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Red One Digital Camera vs 1st Assistant Camera


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#1 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:14 PM

RED ONE DIGITAL CAMERA vs 1st Assistant Camera

I recently worked as a 1st Assistant Camera with the Red One camera. I wanted to share my feedback and describe my observations.

I signed onto the project, having no real background knowledge of the camera, and I do not follow the camera's development and future plans. I'm sure some if not all what I say about the camera has already been discussed. The camera itself takes a nice picture. I was impressed with the images that came from the camera. The weight of the package was comfortable for me. Our package came from a private owner, not a company. Our Package consisted of the following:

Red One Digital Camera body
Red One Base Production Pack
Red One LCD Monitor
Red Power Pack
Red Drive
Red Baseplate 15mm Rods
Red One Handheld plate

Zeis T1.3 Superspeeds Mk III lenses
18mm
25mm
35mm
50mm
65mm
85mm

and a 14mm T2.3 in it's own case.

Arri FF
Arri 6x6 swing away matte box 3 stage

Sachtler 7+7 Studio head Mitchel Mount
Ronford Sticks, tall and baby legs
High and Low Hats

Day one with the camera went pretty well, the camera held up fairly well, we were handheld, the red one handgrip (we only had one) was pretty useless since it did not fit our 15mm rods. Don't know why the owner has it this way, didn't make much sense to me. I made it workable for our DP, and made it as light as possible taking off the matte box and follow focus, and ofcourse we needed an ND .9 for the shot so I had to tape the 6x6 ND9 onto the lens (used gaffers tape (cloth not paper) around the rim of the lens so the glass never touches metal!) and we did the shot like that on the 18mm lens. Worked fine.

Throughout the next couple of days, I collected a number of things that I don't agree with:

The Top handle on the Camera- Decent placement of the handle, however the material used as the hand-grip is no good, Slippery. Had to make sure I wore a glove when grabbing the camera there if my hands were a little sweaty. It's pretty fat, and the material does not condence well while I grip it. The material should be changed, or use gaffers tape around the handle, makes it easier and safer to grab.

The Arm for the Red one Monitor- The arm is really short, we had a hard time getting the monitor into a good position for handheld, there are some place toward the front and near the bottom of the camera that you could mount the arm, but it wasn't far enough for our DP. Too Close to his face. I ended up using a monfrotto gator grip to mount the arm and monitor on the rods so our DP could see what he was shooting more comfortably than before. This ofcourse took up the space for the follow focus, which was needed to compensate for actors moving inches against the focus plane(tighter shots). I'll show a picture later, but I side mounted the FF, one end on the 15mm rod, the other end Bongo Tied to the 19mm rod. It worked fine. Skip on the Red One Arm, buy a longer one.

The PL Mount (Supposedly the revised mount)-Supposedly we had the Revised PL mount on the camera. I Sure hope not! It was at times extremely sticky, requiring unnecessary force to unlock for lens changes. Sometimes it wasn't so bad, but mostly it was extremely tough to change the lenses, I was very uncomfortable about changing lenses with the mount being so sticky, sometimes asking my 2nd AC to hold the lens while I used two hands (while wearing gloves so the mount finger grips didn't dig into my skin!) to unlock the mount. This ofcourse I believe caused the real problem with our shoot. We noticed that our witness marks on the 18mm lens were not not matching up (matched up correctly during prep) and I believe that fighting with the mount is the cause. On the mount, there are two Allen screws that i believe allow for swapping lens mounts in the field, which is neat but if that's the case a new system must be deseigned even if the mount is not faulty. The mount even being locked down with those screws, can easily be offset with the force needed to do lens changes. Day 4 the problem became worse, I wanted to reset the mount myself, but did not because permission was not granted by my superior. I noticed that the camera on the red.com
site do not show the screws...

HDMI output- The slot needs to be deeper set into the camera, since there is no real support for the cable, it does not lock in. I had the HDMI cable tied to the camera to avoid stress on the connection but somehow the cable still seemed to slouch at the connection. If the HDMI connection was deeper set into the body and the end of the cable could set securely partially inside the body this might save what i believe to be the first thing to crap out on the camera. The deeper set connection was a good suggestion by our 2nd AC BO. the HDMI system on the camera is a guarenteed failure down the road after likely a few uses.

The Red Cradle-It looks cool, but is built like someone just needed a quick solution to mount the red drive and battery. The screws that lock the red drive in are Small, black, and fall out pretty easily on their own. The screws should definately be a different color. I used a wax pencil to color them white so they are visible in the dark, and if dropped easier to find. The rails the guide the drive into a secure locking position are cheap. Jim, Don't be afraid to use some color on the camera's, the camera does not HAVE to be black everywhere becide the LOGO and the 2 red record buttons. Don't be afraid to add some glow in the dark labels to the back of the camera below the buttons.

The Red one Charger-We had some issues with the Battery charger not charging. I do not know why. We wanted to use AC power on a shot, and we could hear the fans from the charger. Make it a little quieter.

CF Module-We did not use CF cards, and we had nothing to put in the slot on the body, so I had to tape it in order to feel okay about it. Did not want dust getting in there. I don't know if RED has something to put in there, such as a Dummi CF card or a blastic cover to seal the slot, but I would recommend it.

I was not a fan of the camera boot time, but we did get some amazing footage, our DP was able to do well with the camera, and the camera did well with him. in time I am sure it will be a bit more user friendly and less faulty. We had some monitor flickers and the body didn't want to boot sometimes after a battery change etc but I'd say for the dollar it's worth the kinks for the time being. In time however, things need to be worked out if you expect this camera to take over like you expect it to.

May be forgetting things, but these were the main things that come to mind.
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#2 Keith Walters

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:52 PM

The Top handle on the Camera- Decent placement of the handle, however the material used as the hand-grip is no good, Slippery. Had to make sure I wore a glove when grabbing the camera there if my hands were a little sweaty. It's pretty fat, and the material does not condence well while I grip it. The material should be changed, or use gaffers tape around the handle, makes it easier and safer to grab.

Considering what the first successful Oakley product was, this is indeed distressing news;-)
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#3 Michael Peploe

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:53 PM

Nice review. Would agree with most of the accessory issues. Thats why i recommend not getting them.

Never ever had a problem with the pl mount. Smooth as butter Have heard of mounts without lube but yours sounds way too tight. And really this should have been tested at the checkout. And it doesn't sound like anyone did one.

They do make a longer noga for the lcd for better placement. Guy you rented from went with the shorter one.

Definitely would be nice to have a door for the compact flash.

There are now three vendors that sell some great cabling breakout boxes for the cam.

Red cradle not only needs brighter colored screws but also need to be longer.

So many other parties have come up with better, stronger, more thought out accessories that have solved most of these problems. But this is gonna cost you dollars.

There are also some great rental houses that have it all setup right with other party accessories so you don't have to run into any of these problems or mortgage the house to own a headache free RED.
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#4 Evangelos Achillopoulos

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 03:21 AM

All these points plus many more that are being partially addressed with “workarounds” from third party vendors with a price tag “whatever you buy is 500$...” and a lot of gaffer tape... was also my first thoughts about the industrial design abilities of the RED team.

It seems to be more “trendy look” designers than experienced engineers that understand well the ergonomics fundamentals of machines.

They are doing well in electronic design, well in software design they are capable to build almost anything in mechanical design and they have all the money that are needed…

But Jim, it’s not how smart or how good you are in one thing isolated from the others, like good software design but never being a colorist or at least work for a while as a colorist in order to perceive the problems. It’s a must for an engineer to actually try to work as one and not discuss the problems with a colorist because in that way he can’t perceive the problems in a spherical way, and fall in the trap to see things from the viewpoint the specific colorist has. An engineer has to be able to really be in the position of the user of device that he designs in order to solve the problems accurately.

Philosophy is a must in design, like Aristotelis (the Greek philosopher teacher of Alexander the Great) once said that you have to know well the problem first and then try to solve it.

RED design team miss probably guidance from a person that has deep knowledge and spherical view of electronic design, mechanical design, software design, understand ergonomics, have a high index of emotional intelligence, has REALY worked as an 2nd AC for at least one month, has the ability to judge his findings, understand the psychology of the filming crew, analyze the tech-problems/behaviors of the crew. That person has to have also a deep knowledge, first hand, from the post production side, all the way up to film out. All these qualities have to be inside one brain in order the spherical view to happen.

Then the guidance it’s a child’s game and the design goal it’s obvious.

Probably companies like ARRI or Panavision or Sony or Panasonic earned through the years the collective knowledge of all the above and that’s why they produce hardworking machines.

I thing RED has to find a design leader to be included on the team for RED TWO.

Or there will be so many lessons learned (I hope) from the users of RED ONE that RED TWO will be a wonder!

The machines have to be designed to serve man, don’t expect to educate the man to serve the machines.
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#5 Michael Peploe

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:10 PM

All these points plus many more that are being partially addressed with ?workarounds? from third party vendors with a price tag ?whatever you buy is 500$...? was also my first thoughts about the industrial design abilities of the RED team.

It seems to be more ?trendy look? designers than experienced engineers that understand well the ergonomics fundamentals of machines.

They are doing well in electronic design, well in software design they are capable to build almost anything in mechanical design and they have all the money that are needed?

But Jim, it?s not how smart or how good you are in one thing isolated from the others, like good software design but never being a colorist or at least work for a while as a colorist in order to perceive the problems. It?s a must for an engineer to actually try to work as one and not discuss the problems with a colorist because in that way he can?t perceive the problems in a spherical way, and fall in the trap to see things from the viewpoint the specific colorist has. An engineer has to be able to really be in the position of the user of device that he designs in order to solve the problems accurately.

Philosophy is a mast in design, like Aristotelis (the Greek philosopher teacher of Alexander the Great) once said that you have to know well the problem first and then try to solve it.

RED design team miss probably guidance from a person that has deep knowledge and spherical view of electronic design, mechanical design, software design, understand ergonomics, have a high index of emotional intelligence, has REALY worked as an 2nd AC for at least one month, has the ability to judge his findings, understand the psychology of the filming crew, analyze the tech-problems/behaviors of the crew. That person has to have also a deep knowledge, first hand, from the post production side, all the way up to film out. All these qualities have to be inside one brain in order the spherical view to happen.

Then the guidance it?s a child?s game and the design goal it?s obvious.

Probably companies like ARRI or Panavision or Sony or Panasonic earned through the years the collective knowledge of all the above and that?s why they produce hardworking machines.

I thing RED has to find a design leader to be included on the team for RED TWO.

Or there will be so many lessons learned (I hope) from the users of RED ONE that RED TWO will be a wonder!

The machines have to be designed to serve man, don?t expect to educate the man to serve the machines.


Great post Evangelos.

I think it will be hard to convince Jim of any of this because he is in the business of selling cameras. The cost of R&D wait time to get it right would have juiced the cost of the camera up and that the RED accessories are cheap relative to other companies similar but better ones, says that the overriding concern was to keep the cost at a certain price point lulling the buyer into as sense of its affordability and the surprise would come later when one had already and irrevocably invested a small fortune.

And ultimately the cost issue is the reason this camera even exists and with so many people willing to spend a small fortune better for those of us willing to rent one and take advantage getting some great images for cheap.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 01:34 PM

RED design team miss probably guidance from a person that has deep knowledge and spherical view of electronic design, mechanical design, software design, understand ergonomics, have a high index of emotional intelligence, has REALY worked as an 2nd AC for at least one month, has the ability to judge his findings, understand the psychology of the filming crew, analyze the tech-problems/behaviors of the crew. That person has to have also a deep knowledge, first hand, from the post production side, all the way up to film out. All these qualities have to be inside one brain in order the spherical view to happen.

Hmmm -- You're saying that they need some old fart generalist like .... me! ;-)

Probably companies like ARRI or Panavision or Sony or Panasonic earned through the years the collective knowledge of all the above ....

Yes, they did. The ARRI Model I didn't have a film plane mark, either.

How much of it they learned by their own experience, making cameras and using them, and how much they learned by listening to the experience of others first, there's no way to tell. The end result is the same. They learned it. One path is more expensive, but probably more fun. The other has the problem that you have to figure out who to believe.




-- J.S.
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#7 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 12:40 PM

(...) but we did get some amazing footage (...)

Considering what the naysayers' attitude (over here) has been, this is indeed unavoidable coming up news ;-)
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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:30 PM

Considering what the naysayers' attitude (over here) has been, this is indeed unavoidable coming up news ;-)


Considering you sign your posts:
RED ONE serial numbers #0000111 #0000647
and deliveries are now up around the 0001500 mark, is there any chance you can post some of your own work on here?

Obviously you are using some sort of automated translator like Babelfish to write your posts, because although the spelling is always perfect, they mostly read like the instructions that came with my Chinese-made wine cork remover. (Well, they were either using Babelfish to translate the instructions, or they had subjected the prototype to over-enthusiastic testing:-)

I hope you are not using the Babelfish translator to translate the posts here into your own language, if you are, that might explain quite a few misunderstandings.
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:39 PM

... and a lot of gaffer tape...

Ah, dear old Gaffer Tape. The film maker's friend :lol:

The funny thing about Gaffer tape is that years ago when it was virtually unknown outside the film and TV industries, when I introduced it to people who repaired other types of electronic equipment, they though it was the most fantastic service tool ever invented.

Yet if you use it in a repair of a piece of film-related equipment, the owners get most upset, no matter how appropriate the particular usage is.
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#10 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 09:55 PM

Considering you sign your posts:
RED ONE serial numbers #0000111 #0000647
and deliveries are now up around the 0001500 mark, is there any chance you can post some of your own work on here?

No way. You should pay the ticket (or the copyright) like (m)any other(s). But just as disclaimer, I must warn you that as good fanboy and as far as possible, "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude". Jim Jannard [sic] -- at least, I'm used to mention the copyright owner.

Obviously you are using some sort of automated translator like Babelfish to write your posts, because although the spelling is always perfect, they mostly read like the instructions that came with my Chinese-made wine cork remover. (Well, they were either using Babelfish to translate the instructions, or they had subjected the prototype to over-enthusiastic testing:-)

I hope you are not using the Babelfish translator to translate the posts here into your own language, if you are, that might explain quite a few misunderstandings.

LOL :lol: That's old. And it has indeed copyright or should I send the tickets to you in the name of Jim Murdoch more than once? ;) I thought that this poster had been banned from these boards. Anyway, I hope you may add a similar input but not into your own native language. :huh: Then, maybe you may avoid any misunderstanding with the instructions that come with your Chinese-made wine cork remover. Especially, any one that may come a few hours later.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 12:45 AM

I would have to agree with all of the points the OP mentions. It's a good overall of the camera. I found that the lens mount on the one I used was sticky too. I think it was friction binding on the fins of the lens. I took some panavision oil on a foam que-tip and applied it extremely lightly (no excess, just a slight coating that you can barely see if the light is right) on the surfaces that contact the lens fins. It pretty much cleared up the problem. I know some of you cringe when I mention oil on a camera but it's a miniscule bit on a mechanical part, it's normal.;)
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#12 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 01:29 AM

No way. You should pay the ticket (or the copyright) like (m)any other(s)....


I presume you are getting fantastic images, or are under an NDA that stops you commenting on that as well?
I would dearly love to seem some your real-world Red footage. But how exactly am I going to know what movies to pay tickets for?

By the way, the only poster I have heard of getting permanently banned from here was Jan von Krogh, (currently posting under the name "Laguun" on Reduser).
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#13 Stephen Williams

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 02:21 AM

By the way, the only poster I have heard of getting permanently banned from here was Jan von Krogh, (currently posting under the name "Laguun" on Reduser).


Hi Keith,

He was banned for 6 months.

Stephen
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#14 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 04:26 AM

Hi Keith,

He was banned for 6 months.

Stephen

I remember that; he was suspended for making racist remarks or something. But I thought he then was kicked off permanently after he recommenced posting with a different account - "Yorick van Krogh" or something like that. Maybe I misunderstood.

Well, he seems to get plenty of ventilation space over on Reduser :lol:
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#15 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 11:35 AM

I presume you are getting fantastic images, or are under an NDA that stops you commenting on that as well?
I would dearly love to seem some your real-world Red footage. But how exactly am I going to know what movies to pay tickets for?

By the way, the only poster I have heard of getting permanently banned from here was Jan von Krogh, (currently posting under the name "Laguun" on Reduser).

No worries there. You won't pay more for waiting. The RED ONE will be used in some projects being developed now. I'll keep this forum updated when finished. ;) Till then, they're just copyright, no more no less. BTW, Jim Murdoch was "kicked off permanently" 'cause his false identity AFAIK. Succeeding months and months of bashing a successful 56-year-old business man starting up a new digital cinema camera. Two years later, the 35mm camera is there with 1500 units sold (more to come), in accordance with the information provided by you. :lol:
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#16 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 10:09 PM

"BTW, Jim Murdoch was "kicked off permanently" 'cause his false identity AFAIK"

No Jim Murdoch's account was hijacked and at least one ridiculous post was made, (and immediately removed, I assume, by the moderators). I presume the account was then inactivated.

I have a copy of the post (there may have been others) and the post still exists in cyberspace if you know where to look.

I can't help noticing that on RedUser your posts always seem to magically turn into excellent English.
In fact your English is often better than that of many of the Americans who post there.
You even appear to know the correct usage of "infer" and "imply", which is rare, even among English speaking college graduates!
Yet here on Cinematography.com your posts often read like a Chinese Restaurant Menu.
Is there an explanation for this?
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#17 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 10:40 PM

"BTW, Jim Murdoch was "kicked off permanently" 'cause his false identity AFAIK"

No Jim Murdoch's account was hijacked and at least one ridiculous post was made, (and immediately removed, I assume, by the moderators). I presume the account was then inactivated.

I have a copy of the post (there may have been others) and the post still exists in cyberspace if you know where to look.

I can't help noticing that on RedUser your posts always seem to magically turn into excellent English.
In fact your English is often better than that of many of the Americans who post there.
You even appear to know the correct usage of "infer" and "imply", which is rare, even among English speaking college graduates!
Yet here on Cinematography.com your posts often read like a Chinese Restaurant Menu.
Is there an explanation for this?

Stop it! Now, you make me laugh till the tears!...
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#18 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 10:42 PM

:lol:
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#19 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 11:36 PM

Stop it! Now, you make me laugh till the tears!...

And you make me bored til the tears.
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#20 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:40 PM

You couldn't resist right? ;)
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