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Is the Red a viable option for me?


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#1 Mark Williams

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 04:49 PM

Just how practical is it to use the red camera? For an indie production? Could one person do it all? What I would like to see is a demo film of the red being used and its ease of use? This Camera is a lot of money £15000 and if you made a film for the cinema would presently have to be copied to film. 4K Projection is a way off yet and is at the moment not cost effective for cinema owners. The best HD TVs at present are 1920 x 1080. So anything made over that resolution is unneccesary at present. If the RED cant compete with film on cost? IE expensive post production. Then its not viable? It's another artistic tool..Yes. It certainly does'nt have the film look.

If people are going to make films the camera is the least of their worries. A great script is the real problem. If you have a great script and can afford good actors and a composer with a decent budget then you may get lucky.. If you have a RED camera with no named actors a mediocre script and off the shelf music then your probably 99% sure gonna offload a load of money and the film will crash. SO for many. Me included. A great camera is a way to make films to experiment and perfect your knowledge. NOT to make a feature film? And if I did get a budget for one I would rent a decent 35mm camera OR if I chose to have the Video look IE Processed. I would rent a HD camera? SO what Camera can I buy to experiment with that will give me the ability to view what I make. Ease of use and with the best tools at a competitive price? Is it the Red?

Edited by Mark Collins, 12 November 2007 - 04:52 PM.

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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 07:45 PM

As to practicality, the Red is a fast moving target at the moment. But it's moving in the direction of becoming ever more practical to use. It looks like a great price/performance point for indies. A person who could do it all with, say, an Arri film camera should be able to do about as well with the Red. There's a learning curve, but it's nowhere near as bad as the miles deep menu structures of some of the more mature HD video cameras. HDTV may be 1920 x 1080 at the moment, but shooting higher resolutions than that is a good idea. A downconversion makes its Nyquist limit digitally rather than optically, so can have more top octave sharpness. And if your project has long term value, you'll have a better product for the higher resolution displays of the future. Post production from the Red requires some software that's very expensive by PC or Mac standards, but only slightly more expensive than an HD tape deck. The Red post infrastructure is much less expensive than a telecine suite.

For a starter camera just to learn with, Red is a real stretch. You could go with used DVC Pro stuff for a small fraction of the price. By the time you're ready to sell it again, Red will have evolved quite a bit.




-- J.S.
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#3 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:05 PM

Not sure what you mean "Could one person do it all". You will still need a crew to operate a RED unless all you do is static shots where nobody moves. A first AC is a must on any cam with manual focus lenses. Probably I'd have a dedicated data capture guy as well as this person would more or less take the place of a loader.
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#4 Mark Williams

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:48 AM

John Thanks quite informative Im not looking for a startr camera Im looking for one with a full set of manual controls including dof To be a good cameraman or assistant there is so much to learn. And if you want to direct understanding everything about cinematography is a good idea. and besides I love it anyway. Everything learned can be put to use on a film camera without wasting lots of film.


Adamo
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Not sure what you mean "Could one person do it all".

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Could one person operate the camera? That is record the footage.
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You will still need a crew to operate a RED unless all you do is static shots where nobody moves.

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Why? Do you you always shoot with an inch or two of dof? .
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A first AC is a must on any cam with manual focus lenses.

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You say manual focus so you must mean a focus puller and That depends on if you need one.
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Probably I'd have a dedicated data capture guy as well as this person would more or less take the place of a loader.

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So you need a minimum two people to operate the red?
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 06:01 AM

It's still really early days with these data cameras. I've read of the RED being used (I assume in 2k with HD video lenses) like a EFP camera, but it depends on how it's set up.

£15,000 would be a bit tight for a RED with accessories and lenses. There are a few hidden costs like extra batteries - the camera currently runs for 90 min on a battery, so you'll need a few for a day's filming.

On your budget I would also be tempted by the SI Mini recording onto a laptop. Get a used 16mm zoom and some of the new accessories for the Mini and you've got nice liitle rig that could shoot a feature film.

You don't need to shoot with an extremely shallow DOF, it's just a fashion at the moment.
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#6 Mark Williams

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 07:00 AM

Brian how much would an SI-2K Mini cost?
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#7 Mark Williams

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 07:43 AM

This is the only price I can seem to find?

The SI-2K?, which includes an embedded version of SiliconDVR? recording software and integrated SpeedGrade technology, is $23,500. Orders are currently available with shipping in June. Silicon Imaging is also announcing a special NAB promotional discount of $2000 off the retail price for orders placed by April 30, 2007

Could be more now? How reliable would a camera like this be? Also its a 2/3" chip? I think the RED could be a better option at this price level?
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#8 Michael Most

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:05 AM

The Red post infrastructure is much less expensive than a telecine suite.



The "Red post infrastructure" currently does not exist. The Red software is basically in a late alpha/early beta stage. Any projects currently using Red are either being posted by jumping through a number of hoops, converting to some other format, or not being posted at all. The Apple based post flow is highly incomplete, the Redcine software is still not available, and any other post flow (Avid, for instance) does not exist. The one path that does somewhat work is conforming and color correcting using Assimilate Scratch. If you really want to use a Red now - today - 11/13/07 - you're going to find any post production to be rough going. That could change next week. It could also change next month. Or next year. That's the reality of the world Red has created. The images you capture are indeed very, very good, but actually doing something with them at the moment is another matter entirely.

Bottom line: If you want to complete a project right now, or just want to start something knowing going in how you're going to finish it, Red is not your best choice. SI and all HD cameras already have working post flows that are supported and will get you a finished product, whatever that product needs to be.
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#9 Mark Williams

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:27 AM

Michael can you give some info on the SI Workflow? To get the footage to a filmout or to show on a 1920x 1080 TV.
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:35 AM

You can buy the SI Mini now. The Mini prices did change around IBC, you can check with P & S
http://www.pstechnik...alfilm-si2k.php

The Mini was $14,000, but as I said there has been some price changes, so it's best to check for a current price.

I'd say it's more mature than the RED at the moment, which is still at the beta testing stage and isn't at the fully functional stage.

Of course, all this depends on when you want to shoot a film and if you want to buy a camera now.

The best option is the camera that meets your market's needs. No point in owning a RED if producers want to shoot XDCAM HD on their productions. There's a whole new post workflow that could cause problems if it's not planned out

If you're shooting on your own, 2/3" makes more sense than a 35mm sensor.
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:33 AM

Why? Do you you always shoot with an inch or two of dof? .

Would you shoot 35mm with just a one man crew?

Fact is, sometimes you just don't have enough light to shoot at a deep stop that makes focus-pulling redundant.
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#12 Michael Most

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 11:04 AM

Michael can you give some info on the SI Workflow? To get the footage to a filmout or to show on a 1920x 1080 TV.



All of these devices have their own preferred partner products. If you use Red, you basically are tied into Final Cut because Red is "in bed" with Apple. If you use SI, you are basically tied into Premiere Pro on a PC because that's what Cineform is tightly aligned with. If you use that tool, the workflow is straightforward for a "do it yourselfer," but obviously the product you create is limited in terms of format and quality to what you accomplish on a desktop. If you want professional level finishing, you'll have to export to other formats, such as DPX. If you want details, go to the SI website. It's all explained there.

Because these manufacturers have their preferred partners, the flexibility that we have always had in the post world is becoming a thing of the past, unless you just want to make things difficult for yourself. You can try to make Red files go into an Avid workflow, but you'll encounter a lot of difficulty and you won't get any real support from Red. Conversely, you can try to cut an SI project on Final Cut, but.... well, you know the drill. Will this change? Who knows? Right now, that's just the way it is.
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#13 Mark Williams

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:54 PM

Basicly the Red and the SI are cameras recording to hard drives. Obviously they have other desirable attributes the Red can use a full frame and 35mm /16mm lenses While the SI can do the same with out a full frame. Many commercial cams have HD SDI out. All you really need is a cheap drive like the firestore with the right technology. I think the commercial manufacturers are waiting to see if they need to.. lets hope some computers laptops start coming equiped with HD SDI inputs already built in.
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 02:48 PM

The "Red post infrastructure" currently does not exist.

The Plaster City guys would probably disagree. Once a facility has wrapped their heads around the file centric/FCP thing, they can pop $100K for Scratch, and learn to do Red work. Basically the 1k and 2k proxies are pretty generic. Use them for offline, and assemble the raw stuff in Scratch. Yes, it's new, and it's not a walk in the park. But guys are getting pictures done, and I don't think they're a whole bunch smarter than us. ;-)




-- J.S.
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#15 Michael Most

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 03:46 PM

The Plaster City guys would probably disagree. Once a facility has wrapped their heads around the file centric/FCP thing, they can pop $100K for Scratch, and learn to do Red work. Basically the 1k and 2k proxies are pretty generic. Use them for offline, and assemble the raw stuff in Scratch. Yes, it's new, and it's not a walk in the park. But guys are getting pictures done, and I don't think they're a whole bunch smarter than us. ;-)



John, you know there's a lot more to it than that.

I do have my head around it, we are finishing a feature shooting on Red, we are already doing DI and film out tests (and pretty much have it nailed), and we have a DI theater built around Scratch that feeds from a large SAN, just like they do. But on the front end, you currently have to convert each shot manually (Redcine doesn't exist yet unless you're one of a very chosen few), you have to convert to some other compressor for offline (because you can't play a timeline with the QT wrappers, even though you can play the clips themselves), you have to manually enter the reel number (because it doesn't export properly), and you have to have numerous terabytes of storage. I know at this point, I sure wouldn't even think of doing a television series - or anything with a real turnaround issue - with it. And I wouldn't trust that most experienced editors and assistants would want to go through the extra steps required when compared with the common film workflow of: import ALE, digitize dailies, Done.
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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 06:35 PM

I do have my head around it, we are finishing a feature shooting on Red, we are already doing DI and film out tests (and pretty much have it nailed), and we have a DI theater built around Scratch that feeds from a large SAN, just like they do.

Mike

Can you say which film this is?
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#17 Michael Most

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:03 AM

Mike

Can you say which film this is?


I'd rather not, but I will say it's an independent production currently shooting in Ohio.
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#18 Michel Hafner

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:57 AM

I'd rather not, but I will say it's an independent production currently shooting in Ohio.

How do you like the footage from a technical standpoint?
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#19 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 10:53 AM

The "Red post infrastructure" currently does not exist. The Red software is basically in a late alpha/early beta stage. Any projects currently using Red are either being posted by jumping through a number of hoops, converting to some other format, or not being posted at all. The Apple based post flow is highly incomplete, the Redcine software is still not available, and any other post flow (Avid, for instance) does not exist.


I notice a beta version of REDCINE is now available.
http://www.red.com/support

There's also an operating manual that can be downloaded as well.

Quickly looking through it, those miniature BNC connectors look like they could cause problems when you're in a rush.
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