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Red Shoot Impressions


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#1 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 12:41 PM

Hi All,

I recently got my Red camera. I put together a few models, a nice car and the help from local crew to do a test shoot. I was particularly interested in learning how far I could push the camera.

Here is the gear I used:

Red One, w/ Red Raid
Zeiss T2.1 Prime set
Angenieux 25-250 HR

We had a bunch of 1200w pars/ fresnels, 12x12 bounce and natural light.

Impressions? Well I must say I am a convert. Like many of you, I was skeptical of the Red. There was too much hype. Well, I think the hype is mostly deserved. It produces very sharp, high res images. The results have a film-like quality far beyond HD video. There is decent dynamic range, but you have to protect the highlights. Learning the histogram is mandatory. Don't trust your monitor... it will lie to you. Don't underexpose either... the image can get quite noisy if you try to push a dark image in post. But that would be the same for film or video... so, no surprises here.

My camera is running well for the most part. It gets hung up now and then and requires a reboot. If you shoot with a Red, expect these things to happen from time to time. Its a computer with a lens mount.

The Red system will continue to evolve and get more stable. I've shot lots of film, but market demands changed and I sold my soul to HD video a few years ago. Now I feel like I can bring film-like quality to my HD productions. I am having a blast shooting Red.

Here are a few still images from my test shoot.

Chris Bell

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:11 PM

Pretty stuff.

There is decent dynamic range, but you have to protect the highlights.


This is my biggest concern with the camera -- not the overexposure range, but the way the highlights clip once you get there. Here the transition to white looks a little more graceful than other examples I've seen. There seems to be a touch of optical softness on some of the highlights -- did you use any lens diffusion to take the edge off the "clippiness," or is that just the lenses?

What did you use for color correction? Were those grads added in post?

Your A5 would look good next to my R8... :P
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#3 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:38 PM

I would not put too much analysis into the posted shots. They are jpegs taken from half res quicktimes.

The only filter I used was a #1 Harrison Streak in the shot of the woman, otherwise no filtration. The images have gone through basic FCP color correction and some vignetting. I pushed the highlights out in many of the shots, so I would not use these images as a guide to dynamic range.

In 1080p the images are strikingly sharp and resolved.

Do you really have an R8?
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:52 PM

> The results have a film-like quality far beyond HD video

Can't agree, sorry. It looks exactly like HD video. I'm forced to agree with Mr Nash's interpretation that the highlight clipping is rather harsh and nasty.

Why can't people concentrate on what's good about this thing, rather than making claims which it obviously can't answer? It's a sharp, detailed, low-noise image, but it is clearly HD video, and quite clippy at that. I suspect it needs a lot of underexposure.

P
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:23 PM

I don't think that these examples show the harsh and clippy highlights I've seen in a lot of RED material, although the end result here does exhibit limited dynamic range. And of course I understand this is after color-correction, so I'm not assuming anything about what the original material looked like.

I also realize these are only JPEGs, but I rather like the highlight handling here, which is why I asked. It's one thing to control highlights through lighting and exposure, but I'm more curious about how to handle the areas that inevitably do exceed the dynamic range. Was any of this material underexposed to hold more highlight detail?

I don't think these particular examples look like HD, although to be honest they're so color-corrected they don't look like film either -- they just have their own look.

My concern is simply learning how to work with the camera to make the best of its unique qualities. I've been doing that with 16mm, 35mm, SD video, HD video, and now trying to learn about the RED. Ultimately it's futile to pretend a format is something it isn't; I think it's best to just make the best of what a format has to offer.

Do you really have an R8?


That depends who you ask... :P
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:35 PM

Yes the images look "good."

I've never been sure about the "milky" look of the Red output. That's not a criticism per se more of an observation of the type of picture it puts out. Same as some one saying I prefer the look of one film stock over another.

R,
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:57 PM

Same as some one saying I prefer the look of one film stock over another.


Or more like someone comparing still film to a DSLR, in this case. I think a lot of the milky look for me comes from the color depth, or lack thereof, that makes the images comparable to hi-res DSLR images. Color depth (especially in skin tones) can take on an artificially flat quality, compared to film.

Also not a criticism; just an observation based on knowing what the camera is.
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#8 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:14 PM

The lack of color comes from the fact I desaturated the images and shifted the color to blue/green. I shot plenty of "kodak moments" with the camera. It produces vivid color.

In no way are these camera originals. They've been altered to please one person: Me.
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#9 Travis Cline

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:28 PM

I used the Red for the first time today and I have some of the same observations. The highlights do take longer to clip than most other video formats, but they do fall off rather quickly once they get there. The latitude is much better than most video, but I think it is comparable to the Genesis. The only lense we had was a Red 18-50 zoom which was not very nice, but decent. Anyway, I think it is another option for cinematographers if it is right for your shoot.



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#10 Christopher Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:31 PM

Here is the shot of the car with only some chroma added and the black levels dropped a bit. It was exposed towards highlight.

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#11 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:36 PM

The lack of color comes from the fact I desaturated the images and shifted the color to blue/green. I shot plenty of "kodak moments" with the camera. It produces vivid color.

In no way are these camera originals. They've been altered to please one person: Me.

Would you please consider posting what you refer to as the vivid color, "kodak moments"? As this camera has been marketed as a "film killer", I'm sure many of us would like to see if it can compete with film in terms of richness and color depth. For some reason, most pictures posted from this camera appear to have a similar looking, monochromatic look, with very washed out flesh tones. If you have material that shows otherwise, please share it with us. Thanks.
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:43 PM

It produces vivid color.


Oh I'm sure it does, and so do DSLR's. It's the color depth we're talking about, not the saturation. "Vivid" saturation is not a substitute for subtle variations in hue and value. The problem is that once you pull that vivid saturation back down to normal, the lack of subtle variations in skin tones becomes more apparent, and can look a little artificial.

Again, not a criticism. It's widely known among still photographers that DSLR's don't render the same kind of color subtlety that film does. But that doesn't stop people from taking striking pictures with them.

I was referring to all the other RED material I've seen, not your color-corrected images. And thanks for your continued input, this is how we all learn.
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#13 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:48 PM

Thank you for your post.
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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 09:06 PM

It's nice what you can do when all the information's there.

post_939_1208043019_copy.jpg
screenshot.jpeg

But I guess I just don't like the idea of having to expose for the "ends", instead of the mids, just to get a good picture. I'm too used to putting values where I want them, with continuity of density or signal-to-noise in this case. Having to expose each shot differently for the sweet spot between white and black, like a still photographer does with reversal film, leads to inconsistent "densities" between shots when translated into cinematography.
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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:30 AM

Art Adams has done some tests:

http://provideocoali..._15_ei_test/P1/

Unfortunately, my old computer is steam driven, so not much use with HD material, so I can't make any comments on this. However, with the RED frame grab material I've seen to date there's a certain "something" missing about the skin tones. Perhaps the upcoming build 16 will address this.

I'm hoping that after the build 16 is released that it will be possible to get a feel about how cameras like the RED, Arri D21 and Dalsa do compare visually in side by side tests of different real life scenes as well as the test charts. Although, not a 35mm sized sensor, the SI 2k as well - I've seen some nice pictures from it, if lacking the resolution of the 4k Bayer cameras..
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#16 Neil Duffy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 12:09 PM

I am not a DP. I am really interested in getting maximum color latitude out of the camera. This is more important than resolution. Especially when it is above 2k. How does the RED compare to the F23 with regard to color. I understand Bay is using the F23 in Chicago for his new movie. And he loves color. Of course, the F23 comes at a completely different price point.

The photos posted above look good. But, are there issues that I am not seeing in these photos with regard to color?
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#17 Neil Duffy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 12:40 PM

Just to clarify, my question is about depth of color. Not saturation. The colors in the photos above look good to me. Thanks for the post.
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#18 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 01:16 PM

Just to clarify, my question is about depth of color. Not saturation. The colors in the photos above look good to me. Thanks for the post.


The F23 has a 14 bit A/D converter and records to 10 bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4.

Flesh tones, skin tones and colours can be subjective, what one person thinks could be better another thinks is wonderful.

Here's more on the F23

http://www.sony.co.u...78278942799.pdf
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#19 Neil Duffy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:03 PM

The F23 has a 14 bit A/D converter and records to 10 bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4.

Flesh tones, skin tones and colours can be subjective, what one person thinks could be better another thinks is wonderful.

Here's more on the F23

http://www.sony.co.u...78278942799.pdf


Thank you Brian for your response to a newbie question.
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#20 John Sprung

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:12 PM

The problem is that once you pull that vivid saturation back down to normal, the lack of subtle variations in skin tones becomes more apparent, and can look a little artificial.

Being in Seattle, the ideal test for him to shoot would be the Solstice Bike Ride -- lots of subtle skin tones, lots of vivid saturated colors.



-- J.S.
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