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Scarlet, a good investment?

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Helen Serruya
Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 16, 2010 at 6:06:49 pm

Hi I'm a young film maker, more of a producer, I don't really know anything about cameras but I have recently come into some money and was thinking of investing in the Scarlet for my team to work with on future films.

Has anyone used this and do you have any opinions on how good it is? Is it worth the money? What extras are vital for it? What issues did you experience? Is there something better for that kind of money?


Thanks guys


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Noah Kadner
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 16, 2010 at 9:02:14 pm

The Scarlet asn't been released yet- maybe this summer sometime. I'd invest in some books and a couple of magazine subscriptions in the meantime- American Cinematographer, HD Video Pro, Moviemaker- good start.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Visit my Editors Blog- Tips and Gear for Editors.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 16, 2010 at 11:47:51 pm

owning a Scarlet will not be the "key to the door" of getting into the feature film business. You could have the money to buy a RED One with all the accessories, and if you don't have the contacts to get funding for a film, it will all mean nothing. Save your money. Buy a bond, or something.

Bob Zelin




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Helen Serruya
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:17:41 am

It's not that I'm expecting it to be a "key to the door" it's just I have a team and we have made a short, self funded, and have another few we're planning on making. I want to add some decent equipment to our "arsenal" so as to better the quality of our films. At the minute I'm not in search of contacts or funding, I merely want my team as well equip as possible so we can make our shorts and hopefully get them recognized at festivals by potential investors etc. That being said I don't want to throw money down the drain and as good as the Red sounds it's way out my price range at present. The scarlet sounds like a good way to go for now (when it gets released) but as I said I don't know that much about cameras so I'm just curious what those who know more then I do think about the Scarlet.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 2:33:59 am

Well like Bob says- it's not really the brush that makes the art is it? But yes to answer your incredibly oversimplified query- the Scarlet when released would be a good camera.

Is it a good 'investment?' Well that depends on your definition of investment. In the right hands will it be capable of creating nice looking imagery. Will it keep 100% resale value over 5 years and be the last camera you ever buy- judging by how this industry develops I'd say probably not.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Visit my Editors Blog- Tips and Gear for Editors.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 3:15:34 am

If you had $17,500 in your hands right now, that you just won at the Vegas tables, and said "I want to blow it right now" - buying a RED One camera body would get you nothing. You need the rest of the equipment - you know, little things, like a TRIPOD, a panhead, a monitor, a viewfinder, a camera plate, mounts, battery packs, disk drives, audio equipment and mics. Maybe even editing equipment, lights, a van to move all this stuff in. An office (your crew can't work in your bedroom !). Do you own a MAC, so you can see your footage - do you know what Red Rushes is ? Do you have a copy of Final Cut Pro ?

There is SO MUCH MORE to owning a production system than the camera body. Just because Scarlet is an amazing value (when it comes out) - you still have to have the rest of the stuff. Owning the "rest of the stuff" applies to owning a Sony F23, an Arri D21, a Red ONE, or anything else. Someone has to own the tripod ! And a good Sachler is not cheap.

Bob Zelin




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cowcowcow
Tim Kolb
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 6:57:14 pm

Helen, I'd say that having cash over gear is the best weapon in making your films...

While renting cameras can be a difficult budgetary pill to swallow for an often unpredictable, low/no budget indie film shoot schedule, buying a camera confines you to a particular workflow.

I don't know if a scarlet is right for you, but I'd certainly wait until you could at least give one a test run and experience the entire workflow before you made a decision.

The workflow for handling motion RAW files from any of the cameras that shoot similar types of material is not as straightforward as shooting mainstream HD formats...the added latitude and capabilities that RAW offers has a definite price. I think the general idea is to wait until the scarlet is out and some others have decided to be the early adopters. I like to invest in gear that has the bugs worked out of it. It's not exciting...but that sort of excitement isn't what I'm looking for...





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Martin Jordan
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 1:25:29 am

I'd like to add to Bob's post (and I've said this before in other posts) that when you buy a camera you're actually getting married to a company. You're saying, "I do" become your partner. That means, you'll buy their batteries, software, cables and all the other proprietary STUFF they have to make their system work. Whenever we have upgraded we always look at the whole picture. What stuff do we have now, what do we need and what's the best upgrade path to utilize everything we now have. Like lenses to mention just one big item.

So...with that being said, it's never all about the camera. It's about all the other stuff that's needed not only to get the shot but in post also. I think most serious people will agree that the most important things in a shop today to capture good video is: 1) Lens, 2) Lighting 3) Experience not necessarily in that order.

We went through the excitement of the Scarlet also about a year ago. We also considered the RED One. But after evaluating our situation as a company, equip. inventory, budget and where we wanted to go as a company, we decided not to go there.

So...before you go and get married—to a camera company—take a hard look because in this business there is no prenuptial agreements. When you're in...you're in.

Good luck.



Quad-Core, 2.93GHz, OS 10.6.2, 32GB Ram, 4TB RAID Externaal, 4TB Internal, ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card, FCP Studio 7, AE 9.0.2, Boris BCC, FEC, CoreMelt 2, FxFactory Pro 2, idustrial revolution Volumetrix, Yanobox Motype, Squeeze for the Web, MacBook Pro (MBP) 2.6 GHz, Panasonic HPX300 Video Camera.
The entire Adobe Creative Suite 4, Design Premium.
Owner of Full Graphics Design Firm Houston, Tx 20 yrs.
Mac user since 1988.


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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:42:48 pm

Buy a Canon 5D. Give me your email and I can send you some quality full res footage as an example. It's important to be very familiar with the settings on that camera because the defaults aren't very good in situations like shooting green screen. If you know your camera though, you can get around that pretty easily.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Margus Voll
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:00:41 am

Hi.

I agree with the last post. If you know your camera system you can get really good output from your HVX200 lets say. It is not so much what you use. It is how you use it to get the best "painting".



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Jordan Moir
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Mar 8, 2010 at 10:51:06 am

If I were you, I'd get a Canon 5D (~$2,500), 7D (~$1,700), or the newly released T2i (~$800) depending on what your definition of "extra cash" is.

With the extra money you can get some killer lenses, light kit (IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT!!!), filters, gels, screens, tripod, audio gear (shotgun, boom, blimp, windscreen, DAR, etc), rail setups, and much much more.

If I were you and I had round about 4-5 k to spend on, this would definitely be the route I would take, without a doubt.

First things first though if you don't have a Mac, GET ONE! I used to be a Windows kid from 3.1 up to just before Vistas release. Believe me when I say that for video professionals, owning a Mac makes a world of difference. Not just the hardware but the accidental networking I've done just while visiting a Mac store is priceless.


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Jason Myres
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:09:58 pm

Hi Helen, sorry about the no's you're getting on this thread. I know you had good intentions, but I would heed the warnings you are hearing.

Beyond the fact that Scarlet isn't released yet, and that it will require a fairly serious compliment of accessories, there is also the issue of R3D footage.

As Bob likes to mention "Xsan isn't a firewire drive", and a RED camera is not a HandyCam. The accessories, and post production equipment and/or budget for processing R3D files can be fairly huge, as the files must be trans-coded to an editable format (like ProRes HQ) before they can be used.

Up until recently this has meant hours of suffering with Red Rushes. Even on a really powerful MacPro this meant trascode rates of about 3 frames a second. Recently the RedRocket card has changed all that. It makes R3D transcoding much easier as it will process R3D files at up to 36 frames a second, but requires the card itself ($5,000), a fast MacPro (~$4,000) and a RAID array like a Maxx Digital Expando ($9,000) that can satisfy the RedRocket's I/O requirements (~270+ MB/s simultaneous read AND write). If you want more info, I believe Noah has written quite a bit on the topic.

The most beneficial thing I think you could do right now would be to get some experience. Come up with a 1-5 min spot, and shoot it on a RED One. Hopefully you can rent or borrow one in your area. Then using Red Rushes and Final Cut Pro, work your way through the RED workflow. This will give you a much better idea of what you are getting into. Then make your decision to jump in or not.

JM



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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 24, 2010 at 10:24:36 pm

"...as the files must be trans-coded to an editable format (like ProRes HQ) before they can be used."

We've been able to work with R3D directly through proxies ever since the camera came out. RED designed it so there are Quicktime proxies within the RDC folder. Using the "_M" resolution is easy to process and is still a higher resolution than SD. Color can access the R3D's directly too.

Grading with ProRes 422 isn't that great, HQ or not, and transcoding to 10bit or ProRes 4444 takes up way more disk space than the RAW files so you'll have to buy a few more hard drives. For example 22:30 of transcoded 2048 x 1024 of Log and Transfer 4444 takes up 46.2 GB of storage while the RDM RED Mag takes up 29.4 GB.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Jason Myres
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 25, 2010 at 6:30:48 am

That was the dream, but for many the limitations of the proxy workflow aren't acceptable. Hence, the Red Rocket. But, this has all been covered in the COW forums, so I'll digress and just offer up some quick examples...

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/242/1542

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1038897

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/98/869130

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/98/873579


JM


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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 26, 2010 at 12:10:02 am

Not sure how much experience you have with RED post(I was lucky enough to work with an early adopter of the camera) but after working pretty much exclusively with RED footage for editing, effects, and grading for the past 2+ years I can safely say that the proxy workflow has worked great for me, aside from the 2GB bug in Color (which is an easy work around).

Yes Red Rocket is awesome, but that requires $5000 and a separate Mac station in order to work with it because it won't work with other serious cards in your machine (Kona for example). I work primarily in short form main title design and commercials, so maybe I've been lucky, but I don't think so since Mike Seymour and John Montgomery recommend the "_M" proxy workflow because the playback is fast, stable, and the roundtrip to Color is easy and reliable.

One of the reasons people have had so many problems with RED is because they don't know how to use it and those links you provided prove just that.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 26, 2010 at 12:31:09 am

I forgot to mention the ability to do one-lights with proxies using RSX files to instantly update a grade. That is a great feature only available with the proxy workflow. Say for instance you're editing on your Kona station and the client goes, "why is that shot so blue?" or they decide that they want to see a different look. You can go into Red Alert, do a quick grade, and update the proxy immediately. Final Cut will update the clip without any additional commands and your client tells you you're awesome. Remember, Kona cards and Red Rocket don't jive.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:11:19 am

I read your example threads and here's my response:

First thread was posted in Oct 8, 2008 so it's basically irrelevant now. Anyway to answer the guy's question: Set up proxies to "_M" and set timeline to dynamic quality. Make sure to also set video processing to high precision YUV to see the clips in best quality within FCP.

Second thread "_M proxy files but when I try I always get the red render line and have to render before playback"

This guy obviously has no idea how to setup his sequence in FCP, which leads me to believe he doesn't understand what the log and transfer in FCP does to R3D files. There's a variety of different ways to use Log and Transfer, but in general, most of them aren't great. I don't feel like getting into details about it right now though.

The third thread is from Feb 20, 2008 so basically the answer is the same as the answer for thread 1.

The fourth thread is from a guy who doesn't know RED post either. Check out one of the other threads he started:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/223/8209

"Suggestions on removal of Heavy Blue Color cast"? Really?

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:26:07 am

Still no response?

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Helen Serruya
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Mar 18, 2010 at 4:52:02 am

Thanks everyone for all the info, sorry I've taken so long to respond. Been so busy sorting out the submission forms and press kits etc for the UK festivals and also had a lot of time split between meetings with an investor...

Anyway back to the topic at hand. After reading all your comments I have decided to forget about waiting for the Scarlet or even buying another camera. (We already have a good JVC) I think after watching "The Fall" I was sucked into the fantasy of having a RED with it's high image quality without fully considering the reality of just how many extra attachments would be needed and how much more complicated it would be to sort the footage etc. I admit I was more eager to get one for an Epic an investor has shown an interest in having made.

We already of course have final cut pro and mac pros and various bits of equipment. However the next film we are gonna shoot is all set outdoors at night so after speaking with my director I'm thinking of getting an LED light kit instead, or maybe Keno lights. We could also use a new monitor and some better sound equipment so that will be where the monies going instead.

I would still very much like to get hold of a RED or Scarlet etc someday but after reading all your comments I think it's something that should wait until we're a bit more experienced on working with the RED.

Thanks for all the info and assistance everyone.







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Illya Laney
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 2:49:13 am

"meetings with an investor"

Now you're talking. You shouldn't ever have to spend your own money to make films to get into this industry. Yes, spend money on your own gear, but forget about self funding your projects. Indie filmmakers need to realize that film making is just as much of a business as it is an art and that the award winning films are rarely self funded.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Russell Lasson
Re: Scarlet, a good investment?
on Feb 26, 2010 at 4:18:50 am

It could easily be six months to even a year before Scarlet starts shipping. Then, because Scarlets will first be offered to current RED owners, it could be quite a while before you could pick one up. So by the time you could pick one up, the rental market will already be saturated with Scarlets. If you have just "come into money", I suggest finding something else to do with that money for a least a year.

It will be an excellent camera though and in my opinion, much better than any other camera in that price range. While several people have mentioned that there are other expenses, there are several options for working with it.

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.colormill.net


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