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Marketing to the EFP, EPK, ENG Clients


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#1 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 01:04 AM

To Jim.

First, let me thank you for putting up with my incessant questions about the RED while you were working with the WANTED crew. I soaked up every moment and remembered every word from you and Jarred.


Unlike so many others on this forum and others, I am less concerned about the ability to deliver a quality picture (primarily because I've seen what it can do firsthand) and more interested in figuring out a way to convince the broadcast/industrial/studio marketing markets to use a digital acquisition tool like the RED.

As I described in Prague, the work that I and many others in the non-feature world revolves around doing a quality job and then handing the tapes off to a Producer when we are finished. With a digital acquisition format, this step of handing off the day's work is complicated with the necessity to download the footage from CF cards or a harddrive. That in and of itself is not impossible, however, most production companies have invested thousands (or millions) of dollars into post systems that they are very comfortable with. And to be very blunt, not a lot of these people are technically savvy, so the mere "carrot" that the RED image is better than they are used to most likely won't be enough incentive for them to switch over from a tape based post workflow to an all digital post situation.

So my question at the moment is, does the RED company have any plans to market the "process" to the Marketing Departments and other non-narrative production entities in order to ween them into the benefits of their freelance Videographers using RED technology? I know that your primary goal at the moment is to convert the narrative film industry, but it can't be ignored that a large portion of the RED purchasing market is and will be non-narrative cameramen and clients who wish to have a superior image at a very affordable price. Yet even with those positives, the basic issue of the "tape hand off" at the end of a shooting day (B-roll and interviews) is now and may continue to be a major issue that prevents Cameramen such as myself from investing in this technology.

While I would find it an interesting challenge to speak with each of my clients to try to convince them to accept a harddrive in REDCODE as opposed to HDCAM tapes every night, I would think that my task (as well as every other professional Videographer) could be aided with a little bit of marketing help from RED itself, primarily to the movie studio marketing departments and their clients. To put it bluntly, if the studio marketing department require that EPK/DVD vendors use the RED system, then the vendors (and owner operators) will. One of the upsides to using a superior camera like RED is the potential that studio marketing material could finally be projected in theaters either before or after the main feature presentation. But because of capital investments into post workflow systems already in place, it makes it very difficult for Cameramen like myself, to be able to commit an investment into something like RED when there is no guarantee that the clients (movie studios and their vendors) will accept REDCODE on CF cards or harddrives when HDCAM tape (or less, like Digibeta or HDV) had been good enough for years.

So, does RED have any plans/ideas for convincing non-narrative companies to use/convert to an all digital acquisition? I truly want to buy a RED, but without some help at some level, I'm afraid that superior image quality won't be enough to convince clients like mine to switch over to RED.

And again, thanks to you and Jerrod for taking time to answer ALL of my questions in Prague and Chicago. I trust the camera and I trust in you. Now if I can only figure out how to make the thing work for the clients who call me, the world will be a better place. :)
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#2 Ken Willinger

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 04:32 PM

Great post Brian. I'm in a similar position regarding selling this camera system to clients. I have one client on board so far...and that is because he saw the whole system at NAB and was blown away. But all other clients will really be a difficult sell. Currently they all take the tape away at the end of the production day. Convincing them to take away a hard drive with their material will be a tough task.

I've reserved a camera and have a probable delivery date of January. I'm hoping that in that time the reputation for what the camera can do will grow. I've taken a chance I know in going in this direction instead of buying a Varicam or F900 as some of the others in my market have done (I've been an owner/operator for more that 15 years...and can't sell anyone on film anymore). But I believe that digital aquisition is the future with this system being the cutting edge.

A lot of the sell will also rest with the editors. I'm hoping they will love it and press for it as well. It certainly appears to be a great image to work with in post according to those who have recently begun to play with it. But any help Jim and the RED company can put forward in marketing the process will be invaluable. How about it Jim. Any marketing plans to mainstream this product?
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#3 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:14 AM

The way I see it for EFP markets, there are two primary routes:

1. Downconvert to an HDCAM edit master to hand to your clients using a rented HDW1800 (you can rent them from my friend pretty cheap, if you're in the Los Angeles area).

2. Partner with an editor. Have him buy a fast MacPro to edit in ProRes so he can do the finishing for your clients.

Either you buy it, and finish for your clients, or have a partner (usually, After Effects-kinda artists like to own edit bays) do the finishing for you as a "partnered vendor." Until more production companies move from Avid-based bays to ProRes-based bays, there will be no economic workflow option for the bulk of the EFP market for RED. As far as I know, at least in L.A., only boutique shops and reality shows tend to have FinalCut bays. All the broadcast editors I know are still largely Avid-based.

Edited by Ralph Oshiro, 12 September 2007 - 01:14 AM.

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#4 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:28 AM

Until more production companies move from Avid-based bays to ProRes-based bays, there will be no economic workflow option for the bulk of the EFP market for RED. As far as I know, at least in L.A., only boutique shops and reality shows tend to have FinalCut bays. All the broadcast editors I know are still largely Avid-based.

Actually, to clarify, what I meant to say, was that there is not now an installed base of ProRes-ready machines in Hollywood (or your local equivalent, media-centric community). And I don't expect there to be any for at least a while. Either RED owners will have to accomodate their clients, or their clients will have to accomodate their vendors. Of course, there are many scenarios in the EFP market, and many things may start to change as both ProRes becomes more popular, and as EFP markets become aware of RED-based production. But, I wouldn't expect any kind of large-scale "awakening" of the EFP market, to suddenly gear up to accomodate RED's workflow. That's not to say, that it isn't worth, perhaps, even doing some "evangelizing" to the larger production companies with whom you do business, to, "think about the future," and to consider how RED-sourced material may somehow benefit their product, or how by accomodating RED workflow, provide them with some measurable marketing or competitive advantage.

Edited by Ralph Oshiro, 12 September 2007 - 01:28 AM.

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#5 John Cummings

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:59 AM

I know it will be long, tough sell to some of my clients who have invested huge sums of money, time and effort into creating an Avid/HDCam infrastructure that they still haven't seen their ROI from. I'm sure Avid will eventually take their customers by the hand and include a RED workflow through incremental and costly (the Avid way) updates.

I think many producers are happy as hell right now just being able to finally compete in the 1080 marketplace. And yes, for now and the near future, that marketplace loves tape.

Edited by John Cummings, 12 September 2007 - 09:01 AM.

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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:57 AM

The way I see it for EFP markets, there are two primary routes:

1. Downconvert to an HDCAM edit master to hand to your clients using a rented HDW1800 (you can rent them from my friend pretty cheap, if you're in the Los Angeles area).


Again, that's a bit of time that clients would wonder what the point is. They'd ask why bother shooting in a digital format when the material is going to HDCAM anyway AND it would take twice the time (shooting time plus transfer time) to get the footage than if they (we) just used an F900 anyway. I suppose in interview situations it wouldn't be out of the question to go straight to a stand alone deck, but for B-roll (handheld, Steadicam, run-n-gun), that lack of an onboard VCR takes us back to having to hand off harddrives/CF cards and asking the client to return them asap.

The only other potential viable option that has come to mind is to try to dump material during the day as we go then perhaps burn onto DVDs? But I don't know how practical or time consuming that would be given the amount of info, even if shooting in 2K mode.


As far as I know, at least in L.A., only boutique shops and reality shows tend to have FinalCut bays. All the broadcast editors I know are still largely Avid-based.

That's my experience as well. They've all got a lot of capital wrapped up in Avid, but I don't see that as the main problem, at least not as important as the basic issue of getting footage from A to B in a timely fashion.


I suppose what I'd really like to see is a RED workshop that takes owner/operators (and hopefully Vendors and post-houses) through the whole workflow process so that we could at least try to make that sales pitch to EFP vendors. At the moment, I just don't have enough hard information (what software the clients need, real download times, etc) to be able to go talk with anyone intelligently about it.
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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 12:13 PM

.... the basic issue of getting footage from A to B in a timely fashion.

Have you looked at S.two for that?

http://www.stwo-corp.com/




-- J.S.
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:52 PM

Have you looked at S.two for that?

http://www.stwo-corp.com/
-- J.S.


Perhaps this is an area where the SI-2K would have an advantage on the productions only need 2k. It uses hard drives which have cost compariable to tape for the overall record times and these could be regarded just as recording media.
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#9 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 04:44 PM

Brian:

While I don't thnk RED is necessarily targeted at the EFP market at first glance, I think that will change. Abeit, perhaps, a bit slowly. I think perhaps one tactic may be to actually seek out clients that are more likely to embrace both the upgrade in quality, and the added workflow. Production companie who supply the major HD outlets, and others who want their masters continue to be marketable in the coming all-HD future of cable/TV/HD media. Although I didn't buy my RED to necessarily market myself as an owner/operator (I'd rather it just sit on a sound stage somewhere, without me, and earn money), that's the approach I would take. My own commercial interests for RED are actually non-Hollywood applications.

As far as workshops, I'm sure something will pop up at a local vendor soon. There's far too much interest in this product, and the product technically is certainly complex enough to warrant several money-making workshops to be had in the L.A. area. I've always enjoyed attending the (free) Moviola open houses and workshops. Maybe something like that. Also, since many of the big L.A. rental houses are rumored to have an ample amount of RED reservations, I'm sure they'll be motivated to get their customers informed about the product as well, and will likely hold similar workshops.

I work for network broadcast show. One of the editors became excited about RED, independent of me, and is lobbying the bosses to purchase a full-blown MacPro system, in addition to our plethora of Avids. You know, an 8-core, 16GB RAM, 30" dual-CinemaDisplay kinda system. Hey, if they buy it, they might even use it! If they have FCS and ProRes, then they may even want some RED footage shot for it!
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