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#1 Josh Gannon

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 12:11 AM

First a little background on myself.

I am a young cinematographer (Not many shoots under my belt) who graduated from the Queensland College of Art (Griffith Film School) last year and was mentored by John Stokes ACS, I currently work at a rental house in Sydney. I have pretty much stuck to Kodak film over my very short career (So far).

We are the first camera house in Australia to offer the red for hire and I have recently had the opportunity to have a good play with the camera (even if it was just outside the front door of my workplace.)

I wanted to offer my opinion on the camera which doesn't have to be taken seriously due to my lack of experience but here it is anyway.

First of all here is a link to a short clip.

http://www.box.net/shared/z3isx0xcsi

Clip Details.

Hand held
Total size 61MB
Shot 2K @ 75fps Redcode "RAW" on a sandisk 8Gb compact flash card.
Lens: 11 - 110mm Zeiss S16 full stick @ f8 - no filters
Slight in camera colour adjust to my liking, whitebalnce @ 5600 degrees (standard daylight setting)
Exposure setting @ 320 ASA (Default)

Playback is in H.264 720p @ 9826kb/s 24fps "Lossless" output from Redcine - slight colour grade with no change of exposure or contrast. (colour is a little weak after compression, it looks much more saturated in Redcine and I still haven't had a good play with the output setttings)

OK, this is my PERSONAL opinion.

1. For the price this camera, it beats any digital camera hands down that I have ever shot with.

2. Unfortunately the high compression ratio (12:1 Motion Jpeg) lets it down big time, but I consider the issue lies with the fact that there is currently no storage format the can handle a full 4K data rate (306 MB/s).

3. The redcode RAW shouldn't be considered a RAW format like those you get from from a Canon or Nikon digital SLR. The Bayer date is the first thing to be lost due to compression. Therefore there is very little play in the "RAW" converter. I found that you couldn't push 1/2 a stop under or over in Redcine. So get your exposures spot on.

4. The camera feels cheap, but of course it is cheap, this can be taken as a pro or a con. the PL mount is absolute garbage, but from what I have read, this has been replaced on newer versions / upgrades. Using shims to get the back focus on cine lenses is just not practical. Also, the back focus seems to slip as the camera warms up.

5. The Red lenses... Forget it. You get what you pay for with glass and thats exactly the case with theses lenses. Stick a Ultra Prime of the from of it, fantastic, any cine lens performs as you would expect.

6. It is very noisy and it gets very hot, the fans do shut of when you press the big red button but how long can you shoot on a hot day in a sound stage before this thing over heats and melts itself.

7. The V-Lock battery mount is loose and again feels cheap. we had to replace the battery mount on our camera with a Swit V lock mount, because the slightest bump would shut the camera down. Again I believe this has been rectified by Red.

8. It is heavy, No different to shooting with a Arri 435 on the shoulder, probably a bit heavier, But because of it's modular system you can balance it, which is cool.

9. The sensor is way to exposed with no lens or bung on the camera, yes you can clean it with a expensive butterfly brush but I would like some kind of protect over the sensor so I can simply give it a good blast of compressed air to clean it.

11. Last but not least, is latitude, please correct me if I'm wrong but after compression I only could measure 5 - 6 stops. the same as any other digital camera. (see footage)


My overall opinion is that for a cheap camera, this thing rocks, it has it's own 'look' which isn't video or film so when they fix a few problems, and the aesthetic is right for the story your telling... It has a lot of potential to be a great production camera.

However it's still along way from the look of neg. (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, again in my opinion, it depends on the look you're going for)



I'd would thoroughly enjoy some feedback back but please don't make this a another video v film war. They are different mediums for different purposes.



Thanks for reading.
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#2 Seung Han

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 01:13 AM

Hey Josh,

Thanks for taking the time to post this type of feedback. As a res holder, your honesty is certainly appreciated. I was wondering if you could go into more detail specifically about:

- where you got the info about RED's compression scheme (12:1 MPEG..)

- the noise level when off 1/2 a stop

- why we should 'forget' about the RED lens (which one did you use and what were the issues)

- and also you mention the camera feels 'cheap' several times, can you elaborate on this as well.

Also, your footage looks soft. Do you think this is due to the PL mount / back focus issues?

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

I would also be curious if you could post this on reduser.net, not to stir the hornet's nest, but just to get more perspective on your opinions.

Edited by Seung Han, 08 December 2007 - 01:15 AM.

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#3 Jim Jannard

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 01:47 AM

Josh... thanks for your post. Do you know which firmware you used?

2. Unfortunately the high compression ratio (12:1 Motion Jpeg) lets it down big time, but I consider the issue lies with the fact that there is currently no storage format the can handle a full 4K data rate (306 MB/s).
We don't use Motion Jpeg for compression.

4. The camera feels cheap, but of course it is cheap, this can be taken as a pro or a con. the PL mount is absolute garbage, but from what I have read, this has been replaced on newer versions / upgrades. Using shims to get the back focus on cine lenses is just not practical. Also, the back focus seems to slip as the camera warms up.
While I would disagree that the mount is absolute garbage, I do agree that using shims is not ideal. We are shipping all cameras in the future with our new mount. And the camera you used is being replaced at N/C due to a variety of upgrades.

5. The Red lenses... Forget it. You get what you pay for with glass and thats exactly the case with theses lenses. Stick a Ultra Prime of the from of it, fantastic, any cine lens performs as you would expect.
Which RED lens did you use?

6. It is very noisy and it gets very hot, the fans do shut of when you press the big red button but how long can you shoot on a hot day in a sound stage before this thing over heats and melts itself.
This sounds like the original firmware/fan issue. Again, which firmware was loaded on the camera? We have corrected the fan issue (posted about two months ago).

8. It is heavy, No different to shooting with a Arri 435 on the shoulder, probably a bit heavier, But because of it's modular system you can balance it, which is cool.
Body weighs 10 pounds.

9. The sensor is way to exposed with no lens or bung on the camera, yes you can clean it with a expensive butterfly brush but I would like some kind of protect over the sensor so I can simply give it a good blast of compressed air to clean it.
The sensor is fully protected by the IR/LP filter. The filter is what you cleaned.

11. Last but not least, is latitude, please correct me if I'm wrong but after compression I only could measure 5 - 6 stops. the same as any other digital camera. (see footage)
I need to correct you on this one. And without knowing how this footage was processed it is hard to tell where the quality was lost. Steven Soderbergh shot his last two movies "all RED" and is shooting his next movie with Matt Damon "all RED" because of the quality of image he was able to get the last 5 months. "The Game" is being shot on RED for the same reasons. There are several things you can to lose quality in post so it would be good to know how this was processed.

Jim

Edited by Jim Jannard, 08 December 2007 - 01:49 AM.

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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 03:18 AM

5. The Red lenses... Forget it. You get what you pay for with glass and thats exactly the case with theses lenses. Stick a Ultra Prime of the from of it, fantastic, any cine lens performs as you would expect.
Which RED lens did you use?


Hi Jim,

AFAIK there are only 2 Red lenses available the 18 - 50 & the 300 prime. Sounds like he is talking about the Zoom.

BTW will the new Red primes have witness marks on the focus scale & accurate T stop markings?

Stephen
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#5 Gavin Greenwalt

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 03:24 AM

5-6 stops seems way low. I have lots of footage sitting on a drive right next to me with at least 6 stops. I would say 8-10 depending on the color temperature. I'm seeing shadows into white wall in direct sunlight.

The DVX 100 has about 5-6 stops and it has a lot less latitude than RED.

My own 'personal crusade' is to evaluate filtration because I'm speculating that part of the 'ugly digital clipping' has to do with different channels clipping at different points where film tends to do a bit better on neutrally exposed highlights. Or filtration will be a complete disaster. But if you were so inclined try throwing on a magenta filter next time and post your results.

- Gavin *continuing his series of proxy camera testing* Greenwalt.
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#6 Josh Gannon

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 04:04 AM

Hi Jim,

No need to be so defensive, I was only giving and honest opinion about what I thought about your camera and again I will state, for the price of the camera, what you have developed is indeed a fantastic machine.

As for your comments and again please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm in no way being negative about the RED.

I understand that your codec is not "Motion JPEG" but as far as the information I have been able to gather, it is a Motion JPEG derived format similar to Cineform, and I only wrote that in the same way that I would classify Panasonics AVC intra H.264 as an Mpeg 4 compression codec, I apolagise for not being specific.
If I am incorrect please shed some light of what codec the RED uses and where it was derived from.

The PL mount, I applauded you for taking note of it weaknesses, hence why your upgrading it, I am used to (as most cinematographers would be) the quality of mount you would find an an Arri or Aaton, regardless, I already stated in my first post that you are rectifying this problem so I don't understand your rebuttal from my comment.

Regardless of which lens I used, you cannot seriously tell me that it's going to compare to Zeiss glass, again this is not a bad thing because of the price. If anything I would compare it to the standard glass that you would come pakaged with a Canon ditial SLR which doesn't compare to the L lenses that Canon sell at a much higher price. Anyway, if your lenses where up to spec with Ziess quality glass I would image that you would have put a proprietry mount on your camera.

But again I applaud your design and forethought and that you did put a PL mount on the RED so we can used extreamly high quality lenses.

The firmware is the current release version upgraded from the files on the RED web site, (not the BETA version) regardless, I was asking a question which I will repeat, how long will the camera run on a hot day, during a take, without the fans running (ie. quiet or silent mode). Once again this is just a question and not negative criticism.

Weight. Yes the camera is reasonably light. My point was that when it's kitted up. ie rails, RED cage, monitor (which I personally think is great, and can't wait for the viewfinder), Matte box, Follow focus, top rails, and cables etc, it doesn't weigh 10 pounds anymore, it is consistent with a light film camera.

The sensor, thank you for clarifying that there if a filter over the sensor, I did suspect as much, but can I hit it with a blast of air to clear dust off it?

Last of all, Lattitude. the response you wrote had nothing to do with the latitude of the camera, I don't have an issue with the resolution or the quality directly out of the camera. And I really don't care what Steven Soderburgh has to say unless I am in a one on one conversation with him (because everything else is hearsay) . I like to learn things for myself. Again my point was that after REDCODE "RAW" compression with images I measured in REDCINE, I could only count 6 stops at maximum (if anyone can post and image with a lower contrast then that, then please correct me)

As far as processing the footage, I used your software, which I stated in my original post. Again, I wasn't having a dig at the quality of the footage I was simply messuring the L ATTITUDE. But on the same token vision 2 doesn't practically have the 11 stops that Kodak claim.


I am comparing your camera to 35mm, which I thought was the market that you were trying to break into, and I would hope that a bit of constructive criticism was welcome.



Anyway, Good job Jim, you and your team have defiantly created a great camera and I look forward to it getting even better.
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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 04:07 AM

Steven Soderbergh shot his last two movies "all RED" and is shooting his next movie with Matt Damon "all RED" because of the quality of image he was able to get the last 5 months."The Game" is being shot on RED for the same reasons. .[/b]

Jim



Game is shooting on RED because of it is high quality image acquisition, BUT in great part due to its thematic content (Sci-Fi / video-games) and incredibly high CGI post production requirements, which call for that look. I can tell you that because I prepped that movie and there was a lot of talk about shooting on HD, WHICH MADE SENSE FOR THAT PARTICULAR MOVIE. Also I have looked at some of the footage created with a RED for the movie Dark Country, which also calls for a lot of special efx. Wasn't particularly impressed. Looked sterile and stark, with some garish-video looking colors, reds particularly. Lots of sharpness, contrast and latitude, for sure. I can't speak for Soderbergh's projects, but it looks like it is more of a situation where the camera is used when called for specifically, for its "look." So it looks like is being used in a case-by-case scenario, and not an across the board situation. Just wanted to clarify that. I don't think is the right camera for EVERY project, as some would claim.

It does seem like you have a winner product in its class, though.

I just hate this black or white world where RED users and pundits call your product the "slayer of film". Two different mediums, two different looks, for two different uses; in my humble opinion.

Cheers!

Edited by saulie rodgar, 08 December 2007 - 04:09 AM.

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#8 Josh Gannon

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 04:52 AM

Hi Seung,

I just wanted to answer a few of your questions that I didn't cover in my last post.

I calculated the compression scheme based on a true RAW film scan which again is around 305MB/s compared to REDCODE "RAW" which records at 28MB/s, only Jim can give the information on the codec which I pretty damn sure isn't MPEG.

Noise ratio - I was commenting on what happens in the "RAW" converter (REDCINE) when you try and push the footage in POST, as far as I can see in camera the noise ratio is very low when under exposed but I haven't measured so I'm not willing to comment, but you get pretty good black.

From my personal experience the highlights still clip.

The quality of the camera - this camera is only US$17,500, it is fantastic for the price but don't expect the quality of build you get from a US$250000 - US$500000 Arri/Pana/Sony digital camera, but that should go without saying. One example is that the screws on our new camera have begun rusting already, agian these are things that will be rectified with time and development.

My footage is only soft due to the post compression. nothing to do with the camera or lens mount. Even if the back focus is out you can still get sharps, it only becomes a problem because the focus measurement on the lens become inaccurate. ie, measure 10 feet and it looks soft, go to 12 feet on lens and it's sharp. (This is only an example, in no way am I saying that the back focus on a RED is this far out, besides, it depends on the Lenses focal flange distance) , you can always still focus by eye. This isn't the first and won't be the last digital camera to have this kind of problem and I don't want to get into that. but at full res, the footage is sharp.

Finally I'm not a member of REDuser as I shoot mostly film, but your welcome to copy and paste my post.

I reiterate because some people don't seem to read these posts properly.

RED has a unique LOOK... It isn't video and it isn't film, which isn't a problem or criticism. It all depends on the LOOK you want your film to have.
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#9 Seung Han

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 06:52 AM

Thanks Josh for your response.

My biggest concerns right now would be:

- the noise levels people are mentioning when exposure is slightly off and also the correct ASA rating of the sensor.

- the wide variance in latitude people are reporting back on.

I took some footage to a DI house in Seoul and they were very impressed with Jim's drag racing footage. We viewed it in a baselight suit projected from DLP to a large screen. They finish 60% of Korean films going to theatrical distribution and are now very excited to create a RED workflow.

I also viewed it with a Korean DP I am having initial meetings with about a possible collaboration. He shot 'Bittersweet Life' and is one of the best DPs in Korea. He told me he couldn't tell me anything about dynamic range. He said resolution was great but couldn't comment on anything else from the available footage.

We then invited a select group of top Korean DPs and Post people and the reactions was interesting.

It made me realize post people are hyped over the footage but good DPs are much more critical and need to do their own tests to become believers. I can respect that.

I wish their was more r3d footage shot under different conditions to be analyzed. I thought we would've been flooded with them. Hopefully, soon...
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 12:37 PM

The thing is that the whole number of stops of latitude are partly a marketing device for everyone, Kodak, RED, whatnot, so they are sensitive on the subject. The confusion comes from the difference between how an engineer measures dynamic range and how most working DP's measure it.

Using wedge charts and whatnot, Graeme Nattress at RED was originally reporting 11.3 stops of dynamic range on the RED. Kodak is claiming about 14 stops for Vision2 (maybe 15 for Vision3) using similar measuring techniques probably. I don't think either of them are lying -- they shoot the Stouffer chart, count the little steps of grey they can see, whatever, plot it on a chart, and get their figures. Remember that the last stop of detail at the underexposure end is buried in noise (on digital) or grain (on film) so whether to count it or not is somewhat up to the engineer.

As working DP's, we tend to think of it more broadly, i.e. how many stops over and under can a typical Caucasian face go before there are unusable results -- either clipping at the high end, or noisy murk at the other end. This is why our dynamic range estimates are much lower, more like 10 stops for film (five over and five under maybe) and maybe seven or eight for many decent HD cameras (five under and three over, let's say). For us, that's a workable range.

My initial impressions of RED are that the workable dynamic range does not equal color negative film, but then, RED has never specifically claimed that it did, and other digital cameras on the market don't either. Color negative has another two, maybe three stops, of overexposure latitude basically, over digital cameras.
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#11 Gavin Greenwalt

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 04:53 PM

Josh I completely agree that it's more heavily compressed than I would like to see (and it's in all fairness getting better with each build) but neither Cineform or REDCode/Jpeg2k are Motion Jpeg despite Jpeg2k being called JPEG. I know it's pretty misleading but there is a very significant difference. I could spend a long time explaining or summarise by saying: MJPEG and MPEG (also different from JPEG) fail by making your footage blocky. Cineform and REDCode/JPEG2k make your footage smudgy.

If you want to read more pick up a July/August copy of Showreel Magazine or I posted the article on REDuser.
http://www.reduser.n...read.php?t=4072
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#12 Josh Gannon

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 07:58 PM

Hi Gavin,

My bad, I never intended to write MJPEG but of course JPEG2K, I apologise for this typo.

Thanks for correcting me.
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 08:21 PM

Is your company planning any sort of Industry Evening, to show off your new baby?
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#14 Gavin Greenwalt

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 05:07 AM

Hi Gavin,

My bad, I never intended to write MJPEG but of course JPEG2K, I apologise for this typo.

Thanks for correcting me.


No worries. It's a vocabulary mine field with extremely similarly named standards and products which do completely different things. For instance really Jpeg and Jpeg2k have nothing in common beyond the first 4 letters of their name and the fact that they make images take up less space on a hard drive. JPEG isn't even really the name of the technology it's the name of the organization that created it! It would be like Microsoft releasing a product called "Microsoft" and then calling the new operating system Microsoft2000 by Microsoft.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 11:32 AM

> I consider the issue lies with the fact that there is currently no storage format the can handle a full 4K data rate (306 MB/s).

Don't worry, there's no camera that can shoot it either.

Phil
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#16 Luke Haywood

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 08:57 PM

I see that LEMAC rentals in Sydney are offering the RED One for hire. I don't know if that's the same company.
Somebody is already shooting a feature with them, and they have some interesting downloads of video of the prepping.
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#17 John Sprung

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 05:36 PM

One example is that the screws on our new camera have begun rusting already, ....


Maybe replace them with stainless -- are they standard sizes?

http://www.smithfast.com/ssscrew.htm

I've made non-standard parts out of type 416 free machining stainless. It's not as easy to work as ordinary cold rolled, but nowhere near as nasty as 304 stainless. Work hardening is really miserable.




-- J.S.
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#18 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:56 AM

Luke,

Thanks for the link to the Lemac video. Apparently they have more coming out over the next couple of weeks to show different stages of the process... will be interesting to watch!
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#19 Luke Haywood

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 05:07 AM

Luke,

Thanks for the link to the Lemac video. Apparently they have more coming out over the next couple of weeks to show different stages of the process... will be interesting to watch!

I just Googled { "Red One" Sydney Rental } and it found LEMAC and this Outfit called Red Cam, who don't actually have a camera yet!

It was good to hear from some non-RedHeads who are still interested to see how the camera pans out.

Did you download Josh's Footage? It's amazingly clean and smooth. As people say, it's like a high end DSLR that moves! Do you know what sort of bird that is?
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#20 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:06 AM

> I consider the issue lies with the fact that there is currently no storage format the can handle a full 4K data rate (306 MB/s).

Don't worry, there's no camera that can shoot it either.

Phil



The Phantom 65 is a 10 megapixel 4K camera available at Abel Cine Tech.

http://www.abelcine....p...t&task=view

http://www.visionres...e=camera_65_new
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