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Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality

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Herb Tarlek
Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 8:22:41 pm

Hi,

First of all, my camera background is mostly film, I own a Arri 2C, an SR2 Converted to Super-16mm lens etc. In late 2000 I started shooting in DV, then upgraded to HDV for the last 2 years (1080i/1080p). I hate DV, I hate HDV too. HDV when perfectly shot can look terrific, but HDV and HDV cameras are like those automatic cars that won't start if you don't do this or you don't do that: it's full of traps that consistently try to work against you.

Now, I really don't want to go back to film. 1st is cost, I can no longer afford it. 2 is digital ease of use. I've been with Final Cut Pro since v 2.0 and I love it. So ever since they first started to talk about the RED I've been looking forward to getting one.

The first hurdle is the price. It went from a 17k camera to a minimum 40k package if you want a viewfinder and such (!). Ok, 40k is steep but that's like the upper level of what I can afford right now.

My second hesitation now, and that's why I'm posting here, is picture quality. I kept hearing how this camera would kill HDCAM, would be the new 35mm etc but I can't find any full size clips anywhere. Not long ago a guy posted a lot of full size uncompressed RED frames on his blog (hdforindies.com). The problem is that these frames look atrocious. They are fuzzy as hell, ugly, some aliasing can be seen around brighter areas etc. The blog's owner commented about someone saying that they look like 4k HDV but the worst thing is that's exactly what they look like, only not as sharp.

I'm impressed with the camera's latitude (4:4:4 10bit uncompressed vs 4:2:0 25mb HDV, no contest!), he shows how he pushed the clips' colors and contrast in post, but having to use THAT much latitude just to bring the clips to where they SHOULD be defeats the purpose of having latitude!

So my question is this, can a RED owner, or someone that worked a lot with a RED tell me if these frames on HDFORINDIES.COM are REALLY representative of the best that the RED can do? I think he said the fact that those clips are not sharp is that the RED as a lens mount problem, can anyone confirm that? If anyone has a different link with better looking clips, I'd love to see them too.

My options are either to buy a RED if it can do better than what I saw (because if not it's $40k in the garbage) or replace my shitty Z1 with the upcoming XDCAM EX (23.98fps mode, 35mb vbr, real manual focus, not the infinity crap I'm working with now, real 1920X1080 etc) which is dirt cheap and could temporarily fit the bill until something better and affordable comes along (or a RED with corrected bugs or whatever).

Please understand that $40k is a lot of money for me right now, and since I'm in Montreal, there's no way for me to rent or meet up with someone that has a RED and vefify on my own.

Thanks!


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Barend Onneweer
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 9:08:26 pm

Hi,

There are various 2k downconverts and even a couple of RAW sequences available for download.

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?t=5905

You can view and develop these files using RedCine or RedAlert (OSX only) - download at red.com.

A lot of other footage at:
http://www.reduser.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=21

Picture quality looks good to me - doesn't remind me of HDV at all. But it really sounds like you should investigate a bit more, and maybe wait until a rental option pops up in your neighbourhood. Production will ramp up very quickly by the end of this year so chances are that in the first quarter of 2008 you'd be able to rent one around your area.

Bar3nd



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gary adcock
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 9:36:18 pm

thanks Barend,


you beat me to the post.


gary





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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gary adcock
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 9:33:56 pm

[Herb Tarlek] "The first hurdle is the price. It went from a 17k camera to a minimum 40k package if you want a viewfinder and such (!). Ok, 40k is steep but that's like the upper level of what I can afford right now."

The RED camera is Still 17K, - sorry but 40K USD is not a steep entry price for anything close to this level of camera. ( and you said you worked in film???)


"(4:4:4 10bit uncompressed vs 4:2:0 25mb HDV, no contest!"

RED is not currently capturing anything except wavelet compressed Redcode files onto CF cards, there is not an uncompressed workflow in place at this time.

[Herb Tarlek] "Please understand that $40k is a lot of money for me right now, and since I'm in Montreal, there's no way for me to rent or meet up with someone that has a RED and vefify on my own."

It is my impressions that there have been 3 RED shoots in Montreal.

I have not checked out the images Mike Curtis posted on his blog, but I have in my possession files from 4 different RED cameras that all show magnificent color and clarity, while the flange focus issue has been seen, all 4 of the cameras I have worked with already have been retrofit by RDC without cost to the owners.

I do know that the second batch of cameras is due to ship soon and I plan on posting info on my tests as soon as I get back to my office in mid December.


gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Herb Tarlek
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:56:29 pm

"The RED camera is Still 17K"

Yeah, but that's a useless box without even a viewfinder or anyway to record, right? It's like saying this car is only $17k, Oh, you want a steering wheel and FOUR wheels?! Well those are extras...

" but 40K USD is not a steep entry price for anything close to this level of camera. ( and you said you worked in film???"

Yes, I've worked in film. My Arriflex IIC cost me 6,000 with a full kit of prime lens.

$40k is expensive, especially if the "level of this camera" is the ugliness posted on hdforindies.com. I wouldn't pay 4,000 for that.

Thanks for for the retrofitting info, and thanks to the person who posted the footage links, I'll spend the evening watching those!


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gary adcock
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 27, 2007 at 11:47:48 pm

[Herb Tarlek] "Yeah, but that's a useless box without even a viewfinder or anyway to record, right? It's like saying this car is only $17k, Oh, you want a steering wheel and FOUR wheels?! Well those are extras..."

Thats how cameras at this level are sold. prices quoted are for bodies only in most places.
and that $6000 in 1970's dollars ( IIc production was discontinued in the late 70's???) is more like $150K now.


[Herb Tarlek] "$40k is expensive"

Not if we are talking about a PL mount camera with a 35mm size imager. Compare this to the other cameras like the SI, or D-20?


I down loaded the files that Barend linked too and they look pretty good to me.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Herb Tarlek
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 28, 2007 at 2:42:47 am

"Thats how cameras at this level are sold. prices quoted are for bodies only in most places. "

No, Mr. Hadcock, Cameras are NEVER sold without viewfinders etc. Bodies are sold without lens.

"and that $6000 in 1970's dollars ( IIc production was discontinued in the late 70's???) is more like $150K now. "

No. I bought my 2C used in 95 for $6k and could get one today for less than that. The beauty with 35mm equipment is that if it is well maintained it works just as fine 20 years down the line.

____________________________________________________

I've watched all the clips I could find. They look better than the crap on hdforindies, that's for sure. Maybe his camera is defective or maybe he just doesn't know what he's doing but check out his screen shots and you'll understand why I was so disappointed and worried.

Back to the RED, I'm anxious to see clips with the fixed focus thing. Also, I can't help but find that the RED looks just like video and that when I watch most of these clips reduced to 2K or 1080p, they look just like very well shot HDV. I would be curious to see a few shots side by side with say the EX1 and look at both in 1080p to see how much difference there is, I have access to a digital projection system and potentially a film out place that could do me a favor and print a free short test. If anyone in Montreal has access to a RED please let me know, we'll run the test and report/show the results.


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Steve connor
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 28, 2007 at 7:41:09 am

I think you'll find quite a few cameras are sold without viewfinders these days!


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Arniepix
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 29, 2007 at 6:26:40 am

Du Art in NYC runs a regular seminar on most Thursday evenings where they project 35mm film made from a wide variety of digital cameras, from mini DV on up. The last time I went to one of these seminars was something like a year and a half ago. It's possible that they've gotten hold of some Red footage to add to the show by now. Why not give them a call? It would be worth the trip for you. And I know a really good Greek place a few blocks away for supper!

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Ilovehue
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 30, 2007 at 2:33:18 am

If you are in Montreal and want to see what the RED footage looks like, come to the RED show off on Dec. 3rd at the Espace Dell'Arte on Jean Talon. There will be a full presentation with shooting situations and post-prod workflows hand-on.

Go check 3Vis' website for more infos:
http://www.3vis.com/frCA/evenements

Video MTL, 3Vis, Apple and FInal Cut MTL are organising the meeting


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John Larsen
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Nov 30, 2007 at 3:08:42 pm

Panasonic sold the viewfinder as an "extra" with the HDX900. Camera was $26k if you want the viewfinder its over $3K, but who needs a viewfinder anyway?


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Jeremy Newmark
Re: Want to buy a RED, worried about picture quality
on Dec 2, 2007 at 3:26:11 pm

[Herb Tarlek] "No, Mr. Hadcock, Cameras are NEVER sold without viewfinders etc. Bodies are sold without lens."

The list price for a color viewfinder for an F900 starts at over $10,000.00.

best regards,
jeremy


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