexibility of our program sets us apart from the current offerings in my humble opinion. As for post, you are again absolutely correct. All of our partners will have announced programs before we ever ship the 1st unit. I appreciate your generous offer to work together. All of us are in the same boat. Jim
  • 0

#11 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 07:01 PM

It would be good if you could offer the option of a Lens Data System (LDS) on the camera as well. The information (focus, depth of field, iris) it displays is very useful, not only for the focus puller, but also for VFX people.

I presume the camera will accept all existing accessories that go with PL mount lenses (mattebox, follow-focus, rods, etc...)
  • 0

#12 Mark Allen

Mark Allen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 591 posts
  • Director
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 April 2006 - 07:49 PM

Well... since we're trying to think progressive - I'm tossing this out to RED and the pro DP / AC's...

I apologize if this is already something which exists outside of my realm of experience, and I realize that this would be a lense issue - but it would have to tie into the camera...

For times where there has to be a single operator - but you are doing staged motions where (because of the large sensor / limited depth of field we all love) there has to be marks for focus. Could there be a digital read out in the viewfinder which would indicate this?

Visualize it this way... on the left side of the screen there is a thin vertical line which would represent either your entire focus range or a user zoomed in range. Then you set your focus points and they appear as horizontal bars across the vertial line - then while you are shooting you can watch you red horizontal bar move up and down as you are changing the focus - so you can watch the motion and in your peripheral attention be changing your focus accordingly.
  • 0

#13 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11936 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 08:50 PM

Hi,

That's pretty much what LDS does, and it's useful - as useful as the same feature on many tiny handycams, which has existed for ages. It would require LDS lenses (no point in proliferating another standard for doing it, even if you're making both the camera and the glass) and accompanying electronics in the camera - which isn't technologically difficult, but would certainly be an unwelcome additional cost to a project like this.

For what it's worth, I can only echo our Dalsa correspondent's concerns about the manufacturability of the sensor to the advertised spec. Doing what they're advertising at 2K would be tricky enough, and it's worth mentioning that even with the best debayer algorithms a 4K single sensor doesn't really output 4K images.

Personally I think 2K and having it not suck would be a better route to take than trying for 4K at some high frame rate and sacrificing more or less every other parameter to achieve it, which is what's happened with the HVX-200 - which sort of nearly achieves the paper spec, but the pictures are simply not that good.

Phil
  • 0

#14 Kim Vickers

Kim Vickers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 67 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 April 2006 - 09:23 PM

Personally I think 2K and having it not suck would be a better route to take than trying for 4K at some high frame rate and sacrificing more or less every other parameter to achieve it, which is what's happened with the HVX-200 - which sort of nearly achieves the paper spec, but the pictures are simply not that good.

Phil


I second this "not suck" at 2K business. 4K is a wonderful ambition, but I don't know any indie filmmakers who can afford a 4K post. In fact, if I were Mr. Jannard, I'd save the 4K option for the optical viewfinder/mechanical shutter variant due later. 4K is overkill for a $17,500 camera.
  • 0

#15 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 April 2006 - 10:34 PM

1st off, our 4k will not suck. I'd have killed the project if that was a starting premise. If it did suck... I'd have a LOT of EXPLAINING to do! Since it doesn't suck, I'm not sure why we would throw it away... especially since we deliver 2k scaled (35mm DOF) and 2k windowed @ 120 fps (needs S16mm lens for 16mm DOF or 35mm lens with 16mm DOF and 2x focal multiplier) for the indie filmaker if he/she finds it more convenient for now. And 4k is waiting in the camera whenever the filmaker needs it.

The sensor specs that everyone is relying on as the benchmark are for older designed sensors. The main reason we finally pulled the trigger on this project is ONLY because our sensor design performs dramatically better than current technology. 4k at 60 fps, >66db and high sensitivity from 5.4 micron pixels are real numbers that we haven't seen from a competitive product.

Yes to PL mount and accessories. LDS is a nice feature but not sure if we can integrate. Cooke's system is independant of the camera.

I agree with the HVX assessment. I actually think Panasonic did a good job getting a fairly good picture out of those small sensors. The problem they had was up-rezzing to get the specs. The noise issue is pixel size related. We won't have those problems.

Don't get me wrong. We have grabbed a tiger by the tail and he is wicked pissed off. He is either going to scratch our face off or sit quietly in the corner. We'll all know here in a few months.
  • 0

#16 Tenolian Bell

Tenolian Bell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 907 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 29 April 2006 - 11:51 PM

From my perspective many of us were excited about the possibility. At NAB we got a lot of sizzle. Many of us were trying to look past the smoke and see actual steak. For those of us who were not swept away by the fanfair, the atmosphere made it even more difficult to believe.

Many of the people ready to fully embrace the idea of RED at face value are generally people who mistakenly think a cheap camera is their entrance into Hollywood.

I don't know of anyone who does not want RED to work and succeed. I think most of us just wanted answers to legitimate questions.


One of my main questions is what's with the design of the camera? I can't quite wrap my mind around how that design will work in a real life production environment?
  • 0

#17 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 30 April 2006 - 02:27 AM

The design is simple. Build the smallest form possible to hold 4k capable sensor and boards with onboard recording options and as many I/O capaibilities imaginable. Then provide several "cages" (only three rough ideas shown at NAB) to configure the body into a system that is flexible for as many applications as possible. The cages shown were each designed and prototyped in three days or less. We have 8 months to get them right and add several others. We talked to Steadicam operators to see what they need. We got ideas from several DP's that we are now taking to the design group. I think it is fair to say that we were clear that this program is "in development". We gave people a peek into the process. Nothing we showed is finished. Those that assumed it was might be disappointed in some of the executions. Those that saw a rough outline of the concept and realize that we are capable of listening and fine tuning our program seem truly pleased with the project. There are many phases of this project that need to come together. We have all the parts and pieces and are now working them around to get to the finished product. There is no question that we will have a more polished showing in a couple of months. More refined and adapted to the feedback we have received so far.
  • 0

#18 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11936 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 April 2006 - 01:11 PM

Hi,

Well, you need a 4K sensor for really seriously good 4:4:4 results at 2K anyway.

I guess the other way to look at this is to consider what the reaction would be if companies like Panasonic were more open about their dev process, which seems to be what's happening here. What would the reaction to the HVX spec sheet have been three years ago? Equally violent, I suspect. I do suspect we're at the very least a couple of years from seeing these things on the street, though.

> because our sensor design performs dramatically better than current technology. 4k at 60 fps, >66db and
> high sensitivity from 5.4 micron pixels

Great, wonderful, but one thing you can do to avoid the sort of criticism you've been getting is to not say "it performs", but "we anticipate it will perform" if you don't actually have one yet. One person on your NAB booth told me you had a finished sensor which fulfilled the spec; another person told me you haven't, which isn't terribly helpful.

To be brutally honest, and not a little bit personal, my initial reaction to this proposed camera was that it's refreshing to see a successful man doing something more interesting with his money than buying sports cars.

Phil
  • 0

#19 Jim Jannard

Jim Jannard
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 30 April 2006 - 01:42 PM

"Great, wonderful, but one thing you can do to avoid the sort of criticism you've been getting is to not say "it performs", but "we anticipate it will perform" if you don't actually have one yet. One person on your NAB booth told me you had a finished sensor which fulfilled the spec; another person told me you haven't, which isn't terribly helpful."

Well spoken. We have a test slice sensor that performs exactly as expected. The full size sensor will be in our hands in a few weeks. That might explain different answers. I agree that in the customers eye we are nothing except hope without footage. It is just hard to contain the excitement because we see what the project looks like fom the inside.
  • 0

#20 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 April 2006 - 04:38 PM

Jim

Do you have already a date where you plan to show some test footage? As I've said before, I do not really care about the price of the camera, all I'm interested in is how it looks compared to 35mm. And if you do such comparison tests with film please be careful how you treat the film in post. The natural tendency would be to do a digital 4K grade of the 35mm footage, but since the looks of digital intermediates vary from each post facility (there is one major lab whose DIs always look very unatural) in my opinion it would be helpful to get a print straight off the original neg as well. That way one can judge what the 35mm looks like in its 'untouched' form and no one can accuse you of dumbing down the film in order to make your camera look better.
  • 0


CineLab

Technodolly

Opal

CineTape

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Technodolly

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies