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Has anybody peeped under the hood of a RED yet?


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#1 Bernard Hey

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 08:19 PM

I just noticed that RED 1s started shipping around a year ago.

That must mean the 12 months warranty is now expired for some of them.

Has anybody read anywhere about anybody taking the covers off to see whats inside?.
I'd reckon Sony and Panavision must of by now but if they have they ain't saying too much!

I don't want to ask this question on www.REDuser.net because they're like all Fundy nutjobs who think that there are things God didn't mean for us mere humans to know :lol:

I am hoping there's more Athiests or at least Agnostics over here!!

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#2 Walter Graff

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:51 PM

http://provideocoali...as_ex1_f23_red/
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#3 Keith Walters

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 10:24 PM

I just noticed that RED 1s started shipping around a year ago.

That must mean the 12 months warranty is now expired for some of them.

Has anybody read anywhere about anybody taking the covers off to see whats inside?.
I'd reckon Sony and Panavision must of by now but if they have they ain't saying too much!

I don't want to ask this question on www.REDuser.net because they're like all Fundy nutjobs who think that there are things God didn't mean for us mere humans to know :lol:

I am hoping there's more Athiests or at least Agnostics over here!!


There are sensible people over on Reduser. However they tend to get drowned out by the 'tards just wanting to show Jim how much they care :lol: Having said that, a few of the usual suspects are sure to chime in here now. And to those folks, as Jim recently said: GFY :P

Since RED are offering a free lens mount and audio board upgrade (INCLUDING shipping) for all cameras sold, (well, up to the serial numbers before that was done as standard at any rate) I would imagine that people would be wary of doing anything that might invalidate the offer!

I have yet to lay eyes on an actual RED, let alone closely examine one. However from information assembled from a number of sources, I seriously doubt you would be any the wiser as to what makes it tick if you did succeed in removing the covers.

We know it uses a microlensed 12 megapixel CMOS imager, with on-board 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Earlier versions of the downloadable RED operation manual implied there was one ADC for every photosite (I don't know if it says it in the later versions). That does sound unlikely: a single 12 bit ACD requires thousands of transistors to fabricate, so you would be talking about a chip with billions of active transistors as well as millions of analog circuits, all of which have to be closely matched for performance. This has been mentioned before here, but nobody from RED commented.

The basic operating principle of the RED is to take the unprocessed ("Raw") data from the sensor, apply a propretary compression system to it to reduce the data rate to a manageable level, and then store the compressed data in flash memory or disk drives, without any other processing. Which is analogous to shooting film, in that it has to be processed before you can view it.

(Current versions of the RED do provide a lower-resolution "live" image for monitoring purposes, but that's more like video assist on a film camera; it's not like an F23 or Genesis, where you can directly view the full resolution images).

In Post Production the recorded "Redcode RAW" data is then de-compressed in in non-real time in the editing computer, to hopefully restore a close replica of the original RAW data from the sensor, which is then de-bayered and otherwise processed much the same way it is in a "live" camera.

All you are likely to see inside the RED is the CMOS sensor, which would be easily identifiable, and a lot of "postage stamp" surface mount ICs, almost certainly with their numbers scrubbed off! Experienced design engineers could probably be able to identify the actual processor chips used, as well as the RAM and ROM/FLASH chips, but without access to the software stored in them (almost always a one-way process), there is no way this information would be of much use to anyone wanting to copy the design.

(It is a general rule of thumb that anybody who has the technical expertise to physically build a copy an electronic circuit, will usually also tend to have the expertise to identify any common chips used! I've been through this argument myself with a number of different employers. Despite the fact that I could normally identify all the unmarked chips quite easily and draw up a schematic diagram in the space of a few hours, somehow the non-technical management thought there was something to be gained by my laboriously scrubbing off the chip numbers in the equipment I designed for them, which took a very long time, with the risk of damaging the chips :rolleyes: )

The savage power consumption of the Red (80-90 Watts) indicates that it uses off-the-shelf processor chips rather than specifically designed (ASIC) chips, which generally have much lower power consumption. This is a major design flaw of the RED in that far too much power is being dissipated in too small a space.

Most of the time the actual procesor chips seem to cope without tripping over their own feet too much, but an entirely different question is how reliable the system will be hardware-wise.
One day somebody will ask me to fix one of these things, and then maybe I'll post some photos here if nobody has already. Don't expect to see anything too startling.
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#4 Keith Walters

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 10:30 PM

http://provideocoali...as_ex1_f23_red/

Thanks for that link; I had seen it before but I lost the reference.
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 12:28 PM

The covers should come off if you use a big enough hammer.
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#6 Keith Walters

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:45 AM

The covers should come off if you use a big enough hammer.

Now now, the RED is an inanimate object. It can't help its origins or the people who choose to deify it :lol:

I gather it's neither as cheap or as good as the hype would indicate; it's just a video camera, not a lifestyle. Get over it.

Why would you want to hit it with a hammer anyway? Why not just sell it to an impatient fanboy? :lol:
And I'm sure a screwdriver will work at least as well, and leave less evidence of tampering.
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 02:14 PM

I think a set of allen or torx keys would probably do it, also not much to learn there. Also it is probably not the first or last camera to be put together by a small shop form off the shelf components, look for this to become more common like the Iknonoskop dII etc...

-Rob-
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#8 Bernard Hey

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:04 AM

Thanks for the Info guys, especially about the hammer :lol:
I've never been near a RED either, but guess it always helps to know as much as you can about this industry.
I downloaded the manual from RED.com which is actually pretty informative.
Is there anything like a youtube video that shows a RED prep walkaround.?
I thought it would be cool to have the manual and something like that on my laptop, 'just in case'.
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