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Shooting and editing RED on location


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#1 chris layhe

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:20 PM

Hi Guys

When we have had a few RED posts lately it has been apparent that there is a real lack of understanding of what this beast can do and how you should best go about taking advantage of it's massive potential in both shoot and post. For anyone who does need a real life solution to working with RED or HDCAM or any other "do it where?" type of question this might be helpful...

"Introducing "The Big RED Bus" - okay, so that's not exactly accurate, it's actually 32 feet of white and grey striped shiny new luxury RV... not red and not even a bus - but it certainly is big!

It's what is inside that counts: two very complete 4k edit suites, or DIT and color correction/look grading stations, or a mobile base for our RED One and Sony F900 camera systems plus all the usual audio and lighting goodies, somewhere comfortable to take have lunch and watch the already color graded morning's rushes, a transport for up to ten crew and equipment, a coffee and shower escape pod - or any combination of these. The Big RED Bus is even completely self-sufficient for 3 days or more. and can operate anywhere we can drive to, with our crew, camera outfits and post suites, your own or some wickedly effective combination.

So, is it the perfect "edit as you shoot" or "post at my pad" solution? The complete camera system and DIT base? The answer to a 2nd unit prayer? Or simply THE way to approach any location or studio shoot, and save time and budget by getting things done right the first time, compressing your production schedule, reducing over-shoots, controlling the look and eliminating costly "fix it in post" problems? Well... Yes, yes, yes and most definitely yes!

But we were so wrong about the Big, RED and Bus thing - perhaps you should check it out for yourself at http://www.REDontheROAD.com..."

Chris Layhe
chris@CLAi.tv
www.REDontheROAD.com
www.REDfilm.us
www.CLAi.tv

Edited by chrislayhe, 26 February 2009 - 09:22 PM.

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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 04:10 PM

When we have had a few RED posts lately....


There's a Red folder under "Cameras and Formats". We've had far more than a few posts about the Red. The few that you find here, including this one, really belong there.

BTW, you should edit your screen name to separate your first and last names with a space.





-- J.S.
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#3 chris layhe

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 04:54 PM

Thanks John, I will do that... but more importantly - how does it sound to you?

Chris.

There's a Red folder under "Cameras and Formats". We've had far more than a few posts about the Red. The few that you find here, including this one, really belong there.

BTW, you should edit your screen name to separate your first and last names with a space.





-- J.S.


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 04:59 PM

Thanks John, I will do that... but more importantly - how does it sound to you?

Chris.


Sounds rather like you're advertising.
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:49 PM

Sounds rather like you're advertising.


Yes.




-- J.S.
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#6 chris layhe

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:46 PM

I prefer to think of it as providing an innovative product and service which isn't available anywhere else to a community of which we are a part that has, for the most part, a real need and desire to make working with RED and 4k digital cinema a more realisitic proposition... in the same way that Element Technica provide products that make the camera more useable and others provide software that makes the footage more accessible.

The difficulty that many producers, directors and cinematographers currently have is that they don't know enough about the system to feel confident using and even budgeting for it, and many have had difficult experiences when trying to make it fit into a traditional production model while dealing with individuals and companies who often have limited knowledge of how to get the best from what is an incredibly powerful tool that can increase quality while saving on budget and production time... we have created a way to make the process work very efficiently for almost any location or studio production, at a minimal cost, and are making it available for productions other than our own.

Chris.

Yes.




-- J.S.


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#7 Michael Most

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 04:46 PM

I prefer to think of it as providing an innovative product and service which isn't available anywhere else to a community of which we are a part that has, for the most part, a real need and desire to make working with RED and 4k digital cinema a more realisitic proposition... in the same way that Element Technica provide products that make the camera more useable and others provide software that makes the footage more accessible.

The difficulty that many producers, directors and cinematographers currently have is that they don't know enough about the system to feel confident using and even budgeting for it, and many have had difficult experiences when trying to make it fit into a traditional production model while dealing with individuals and companies who often have limited knowledge of how to get the best from what is an incredibly powerful tool that can increase quality while saving on budget and production time...


1. While I understand your personal pride in doing this, you should know that you're certainly not the first. Creative Bridge built their Mobile Digital Lab almost 4 years ago, and it was used on numerous productions that utilized varied equipment (Viper, F900, and others). It proved to be too expensive and of limited utility to most productions, and I don't know if it's still being used at all. I would suggest you talk to Brian Gaffney (I believe he's at Technicolor these days) for information on what they learned.

2. Posting Red projects is not rocket science. Those who can't figure it out don't necessarily need to have the entire editorial department brought to the location, they just need a post supervisor who can put together a sensible plan. I understand your very eloquent pitch, but the truth is that as things become more common, they become more accepted and supported. I suspect that's what's happening with Red right now, and those that haven't yet participated in Red projects will be before long. So whatever ignorance there still might be (and I don't think there's much) about ways of handling it is likely to evaporate in a reasonably short amount of time. Besides, most productions leaning towards using Red are doing it primarily for financial reasons, so an elaborate vehicle housing the editorial and file processing departments would stand a fairly good chance of being seen as an extravagant, unnecessary expense given that all that's really required is a Macintosh or two. Just my opinion.
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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 06:25 PM

Besides, most productions leaning towards using Red are doing it primarily for financial reasons, so an elaborate vehicle housing the editorial and file processing departments would stand a fairly good chance of being seen as an extravagant, unnecessary expense given that all that's really required is a Macintosh or two. Just my opinion.

Yes, a long way from the "$17,500 Ultra High Definition" Video camera that we still read about occasionally :lol:

This has been the case ever since Non-network Electronic Field Production first became feasible in the 1980s. There were endless articles in the industry press about whizz-bang setups like the one described above, but you never seemed to ever hear any follow-up, as in how they've just bought their second self-contained EFP truck and are looking at a third. I recall very few articles about actual significant productions they were used on either.

An awful lot of money was also spent on setting up fully self-contained soundproofed and air-conditioned studio space, which remained empty for long periods, and it often cost a fortune to return the building to its original condition when the lease was up. Most production companies can think of better things to spend their money on that the comfort of the crew...

Edited by Keith Walters, 28 February 2009 - 06:28 PM.

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#9 chris layhe

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 08:52 PM

I couldn't agree with you more, Keith and Michael, anyone investing in an overpriced EFP truck these days would be insane as would anyone choosing to use one on a production (unless there was a very special reason)... RED cinematography, DIT and post production is certainly not rocket science... and the best thing about RED is that it is a great way to carve a chunk off your budget to below film or HDCAM levels and still have a very good looking project.

But the reason we built and use the RV on our own productions is that it is an extremely effective, controlled way of handling DIT and "edit while we shoot" requirements and does the job far better than bringing boxes of Mac parts onto a location with a freelance DIT and editor who may or may not know the systems inside out - everything else is just an extra bonus to this that gets thrown into the equation. I won't mention prices on forum, as this would be advertising, but the cost of the vehicle is little more than the rental of the equipment - otherwise it would make no sense for our own productions or those of others. I believe there are also two mobile units which offer part, but definitely not all, of the services and facilities we do with Big RED - 4 Ninjas have an excellent small mobile unit primarily for color grading and Confidence Bay in Austin have an RV primarily for location editing. Like yourself, I haven't heard anything of the hugely expensive production behemoths that essentially developed as luxury OB trucks for film work. (Thanks for the tip about Bryan Gaffney, I'll try and catch him for feedback and suggestions)

As far as RED and rocket science goes, the system offers many ways of achieving a desired end - but we have found that there are very few people around, be they DITs, editors or cinematographers, who actually know what techniques and options to put together for a specific project, and then can accurately communicate these to everyone involved on a production (and unfortunately many of the techniques even publicly put forward by RED as best practice are very often not the way to go for the best quality and efficiency).

The knock on from this is that, again from our personal experience, many producers don't know how to accurately budget a project on RED versus, say 35mm or HDCAM, and so either guess wrongly or just avoid using this technology. Not rocket science, but, for example, how many people can actually say how long you need to allow to render an hour of RED RAW footage out to a ProsRes HQ format on a Mac Pro 8 Core with plenty of memory so that you can edit it at full resolution, or how that time will change if you are doing it on location on a regular Macbook Pro Core Duo, even the choice between encoding via Final Cut and REDRushes can mean an 8 times longer render? As you say, this is simple stuff, but the difference on your 30 to 40 hours of footage project between budgeting for 4 ot 5 days of rendering and 4 or 5 weeks... and the problem is that there simply aren't enough people out there who have tested every option out for crucial things like this and for setting a look on the camera and getting the same look at the end of post with a sound grounding as Directors, DPs, DITs and editors to provide accurate information!


Chris.

Yes, a long way from the "$17,500 Ultra High Definition" Video camera that we still read about occasionally :lol:

This has been the case ever since Non-network Electronic Field Production first became feasible in the 1980s. There were endless articles in the industry press about whizz-bang setups like the one described above, but you never seemed to ever hear any follow-up, as in how they've just bought their second self-contained EFP truck and are looking at a third. I recall very few articles about actual significant productions they were used on either.

An awful lot of money was also spent on setting up fully self-contained soundproofed and air-conditioned studio space, which remained empty for long periods, and it often cost a fortune to return the building to its original condition when the lease was up. Most production companies can think of better things to spend their money on that the comfort of the crew...


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Glidecam

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