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#1 Mike Brennan

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 04:12 PM

Now that REDs are becoming available for rent worldwide, Im wondering what we think its major plus and minus points are in its CURRENT state of development, including associated problems.

Ill start off with my impressions not gleaned from personal experience just tlak and web chat...


RED Plus
35mm DoF
High frame rates
Adaptable formats
Price
Plenty of feedback on REDuser as to bugs...
Good viewfinder


RED Minus
Apparently Flakey post performance
Some critical menue operations time consuming.
Lack of coherent opinion as to its dynamic range
Numerous minor bugs with recording camera software and post sofware.
No live 4k or 1920x1080 output.





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#2 Michael Peploe

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 06:16 PM

Shot last weekend with it. I have never had flakey post performance. I took _h proxies converted to prores and edited in FCP with no problems. Fast, easy and proxies converted with compressor were quick to convert and looked great. All on a laptop. This is a wonderful way to work.

Th camera is somewhat complicated regarding making sure all your user settings are the ones you want. You gotta keep on top of it. And please don't say I need a DIT everytime i work with the cam. Thats not gonna happen. Film was film stock, shutter and exposure settings, 24 fps, pretty simple. The RED is a super computer and like most gadgets today there are many shooting options for recording. Depending on your personality you can either take it as a plus or a minus.

Release build 14 seemed rock solid. No bugs cropped up for me.

Regarding dynamic range. I will wait for build 16 to make a comment on it as it is a supposedly image enhancing build. I will say that I am very happy with the images.

Regarding output. This is a difficult thing to get down electronically I think. The lcd is a non standard image size. The code needed to output 1080, 720, and the lcd non standard size all at once is a tough nut for RED or anybody to crack. I will give them this as I think they know and are working on it.

Red Alert has no issues for me. REDCINe I haven't used much and again I will wait for future builds of this as it is still a beta program. Lets see what happens at NAB.

I also hope REd would get serious about getting a professional site up to deal with these very basic questions and rumors. Most rumors I believe are not based on fact and more to do with user/ software settings.. No one actually working regularly is gonna wade through the jungle on REDuser to get any answers. This is not a DVXuser camera. A big mistake that they are still going this way. Now that cams are out a new approach is necessary. But you can call them up 24/7 for questions and if they keep that going all will be well if you can get answers quickly.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 30 March 2008 - 06:20 PM.

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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 04:14 AM

Reading through comments on REDuser;

The camera should be regarded as a 35mm type rig when shooting 4k. The size and weights match up at least with 35mm MOS film cameras.

Some of the more interesting and higher quality accessories coming out at the moment are coming from third parties like ET and Sim video. The cage arrangement seems to work for specialized rigged shots or impressing, but for standard shooting it seems to add unnecessary bulk.

Shooting 2k the RED isn't an ENG camera, it's more EFP.

An aside: I suspect RED found out that the RED One wasn't going to meet the needs of most HVX/HDV users, so the Scarlet is going to address that.
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#4 Keith Walters

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:19 AM

Now that REDs are becoming available for rent worldwide, Im wondering what we think its major plus and minus points are in its CURRENT state of development, including associated problems.

Ill start off with my impressions not gleaned from personal experience just tlak and web chat...


RED Plus
35mm DoF
High frame rates
Adaptable formats
Price
Plenty of feedback on REDuser as to bugs...
Good viewfinder

Reasonably low cost removeable recording media (CF cards)
Media can be re-used with confidence (unlike tape)
CF cards widely compatible with existing PCs
Programs can be entirely edited and burned to Blu-Ray on the one computer.






RED Minus
Apparently Flakey post performance
Some critical menue operations time consuming.
Lack of coherent opinion as to its dynamic range
Numerous minor bugs with recording camera software and post sofware.
No live 4k or 1920x1080 output.
Mike Brennan

Fanboy element detrimental to mainstream professional acceptance.
Access to existing workflow infrastructure inhibited by non-standard delivery format.
No organized after-sales service except FedEx to California.


The last point is probably the most serious concern. At the moment there appears to be no practical means of obtaining front-line service, even in Orange County.

Setting up a worldwide service facility, even just in the major capital cities, is a major undertaking. This is one of the reasons professional video equipment has always been so expensive.

Using existing companies as service agents is possible but problematic.
In most cases they will already have an established customer base (local TV stations, larger production houses etc), who will tend to get priority. I know; I have worked for such companies, (and tried to get work done by such companies).

I doubt there is any specific: "We reserve the right to serve anybody with a bad attitude" policy. In most cases you will get served, but if they take a dislike to you, your job just will not get done. (And if the standard of Fanboy posting on Reduser as well as here is anything to go by, it's a fair bet they will not like most of you).

Probably the only practical service system in the short term is board exchange, but this can be a nightmare for both supplier and customer.

Intermittent faults quite often never get fixed in board repair facilities, because the fault often never shows up. After a while you will start to get the situation where a board is replaced for one intermittent fault, and the replacement has a different intermittent fault.

You might think the policy should be that the board stays there until the fault shows. But then you have to deal with "phantom" faults, where inept members of a film crew claim equipment is faulty to try to disguise some blunder they have made. (The most common example is "batteries that don't hold charge" when somebody either simply forgot to charge them, or they attempt to run an entire Video Village off the camera battery:-)
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:59 AM

Hi,

I have to take issue with a couple of Mr. Walters' comments:

> Media can be re-used with confidence (unlike tape)

Yeah, but it's not really an apples to apples comparison - you can afford not to reuse tape; you can't realistically afford not to reuse CF cards and there was never any intention that you should. It's just not a fair comparison.

> Programs can be entirely edited and burned to Blu-Ray on the one computer.

Well, sheesh, yeah, but you can do that with more or less any camera system you like, give or take the transfer step for 35. The fact that it isn't often done doesn't mean it can't be done.

P
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#6 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:20 AM

Access to existing workflow infrastructure inhibited by non-standard delivery format.



Not sure what that means. Sounds important but I can't see where you're going. Are you talking about an SDK for the RED. This has been stated as coming. They just want to lock in the code so no 3rd parties coming screaming with issues. Fair.

If this is not a correct assumption then I can't see any problems with (access to workflow infrastructures?). Red software is free to anyone. Can be edited an pc and macs. Proxies let you edit footage immediately. Redcine lets you one light color correct/gamma tweak/sharpen/choose lin or log and take your raw footage and convert to any deliverable format you want, from dpx for film deliverable to HDCAm to dv. Create edl go to post house, pretty simple if you got money. Don't have money its simple too: One light raw-convert to format of your need- wait a long while for conversion-edit -color correct-output. With the understanding of the limitations or non limitations of your computer power and editing software.

And regarding a camera going down. Projects with money always have a spare body around. Projects without money will take their chances. But RED has given loaners out when cameras have gone down outside of Orange county, yet you'll have to wait a day for it to arrive though. And ultimately with so many REds out there, the possibilities of having a RED nearby just in case, is growing. So save yourself $30,000, the real minimum price of the camera without a lens, and rent a RED to your hearts content.
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#7 Gary McClurg

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 11:32 AM

And regarding a camera going down. Projects with money always have a spare body around. Projects without money will take their chances. But RED has given loaners out when cameras have gone down outside of Orange county, yet you'll have to wait a day for it to arrive though.


Wow waiting a day for a camera... you must have nice investors... or a really nice studio behind you...

Hmm... a day for me can be from $20k a day and up...

So really all these guys who think they're going to rent their camera better have a back up plan... because I'm not paying crew, talent, etc. for an extra day... that's why if I rented a Red I'd go to a rental house.. that I've worked with before to make sure I'm only down an hour at most...
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#8 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 11:58 AM

Oh Gary please stop misreading and misrepresenting. I wasn't offering it as a solution, just stating the reality and that if you are not a big money company you should have a standby plan so you don't waist a day. And, as of now, with 4000+ and growing REDS soon all over the world, you shouldn't have a problem setting up a backup plan.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 31 March 2008 - 12:01 PM.

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#9 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:10 PM

I mean do I have to write and baby guys like you with "yet you'll have to wait a day for it to arrive though, which might not be an option if its costing you 20K a day to shoot". Jeez.
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 01:14 PM

Access to existing workflow infrastructure inhibited by non-standard delivery format.

While it's possible to transfer RED dailies to an HD tape format and finish as if it were a film show, that's not the smart way to use RED. We already have a non-RED show using the kind of file based post that's native to RED, and the ease of use, versatility, and savings over old fashioned big iron post are substantial.




-- J.S.
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#11 Gary McClurg

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 01:16 PM

Oh Gary please stop misreading and misrepresenting. I wasn't offering it as a solution, just stating the reality and that if you are not a big money company you should have a standby plan so you don't waist a day. And, as of now, with 4000+ and growing REDS soon all over the world, you shouldn't have a problem setting up a backup plan.


Okay simple question... I rent any camera you own Michael... what are you going to do if your camera goes down?

I know what my plan is... what is yours?
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 02:34 PM

OK, here are my lists:


The RED Pluses:

1. No DIT. It works more like film than HD. This saves an expensive FTE in production, and saves the time of the whole shooting company that in the DIT/HD environment waits while the director, DP, and DIT make irreversible decisions about the look of the show. Color and look decisions are back in post where they belong, just like with film.

2. 35mm Depth of Field.

3. The camera body is inexpensive ($17.5K), and uses inexpensive digital media, though everything else costs as much as with film.

4. Variable and high frame rates are available.

5. Image quality is substantially better than native HDTV. Being 4.5K photosites wide, the OLPF only has to make that Nyquist limit, not the 1920 wide Nyquist limit. Downconverted to HD, you get the top octave sharpness advantage of making the HD Nyquist limit digitally.

6. It outputs files, so it fits naturally into the new more versatile and cost effective file based post workflow.

7. No broadcast quality output. Keeping directors in the video tap mindset is essential to efficient shooting.



The RED Minuses:

1. The camera takes a long time to boot up, about 2 minutes. That wouldn?t be so bad if it didn?t have to be re-booted every time you change batteries. One fix I?d suggest trying is an offboard hot-swap box, but nobody I know of has tried it on a Red yet. (I made one years ago for a laptop computer and GPS rig.) Another approach is simply to use huge honking batteries, so you start fresh at the beginning of the day, and change when you come back from lunch.

2. Batteries from vendors other than Red will work, but the Red can?t give you an indication of how much life they have left. You have to go by a meter on the battery.

3. The connectors on the camera are non-standard fragile mini-BNC and mini-XLR. It needs a breakout box or a bunch of pigtails.

4. There?s no focal plane mark on the body, and the hook for the 1st AC?s tape is an option that?s out of stock.

5. With CF cards, you get 4 minutes on an 8 Gig, and 8 minutes on a 16 Gig, though I've heard that 16 Gig aren't available yet. There?s a hard drive, but it?s reported to have reliability problems in handheld use. The motion of the camera can be more than the head arm can stand.

6. You can?t mix different frame rates or mix 2K and 4K on the same card.

7. This one is reported to have been fixed: For video tap use, it can output only one format at a time. That means that the on camera LCD viewfinder screen and an offboard monitor of a different format can?t be used simultaneously.

8. The run-stop button is close to the user-assignable buttons, and it?s easy to accidentally press the wrong one.

9. The data LCD is on the back of the body rather than the operator?s side, which is inconvenient in tight locations.

10. There have been a few total failures of the camera reported, so it would be wise to have at least one spare body on the truck.

11. Overheating used to be a problem, and may still be if you shoot a lot of long takes in a very hot environment.

12. The ?black sun? issue: This is reported to have been fixed, but on early cameras, the sensor would shut down individual pixels that were severely overloaded. This was discovered in day exteriors in which the sun appeared as a small black circle.

13. The rolling shutter issue: Strobes and practical pyro flashes get cut off by a hard shutter edge in frame. The workaround is to fake them in post. Rapidly moving objects of known shape are distorted. For instance, car wheels become oval. Hand held can also get a strange stretchy-bendy look.




-- J.S.
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#13 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:03 PM

Okay simple question... I rent any camera you own Michael... what are you going to do if your camera goes down?

I know what my plan is... what is yours?


Don't know why you're asking this. This is film production 101. I'll answer you but this would go for any camera not just the RED.

First off I do not own a Red. And like my shoot the previous weekend, which did not have the money to keep a second backup on, I made a list of REd cameras very close to where I am that were available in case of a problem. This list consisted of legitimate rental houses as well as private owners. The list totaled three in my immediate area and I am not in LA. I made sure of getting cell numbers for weekend contact. Not foolproof but thats life on a micro budget shoot. If you've got money rent a backup body just like any other shoot.

If I did own a camera and rented it out to you I would also get a list of other cameras contacts together for your protection. If there aren't any I'd make this known to you and then you decide what you want to do. If you get a Red from a legitimate rental house that only has one RED they will have contacts to other rental houses with an available RED. If you're doing a long shoot a backup body has to be put in your budget just like any other long shoot.

Whats the point of this anyway. Theres no mystery here. the RED didn't change the rules regarding this issue If you are going to shoot something. You have to have backup plans no matter what. If there are no other REDs yet in your area and its critical you have no down time you should consider using another camera or budgeting for a backup body and having both on the truck. The same rule would apply for any other camera. Its pretty simple. No ones putting a gun to anyones head saying they have to shoot with a RED camera. And if things keep going the way they are there will be more REDS around than ARRRI 35mm or Panavison 35mm combined.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 31 March 2008 - 03:05 PM.

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#14 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:37 PM

[quote name='John Sprung' date='Mar 31 2008, 03:34 PM' post='224952']
OK, here are my lists:



The RED Minuses:

1. The camera takes a long time to boot up, about 2 minutes. That wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have to be re-booted every time you change batteries. One fix I’d suggest trying is an offboard hot-swap box, but nobody I know of has tried it on a Red yet. (I made one years ago for a laptop computer and GPS rig.) Another approach is simply to use huge honking batteries, so you start fresh at the beginning of the day, and change when you come back from lunch.

***Close to 70 seconds when I used it. No way two minutes for me. They are working on getting it faster

2. Batteries from vendors other than Red will work, but the Red can’t give you an indication of how much life they have left. You have to go by a meter on the battery

***Yeah so whats the problem?

3. The connectors on the camera are non-standard fragile mini-BNC and mini-XLR. It needs a breakout box or a bunch of pigtails.

***Camera I used had the element technica breakout box on it. This is why the camera costs $30,000 minimum. You got to spend some money to set it up right.

4. There’s no focal plane mark on the body, and the hook for the 1st AC’s tape is an option that’s out of stock.

***Focal plane marks will be on newer cameras. Focus hooks are availabe. camera I used had one

5. With CF cards, you get 4 minutes on an 8 Gig, and 8 minutes on a 16 Gig, though I've heard that 16 Gig aren't available yet. There’s a hard drive, but it’s reported to have reliability problems in handheld use. The motion of the camera can be more than the head arm can stand.

***So handheld use you use the compact flash cards. Dolly or tripod use drive. Whats the problem/ Using the cards handheld takes weight off the cam so its all good.

6. You can’t mix different frame rates or mix 2K and 4K on the same card.

***Thats a timecode issue where changing would mess it up. Whats the big deal. Format another card and slip it in. A couple of seconds this takes.

7. This one is reported to have been fixed: For video tap use, it can output only one format at a time. That means that the on camera LCD viewfinder screen and an offboard monitor of a different format can’t be used simultaneously.

***Again in my previous post this is a difficult technical problem of having multiple format outputs at the same time. This will be a non issue later on.

8. The run-stop button is close to the user-assignable buttons, and it’s easy to accidentally press the wrong one.

True

9. The data LCD is on the back of the body rather than the operator’s side, which is inconvenient in tight locations.

***Assistant has an lcd to view shooting settings. Tight locations or not.

10. There have been a few total failures of the camera reported, so it would be wise to have at least one spare body on the truck.

***In the early beta days yes. haven't heard of one going down lately.

11. Overheating used to be a problem, and may still be if you shoot a lot of long takes in a very hot environment.

***Reports of people running cam all day have had no heat issues. I ran the cam all day and had no issues in direct sun.

12. The “black sun” issue: This is reported to have been fixed, but on early cameras, the sensor would shut down individual pixels that were severely overloaded. This was discovered in day exteriors in which the sun appeared as a small black circle.

***Haven't seem this problem on newer builds. They have made efforts to eliminate this.

13. The rolling shutter issue: Strobes and practical pyro flashes get cut off by a hard shutter edge in frame. The workaround is to fake them in post. Rapidly moving objects of known shape are distorted. For instance, car wheels become oval. Hand held can also get a strange stretchy-bendy look.

***True.All Rolling Cmos has this. My footage had standard film like pans. No bending i saw. Flashes fix in post like you said.


I'm curious John have you used the camera or are you just parroting what you've read. Because your pluses list is way short. The abilities it offers are extraordinary.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 31 March 2008 - 03:41 PM.

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#15 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 04:05 PM

OK, here are my lists:


6. You can?t mix different frame rates or mix 2K and 4K on the same card.


-- J.S.



Just realized this. This is wrong. You can shoot 2k and 4k on the same card you just can't change the timebase becasue of timecode differences. You can shoot any same timebase like 23.98 in 2K, 3k, and 4k on the same card. But if you change the timebase to say 25p or 30p the camera will not let you do that on the same card. It still, in my opinion a non issue.

T
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:11 PM

I'm curious John have you used the camera or are you just parroting what you've read. Because your pluses list is way short. The abilities it offers are extraordinary.

No, I haven't used the camera. I'm parroting what I've read and seen at live demos, plus figuring some stuff out, and asking old friends at the last ASC dinner. One of them had used the camera the day before. The reason for looking into it in such detail is that it was proposed for use on a pilot.

As you note, most of the negatives are minor stuff that can be worked around -- unless your show is wall to wall small pyro effects, there aren't any showstoppers in that list. But they are all things that the DP and camera crew should be aware of, and not have to re-learn the hard way on our nickel.

Based on the lists as I posted them, my decision was to say yes to using the RED. If we had used it, I would have gone over the list with the DP. But it got shot down before one was hired. What killed it was pretty much unrelated to the camera. They had an editor who didn't want to try FCP, and a post facility that wanted way too much money to transfer dailies to HDCam SR. So, they went with F-23.

So, if my pluses list is too short, please go ahead and add to it.




-- J.S.
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#17 Gary McClurg

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 05:58 PM

Whats the point of this anyway.



The point of this.. you're the first person who has stated as such about renting a Red... I'll give you an A+ in your 101 film class... or I guess you can give me an A +... for giving you an A +.... :lol:
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#18 Keith Walters

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 07:33 PM

Hi,

I have to take issue with a couple of Mr. Walters' comments:

> Media can be re-used with confidence (unlike tape)

Yeah, but it's not really an apples to apples comparison - you can afford not to reuse tape; you can't realistically afford not to reuse CF cards and there was never any intention that you should. It's just not a fair comparison.


While tapes can be theoretically checked for damage, erased and subsequently reused, this is a time consuming process that requires special equipment, and it generally works out cheaper to just buy new tapes.

Re-formatting CF cards is quick, requires no extra equipment, and identifies faults with considerably more accuracy than a tape tester. I would trust a re-formatted flash card before I would trust a re-used videotape.


> Programs can be entirely edited and burned to Blu-Ray on the one computer.

Well, sheesh, yeah, but you can do that with more or less any camera system you like, give or take the transfer step for 35. The fact that it isn't often done doesn't mean it can't be done.
P


What I meant was, image quality good enough to directly burn a 35mm neg can be produced on a single inexpensive computer.

I did actually say "Existing" workflow.

Yes, it's fine if you are making a Low-Budget/No-Budget short film in your garage in your spare time.

But at the moment if you walked into the average reasonable-size Post Production house with a handful of CF cards, and said you want a CGI Tyrannosauraus Rex added to scene 4 take 37, unless they happened to be keen readers of forums like this, you would most likely only get blank looks when you told them they were full of RedCode RAW files.

As for any suggestion on your part that all they need to do is download a series of large-ish .exe files from a website they may never have even heard of, and install them on the system that they are using day in, day out for existing clients' projects, well you can imagine what their reaction to that might be!

I am sure it happen one day, but like many things surrounding RED, it has not happened yet.

Yes of course you can transcode the R3D to more conventional industry standard formats, but that is a far cry from simply pulling a tape out and handing it to a busy editor. More emphasis is needed on the word "flow" chaps.
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#19 Michael Peploe

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:13 PM

No, I haven't used the camera. I'm parroting what I've read and seen at live demos, plus figuring some stuff out, and asking old friends at the last ASC dinner. One of them had used the camera the day before. The reason for looking into it in such detail is that it was proposed for use on a pilot.

As you note, most of the negatives are minor stuff that can be worked around -- unless your show is wall to wall small pyro effects, there aren't any showstoppers in that list. But they are all things that the DP and camera crew should be aware of, and not have to re-learn the hard way on our nickel.

Based on the lists as I posted them, my decision was to say yes to using the RED. If we had used it, I would have gone over the list with the DP. But it got shot down before one was hired. What killed it was pretty much unrelated to the camera. They had an editor who didn't want to try FCP, and a post facility that wanted way too much money to transfer dailies to HDCam SR. So, they went with F-23.

So, if my pluses list is too short, please go ahead and add to it.
-- J.S.



Fair enough John. I personally don't like 'lists' because there are nuances that can't be put on it. I am not here to convince people one way or another. I will offer my point of view though when I know someone to be mistaken.I believe that everyone thats curious should go and test for themselves. I am not here to push the REd, Jannard has enough resources to do that himself. Your plus list hit all the right notes. What i will say is that your plus list lacks detail that would expand it into something else if you're willing to look deeply (not suggesting you aren't). The same would go for your minus list like; a marketing campaign that pushed the camera as costing $17,500 but in truth is its more than twice that minimum without a lens, accessories that are just terrible, and getting clear concise info from its makers. And that some of the negatives are trifles except for one.

(Me trying hard not to make a list)- The choice of lenses from still ones to super 16mm to B4 to Panavison mount to pl to anamorphic (soon), Raw workflow, post workflow, modular design for sensor upgrades, on set looks that can be created immediately, 2k,3k, 4k shooting up to 120fps in 2k leads me to say that this one camera offers so many tools unlike any other. It a swiss army knife camera thats too detailed to put on a list. Whatever you think of the image quality this single camera offers DP's endless possibilities no other camera I can think of has offered with immediate gratification in one small 9lb.body .

And like the ancient Greeks realized , all things have an achilles heal. That rolling shutter.




The point of this.. you're the first person who has stated as such about renting a Red... I'll give you an A+ in your 101 film class... or I guess you can give me an A +... for giving you an A +.... :lol:


Gary i will give you an A+ too.

Edited by Michael Peploe, 31 March 2008 - 08:16 PM.

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#20 DJ Joofa

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 11:55 PM

all things have an achilles heal. That rolling shutter.


It is possible to have a global shutter in CMOS, and Red would have been a more revolutionary camera if it had opted for it.
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rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Willys Widgets