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RED - Good for any type of work?

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Rob Grauert
RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 1:55:10 am

Hi,

The RED line up is very interesting to me; however, it's my understanding that people use these cameras for short films, features, and even commercials. These aren't really the branches of the industry that I want to work in.

I like the documentary style that is often seen on the Discovery Channel and History Channel -- basically, any video that involves interviews and b-roll.

My first question is: Is RED overkill for this kind of work?

Also, I'm still a student, and even though I do freelance work, I almost always find myself handling projects from beginning to end.

So my second question is: Is this a hard camera to use by yourself? I read in a different post that because the resolution is so high and the sensor is as large as 35mm film, focus is very critical. I shoot sports a lot too. Would it be hard to shoot sports with this camera due to the critical focus?

Thanks for your advice.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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Russell Lasson
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 3:15:57 am

The RED ONE is a great camera, but it really isn't designed for everything. Using it as a one man crew can be a big challenge.

First off, it is quite heavy. Going hand-held by yourself could really be a pain.

Also, as you said, focus is a big deal too. Some conditions can be a real challenge for an AC even if that's the only thing they have to worry about.

It will be interesting to see how the 2/3" Scarlet will work for the type of work you're considering, but for now, I would think that the RED ONE often can be too much for one person to manage.

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Ridgeline Digital Cinema Mastering
Universal Post
Salt Lake City, UT


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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 3:39:27 am


Hi,

With complete and all due respect to Russell.

I use the RED one wherever and whenever I would use a DVX100a or an HVX200, a sony Betacam, or virtually any other camera. I have build the RED to be about the exact same as a typical betacam setup (adding only one other case for lens options).

There are many who think that the RED could not be used for documentary production. I'd say that the only thing it is not suited for is what I call "hose it down" production, where tape is cheap and you roll 9 hours of tape in a 9.5 hour day.

The RED is a perfectly (little bit heavier than most) respectable camera for any "sensible" application.

If they had LIVE 1080P outputs I would venture a guess that many multi camera HD productions would be taking advantage of the large sensor depth of field.

If you have the balls you can shoot RED® in place of anything.

David



Peace and Love :)
Read my Blog
http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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Russell Lasson
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 4:36:03 am

[David Battistella] "If you have the balls you can shoot RED® in place of anything. "

Where there's a will, there's a way:)

David is right. There are plenty of people who have used cameras bigger and more complex than the RED ONE for all sorts of documentaries and sports events. It's definitely not unheard of.

The choice of camera is really dependent on the project. It needs to be a balance between creative intent, budget and practicality. Sometimes the RED ONE will work and sometimes it won't.

I do think that the new modular approach with Scarlet and Epic will make shooting using a RED camera much more flexible for different projects. It's going to rock!

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Ridgeline Digital Cinema Mastering
Universal Post
Salt Lake City, UT


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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 5:12:35 am


Russell,

You know that I wasn't firing shots. I agree EPIC® and SCARLETT® are the future. The RED ONE® was just a way to launch the program and work out the bugs.

This next generation makes much, much more sense but will require existing owners to reinvest in the program.

David




Peace and Love :)
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http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 5:21:55 am



FYI RUSSELL

That Universal post REEL is really a nice piece of work.


David




Peace and Love :)
Read my Blog
http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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Uli Plank
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 8:41:01 am

Have a look at the clip with Rodney Charters (The Reel Show) and you can see that one travel light (kind of) with a Red One. That said, there are conditions where it's not really advised:

- If I were shooting under 'guerilla' conditions, I'd use a Sony EX-1.

- If you need very long zooms, things get extremely heavy and expensive with a RedOne.

The Red has it's biggest strengths in cinematic production, but it's a quite flexible camera in a single case (e. g. 4K up to 30f ps or 2K up to 120 fps). But the new modular concept is far more flexible, of course, OTOH it will cost you more.

Regards,

Uli

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Russell Lasson
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 5:04:56 pm

[David Battistella] "You know that I wasn't firing shots."

Yeah, you have some very valid points that after listening to, I tend to agree with. I think the reality of the whole conversation is that while you can use the REDONE for just about anything, it's not a cakewalk. There's a big difference it trying to manage something like a HVX or XDCAM EX and a RED camera.

Thanks for the compliments on the reel. We've really become addicted to the RED here. It's just become worse since we got a Scratch system set up. I've seen some really great footage come through here.

We also have been meaning to post the results of our own RED vs. Film test. We shot them side by side and put together a reel that really shows off some of the differences.

Thanks again,

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Ridgeline Digital Cinema Mastering
Universal Post
Salt Lake City, UT


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gary adcock
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 1:33:20 pm

[David Battistella] "I use the RED one wherever and whenever I would use a DVX100a or an HVX200, a sony Betacam, or virtually any other camera."

David- missed you at the IDCF event in Toronto...


For the sake of the student that asked the original question I am going to make a couple of comments.

The REDOne is very heavy by comparison to the cameras David lists by a factor of 4X when you add a battery, EVF, PL mount lens and matte box, The lightest rig I have seen with everything needed is a little over 20Lb, While not quite the 30lb of a digibeta it is far heavier that the 6 lb HXV200.

Rob as a student you will need to learn the RED workflow, but note that knowledge comes with a price also.
Mainly to handle the R3D content your computer needs to be as new as your camera will be. Processing of R3d files can be very task intensive on the cpu and not something easily handled on anything less than a top of the line mac.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD




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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 2:50:52 pm



All very good advice for the student Gary. Sorry I missed you there I was not able to attend and I only heard you were there after the event.

Uli.

I am not so sure that the "new" reds are going to be so light. I mean, the "brain" alone will be about 4 pounds, but it will most likely be the same or heavier than a RED one for the same functionality as the RED one.

Even a small scarlett might come in at about ten to twelve pounds. (especially if they stick with 19mm hardware).

David



Peace and Love :)
Read my Blog
http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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gary adcock
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 3:55:46 pm

[David Battistella] "Even a small scarlett might come in at about ten to twelve pounds. (especially if they stick with 19mm hardware)."

They have to stick with the 19mm hardware, it is standardized across ARRI, Chroziel, 16x9 and nearly all the other accessories manufacturers. With matte boxes costing thousands of dollars it is an investment that lives longer than many cameras do, so maintaining compatibility with existing tools is essential.

That is not to say that the 12 or 15mm rails are some how inferior for most users, but for the digital cinema crowd the 19mm rails have been the defacto standard for accessories for decades and while many DP's do not own their own cameras, the vast majority of shooters I know own their own matte box and filters sets for them.






gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD




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Rob Grauert
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 15, 2008 at 4:58:20 pm

Russell,

I’m also interested in the 2/3” Scarlet as well, and when I actually have money to buy one of these cameras, that is what I will probably get. Like you said, the camera is dependent on the project, and I feel the smaller sensor of the one Scarlet model will be more manageable for someone who works alone a lot. Plus, you just upgrade the brain when you want to upgrade, which is an awesome idea.

I asked only about RED ONE because it’s out already and people have some experience with it.


Uli,

I, too, have gotten the impression has it’s biggest strengths are in cinematic production, but it seems to me that it works so great in those environments because it’s a highly controlled environment. Even though I work with the documentary style that is seen on The Discovery Channel, I feel those can be very controlled environments as well. I see your point though. There may be times when I’m trying to shoot b-roll and I have no control at all, which could be real annoying.


Gary,

I’ve also read a little bit out the weight of the camera, but I think it’s one of the least things I’m worried about. I like shooting on a tripod. It is a good point though because sometimes I do shoot handheld, and the weight is definitely something I may have to get used it. I’m young though, I think I can handle it...hahaha.

The RED workflow seems to be the hardest thing for me to learn. In the past I’ve read things here and there, and only 2 days ago I started digging around on the RED forum. I think what makes learning hard is the terminology. Everything I read, they mention REDCODE, R3D, REDCINE, REDALERT, etc, and I don’t know what all of these are or where to learn about them. I feel learning the workflow would be a much easier if I knew some of these basic terms that are used so frequently.

Also, I know my computer has to be pretty decked out to work with RED files. I think I’m pretty close though...I have a 2.66GHz MacPro with 5GB of RAM. I work with Final Cut Studio 2, which is up to date. I think all I need is at least a RAID5, some more RAM, AJA Kona Card, and external HD monitor, and a faster CPU if Apple can put one in. What do you think?

Thanks for all your valuable time thoughts guys.



Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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gary adcock
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:13:19 am

[Rob Grauert] " I think I’m pretty close though...I have a 2.66GHz MacPro with 5GB of RAM. I work with Final Cut Studio 2, which is up to date. I think all I need is at least a RAID5, some more RAM, AJA Kona Card, and external HD monitor, and a faster CPU if Apple can put one in. "

remember that the more tricked out the machine the better the RT performance,

RED recommends 1 gig of RAM per processor for real time playback. The Storage and Kona card are a necessity if you plan on laying to tape at some point in the process.

good luck

g




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD




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Uli Plank
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 16, 2008 at 10:40:42 am

A few explanations:

REDCODE or R3D (it's file extension) is the native codec from Red. Currently only processed natively in Scratch or the free programs from Red's support site, bu jus about everyone in the industry, from Adobe all the way to Quantel, is working on it's support right now.

REDline (RL) is a command line processor to convert, firts-light and scale such files to other formats, like QT or DPX.
REDAlert is a tiny grading application to do a first-light on R3D files and put new meta-data into your QuickTime proxies or output a single file.
REDrushes is a batch processor to apply such changes to a whole bunch of files without fiddling with UNIX scripts. Clipfinder (free) is an interesting alternative.
REDCine is another tiny grading app (think Scratch lite - very lite). 5t's advantage is that you can grade clips in context and you can get it for PC too (the others are all Mac-only). Unfortunately, it's not very stable.

I have written some manuals in German for most of these, but I don't have much time right now to translate. Anybody around here would like to so it?

Regards,

Uli

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Steve Wargo
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 16, 2008 at 8:03:12 am

[David Battistella] "If you have the balls you can shoot RED® in place of anything. "

Is this a joke?

I guess I missed the ENG package and the ability to plug a mic cable into the RED. I'll have to re-evaluate it. And for those shoots where the producer walks away at the end of the day with a box of cassettes.

By the way, I know it has a mini XLR jack. But where does one buy that cable?

The "balls" comment was a special touch.







Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Uli Plank
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 16, 2008 at 10:32:22 am

You can connect a mike to the Red One (actually, up to four). The cables can be bought from their site, or you can get a third party breakout box with standard XLR.

And you can play back in 1080p in decent quality, but that can be tricky, since the Red is strictly progressive and many recorders don't like that.

Regards,

Uli

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:47:26 pm



Steve,

The balls comment might be a stretch. Maybe the best choice of words might have been "will". Many people have dismissed RED in documentary or quick set up situations and from my experience this is not quite true.

It's not a small hand held camera, but that does not mean you can't use it anywhere.

To me the best reason for shooting RED is the quality and size of the image. If you are going to record something or in the case of a documentary (document something) then I always want to do that with the best quality I can.

There are always cases for other camera's but the simple dismissal of RED in documentary is unfair. IN terms "producer who needs a tape" THis means that they would not use and EX-1 EX-3 HVX200 and any other camera which uses a DATA recording stream. RED is not the only camera with specific challenges. I've offered my clients the option of next day tape or bring your own hard drive.

Is it a NEWS camera. NO. Nobody wants or expects news footage to look that good.

David



Peace and Love :)
Read my Blog
http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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Steve Wargo
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 18, 2008 at 5:38:12 am

The problem with docs is usually the fact that their situations require extreme mobility and many times, a more discrete or hidden approach. When dealing with some people, a large camera can change the natural feel in the atmosphere. I've shot docs with BetaCams and HI-8 and always had a better reception with the handycam, even though the picture was horrible.

We hosted a doc last Friday for our local IFP chapter about 6 people who walked from Phoenix to Washington DC over 20 weeks and the camera guys said that it was miserable getting in and out of vehicles and being allowed in churches because they had those huge Canon XL1s. 8 pounds with wireless receiver and big battery.

By the way, what lens would work for a more eng approach? I guess because the camera doesn't have a lens connector, that wouldn't be quite practical except in a fully manual configuration.

However, I could see the Scarlet as just the right thing for that application.

We have a doc on Discovery Health HD right now titled "Two Sisters - One Heart" that was shot on Sony Z1 - HDV. The hospitals would not allow larger cameras in without a mountain of paperwork. In their words, "Bring a Tripod = Get a Permit".




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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David Battistella
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 18, 2008 at 1:24:18 pm

[Steve Wargo] "The problem with docs is usually the fact that their situations require extreme mobility and many times, a more discrete or hidden approach. When dealing with some people, a large camera can change the natural feel in the atmosphere. I've shot docs with BetaCams and HI-8 and always had a better reception with the handycam, even though the picture was horrible. "

I agree that there are situations where discretion is required. The subject matter will dictate this as well. It's pretty hard to be completely invisible with any camera around. Sometimes I find that a Boom Mic from the sound recordist is an even bigger distraction than the camera.


[Steve Wargo] "By the way, what lens would work for a more eng approach? I guess because the camera doesn't have a lens connector, that wouldn't be quite practical except in a fully manual configuration. "

A great base lens on my RED is the Nikon 28-70 zoom. It's small and light with good range. I think anyone who has shot some 16mm for documentary understands that a motorized lens in not required. In fact, I prefer the manual zoom because it's pretty quick and easy to re-set shots.

[Steve Wargo] "We have a doc on Discovery Health HD right now titled "Two Sisters - One Heart" that was shot on Sony Z1 - HDV. The hospitals would not allow larger cameras in without a mountain of paperwork. In their words, "Bring a Tripod = Get a Permit". "

In which case no sensible producer would argue with that. So you might not want to argue that you have to shoot that on RED.

The point, as I might understand it, is that there are many different types of production and many different situations. What if the broadcaster wanted it on HD XD CAM? Etc. For the stuff I shoot, I put the RED where ever I had any other camera. My set up is compact and light weight (for a RED, which is a pretty heavy camera).

David




Peace and Love :)
Read my Blog
http://blogs.creativecow.net/DavidBattistella


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Jack Koetsier
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 23, 2008 at 5:04:46 am

Gidday Gentlemen.
This thread prompted me to register with Creative Cow and respond accordingly (I also read threads posted by some of you in previous months). Firstly, I am very grateful for the information/suggestions/feedback so far. I am located in Tasmania, Australia where, even at the best of time, it is rather difficult to obtain help with video issues (I'm an Adobe Pro/AJA/Sony/PC user). Currently I am shooting in HDV and am looking at upgrading to higher image quality equipment. I recently made a commitment to produce a cinema quality promo for delivery mid 2009 and was considering the new Sony PWD700 for the task. However, and having followed RED developments since 2006, my preference is now leaning towards this product. Your responses and enthusiasm towards this equipment truly excites me and I hope (some of) you can assist with the following queries; I apologize in advance should the questions seem basic.
As RED will be a 'from scratch' venture for me:
1). What is your preferred computer system/config - MAC/PC
2). What is your preferred editing software/plug-ins
I use two Quad core PC systems with velocity drive arrays and Adobe Pro etc but am willing to move to alternative hardware/software; hence question 1 and 2.
In one of the threads I read for there to be RED-Day information/training days, I would like to know more about this if at all possible. My idea is to travel to the US early 2009 to visit AJA, hopefully a studio using RED in order for me to view/learn about their editing system, visit RED and purchase a full kit and fly back. I will, literally, be Out on a Limb but I have the inkling I will able to produce something extraordinary - with a camera that will not suffer the obsolesce issues I have come to experience so far. Many thanks. Kindest regards - Jack Koetsier



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Russell Lasson
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 23, 2008 at 7:29:28 am

[Jack Koetsier] "1). What is your preferred computer system/config - MAC/PC "

Assimilate's Scratch is hands down the best with RED files, but it's also quite expensive.

If you're dealing with the lower end solutions, Mac is better. The main reason I say that is because you can choose between Adobe's workflow and Apple's Final Cut Studio workflow. Both have released support for RED files. Neither are perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

I would suggest reading the whitepaper that Apple released with the Log and Transfer plug-in. Check out RED's support page to get it. It has some great info on how the RED works.

Also, I know someone who works with the RED a lot in Australia. He's with a company called Lemac. They really know their stuff there and have great contacts with the people at RED. You might give them a call or go visit them. http://lemac.com.au/ Let me know if you want me to contact someone there first to introduce you.


-Russ



Russell Lasson
Ridgeline Digital Cinema Mastering
Universal Post
Salt Lake City, UT


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Jack Koetsier
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Nov 23, 2008 at 8:07:32 am

Hi Russ. Thank you so much for your excellent advise/help. I already looked at the Assimilate site and will contact their AU reseller for further information. Mate, I must admit that I am not certain yet as to the type of solution I will be working with; I will chose this after studying/reading more about output/workflow etc. I already am half-way through reading the Operation Manual of Build 18 and my jaw hit the floor a number of times already (I'll look for the whitepaper in a moment)! Having spent days on searching for write-ups, some of the articles I deem 'gold' whilst the imagery is just to 'die' for. I particularly enjoy reading how nothing-auto everything is thus allowing me to use/explore all of my creativity. Also many thanks Russ for the lemac link and yes, it would be nice if you create an introduction as I feel it will reflect more of a professional approach; thanks for your kind offer. As we say in Aussie, "you blew me out of the water" (all good). Kindest regards - Jack Koetsier



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Russell Lasson
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Dec 3, 2008 at 2:53:13 am

Jack,

What's an email address I can contact you at?

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Ridgeline Digital Cinema Mastering
Universal Post
Salt Lake City, UT


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Jack Koetsier
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Dec 3, 2008 at 3:59:55 am

Hi Russell. Thanks for your invite/email. My addy is jack@our.net.au



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Alexander Ibrahim
Re: RED - Good for any type of work?
on Jan 30, 2009 at 4:19:46 pm

[Steve Wargo] "By the way, what lens would work for a more eng approach? I guess because the camera doesn't have a lens connector, that wouldn't be quite practical except in a fully manual configuration.
"


You can use B4 ENG lenses with the RED camera.

You have to buy an adapter. A B4 to PL mount adaptor is available for $3500 from RED.

Now, I haven't used it myself. I've only shot RED with Nikon mount and PL Cinema glass.

I think the preferred workflow with B4 glass is to use the RED in its windowed 2K mode. That's because the 2/3" lenses only cover the center of the RED sensor. Again, I've not used B4 on RED so check that.

B4 lenses will be powered, so you can use the zoom rocker. Also, you can use the record button on the lens to remotely start and stop the RED recording. (I think you need a special cable, and I don't know if its included with the adapter.)

Focus and iris will be fully manual with the RED.



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