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Red Management in the Red?


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#1 Ted Johanson

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:29 PM

Has anyone else noticed how soft the so-called 4k image samples are from the Red website? "Ultra High Definition" they are not!

It is claimed that 29 sq. micron pixels are used. That's significantly smaller than the pixel size employed in all typical digital SLRs.

Anyone noticed how ergonomically incorrect the camera appears to be? "Mysterium? puts pure digital Ultra-High Def in the palm of your hand." Ha!

Why did they choose to make a 300mm prime lens as their first lens?

Hasn't anyone started to wonder yet why the Red website still doesn't have any real pictures of an actually existing camera?

The Red web site claims the camera provides "unparalleled fidelity". I know the Dalsa Origin can easily parallel Red.

What's up with all of these management mistakes (lies, poor choice of lenses, more lies, misleading statements, immature promises, etc., etc.)?


-Ted Johanson
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:32 PM

I still say it's all a hoax

ha ha!
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#3 Mr. Shannon W. Rawls

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:17 PM

Ted, are you a mole from some pharmaceutical, energy, oil or large camera company?
You sound like a C&H Sugar employee when Sweet-n-Low had a better idea in 1957. LOL

Just kick back and let RED do their thang. When their finished, give them your friendly thoughts.
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#4 Ted Johanson

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:36 PM

Ted, are you a mole from some pharmaceutical, energy, oil or large camera company?
You sound like a C&H Sugar employee when Sweet-n-Low had a better idea in 1957. LOL

Just kick back and let RED do their thang. When their finished, give them your friendly thoughts.


Nope. I'm just someone asking questions about some obvious problems with Red.


-Ted Johanson
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#5 Eirik Tyrihjel

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:52 PM

I am sure Arnold and Richter got some laughs when they started up in 1917 too...
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#6 Troy Warr

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 08:18 PM

Hi Ted,

> Has anyone else noticed how soft the so-called 4k image samples are from the Red website? "Ultra High Definition" they are not!

They look pretty good to me. What precisely do you mean by "soft?" If you're looking at a 100% crop on a computer monitor, it's never going to look razor-sharp. I agree that there is plenty of marketing hype in there, but to me, the images look comparable to a good quality digital SLR, which is impressive for a camera that's shooting 60fps at that resolution.

> It is claimed that 29 sq. micron pixels are used. That's significantly smaller than the pixel size employed in all typical digital SLRs.

It's not hugely smaller, and remember that the Red's sensor is 12 megapixels squeezed into a Super-35mm surface area, so the pixels can't possibly be as large as a full-frame digital SLR of comparable resolution. Also, the Red is not a digital SLR, so it's really apples & oranges there. I would tend to think that 29 square micron pixels are still similar or larger than those on most 2/3" 1080p sensors that dominate the high-end digital cinema market today.

> Anyone noticed how ergonomically incorrect the camera appears to be? "Mysterium? puts pure digital Ultra-High Def in the palm of your hand." Ha!

More marketing there, of course. I think that most major manufacturers are guilty of those outlandish claims, as well. When you add some of the shooting accessories, though, things seem to improve.

> Why did they choose to make a 300mm prime lens as their first lens?

It's impossible to say for sure, since they're the only ones with the inside information. It's definitely not the most useful focal length but I think it's commendable that they're choosing to make their own lenses (not to mention relatively inexpensively), which is no easy feat.

> Hasn't anyone started to wonder yet why the Red website still doesn't have any real pictures of an actually existing camera?

There isn't an actually existing camera yet. The reduser.net forum has shown images of actual prototype versions, though, and a prototype that looks identical to the rendered images on the red.com website does exist.

> The Red web site claims the camera provides "unparalleled fidelity". I know the Dalsa Origin can easily parallel Red.

Still more marketing. And, you don't know that, because you haven't shot with the Red camera yet.

> What's up with all of these management mistakes (lies, poor choice of lenses, more lies, misleading statements, immature promises, etc., etc.)?

Marketing hype is some of it, what lies, misleading statements and immature promises are you referring to?
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#7 Ted Johanson

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 09:05 PM

They look pretty good to me. What precisely do you mean by "soft?" If you're looking at a 100% crop on a computer monitor, it's never going to look razor-sharp. I agree that there is plenty of marketing hype in there, but to me, the images look comparable to a good quality digital SLR, which is impressive for a camera that's shooting 60fps at that resolution.


Let's just put it this way...I've never seen a digital SLR produce results that soft. Have you ever viewed a non bayer-captured image at 100%? Take the Sigma SD10 for example, it's images are very sharp at 100%. These images quite obviously are nowhere near the claimed 4520 resolution. Naturally, they wouldn't be due to the use of Bayer pattern filtering. There seems to be more to it than that, though. Maybe they're using an anti-alias filter which is too strong.

It's not hugely smaller, and remember that the Red's sensor is 12 megapixels squeezed into a Super-35mm surface area, so the pixels can't possibly be as large as a full-frame digital SLR of comparable resolution. Also, the Red is not a digital SLR, so it's really apples & oranges there. I would tend to think that 29 square micron pixels are still similar or larger than those on most 2/3" 1080p sensors that dominate the high-end digital cinema market today.


I agree that it's not hugely smaller, but it is still significantly smaller. It is generally accepted that pixel size is a good way for the end user to determine the contrast handling capabilities of one electronic sensor compared to another. The fact is that Red has pixels smaller than those of the typical digital SLR (which aren't too impressive in the contrast range department to begin with).

> The Red web site claims the camera provides "unparalleled fidelity". I know the Dalsa Origin can easily parallel Red.

Still more marketing. And, you don't know that, because you haven't shot with the Red camera yet.


The Origin at least exists in a "production" version that has been tested by numerous people. It's specs are very nearly identical to Red's proposed specs and therefore should be capable of being parallel to Red. In fact, I know of one test which shows the Origin's contrast range being much greater than Red's. Of course, the Red camera was a prototype. Even at that, the Red team has got a long way to go if they ever intend to get up to speed with the Origin.

Marketing hype is some of it, what lies, misleading statements and immature promises are you referring to?


Hmmm...I guess I already listed some of them in my first post.


-Ted Johanson
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#8 Troy Warr

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 09:42 PM

> Let's just put it this way...I've never seen a digital SLR produce results that soft. Have you ever viewed a non bayer-captured image at 100%? Take the Sigma SD10 for example, it's images are very sharp at 100%. These images quite obviously are nowhere near the claimed 4520 resolution. Naturally, they wouldn't be due to the use of Bayer pattern filtering. There seems to be more to it than that, though. Maybe they're using an anti-alias filter which is too strong.

The "4.5K" resolution is definitely a controversial claim, and I don't dispute that. I tend to look at the camera's promised specs in terms of a *very* capable 2K or 1080p capture device, which is still quite remarkable given its alleged capabilities and price.

Still, the comparison to the Sigma SD10 is unproductive. The Sigma SD10's capabilities are a lot closer to a 3-CCD video camera, not a single Bayer pattern sensor as you mentioned. Whether that disqualifies the camera's resolution as 4K seems to depend on whom you ask, and I tend to agree that at best it's a very stretched 4K.

Those images were also shot several months ago with a prototype camera and beta-stage demosaicing algorithm, both of which have since changed extensively. If they do look soft, it's not really saying much as the camera isn't in a finalized form yet, and the image is not straight off the camera.

> I agree that it's not hugely smaller, but it is still significantly smaller. It is generally accepted that pixel size is a good way for the end user to determine the contrast handling capabilities of one electronic sensor compared to another. The fact is that Red has pixels smaller than those of the typical digital SLR (which aren't too impressive in the contrast range department to begin with).

That is indeed a fact, but that doesn't mean that it's a significant comparison. If you can get 60fps, or even 24fps out of a digital SLR, then maybe there's some value there. Still, I would assert that the Mysterium sensor's pixel size is as large or larger than digital video cameras costing several times its price, and those cameras certainly deliver more than acceptable picture quality, at least in my opinion. Please correct me if I'm wrong, as that's an educated guess - I honestly don't know the typical pixel size of a CineAlta-tier camera, but judging by sensor size and resolution, it seems logical to me.

Also keep in mind that Red is capable of pixel binning, which increases the effective size of the pixels. Using binning, you can still shoot 1080p with *huge* effective pixels.

> The Origin at least exists in a "production" version that has been tested by numerous people. It's specs are very nearly identical to Red's proposed specs and therefore should be capable of being parallel to Red. In fact, I know of one test which shows the Origin's contrast range being much greater than Red's. Of course, the Red camera was a prototype. Even at that, the Red team has got a long way to go if they ever intend to get up to speed with the Origin.

You can't judge a camera purely on specs. Granted, a camera with identical or better specifications generally has the *potential* to outperform another, but whether or not it actually does is a concern of engineering, design, and implementation. You seem to be faulting Red for being in an earlier development phase than the Dalsa Origin. Just because they can't deliver a production version yet doesn't inherently mean that they're hiding something or have an inferior camera.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but have they even claimed to match or outperform the Dalsa Origin? The "unparalleled fidelity" quote is just marketing hype, but even taken literally, it isn't necessarily inaccurate. "Unparalleled" could be qualified to mean unparalleled for the price, unparalleled for Red's position in the community of camera manufacturers, etc.

Also, it's apples and oranges again. The Dalsa costs $3000/day to rent, while the Red costs $17,500 to buy. A week of shooting with the Dalsa will buy you a Red. If the Red can even come anywhere remotely close to the performance of the Dalsa, I'd say it's one hell of a camera for the money.

> Hmmm...I guess I already listed some of them in my first post.

I guess those allegations sounded more sinister than I think they deserve to be. I don't think that they've ever outright lied, but most people that I've heard from do think that the marketing comes on more than a little strong, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Still, that's just marketing, and I think we've all heard a ton of manufacturers' claims and assertions that are blatantly inaccurate. I don't think that following that same trail disqualifies Red's product. The proof is in the pudding.
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#9 Ted Johanson

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:45 AM

Still, the comparison to the Sigma SD10 is unproductive. The Sigma SD10's capabilities are a lot closer to a 3-CCD video camera, not a single Bayer pattern sensor as you mentioned. Whether that disqualifies the camera's resolution as 4K seems to depend on whom you ask, and I tend to agree that at best it's a very stretched 4K.


That was to say that there are cameras out there that can make images "tack sharp" at 100%. You said "If you're looking at a 100% crop on a computer monitor, it's never going to look razor-sharp". I simply pointed out the fact that you are wrong. There are cameras out there capable using the full potential (very nearly, anyway) of every pixel in the output image.

Those images were also shot several months ago...


Actually, they were posted four months ago. There haven't been any new ones posted since then. I have to wonder what's up with that.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but have they even claimed to match or outperform the Dalsa Origin? The "unparalleled fidelity" quote is just marketing hype, but even taken literally, it isn't necessarily inaccurate.


There are cameras out there that can parallel it terms of image fidelity. Call it marketing hype if you wish, but that doesn't change the fact that their claim (of unparalleled fidelity) is a lie.


-Ted Johanson
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:00 AM

There are cameras out there that can parallel it terms of image fidelity. Call it marketing hype if you wish, but that doesn't change the fact that their claim (of unparalleled fidelity) is a lie.
-Ted Johanson


You need to learn to distinquish between a lie and marketing, which are similar, I admit... but, jeez, do you run into every small non-chain fast-food place with a sign that says "World Famous Burgers" (or tacos, whatever) yelling "liar, liar, pants on fire -- I bet they haven't heard of you in Tibet!"

Lighten up. The final camera isn't even released yet, so what does it matter what they say regarding a camera that they haven't even finished building yet? Just wait until the camera comes out and shoot your own tests and decide for yourself, and stop getting so worked up by a marketing campaign meant to drum up interest in the new product before it reaches the market. I mean, every TV set sold on the market claims things like "unparalled fidelity" or "true-life colors" or whatever silly things an ad agency and marketing department dream up to say about a product.
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#11 Ted Johanson

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:24 AM

...but, jeez, do you run into every small non-chain fast-food place with a sign that says "World Famous Burgers" (or tacos, whatever) yelling "liar, liar, pants on fire -- I bet they haven't heard of you in Tibet!"


You make a good point (quite funny, too). But it's not so much the lie (or marketing if you prefer) that bothers me. It's the fact that it is added to other things I've noticed. If this camera turns out to be as great as claimed, they won't even need any marketing anyway. This thing would spread by word-of-mouth like wildfire. Adding misleading statements into their marketing doesn't help their credibility at all.

Anyway, I'll take your advice and just silently wait this one out.


-Ted Johanson
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#12 Chris Kenny

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:02 AM

My guess as to why they did a 300mm as their first lens is that a prime is easier to do than a zoom, and if you're just going to build one prime, it makes sense to make it one that wouldn't be in the range covered by a typical prime set, particularly if you're planning introduce a prime set later (which RED has hinted at). This means something very telephoto or very wide, and of the two, the former is probably more widely useful and easier.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:35 AM

My guess as to why they did a 300mm as their first lens is that a prime is easier to do than a zoom, and if you're just going to build one prime, it makes sense to make it one that wouldn't be in the range covered by a typical prime set, particularly if you're planning introduce a prime set later (which RED has hinted at). This means something very telephoto or very wide, and of the two, the former is probably more widely useful and easier.


Still, it's an odd thing to do since often one doesn't need a 300mm lens. You would think they'd do what most still camera manufacturers do for a starter lens: either offer a middle focal length like a 50mm prime or a short zoom. In the meanwhile, they just have to offer a lens mount for a commonly available lens system, like a PL-mount for cine lenses or a Nikon mount if you want to use still camera lenses.

A 300mm lens is sort of the last thing you'd want to spend time building from scratch considering most cine 35mm telephotos are just adapted still camera lenses anyway.
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#14 Chris Kenny

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:08 AM

Well, they've announced (and taken reservations for for) an 18-85mm zoom, which seems more like the sort of thing you'd expect... it just won't be ready until late in the year, well after the camera is expected to start shipping, presumably because doing a zoom is hard, and they have other priorities (like, you know, the camera itself).

Maybe the lack of 300mm lens options purpose-built for cine use is one of the reasons RED decided to make one? Apparently Jim Jannard, who's impetus for this whole project was that he wanted something like RED and nobody was making it, shoots subjects for which 300mm glass would be useful, like funny car racing. (There are some photos of a RED prototype with the 300mm lens being used for just this purpose over on Reduser.net, though I don't think they're showing actual footage from the camera again until NAB.)

I suppose they could have just done a normal prime as their first lens, but some people might be hesitant to buy it, knowing they could get a lens of a similar focal length as part of a matched set later. Since the camera ships with a PL mount, and Nikon F and Canon FD mounts will be available as options, the company can take its time building out its own lens lineup.

Anyway, if the whole thing were a hoax, you'd expect them to have announced a $6K set of a T1.3 primes or something. So, you can disagree with their decisions about what lenses to roll out first, but their announcements along those lines don't seem to provide any reason to doubt their operation, as the original poster seems to.

Edited by Chris Kenny, 25 February 2007 - 02:09 AM.

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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 04:24 AM

Maybe the lack of 300mm lens options purpose-built for cine use is one of the reasons RED decided to make one? Apparently Jim Jannard, who's impetus for this whole project was that he wanted something like RED and nobody was making it, shoots subjects for which 300mm glass would be useful, like funny car racing.

There are plenty of 300mm lenses available in PL mount already. And to be honest for the price that Red is offering their 300mm I would not expect a top lens anyway.

They still haven't said who has designed their lenses, but once again, for the price they are selling them I doubt that they will be competition for Zeiss, Cooke and Panavision, as well as Angénieux.
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#16 Chris_Burket

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 04:47 AM

I know they contacted Fujinon about building their zoom, but Fujinon said the couldn't produce a lense that would resolve 4k at that price point. Have heard rumors they are working with Cooke, but I can't say for sure. They may be building the lenses and getting the elements from somewhere else.... Who knows, they may be bulk ordering canon or nikon 300mm lense elements for the prime... It'll be interesting to see their lenses projected and tested when they come out. If the zoom is really sharp, minimal breathing, etc... it could become extremely popular. I'm sure they'd sell thousands.
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 05:38 AM

If the zoom is really sharp, minimal breathing, etc... it could become extremely popular. I'm sure they'd sell thousands.

To be honest the zoom specs are not really impressive, it is quite slow for one (F2.8, which translates into T3.0 or 3.1), so its uses are limited. I seriously doubt there is a market to sell thousands of Red zooms, since not every camera owner will need to buy their own zooms, especially as there are many better options available already, be it for owning or renting. They might do better to make a cheap and decent quality prime lens set, which would cover more shooting situations that that slow zoom.
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#18 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:48 AM

To be honest the zoom specs are not really impressive, it is quite slow for one (F2.8, which translates into T3.0 or 3.1), so its uses are limited.


Hi Max,

Not sure if the stop will stay the same through the whole range, I assume that's why it's marked F2.8. I hope I am wrong on that!

Stephen
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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 09:13 AM

> You need to learn to distinquish between a lie and marketing

No, people need to stop lying to us. Especially in the professional arena. This is not a burger.

Phil
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#20 Chris Kenny

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:04 PM

There are plenty of 300mm lenses available in PL mount already. And to be honest for the price that Red is offering their 300mm I would not expect a top lens anyway.

They still haven't said who has designed their lenses, but once again, for the price they are selling them I doubt that they will be competition for Zeiss, Cooke and Panavision, as well as Angénieux.


Some of the lower price could be a result of an expectation of moving a more units than Zeiss or Cooke do. And they very well could. They've got their own customer base to sell to, which is pretty big by the standards of the industry, and I suspect there's a decent market for lower-cost PL-mount lenses outside of RED camera owners as well.

The shot they've posted from the 300mm looks pretty good, though one would really have to do side-by-side comparisons of the same subject (or of test charts) to say for certain. I wouldn't expect RED's lenses to quite match $20K primes or $80K zooms, but as I've pointed out before... I think there's room opening up for a range of products in the PL-mount lens market, instead of the current situation, where for the most part there's only a high-end.

Not sure if the stop will stay the same through the whole range, I assume that's why it's marked F2.8. I hope I am wrong on that!


The reason they're giving the F number rather than a T stop number is almost certainly just because unlike F-stops, T-stops are actually measured, and they haven't measured yet. (For the zoom, they haven't even indicated they have a working prototype yet.)
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