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Red - it's grotesquely incompetent


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 07:10 PM

So I got the chance to play briefly with a Red at VideoForum.

It rendered the pinkish discharge lights as bright yellow.

Most of the I/O still doesn't work.

It takes minutes on end to boot.

And from what I've seen on the Red User forum - images the acolytes fawn over - the images are clippy, over-demosaicked, if you see what I mean, soft, and generally quite unpleasant.

From this we can conclude:

- When we said at NAB 06 that it wouldn't be finished for NAB 07, we were right. It isn't finished now and probably won't be for a year. I'm not sure how much more right we have to have been proven before people accept it.

- The pictures are just beyond crap. Horrible bright yellow screaming highlights and clippiness, mushy 2K scaled up to 4K.

In short it's a very cheap, very nasty cellphone type CMOS camera that happens to go at 24fps.

See also http://www.cinematog...t=0#entry218671

Phil
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:05 PM

Wow Phil! ha ha

That's the most negative user review of the Red I've seen thus far. Do you have examples of any footage you might have captured?
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:07 PM

Here we go again.

Do you know the amount of (good) publicity posts like these generate for the RED camera? I mean, you can just ignore it and let it crash and burn if it will . . .

I now believe Phil is directly employed by RED to promote its camera through reverse psychology: the more Phil (and his co-operatives) undermine it, the more people will want to prove him/ them wrong and want to believe in IT. RED camera: true savior of indie film making!!!!

If Phil is not getting a fat check from Jannard . . . Well, sorry, but they duped him! All this publicity and nothing in return . . .

Had the Romans let Christ live, the rest of the world would have never heard of him and we would have been spared. It was by making him a martyr that the LEGEND was born.

Edited by saulie rodgar, 19 February 2008 - 09:09 PM.

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#4 Christopher Santucci

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:17 PM

I think it's light years away from being a fully functional camera system. By the time they get the bugs worked out, it'll be obsolete.

So much for an "obsolete-proof" camera.

.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 11:09 PM

I think it's light years away from being a fully functional camera system. By the time they get the bugs worked out, it'll be obsolete..


I think we have a long while before 4K comes close to being obsolete. Hopefully they can just keep up on the firmware, data processing & workflow advances as they come :)
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#6 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:10 AM

Hater-Aide comes in five burning flavors now (green, blue, yellow, orange, red) Hater-Aide red is clearly the strongest available, just ask Phil, I had some Tennessee boot moonshine back a few months ago that nearly led to a knife / angle iron fight but maybe hater aide red is more widely available.

-Rob-
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#7 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:23 AM

So Phil are you saying RED is the Monster Cable of cameras? :)
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#8 Sean Morris

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:59 AM

RED is the Monster Cable of cameras? :)



Hahaha thats the funnest poop i've read all week, I was buying a plasma last month and I got the monster cable lecture from the sales rep..enough said!

Cheers
Sean
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#9 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 04:39 AM

I love when they try to sell me speaker cable worth more money then the speakers I just bought . . . or my personal fav. - the $10,000 silver 6' speaker cable (for a pair).
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:22 AM

While my monster cable reference was a joke, there is a serious side to it to. Today most folks seem to be taken by marketing. They absorb marketing and simply make it part of their syntax, without any real question, and often without any personal experience or testing of the equipment they talk about. That can be good for general knowledge and dangerous as it creates a very biased "truth". Mind you this post is not about RED. I have little use for a RED camera in my work. I recently had the pleasure of playing with a RED camera for a few days (loaned to me by a company that owns every gadget they sell). My post and reference to Monster Cables is about perceptions and about marketing. I'm not taking the side of "companies market stuff and you believe it" as much as I am saying that "companies have been marketing stuff to you and you've lost your perspective". Part of this is their fault and part yours. The 'You've' in this discussion is not anyone in particular and not Phil who started this post. It's everyone, sometimes me included.

Fifteen years ago there were two types of cameras; professional cameras and consumer cameras. Then companies created the marketing term of prosumer; kind of pro but with features and ergonomics that made it sort of like consumer. Then the marketing literature started to blur the lines of pro and consumer. And then they started to make cameras that by name had specs that sounded like cameras fifty times the price. And guess what? Folks started to forget reality and believed that a $3k camera was equal to a $60k camera. Not only did they believe it, they fought others who said it wasn't true. Fought till they were blue in the face. The web did not help. The web is like a sexually transmitted virus. Someone says something and everyone adds it to their lexicon without any personal experience, like a big orgy based on one story in Penthouse. But who knows if that story has any validity in the first place. And now you have hundreds of 'virgins' all talking about sex with such detail that you have to wonder, if you never had sex, how do you know this. The web is dangerous because it allows people with no experience to have 'knowledge' with a simple Google search.

Some would say they have seen footage from a $3k camera and it looks identical to them than a $60k camera. That might be true. But most of those folks who say this don't sit both cameras down, tweak them both to see the world the best they could, and then make comparisons. But the issue here for me is not comparisons, but the osmosis of marketing literature as fact and how we are so clouded to reality that the marketers have caused us perpetual blurring of reality.

Yes there are plenty of great cameras for $6k that make great pictures. And there are great $250k cameras that make great pictures. But somewhere along the line we lost terms like professional and prosumer and all the other categories that gave us an idea of what we were dealing with. I had a major manufacturer recently tell me to stop using the term "prosumer" because it is outdated. I don't think it is outdated, just non existent as manufacturers only want everyone to use the term "professional".

But after one takes off the 'blurring glasses' that many wear, one fact is still often true; you get what you pay for. Even more important is the phrase, you can't expect more than what you pay for.

Today I see post after post of people wondering why a $1k HD camera doesn't have this feature, or do this, or that. And how could they not have a detachable lens? Are these folks kidding? Have they shot up too much heroin? No, they are simply repeated victims of marketing. Years of marketing has so confused their senses that they forgot that a $1k camera is a $1k camera. Say what you want but that is it. It's a 1k camera, not designed to make features, or go to Mars, but to make great pictures for a camera in the $1k price range.

So how does this relate to products like RED for me? Well no one promised me RED was anything more than a $15k body that you had many options ot put all sorts of lens and accessories on. It had 2k and 4k capabilities. Basically it was some great features you saw in much more expensive cameras for a lesser price; no different than what the HVX200 was sold as. And beyond that, to me it's simply web vomit. Story after story that is said and believed until a fairy tail becomes reality, and folks believe it. Great for RED marketing, but bad for reality and the ultimate disappointments some have met. Disappointment not because a product never did what what promised, but because of the web-tually transmitted disease, could never live up to the Cinderella like fantasy that became so real, that people slept with pink slippers on their feet. And now those folks feet hurt, not because Cinderella is a bad story, but because they somehow actually think its true. Not the fault of the authors of the book just as anyones disappointment with RED is not due to the folks at RED not making the product they set out to, only them being infected with a marketing disease and the webs constant mis-information.

Here are two truths. Monster cables do nothing more than any other cable like it, you are simply paying a lot of money to a company that created marketing called "specs-manship". That means that if you can prove on paper that your product performs in a certain way, under certain circumstances (usually in a laboratory environment), you can claim superior performance and a resulting premium market price. Of course its absurd but marketing convinces folks of this everyday and they sell $10 cables for $150 to suckers far faster than the line for RED cameras when they first were announced.

Second, RED is a great camera for the price. It is not anything more than what it is sold as, but marketing and the web virus has most folks out of touch with that that reality is.

And here is the best thing of all, if RED is not the camera you thought it should be, there are so many other great choices out there.

And as always you get what you pay for. Don't expect a box of chocolate when you only pay for one piece, REGARDLESS OF WHAT MARKETING TELLS YOU!
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:27 AM

I think this proves the technical point rather elegantly:

http://gunshotfx.com/red/

There is only the tiniest, most microscopic and insignificant resolution increase in the direct "4K" over the resampled version. Ergo, it's not a 4K camera - it's not even a 3K camera. It's right there for everyone to look at.

Needless to say, marketeers are rarely dissuaded by mere facts.

Phil
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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:54 AM

I think this proves the technical point rather elegantly:

http://gunshotfx.com/red/

There is only the tiniest, most microscopic and insignificant resolution increase in the direct "4K" over the resampled version. Ergo, it's not a 4K camera - it's not even a 3K camera. It's right there for everyone to look at.

Needless to say, marketeers are rarely dissuaded by mere facts.

Phil


To me this prove nothing. Sort of like tell me how a movie looks based on the DVD. I have yet to see a movie on DVD that looked like it does on a big screen in terms of color, asthetics, etc. If you set up a 1080p monitor next to a 720p monitor and feed the same signal to both, not a person in the room would see the difference? Does that prove anything? And more importantly what doesn't it prove? This is sort of like the folks who use a HVX200 and can't see the difference or the difference they expect between 1080 and 720 modes. Showing me a 4k resolution on a 4 inch picture on a computer monitor is about as unscientific a test as you get. Tell me the methods used, and then show me that footage in a situation where it MAKES a difference, and I'll show you why the web movie 'test' does nothing and the proper use of 4k does.

As for the marketing of 4k, other than the PIXAR who still doesn't need to use 4k, it's a marketing term. It means little to most all motion picture work today and for the foreseeable future.

Or said another way, how do you tell the difference between authentic Oakley glasses and a well made rip-off often called Foakleys?


1. All new and genuine Oakley eyewear is always supplied with a microfibre cleaning pouch/bag, paper box, warranty and mailing card. The cleaning pouch has a large 'O' label/tag that can easily be seen. The picture below shows genuine Oakley packaging and documentation.

2. Look for the premium Oakley Dealer logo (below) to know that the seller specializes in the sale of genuine Oakley eyewear, some genuine sellers do not have this logo, if they do, even better.

3. Genuine geniune Oakley frames have the 'O' symbol on the arms. This is a regular design feature in all Oakley eyewear to distinguish Oakley frames from other brands and replicas. See picture below for example of genuine 'O' symbol.

4. The most common method to spot any fake designer eyewear is to ensure that the sale price is not too good to be true. If it is, ask yourself why someone wants less than the average online price.

Notice none of the ways to spot a fake have anything to do with the glasses themselves. Today anyone can knock off a pair of sunglasses to the original manufactures standards and at that point only the manufacture would say there was a difference (think Monster).

How do you tell the difference between 2k and 4k? Look for the genuine label. Outside of that, it matters little as 4k simply isn't something we need in most all of today's acquisition. Can someone use it? Sure, and there are methods to get the most out of it, just don't expect to see a difference in a web movie.
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#13 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:54 AM

I had a play with Red at Video Forum at Earls Court too, bizarly it was being completly ignored. After all the raving from NAB I was expecting it to be surrounded by crowds.

It was getting less attention than the Sony EX1.

Would like to see some proper tests of its capabilities though, a film out and a 2K digital projection.
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#14 Thomas Worth

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 11:32 AM

This is sort of like the folks who use a HVX200 and can't see the difference or the difference they expect between 1080 and 720 modes.

The HVX200 can't really do 1080p. It's got standard def CCDs, so 1080p out of the camera is just massively interpolated SD using what little bit of pixel shift Panasonic could squeeze out of it.

Any camera can do 4K if you take the footage and scale it to 4K using software. That doesn't mean you're going to get any more detail -- even though the frame is physically larger.

Seeing it on a big screen isn't going to show anything that an LCD panel mapping each pixel 1:1 doesn't show.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 11:52 AM

What gets me about is that the nasty, over-enhanced highlights in the eyes are clippy and unpleasant in the not-4K version, but by the time you've downsampled it and blown it back up again, it's softened them off. These images are materially improved by being resampled like that.

What's going on here is beyond belief. Anyone who has internet access is free to load [name deleted to protect the guilty]'s page and view the direct comparison and it's still doubted.



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#16 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:26 PM

The HVX200 can't really do 1080p. It's got standard def CCDs, so 1080p out of the camera is just massively interpolated SD using what little bit of pixel shift Panasonic could squeeze out of it.


And that is part of my point. Maybe all the hype and marketing of RED is just that and after the dust settles as it is now, we are finding that RED has many of the same issues as other tools and isn't the future of motion pictures as marketing and the web virus that makes myths into reality has predicted, just another tool in the $40k range, and with that a $40k tool that like an HVX and 1080 is more squinting your eyes to see it 'do it' than hard facts.

But to me 4k was like introducing a camera that does 10,028x14,400. Who really needs it, and more importantly, is there a chain to actually make it work.

But then again, it's all far too much concentration on the tool and not the carpenter. I put a hammer in my yard last year. But as of this date I don't see the shed I need built and the hammer is rusting.
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#17 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:29 PM

What gets me about is that the nasty, over-enhanced highlights in the eyes are clippy and unpleasant in the not-4K version, but by the time you've downsampled it and blown it back up again, it's softened them off. These images are materially improved by being resampled like that.

What's going on here is beyond belief. Anyone who has internet access is free to load [name deleted to protect the guilty]'s page and view the direct comparison and it's still doubted.



How are we to know this wasn't shot slightly out of focus, or on shitty lenses which can't resolve 4k anyway?

The fact that the person who did the test is not standing by it with their real name does not exactly inspire confidence in the accuracy and objectivity of this test.

R.
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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:33 PM

I had a play with Red at Video Forum at Earls Court too, bizarly it was being completly ignored. After all the raving from NAB I was expecting it to be surrounded by crowds.

It was getting less attention than the Sony EX1.

Would like to see some proper tests of its capabilities though, a film out and a 2K digital projection.


To be fair, this is England so nobody can really afford to buy a red.
The EX1 on the other hand is a sort of intresting camera at a much lower price.

love

Freya
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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:35 PM

How are we to know this wasn't shot slightly out of focus, or on shitty lenses which can't resolve 4k anyway?

The fact that the person who did the test is not standing by it with their real name does not exactly inspire confidence in the accuracy and objectivity of this test.
RuairĂ­ Robinson
Oscar Loser.



Shut up you Oscar loser!!! :)

I love your signature. Why can't we wear the term as proud as we do winner? Love it!!
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#20 Thomas Worth

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:26 PM

How are we to know this wasn't shot slightly out of focus, or on shitty lenses which can't resolve 4k anyway?

The fact that the person who did the test is not standing by it with their real name does not exactly inspire confidence in the accuracy and objectivity of this test.

Phil was being nice by trying to not make me look like an "accomplice," but I don't mind explaining what's going on here.

Let me just say this before I continue:

I neither endorse nor denounce RED or its products. I am simply doing my own testing, the results of which I choose to share with the community. I am trying to conduct my tests in an objective manner. As I mentioned, I don't have anything against RED, I am simply reporting my findings.

I found the footage here:

http://www.reduser.n...ighlight=birger

The camera was equipped with the Birger Engineering Canon EOS mount and L Series Canon lenses (according to the post). Regarding your point about the glass being poor, you are free to do a web search for photos shot with L Series glass and make that call for yourself. I already did that, in fact, and posted a still that shows the difference in resolution using a Canon 5D still. I understand the 5D uses a larger sensor, but despite this the results still aren't surprising considering the RED uses a Bayer-filtered 4K sensor, and the Canon a 12K sensor (~12K / 3 for R,G,B = ~4K). I chose the 5D image as the control because I knew it could create a true 4K image from a Bayer-filtered 12K sensor.

As to the "out of focus" question, I believe the lens was focused properly because all of the other frames in that thread show similar results.

I encourage anyone to repeat this test, hopefully with the highest quality RED footage they can find, and with the highest quality lenses they can find. You certainly don't have to take my word for it. Anyone can easily duplicate this test.
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