Jump to content


Photo

On Set with Red: A Weary AC’s Rant


  • Please log in to reply
48 replies to this topic

#1 Matt Jeppsen

Matt Jeppsen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:14 PM

Having just wrapped another 5-day shoot with the Red One, I was inspired to finish an article I started back in November (yes, following another Red shoot). It's a bit long, and a bit ranty, but there are a number of things I need to get off my chest about this amazing, yet very frustrating camera system. The article is too long to repost here, but feel free to comment here in this thread. I'll answer any questions or flames folks want to reply with. :-)

http://provideocoali..._with_red_rant/

Matt Jeppsen
FreshDV
  • 0

#2 Gus Sacks

Gus Sacks
  • Sustaining Members
  • 287 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:47 PM

I've used the duel battery rig so you can swap batteries without restarting. It's still a little tricky - you really need 2 batteries to do it effectively.
  • 0

#3 Matt Jeppsen

Matt Jeppsen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 16 March 2009 - 02:06 PM

you really need 2 batteries to do it effectively.

Hey Gus, can you explain further what you mean? Thanks
  • 0

#4 Michael Kubaszak

Michael Kubaszak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Chicago

Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:20 PM

I live in Milwaukee and have also experienced problems due to the cold. Not being able to power up when too cold, the EVF going into predator vision, therefore rendering aperture and focus judgements useless. Also, experienced quite a bit of what the DP on the last movie called "Bad Boot(s)", where the camera just doesn't boot correctly.
  • 0

#5 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 17 March 2009 - 12:01 AM

Every single RED is different. Just remember that.

I also highly recommend not recording audio to the red.
  • 0

#6 Milo Sekulovich

Milo Sekulovich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:21 AM

In contrast to his complaint of glitches with Red, I have a 40 year old Arriflex 2C
that I've shot in bitter cold weather time and time again with no problems that
produces images that Red cannot compare to.

People seem to forget these days about the sheer ruggedness of film cameras.

You wouldn't put a Red right next to the machine guns on a fighter plane
like the Arri 35's were meant to.

And with all these problems with a camera that has difficulty performing
properly 'out of the box', that's supposed to be a revolution??


Milo
  • 0

#7 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:29 AM

^^ :)

Testing cameras on planes with machine guns next to the cameras, should be the bare minimum test for performance and reliability....if that could only happen :(

BMW said it best: "we've tested our cars on the most enduring courses, and the most opposite extremes, under the harshest conditions; knowing that you will probably never go to locations like these, or need the functions we've built into the cars; but it's good to know that you have those options."

Not the exact quote, but I tried to get the point across.
  • 0

#8 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:41 AM

I also highly recommend not recording audio to the red.


Ugh, if only to be rid of the big bundle of cables. Last feature I did with a red we had to have this big bundle of 4 of these 1 foot MiniXLR>XLR cables on the camera. The only thing I could think of to do with them was to ziptie them to the dumb side high rod. It still meant that breaking off or connecting to the mixer took 4 connections rather than one and that we were weighed down by 5 cables: 4 XLRs and a BNC. Also, the bulk of 4 XLR connections in one place is pretty bad.

That issue really needs to be fixed. Surely a breakout box can be designed that incorporates all 4 audio lines into one connector. Then there can just be one snake that goes to the mixer and, since all 4 lines would share a shield, it should be thinner than 4 XLRs.
  • 0

#9 John Waterman

John Waterman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 49 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Chicago

Posted 18 March 2009 - 01:14 PM

Chris,

There are infact several solutions for a break-out box on the Red. I would recommend checking out http://aslgear.com/ and thier product called the "Rip Kit" (http://aslgear.com/ripkit.aspx)

"The 'RIP' easily attaches to the connector side of the camera and can be used in Stand Alone Mode, or with the 'RIB' Break-Out Box. Using an industry standard DVI-I Dual Link (Digital/Analog) cable, the Break-Out Box connects to the panel and gives the operator full access to all of the camera’s immediate I/O’s plus start/stop, tally, and 5-pin audio out. *Includes one 3 foot DVI-I (Dual-Link) cable."

My biggest problem with the Red One is the fact that everyone's package is different, there are no set standards for what accessories and 3rd party mods are required. When I rent an Arri 535 its pretty much the same kit from one rental house to the next. With the Red each rental house or owner/op has a different set up with different solutions (or not) for the various Red One issues.

Surely a breakout box can be designed that incorporates all 4 audio lines into one connector. Then there can just be one snake that goes to the mixer and, since all 4 lines would share a shield, it should be thinner than 4 XLRs.


Edited by John Waterman, 18 March 2009 - 01:17 PM.

  • 0

#10 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 18 March 2009 - 03:01 PM

Chris,

There are infact several solutions for a break-out box on the Red. I would recommend checking out http://aslgear.com/ and thier product called the "Rip Kit" (http://aslgear.com/ripkit.aspx)

"The 'RIP' easily attaches to the connector side of the camera and can be used in Stand Alone Mode, or with the 'RIB' Break-Out Box. Using an industry standard DVI-I Dual Link (Digital/Analog) cable, the Break-Out Box connects to the panel and gives the operator full access to all of the camera’s immediate I/O’s plus start/stop, tally, and 5-pin audio out. *Includes one 3 foot DVI-I (Dual-Link) cable."

My biggest problem with the Red One is the fact that everyone's package is different, there are no set standards for what accessories and 3rd party mods are required. When I rent an Arri 535 its pretty much the same kit from one rental house to the next. With the Red each rental house or owner/op has a different set up with different solutions (or not) for the various Red One issues.


Can't wait for the new lineup of camera's with 1 trillion different configurations. That should put the grind on rental houses!
  • 0

#11 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 18 March 2009 - 06:15 PM

Can't wait for the new lineup of camera's with 1 trillion different configurations. That should put the grind on rental houses!


That'll be fun. It will be like learning a completely new camera each and every time.

John: That breakout looks pretty good but it still doesn't fix the problem of the lbs of audio cables you have to drag around. In fact it may make it worse since audio would want to use a 5-pin stereo monitor rather than a 1/8" mini connector for return. I was thinking of something that uses a collar lock connector like many audio guys use to snake to the camera. It would just have to be a snake with conductors for 4 channels inside instead of the usual 2 plus return. It would still be kind of heavy but better than 4XLRs and their associated (IMO) unnecessarily large, clunky, and heavy connectors.

In any case, I guess the real problem is that most RED owners around here I've rented from seem to think that the RED is perfect as-is and they tend not to buy any 3rd party accessories because that would somehow be an admission that they bought an inferior product that needs fixing.

Edited by Chris Keth, 18 March 2009 - 06:18 PM.

  • 0

#12 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 18 March 2009 - 06:35 PM

In any case, I guess the real problem is that most RED owners around here I've rented from seem to think that the RED is perfect as-is and they tend not to buy any 3rd party accessories because that would somehow be an admission that they bought an inferior product that needs fixing.


OMG no way. I just used a red this weekend that had a shock absorber for the HDD, and ditche the whole cradle setup. The battery sat on the Vmount and on 19mm rails. We had the ET EVF bracket which is fantastic, I wouldn't do handheld with a nogra arm ever!

The package also came with 2 mini BNC - BNC cables, which is awesome, and tons of spare cables for the EVF and LCD. 7 8GB CF cards and 2 Hard drives.

Very good package. I can't imagine using all read parts, and actually I haven't ever used all red parts on a shoot. A lot of people I know are making their own parts.

Edited by Jamie Metzger, 18 March 2009 - 06:35 PM.

  • 0

#13 Gus Sacks

Gus Sacks
  • Sustaining Members
  • 287 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:20 PM

Hey Gus, can you explain further what you mean? Thanks


For some reason I can't remember, one side of the mount won't hold the flow of electricity for very long, but it will enough so you can throw a battery on one side to bridge the gap while you swap a new battery on it. If that makes sense.
  • 0

#14 Ralph Keyser

Ralph Keyser
  • Sustaining Members
  • 120 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 19 March 2009 - 12:03 PM

Having just wrapped another 5-day shoot with the Red One, I was inspired to finish an article I started back in November (yes, following another Red shoot). It's a bit long, and a bit ranty...


Matt, thanks for taking the time to finish that article. I didn't find it particularly ranty, and it's always good to have info from the trenches.
  • 0

#15 John Waterman

John Waterman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 49 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Chicago

Posted 20 March 2009 - 01:55 PM

...It will be like learning a completely new camera each and every time.

I guess the real problem is that most RED owners... tend not to buy any 3rd party accessories...


I think the fact that there is no standard Red One kit that solves all of the cameras flaws is really the main issue here.

I have done four feature/pilot length projects with the Red One as the 1st AC, each time the rental was from a different vendor. One project the package came from an established traditional rental house (Fletcher Chicago), and three of those projects production rented the Red One body and basic accessories from an 'owner/op' and then rented all of the cinema accessories and lens from a different traditional rental house.

Production sees the rental house price for a Red One, then sees some random 'owner/op' price and they think that they are getting a great deal. They think they are comparing apples to apples, when in fact they are comparing apples to oranges because the rental house, if it is any good at all, will have custom solutions that fix all of the Red One camera's flaws. Many 'owner/op's do not have those 3rd party mods and fixes because either they do not have the money to spend on them, or they are simply ignorant to the problems with the camera because they are not and have not been a camera assistant. In my experience, the 'owner/op' renting these kits tends to be a director who bought it for his own pet projects, or a rich wannabee film director who thinks he needs to own a camera to make movies.

I know there are a lot of great 'owner/op' enterprises out there, and many who are or have been camera assistants. I just have not worked with your kits yet, probably because you DO have the required 3rd party mods and have priced your kits higher than these other wannabies.

All three of those piecemeal projects were a real bitch to get everything working right, and on several occations we had to rent additional parts for the red and have them shipped in from LA, at significant expense to production. My one project working with the Red One kits owned by Fletcher Chicago was a blast. They understand the camera assistant's needs and work hard to support you. Thier camera packages are a real plasure to work with and I highly recommend them. More pricey than the 'owner/op', but the service and support is well worth it.

I really wish the production community would establish a standard Red One camera package so that each job with the Red is like the last job with the Red, and we don't have to re-invent and re-build the camera package each time. Just my 2 cents.

John Waterman
Freelance camera assistant
35mm, 16mm, HD, digital cinema
  • 0

#16 Robert Tagliaferri

Robert Tagliaferri
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 March 2009 - 03:00 PM

"You can't please all the people all the time"... I think the Red is trying to appeal to too broad a market, no camera is going to satisfy the needs of every production, and if it does, it's going to have to make compromises somewhere. I think the modularity of the Red is good in concept, however, rather than having one good, standard handheld config, steadicam config and studio config, you end up fussing around with third party or their own accessories to try to get a working rig in any configuration. I'd rather have a tried and true configuration, then having to deal with something that's trying to do everything and doesn't do one thing well... I think Red needs to define their market, and make a product that suits it. Right now they're making a cheap camera with a decent sensor that can be anything from prosumer to 'pseudo professional', depending on the accessories and lenses you put on it. Prosumers and 'professionals' have different needs though, and the same camera system probably isn't going to satisfy both markets, not without making some serious compromises; how do you keep the price down for prosumers, while maintaining the high level of quality that professionals demand? Good luck.

If all that matters is the quality of the image, then the bottom line is that the Red camera is a good value. For $250-$500/day, where else are you going to get a final image like that- not that it's great, but it's better than anything else in it's price range. The image quality you get for the price is very good, but at the cost of several compromises, ie the rolling shutter, buggy software, etc.

The other thing to consider is that the idea of the 'digital cinema' camera is really still in it's infancy. Not that this is about drawing comparisons with other formats, but modern 35mm camera systems are the result of over 100 years of R&D. The first 35mm camera probably had alot of issues too; I think the idea of the Red is a step in the right direction, and we're going to see these digital systems get better and better.
  • 0

#17 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3054 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 March 2009 - 04:58 PM

The other thing to consider is that the idea of the 'digital cinema' camera is really still in it's infancy.


That is true, but it's not something that stops Sony, Thomson and others getting their product right before launching it.

I'm not a RED hater - I actually like the thing, but some of it's faults are unforgivable, even for something so economically priced.
  • 0

#18 Tim Tyler

Tim Tyler

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1291 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Olympia, WA (US)

Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:27 PM

The article is too long to repost here...


No, it's not, Matt.
  • 0

#19 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:49 PM

That is true, but it's not something that stops Sony, Thomson and others getting their product right before launching it.

I'm not a RED hater - I actually like the thing, but some of it's faults are unforgivable, even for something so economically priced.


Stuart, you're much too hard on them. You expect them to do R&D on their own dime when they can just release it and have working production effectively do it for them? Unfortunately, too many people are used to it when computer systems, software, game systems, and even cell phones are routinely released and then updated to fix the problems after the fact.

I have no doubts whatsoever that they intentionally released it early and have been keeping tabs on the problems to develop the firmware updates. Generally, R&D is the most expensive part of a piece of equipment like that and they found a way for the buyers to pick up the tab for beta testing.
  • 0

#20 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2420 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 21 March 2009 - 05:27 AM

The point about years of R&D is fair, but the Arri II you use today is pretty much as it was in 1938. 71 years. Count 'em.
  • 0


Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Opal

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Abel Cine

Tai Audio