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Red rails sends red off course


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#1 Michael Peploe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:20 PM

I was really excited about this camera and what they could do with design but after seeing the red rail I'm starting to believe that the big camera companies were right in their designs. The new Red rail system shows the inherent weakness in the RED design and I am confused as to how to fix it. The rail system they introduced today seems so cumbersome. It'll take you an hour to disassemble for another rig setup.
I know this a work in progress and I hope the red team goes back to the drawing board. The new setup looks like it was slapped together . Its ugly, obtrusive, and with all the attachments connected a pain to setup. This was supposed to be an indi filmmakers cam but it looks more and more like a major studio camera where theres more time to setup and heavier dollys to accomodate it.. Can anyone imagine a run and gun with this?
For me this has exposed the problems of trying to build a camera in a year. They got the sensor right but the design looks thought up in a rush. I'd tell red to give it another year. I was thinking of putting a reservation in but this has made me step back and evaluate other cams instead. $17500 is for a chip housed in a small body but in order to use it someone has to figure out a support system that is functionial. Maybe REd 2 will get it right.
I just had a thought maybe others can expand on. How about a support system where you can slide the small REd body in to. This support would have a more streamlined outerbody for mounting but none of the hardware would be attached to the sensor housing. Gotta put the cam on a car rig. Slide it out and mount to car or crane or whatever. Red I hope you're listening. You've got a major problem shoulder mounting this cam for the indie, ENG market.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:34 PM

Hi,

> It'll take you an hour to disassemble for another rig setup.

Yes. This is what 35mm motion picture cameras are like. However, I think it's probably OK. I'd see a rail system reassembly as being a per-job issue, as it is with 35mm gear. At least you do actually have the option to slide stuff around, which you ordinarily don't. The only critical is that it needs to be compatible with standard mattebox rod systems, so you can put things like remote focus on it. I'm not sure if they've done that.

Frankly I would suspect that they will offer a package of accessories for a given situation and that's all most cameras will ever see. What we may be seeing here is the truth behind the 17K pricepoint - 17K gets you the camera, something I'm interpreting as the block in the middle of the rod system. What else do you practically need? Is the cage $5000?

Phil
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#3 Michael Peploe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:31 PM

Hi,

> It'll take you an hour to disassemble for another rig setup.

Yes. This is what 35mm motion picture cameras are like. However, I think it's probably OK. I'd see a rail system reassembly as being a per-job issue, as it is with 35mm gear. At least you do actually have the option to slide stuff around, which you ordinarily don't. The only critical is that it needs to be compatible with standard mattebox rod systems, so you can put things like remote focus on it. I'm not sure if they've done that.

Frankly I would suspect that they will offer a package of accessories for a given situation and that's all most cameras will ever see. What we may be seeing here is the truth behind the 17K pricepoint - 17K gets you the camera, something I'm interpreting as the block in the middle of the rod system. What else do you practically need? Is the cage $5000?

Phil



I know what 35mm production is like. i work it most every day.They pushed this as an indie cam though. I was hoping to have that near quality in a functional 7lb package but now I don't think its possible. Needed items: shoulder mount that is more functional, lenses, storage, EVF are just the basics. You maybe in the $26k area now just for those things. You can buy now from the major companies quality cams with auto lens features the RED does not have for under that amount if you are an indie. Like you said we may have seen the truth about the 17k pricepoint. Seems the only thing they got right is the sensor. And we haven't seen what the compressed version of the image looks like yet.
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#4 Mark Allen

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:54 PM

From the lierature I was gathering that they were trying to provide a lot of versatility in the attachments and I would not be surprised to see (if the camera takes off) custom attachments being made and sold by indies who have a better idea. Considering how many people jumped on board to engineer a DoF adapter for various cameras, I would imagine doing mounts would be a certainty.

Also keep in mind they changed their original camera design a great deal from the first time it was shown. I gather that they like the idea of saying "Okay - here is what we are thinking." Then listening to the feedback and making adjustments.

All of this is a hunch, I don't know anything secret.
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#5 Michael Peploe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:44 PM

From the lierature I was gathering that they were trying to provide a lot of versatility in the attachments and I would not be surprised to see (if the camera takes off) custom attachments being made and sold by indies who have a better idea. Considering how many people jumped on board to engineer a DoF adapter for various cameras, I would imagine doing mounts would be a certainty.

Also keep in mind they changed their original camera design a great deal from the first time it was shown. I gather that they like the idea of saying "Okay - here is what we are thinking." Then listening to the feedback and making adjustments.

All of this is a hunch, I don't know anything secret.


I agree they are constantly revising thats why I'm posting. Giving feedback. I'm almost sure 3rd parties will develop for the cam but who knows when those will come. When the camera ships seems only the red rails will work and I strongly hope its drasctically re-modified
I remember the first rigs they had that aren't on the website anymore. Seems those , the red handles especially, although they needed work, were going in the right direction. This new rail thing is a monstrosity compared to those.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 08 September 2006 - 07:48 PM.

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#6 Alexander Nikishin

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:51 PM

I agree they are constantly revising thats why I'm posting. Giving feedback. I'm almost sure 3rd parties will develop for the cam but who knows when those will come. When the camera ships seems only the red rails will work and I strongly hope its drasctically re-modified
I remember the first rigs they had that aren't on the website anymore. Seems those , the red handles especially, although they needed work, were going in the right direction. This new rail thing is a monstrosity compared to those.

You've got to be joking....Due to a prototype of the rail system you're going to hold off on RED?

First off it is only a prototype.

Second, they've developed a 5k super camera in 8 months, what makes you think they can't develop a solution to a rail sysytem design flaw before RED's release?

Lastly, with that level of trust in the genius team behind RED, I'll see you on the sidelines my friend.

Edited by Alexander Nikishin, 08 September 2006 - 07:52 PM.

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#7 Michael Peploe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:34 PM

You've got to be joking....Due to a prototype of the rail system you're going to hold off on RED?

First off it is only a prototype.

Second, they've developed a 5k super camera in 8 months, what makes you think they can't develop a solution to a rail sysytem design flaw before RED's release?

Lastly, with that level of trust in the genius team behind RED, I'll see you on the sidelines my friend.




Nish my friend , what do you do? how do you shoot, what kind of budgets do you have. Explain to this lost soul how YOU are going to use the camera and in what situations. I'd really like to know.Or should I just bow down to your fanboydom and accept it cause the sensors cool man.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 08 September 2006 - 08:36 PM.

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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:52 PM

I like the new rail design. It seems much better than a few other similar type systems. I don't have much experience with a 35mm camera, but imagine a 16mm that you want to put a rail system on, and a shoulder pad and a mount for something like wireless transmitter, etc. Your talking about 3 different accessories, 4 set screws appeice, all mounting in a way designed to be universal to every other cam. now imagine the red (which by the way none of you have put on your shoulders, so you can't get to harsh with them) Its one unit, at most there will be like 4 screws to attach it. Also more likely it would have some sort of quick release plate (if the cam has a proprietary attachment on the bottom, as does sony, panny and almost every other ENG camera) it can easily be placed in the rail system in mere seconds (if there are set screws, then more time) now you have your rails, properly spaced, or easily adjustible, your back mount for counterballance (which looks like its on a simple extension system, letting one weight counterballance any lens for you in a second of tweeking) and a shoulder mount (which I also assume is movable to a degree)

Thats a lot of features added with one quick release plate. And if its not too much faster than 35mm, who cares? cameras take time to set up, and take time to convert. They always have been, and always will. Professional tools are optimized for best performance first, ease of use second. If you need quicker setup than a quickrelease plate, let me ask why you plan your movies with such little time to set up (or so few people)
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#9 Michael Peploe

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:34 PM

I like the new rail design. It seems much better than a few other similar type systems. I don't have much experience with a 35mm camera, but imagine a 16mm that you want to put a rail system on, and a shoulder pad and a mount for something like wireless transmitter, etc. Your talking about 3 different accessories, 4 set screws appeice, all mounting in a way designed to be universal to every other cam. now imagine the red (which by the way none of you have put on your shoulders, so you can't get to harsh with them) Its one unit, at most there will be like 4 screws to attach it. Also more likely it would have some sort of quick release plate (if the cam has a proprietary attachment on the bottom, as does sony, panny and almost every other ENG camera) it can easily be placed in the rail system in mere seconds (if there are set screws, then more time) now you have your rails, properly spaced, or easily adjustible, your back mount for counterballance (which looks like its on a simple extension system, letting one weight counterballance any lens for you in a second of tweeking) and a shoulder mount (which I also assume is movable to a degree)

Thats a lot of features added with one quick release plate. And if its not too much faster than 35mm, who cares? cameras take time to set up, and take time to convert. They always have been, and always will. Professional tools are optimized for best performance first, ease of use second. If you need quicker setup than a quickrelease plate, let me ask why you plan your movies with such little time to set up (or so few people)

I already stated I work 35mm films all the time. I know how things work. Yeah 150 million dollar films too. I'm also a indie filmmaker. Any camera made today for indie movie work you can basically pick up load a tape or mag put it on your shoulder and start shooting. In 16mm more depth of field gives you the abilty to be a one man shooter. Remember those great Maysles films all shot on 16mm. By them. They did everything. Thats indie filmmaking. Their not going to spend half an hour dismantling something. You need to move man. I guess you really have no clue. The Red is a great concept camera but right now its not a pratilcle indie camera the way they designed it. Seems now if you want to record to their hard drives its attached by cable as an extension. Try doing car shots with the vibration that will mess up that drive. Oh okay I'll get the red flash but that for sure is going to cost a fortune.Go make a movie pal and see what time and little money does to the way you work. I bet you're the type that be screaming for the next setup. I'm done.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 06:52 AM

Hi,

> they've developed a 5k super camera in 8 months

They most certainly have not. You'll notice that their logo states the company was founded in 1999; I suspect they've been feeling around for this design for at least that long. The turnaround on any piece of semiconductor fabrication alone is much longer than that. Clearly they've got things sitting around in the workshop they're not telling us about, which is normal, but using that lead to pretend you're pulling it all out of a hat in four seconds flat is just showmanship.

And it's not a freaking 4K camera. Bayer arrays render something just under half their raw dimensions, and that's assuming you're OK with effectively-subsampled colour. It's a just under 2K camera, with the best interpolation in the world. Yes, that does mean it's an HD camera.

Phil
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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 08:41 AM

Hi,

And it's not a freaking 4K camera. Bayer arrays render something just under half their raw dimensions, and that's assuming you're OK with effectively-subsampled colour. It's a just under 2K camera, with the best interpolation in the world. Yes, that does mean it's an HD camera.

Phil


Phil,

Having seen the images I would agree with that. It has about 12,000,000 pixels verses 27,600,000 of a Thompson Viper.

Stephen
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#12 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:23 AM

They did everything. Thats indie filmmaking. Their not going to spend half an hour dismantling something. You need to move man.... The Red is a great concept camera but right now its not a pratilcle indie camera the way they designed it.


To me, indie filmmaking is not about whether or not a camera takes an hour to set up or not, its about the spirit and circumstances under which the film is made.

I've seen filmmakers using blimped Arri IIcs to make their films - with a setup time of hours and the inconvenience of heavy weight. No less indie filmmaking than those which use an XL2.

I have no idea what Red is going to be and I've chosen to stay out of the discussion until I see it for myself. But when it comes to talk of indie filmmaking as it relates to whether a camera is practical or not: very few indie filmmakers (including myself) are deterred by whether or not a camera takes a long time to set up. It really isn't about that.

AJB
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:07 AM

Hi,

You have to be careful about comparisons with Viper because of the way it handles pixel binning; you're averaging either three or four pixels vertically depending on the mode you're in. But then you do get true, no compromises, 4:4:4 HD.

If you want true, full whack, no holds barred 4:4:4, Red is a 1K camera!

Try keying at 4K with it and see how well you do!

Phil
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:25 AM

But when it comes to talk of indie filmmaking as it relates to whether a camera is practical or not: very few indie filmmakers (including myself) are deterred by whether or not a camera takes a long time to set up. It really isn't about that.

AJB


I don't really agree, sorry -- there are very few indie movies made with generous schedules, most average more than 5 pages a day on the call sheets, so practicality of on-set workflow is a major issue for a DP to consider when choosing a camera system. Not that you automatically reach for the easiest, fastest way of shooting, it's just that you have to consider the ramifications -- for example, when I choose to shoot an indie film on large 35mm anamorphic lenses, I have to be honest with the director about the limitations and then we decide whether the higher quality is worth the trouble & time. And that decision will be based on the script, locations, types of shots, etc.

Not that I'm saying that the RED camera in itself is a time-consuming design to set-up, considering the camera & recorder doesn't really exist in its final form yet. It's premature to suggest that it's any harder or more time-consuming to set-up than a Viper going to a hard drive, let's say.
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#15 Brent J. Craig

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:33 AM

As a camera assistant with 14 years experience, the Red Rails look awesome to me. We have never before had a simple way to balance a handheld camera for different lenses. The ability to stick accessories anywhere will be great too.

Michael and Phil, if your crews are taking 1 hour to reconfigure your 35mm camera for different shooting modes they must be extremely, uh, "meticulous".

I have never seen it take more than 15 minutes to switch from full-on studio/dolly/zoom mode to Steadicam or handheld. The AD's you work with must be much more patient than they are here.

I don't see how a well-thought-out system of sliding rails could do anything but speed up the process.
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#16 Michael Peploe

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 12:02 PM

To me, indie filmmaking is not about whether or not a camera takes an hour to set up or not, its about the spirit and circumstances under which the film is made.

I've seen filmmakers using blimped Arri IIcs to make their films - with a setup time of hours and the inconvenience of heavy weight. No less indie filmmaking than those which use an XL2.

I have no idea what Red is going to be and I've chosen to stay out of the discussion until I see it for myself. But when it comes to talk of indie filmmaking as it relates to whether a camera is practical or not: very few indie filmmakers (including myself) are deterred by whether or not a camera takes a long time to set up. It really isn't about that.

AJB

You just made my point man. The IIc was made as an MOS camera. It wasn't designed to do filming with sound. So that person you saw using a blimped IIc was filming with it because of budget constraints and it turned around and bit him in the ass with all the loss of time he used up when he had to change setups. The RED designed as it is will cost you time. Its fine to believe in all those wonderful romantic ideals like spirit are enough to get you through but thats not the whole story when you need to get the coverage you need in a limited amount of time. And what filmmaker wouldn't want more time. The right tool would have given the IIc guy more time for sure.
I want to also remind you, if you remember, the first mockups of the RED camera they had on their website. It showed a small camera body with what looked like slots that accepted storage devices and a battery. They also had simple attachments where you could hand hold the camera. They were faulty in design because of what looked to me like balance issues and there was still no way to shoulder mount the thing. The lack of an EVF was also an issue for shoulder mounting. But I thought they were going in the right direction, give em time I said. So now the storage and battery are external to counterbalnce the camera with a rail sysytem and cage that accepts the EVF. If you look at the design it looks like the rail system is three tmes the size of the body. The sensor may be great but how you use the camera is important too. For 17K what you are basically getting in the RED is a sensor in a housing, thats it, and using it in a practical way is looking like it s gonna cost 2x to 3x or maybe 4x more. For indie filmmakers it seems to me that cameras that exist today, that shoot quality images are more affordable and practical like auto iris and auto focus which the RED does not give you. For me it puts to rest the idead that RED is gonna kill the big boy companies. For the guys with tons of money and time the RED works fine. Unless of course , I hope they come up with a better design. And lets be honest who doesn't believe that the RED 2 will better designed because this looks rushed.
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#17 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 12:14 PM

I don't really agree, sorry -- there are very few indie movies made with generous schedules, most average more than 5 pages a day on the call sheets, so practicality of on-set workflow is a major issue for a DP to consider when choosing a camera system.


In my experience its been a question of film/video format cost vs budget, not camera size/convenience of use vs budget. If a producer has approved 35mm, then usually they understand what kind of issues related to schedule that might entail: - but that is a format issue, not a camera issue. The setup time of a particular camera (in my experience) has never been the deal breaker - unless the film was being done in a style which called for, say, constant hand-held work in one location over a 6-day period (which as you know, does not encompass all indie film situations). It has always been about the actual costs of the format and post-pipeline etc.

My point was that RED (which we really don't know much about yet) cannot be discounted as an indie alternative just because it may have an extended prep time or might have a combersome design. Will RED be any more time consuming than say any 35mm indie option or HD option? We'll have to wait and see. But I don't discount a camera system for an indie production, by definition, just because it might not be good for run-and-gun style work.

AJB
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#18 Sam Wells

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 12:34 PM

very few indie filmmakers (including myself) are deterred by whether or not a camera takes a long time to set up. It really isn't about that.

AJB


As an Indie filmmaker I couldn't disagree more either. Even if I'm doing non-scripted etc filmmaking, the fact of responding to the moment /environment is paramount; the tool should be facilitators not inhibitors.

Re dramatic Indie productions -- what David said.

EVEN if one is taking time & great pains to set up shots, reailty always has a way of throwing curves at the last minute. This is true of everything from personal experimental films to elaborate FX driven features.

-Sam
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#19 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 12:48 PM

As an Indie filmmaker I couldn't disagree more either. Even if I'm doing non-scripted etc filmmaking, the fact of responding to the moment /environment is paramount; the tool should be facilitators not inhibitors.

Re dramatic Indie productions -- what David said.

EVEN if one is taking time & great pains to set up shots, reailty always has a way of throwing curves at the last minute. This is true of everything from personal experimental films to elaborate FX driven features.

-Sam


Sam,

The question is whether or not RED might be a dealbraker for an indie film because of its size/weight/convenience. I say no because, at least from my experience, shooting on heavy cameras - say the BL4 - and all the things that come with that, has not had a negative impact on the ability of the filmmakers to make the film. - even if something unexpected happens and you want to change a shot suddenly. Is a BL4 35 any less indie-friendly than say an AATON XTR 16? I say not because of the camera size but because of the cheaper format. But the AATON might be better suited for your un-scripted, hand-held project. Thats not an "indie-friendly" issue.

It is more a question of style. If you are doing a film that is say, unscripted, based on improv, hand held, with a very short schedule, then yes, of course, the camera system becomes more relevant. But that is a seperate issue than whether or not a camera is "indie friendly" - particularly on dramas that have a more stable shooting style.

I've found that usually its a question of actual format for budget and the camera for shooting style.

AJB
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#20 Michael Collier

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 04:29 PM

Go make a movie pal and see what time and little money does to the way you work. I bet you're the type that be screaming for the next setup. I'm done. - mike peploe




Wow. Ease up on the harshness buddy. $150million films, am I supposed to tremble at that sort of experience. I give it to you that you probably know your films. I know mine. 5 minutes to set a camera up from tripod to handheld use is not a big burden (and looking at the design, thats about how long it would take.) Usually the first AC or operator can handle that while grip starts to move lights for the handheld setup.

I rarely scream on set. Screaming implys lack of control and planning. There are 4 or 5 takes during one setup that I have to be planning the next one. When it comes time to move, it can be sequenced easily to get a quick turn around with little money or time. I like to control effeciency rather than scream.

Thanks for the lesson though, I always enjoy being belittled by a total stranger who has never seen my work. (haha, just kidding, it's really annoying.)

Edited by Michael Collier, 09 September 2006 - 04:32 PM.

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