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Assisting on the Red


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#1 Diana Matos

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 08:46 PM

Hello Everyone,

I was hired to AC for the first time on the Red in a few days and I'm sure you all could provide some helpful insight. I'd like to know what, specifically related to this camera, I should read before I start. Any experiences you could share? Thanks!
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#2 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 09:59 PM

Make sure to bring some zip-ties to strain relief the spindly cables that come out of the cam!
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#3 Mike Simpson

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 10:53 PM

its nice to have your own set of allen wrenches to quickly adjust the harddrive if you are switching between handheld and sticks.

If the camera is in a hot setting I like to drink about 25% of a cold water bottle and then shove it under the handle. The condensation wont hurt the camera but feel free to wipe it off every once in a while.

If they have the red sliding plate its a POS. You should spend some time being creative with gaf tape and you can probably get it *more* stable.

You need a star screwdriver to change mounts if any of that is happening.

Theres really not much you need to read. the menus are very simple.

I feel like there is more but thats all I can remember at the moment. I should be asleep =\
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 11:27 PM

Check the manual out. There are some really bizarre things that will really puzzle you until you just look them up. For example, you can change the audio line input dB setting to your heart's desire but it will make no difference in what is recorded. Don't ask me, that's just what the tech guy told me and it seems to be confirmed by the manual.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 06:45 AM

It would be s good idea to practise going through the menu on the RED camera itself. Unlike say a F900, which you can assist on without ever going into a menu, a lot of the RED functions are operated through the menu - it just makes you feel more comfortable on the day.

It might be worth checking if they're using CF or hard drives. With the former you need to keep a robust routine that prevents the fresh CFs being mixed up with the exposed CFs.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 30 September 2008 - 06:45 AM.

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#6 Gus Sacks

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:13 AM

Because there's a tendancy to just roll and roll and roll on the hard drives, if you also have CF cards available, I like to go to the cards before lunch and before wrap so I can get a head start on backing up the HDs. Also, a lot of times I see productions going to inserts or quick pick-ups before this anyway, so the cards would be fine.

Make sure your settings are right... you're shooting in the resolution they want (or else your frame/field of view's going to be completely different), make sure you're not in RAW mode unless they want that (although itll say it in the bottom left of the screen for some reason even if you're on REC709). Make sure your operator knows the difference between the black Power button and the red Record button (hah, that 90 seconds is a bitch to boot up).

And, I guess like any camera before you walk with it just make sure everything's locked. There's a lot of accessories hanging off it and it's best they don't flop around.

Good luck.
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#7 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 11:54 AM

Don't trust the top handle, its been known to break very easily with a fully loaded camera hanging from it. Always use two hands and cradle the bottom of the cam.

If using ND, be sure to have a Hot Mirror (Infra-Red filter) in the matte box as well. The Red is (like all digi-cams) very sensitive to IR, and you may notice some magenta artifacts in the shadows when using heavy ND. Because of this factor, a 3-stage matte box will be your savior, and keep you from taping Hot Mirrors into the front of your matte box all day.

You may want to use P-touch labels (or chart tape) to label the user buttons on the body and the EVF. Since there are so many options to set these to, the DP may forget what's what and start mashing buttons (my worst nightmare).

Learn to "see" in RAW and False Color (an exposure index that looks like "Predator-vision"). It will help greatly in learning to expose for this cam.

The joystick control on the back is very light-duty. Be nice to it. A friend/Red owner has a handful of model-airplane wheel parts to replace it every 2-3 shows (when the hotshot DP inevitably snaps it off).

Be mindful of the "Drop" display (this refers to frames dropped during encoding/recording). If it says anything other than 0? that take effectively does not exist (Question: will the "Internal recording Error screen pop up every time this happens, as was my experience, or are these two independent alerts?)

And most importantly:

Make sure the camera mount is properly collimated with the lens set. Talk to your rental house / DI®T and make this a part of your checkout. Since changing "backfocus"/flange depth is not as quick as with HD-style lenses, you want to make sure this is set so you can trust your barrel marking and sleep like a baby.
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#8 Mike Simpson

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:11 PM

Make sure your operator knows the difference between the black Power button and the red Record button (hah, that 90 seconds is a bitch to boot up).


Yeah I've done that a few times, and had to walk away from the camera in shame... =(
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#9 Mike Simpson

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:16 PM

Also there are a few options for checking focus. On the LCD there is a fullscreen button. The operator will be happy if you keep that on while they are shooting too.

In addition, hitting 2 (on the smart side under the record button) will zoom in further to take a peek at focus. This doesnt work while rolling.

There is also a little focus via contrast function much like on the newer panasonic cameras. I dont like it much but some people do; I find it annoying to be switching back between the other meters the DP always wants to see.

And if you can test your lenses before and vouch for their accuracy, you can always just do it the traditional way.
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#10 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 03:13 PM

Couple things:

1- There are two features that help with focusing. One is the Focus Assist Meter. This is kind of cool in concept. It allows you to select a section of the image and will display a waveform for that section under the image. Theoretically, you'll see a spike in the Waveform when the subject's eyes are in focus, especially if there is a nice catchlight.

In my opinion this is only useful for double-checking focus, not pulling focus during a shot. This is because you lose the waveform when you zoom in on the monitor, and you can see a sharp catchlight in the zoomed-in monitor without the help of the waveform anyway.

The other feature is the false-color focus assist, I find this very useful (if you can actually find it in the menu- I have no idea where it is). If you push the right user button on the EVF, it is by default set to display the false-color focus assist though. This basically turns the image B+W and makes sharp edges glow red. If there's a catchlight in the talent's eyes you just need to keep their eyes red and you're golden.


2- Get the Arri baseplate/dovetail. The Red mounting system consists of a flimsy 'baseplate' type thing that is secured into a cheesplate-like thing by means of this tiny little bolt. It's an abomination and it doesn't work. If you're stuck with it, you can put 2 strips of gaffer's tape on either side of the lower plater then attach the baseplate to the lower plate before you secure the camera to the baseplate. The weight of the camera will make the tape bunch up otherwise.


The best advice I can say in terms of focus is make sure you're NOT USING THE RED LENSES!! They are optically quite good (Cooke glass, some say), but are horrible mechanically. The focus scale is VERY compressed and the lens behaves very erratically. A tiny little movement even near the top of the scale will correspond to a dramatic shift in the lens. The witness marks are useless to boot. They are like photo lenses.

I can't harp on these lenses enough- they are awful to pull on.



The Red's alot of fun to use though. Get lots of batteries and make sure the AD knows it takes awhile to boot up so you can get '2 minute warnings'.
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#11 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 03:16 PM

Oh, also be prepared for EVERY PERSON ON SET to say "Oh wow... that's the RED? What do you think of it?"

Seriously every person on set will try to have a conversation with you while you're trying to build it. It seems to be a conversation piece.
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#12 Allan Legarth Nielsen

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 03:45 PM

All very nice to know, I'm as well AC'ing on a Red for the first time, next week.

Good luck Diana, and if you have sudden issues or problems, be sure to let me know, I'll do the same:-)
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#13 Gil Wertheim

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 03:58 PM

Dev 16 ops manual:

http://www.red.com/d...uide_v3.2.5.pdf


Red fourms:

http://www.reduser.net/forum/index.php

Lots of good info there
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#14 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 04:40 PM

BTW- in terms of on-set workflow, this is what I usually do. I always label the mags at the beginning of the job and keep CR#s increasing, just like in film.

HOT/SPENT MAG>
1. Mark with red tape
2. Unmount and disconnect from camera
3. Attach camera report
4. Deliver to Media Management/DIT (Skip this step if you don't have one)
5. Make a record of the time the transaction occurred (usually MAG#, CR, and Time)
*The mag is now in the media manager/DITs hands, and they would continue from here.
6. Copy the hot mag to HDD1
7. Verify all footage against camera report
8. Copy from HDD1 to HDD2 (backup drive)
9. Format Magazine
10. Remove red tape
11. Return to camera dept.
12. Camera Assistant makes a note of the time the mag was returned
13. Stow or mount to camera



I've followed this procedure and never had a problem. If something happens to the mag the notes will show whether or not it was in the DIT's charge at the time, or if it was the AC's responsibility (CYA!)
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 06:44 PM

Lots of good advice here. I just wanted to add that I just posted my own camera report tailored to the RED in the camera assistant's forum. It's there for download.
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