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Why 4k?

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Alex Huber
Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 4:07:23 pm

I had a RED conversation with a cinematographer friend last night who kept questioning me about something I really couldn't answer so I thought I would post it to this forum.

This fellow is a very old-school film type, always shoots Panavision or his own SWEET Moviecam SuperAmerica-- he also has not one but four sweet sets of drool-worthy matched primes (two of the sets are Cookes)-- he has done a few features and loads of national commercials and is ASC so I fairly respect his opinion and questions.

I kept going on about various RED features and capabilities but after every statement he would say "Great but why do you need 4k?" I would point out something else and he would say "Great but why do you need 4k?"

His contention was that from the rumblings he hears from both the handful of present RED users and those waiting-to-bes that a small percentage of the projects people are in a hurry for seem to be for feature-film projects destined for the silver-screen. His contention is that 4k is warranted for feature work only and that he had not talked with a producer yet working on a RED project that was not destined for 1080 viewing at best. Went on to point out that every feature he shot actually had a 2k DI.

He asked again "Why do you need 4k?" and even though I put myself in the want-to-be-a RED user category I found myself with no answer for him-- have to admit myself that my own projects are for 1080 distribution.

So I will ask you REDers and soon-to-be REDers-- what kind of projects are you planning for your RED? Why do YOU need 4k?

Yours will help me formulate my own answer. :)

Thanks,
Alex



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 7:09:00 pm

Your question back to him is why he shoots film when most commercials are mastered to digibeta? There's a host of reasons. Shooting @ 4K doesn't mean you edit @ 4K. For me, as an editor, having the most quality out of an image is beneficial in creating something to watch. There's color range, recropping of shots , zoom/scale and many other creative decisions to use when editing material that is at higher resolution than what the final deliverable is. Shooting 4K and conforming to 1080p is not unlike shooting film and posting in SD. A workflow that many never seem to equate with Red. Did you ask him why not 4K?


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 8:14:54 pm

I had virtually the same discussion with our general manager when we first began talking about RED ages ago... I'm his boss, but pay him to be the bean counter.

I have to admit I didn't have a really good answer to his "Why 4K?" query either... all of our work is for television. Perhaps if we ever get around to producing the feature that we keep talking to death.

I will say I see more and more productions on the big screen that are technically video in origin. I just saw "Walk Hard" this weekend (which actually is terribly funny, catch it if you like that sort of thing)... and there it was at the end of the credits, the "Panavision Genesis" bug. I didn't know any production specs going in, I would have never guessed it wasn't a real film acquisition... it was actually quite beautiful.

Actually even though I certainly don't need 4K I'm one of those that would like to shoot RED if I could. Frankly if I could call someone today and have it delivered tomorrow and use it right out of the box with absolutely zero hoops to jump through in order to easily edit the images with absolutely no gnashing of teeth... then I would happily buy one at twice the price...maybe more. Of course that day is not here yet... hopefully it is coming, we just don't know when.

In the end the best answer I could come up with to the "Why do you want to shoot 4K?" question was "Because I want to." So there. We buy a lot of stuff that way, much to my partner's chagrin.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Graeme Nattress
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 8:28:01 pm

4k projected as such looks better than 2k.
4k downsampled to 2k looks better than shooting 2k native (on any camera).
4k gives you room to move around the shot with all that lovely extra resolution.
4k is more future proofed than 2k.
4k will be commonplace faster than you think.

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects and Standards Conversion for FCP


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gary adcock
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 11:00:18 pm

[Alex Huber] "Great but why do you need 4k?" "

Alex

I am in the middle of a full blown test of RED at Fletcher Chicago, and I too have asked that question. Graeme did a fine job explaining it, but the reality of the highend marketplace is that film production was moving to 4K before the RED was announced, RED just accelerated the timeline a bit.

adding to Graeme's comments

4K will give better key's for VFX work
4K will give better plates for Background work.
4K is not as scary as P2 was for most people.
2K is still a viable option out of the camera
There is no such thing as unlimited DoF in 4K


remember also

4K is NOT for everyone
IF you do not know what a "PL mount" is you are in trouble
RED One will NEVER be the HVX200
People that talk about working in 4K without ever touching HD are to be avoided.


my 2 cents









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




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Alex Huber
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 3, 2008 at 11:49:14 pm

Graeme's info was right on the money, of course-- those are the things that 4K is great for.

But we all knew that and it begs my original question a bit, which was-- "What kind of projects are YOU planning for your RED? Why do YOU need 4k?"

I was just wondering what those anxious to become 4k shooters were going to be doing? And why 4k would be a great benefit in those particular instances. An informal poll, as such-- and fodder for my next conversation with my DP buddy.

Alex "All my lenses are PL Mount" Huber



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 4, 2008 at 2:49:57 am

Well, no one ever believes me when I say this kind of stuff because they just don't know the market and because our budget doesn't have anywhere close to seven or eight or nine figures. I think that for some reason people think it's not legit and I don't know what I am talking about. I do not work in Hollywood, I do not work on their films, but some of the widescreen shows that we produce for corporate events are mind boggling and the technical requirements are getting more and more aggressive every year. The latest one that we helped out on was a final pixel count of 6480x1080. That is the pixel count of the screen that was being projected. I can't remember the final measured size, it was something nuts like 90 or 100 feet across. It was laid off to 4 HDCam tapes for a 4 tape sync roll. Now, this particular piece was mostly graphics so there was no shooting and we just helped with the inital cut before turning it over to design, BUT if we were to shoot 4K would be perfect for this type of situation and have been kind of in awe about actually being able to shoot on something that would hold up across these huge wide screens. For now we shoot in HD and get creative with design or push the limits of the projectors/switchers.

That's where I could use 4k. I do understand that it's not for everyone. I do understand it is in a league all of it's own. But ever since the technology has gotten cheap enough for a little ole dude like me to take advantage of it, I think I'd be silly to not take advantage of it. Also, I am an editor, but as an editor I need to know who's shooting and what they are shooting on, and it is my job to help pull off those humongous wide screen jobs and 4K would give me more options for creative decision making. I am not saying the workflow is easier or anything like that, but laying off a 4 tape sync roll isn't really a walk in the park and either is designing for it and shooting for it is even more limiting. If the red becomes a viable option for us, we could use it (or rent it) and I know I am not the only person in the world doing these kinds of shows. I know it's not sexy like shooting a motion picture with big stars, but it's my job and affordable 4K acquisition seems like something I could use.

Jeremy


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gary adcock
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 4, 2008 at 10:03:33 pm

[Alex Huber] ""What kind of projects are YOU planning for your RED? Why do YOU need 4k?" "

the first projects I will be working on will all be commercials, as that is still one of the largest bastions of HIGH quality production. I am constantly working on projects shot on 35mm that only post in SD.

In all honesty it sounds as if you are looking for a reason not to look at this as a viable alternative to HD or Film. I see working with RED no differently than I would Genesis, Viper or D20, it is about give

IF you shoot in 35mm or even 16mm, this camera is a viable option, you get the same quality that you would from Kodak or Fuji on an estar base without the chemicals.

Its not about working in 4K its about working in the highest quality available to you.



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




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Steve Wargo
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 4, 2008 at 5:32:07 am

Every point was right on the money, Gary, and that was at least $20 worth.


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
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Ramona Howard
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:26:51 am

Hello guys,

Not to ruffle any feathers so please don't take this wrong! It is an honest question.

This is still sudo 4K, not true 4K isn't it?. It is a compressed down version of 4K off the sensors stored to the RAW Red format, correct???


Cheers,
Ramona



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ken hon
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:17:27 pm

Aloha Ramona,

While I don't have a Red, I've done a lot of satellite imagery work and I wouldn't call this pseudo 4k. The image sensors collect 4k data and then it is compressed. It seems it would be more appropriate to call it compressed 4k, though I gather the compression is very light, more a like a png file than a jpg. Graeme would certainly be the person to fill you in as I think he designed the compression scheme.

Aloha,

Ken




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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:26:07 pm

Maybe this is a post hijack but I thought it was interesting (although not warranting its own thead)...

I just spoke with a buddy who received his RED recently, and he was telling me of a couple of instances of current-or-future RED users who were brand new to any kind of high-end shooting. I'm talking young part-time wannabe filmmakers (god bless 'em) who don't know a light kit from a mic stand and have never shot anything other than YouTubish movies with a DV handycam (I almost didn't believe him, but I looked 'em up, and yep... there they are).

Firstly, I applaud their ambition but it just has me wondering what they are thinking.

But secondly, it makes me wonder how soon there will be a used RED market? Or if the long waiting list will drain that as soon as it appears?

There is a huge used market of course for 35mm film gear (I can safely say I was not the first owner of any of my film cameras) but I'm pretty sure those are rarely if ever sold new to people who have never shot a frame of film before.

If you have ever shopped for a used motorcycle (something I have done a few times), you know it's pretty darn easy to find a showroom-new bike that is several years old with almost no miles on the clock. People get excited and buy 'em, play with them a little, realize it's not for them, and don't ride 'em. Will be interesting to see if the same thing happens in the RED world.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Alex Huber
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 6:56:47 pm

Oh yes the used market is coming-- just don't know when. It might be a bit later rather than sooner.

However at least one guy I know who has only had his for a short time has already offered me his RED body. He is not quite ready to "put it on the market" but has said if I offered him something in the neighborhood of what he paid for it he would take it. He has no major beefs with the camera per se just that the workflow is not nearly as streamlined as is useful for his non-4k-needing workflow. I'm considering it but will probably wait.

And thanks to those who answered my "what are you going to shoot" question.

Alex


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 7:53:05 pm

[Todd at Fantastic Plastic] "Firstly, I applaud their ambition but it just has me wondering what they are thinking. "

I thought we were beyond flaming people for having ambition and if you think about it hard enough, you know exactly what they are thinking, at least according to your own bio.

Don't you remember when you didn't know anything? Think back real hard to that moment and then pretend that you had the tools (red) and resources available to you at that moment when you were shooting 8mm films in high school. You really really wanted to make pictures. Would you say to yourself, "Well, I don't know anything, might as well give up" or would you give it a shot and learn as much as you can? I am sure you didn't wake up and be Mr Fantastic Plastic. You learned, you watched, you put your work in and made it happen. Don't hold back the people that were in your shoes many moons ago. It's unfair to you and them.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 9:50:30 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I thought we were beyond flaming people for having ambition"

I'm not flaming anyone by any stretch... and even if I were it certainly would not be because they have ambition.

In fact I DO indeed applaud their ambition and back when I was a pup would have loved to have had the opportunities that apparently they do. More power to them.

Ambition is not the issue.

They didn't ask my opinion, and I'm not giving it to them, just mentioning it in this group.... I just find it a bit misguided that some of these newbis (of course not all, but I have seen some definite examples) are jumping into the deep end when their work (again, just based on some examples I have seen) show no grasp of direction, blocking, lighting, composition, or sound aquisition. Would you suggest that a beginner start learning the craft of filmmaking on a Panavision PFX? This is pretty much the electronic equivalent of that.

I exchanged a couple of emails with one of these young guys, who is proud to be anxiously awaiting the soon delivery (I think next month?) of his new RED (and rightly so). Just as an example, in our brief conversation I learned that he had never heard the term "dutch angle," didn't know what a T-stop was, and thought PL mount was the same as Nikkor. The RED is probably going to offer him some challenges, and I doubt it will be the most positive of learning experiences.

I'm not holding myself up as any standards by any means, and I myself am not what I would call an excellent cinematographer by any shakes (no one is comparing me to Tak Fujimoto these days) but I do have a couple of decades of experience and can shoot 35mm with my eyes closed (not exactly recommended to do that, btw), but even then if I knew I had to start a RED project tomorrow it would not be without some trepidation. You must learn to walk before you can run.

To stretch the bad analogies further, you can learn to drive from scratch behind the wheel of a Ferrari, but it's not generally recommended.

If I have offended anyone in here (which I think would be the generally-accepted definition of flaming) for suggesting that the RED is for those who already at least know the basics of cinematography and is best suited for at least somewhat experienced cinematographers or higher-end videographers, then I must scratch my head and offer my apologies.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve Wargo
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:45:29 pm

[Ramona Howard] "This is still sudo 4K, not true 4K isn't it?."

I was told by a very technically savvy engineer that the recorded image is 2.7k. This information came from someone at a major rental house from tests that they did while evaluating the Red camera. He obviously does not want to be named because if he did, he would have done so already. He did, however, say that they figured that the HD-SDI port would provide a better count.

Please do not jump all over me for this. I am merely passing on the word. But hey, 2.7 is still a very good number. It's just not 4k to the cards, according to him.

So, how does one go about testing this? I was unable to ask this question at that time. When we test footage, I hand it to a friend that has a Flame and he goes in and looks at the pixels.



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Barend Onneweer
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 7:52:07 pm

[Steve Wargo] "
I was told by a very technically savvy engineer that the recorded image is 2.7k."


Actually Graeme has mentioned on a couple of occasions that the theoretical max resolution from the 4k bayer sensor would be around 70% of that. So 2.7k sounds about right.

At the moment the HD-SDI outputs are for preview/monitoring purposes only, and limited to 720p. But even at 1080p I'm not sure how that would yield better resolution.

Bar3nd


Raamw3rk - digital storytelling and visual effects


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Graeme Nattress
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 7, 2008 at 3:16:22 pm

Typically, taking into account bayer pattern and optical low pass filter (you do need one on your camera, be it 3 chip and prism or single chip to avoid the grossest nasties of aliasing) you typically measure about 70% of the linear pixel dimension. However, I'm measuring nearly 80% now, which is very good. I find it funny when you read that some affordable HD cameras measure 1000 lines per picture height, when their sensors are just 1080 pixels high. Then you look at a test chart and see the aliasing in the top frequency bands and understand why.... :-)

OLPFs have a slow roll-off of high frequencies, so they cannot work like a brick wall filter that you'd design in electronics. Lack of negative light stops us designing OLPFs like that :-) That means to get good attenuation for the high frequencies, you've got to bring them in early. However, that's better than the gross aliasing you see in more affordable single and 3 chip cameras.

Of course, the above could apply to a DSLR just as much to RED.

Graeme

- http://www.nattress.com - Film Effects and Standards Conversion for FCP


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Ramona Howard
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 9, 2008 at 7:51:58 pm

Thanks guys for the input.

To clarify:
4K compressed to 2.7K to the onboard recording mechanism (flash).

2.7K to 720p to SDI.

The question is, if it can come out 1080p via SDI, then you could bypass the 4K compressed (2.7K) process of the software app to get to 1080 frames because you can record them direct to this format via many other methods. This takes a solution that ties someone to a "must way of doing things" to giving people an option, which is always a much better thing to do. For the complexity of this industry it's a must.

This gives us the ability to save time.....and the quality to boot. That's why 1080 SDI would be good :)

Remember Red will not always be used out in the field, many are looking to use this in a fixed setting, i.e. elements, etc....SDI runs can be long enough to have a sweet solution for this.


Cheers,
Ramona


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Barend Onneweer
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 9, 2008 at 9:21:50 pm

[Ramona Howard] "4K compressed to 2.7K to the onboard recording mechanism (flash)."

Actually, the 2.7k number isn't the result of the wavelet compression. It has more to do with the fact that a 4k bayer chip isn't really 4:4:4. Even if you were to record uncompressed RAW out of the camera you'd never measure a true 4k resolution.

But close enough for most purposes anyway.

I wasn't negating the need for 1080p over SDI. It would open up other workflow possibilities. But at the moment the realtime debayer is lower quality than the offline conversion in Redcine.

So what you hope to gain in recording uncompressed 1080p might be lost due to the lower quality on-board debayer.

All speculation at the moment though, since there currently is no 1080p output.

Bar3nd

Raamw3rk - digital storytelling and visual effects


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Graeme Nattress
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 9, 2008 at 9:35:27 pm

Of course, no camera in the world can meet it's rated resolution unless you allow for an unacceptable amount of aliasing at the higher frequencies. Normally you'd want the factor as near to 100% as possible, but you don't want it at the expense of significant levels of aliasing. I think with the new demosaic and some extra work with the image, we're now up around 80%, which is a very good figure. On proper 4k zone plate test charts I can see resolution out to 3.2k with a lack of significiant aliasing beyond that.

I fully understand the 1080p issue. As to what we'll do with that, it's something we're looking in to.

Graeme


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Ramona Howard
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:10:24 pm

Thanks Graeme and Barend.

Look forward to what the team can come up with.

Cheers,
Ramona


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gary adcock
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 5, 2008 at 9:09:44 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I was told by a very technically savvy engineer that the recorded image is 2.7k. This information came from someone at a major rental house from tests that they did while evaluating the Red camera."

as I said - I am conducting my tests with a major rental house, one with that is known for HD and Film rentals, and I do not believe that to be the actual case with the later units. What I will say at this point- there is still a noticeable difference between shooting the beautiful "4K raw" and the 2K on the same sensor.

the 4K imagery is sharp and luminous, the 2k is softer, slightly noisier (ie textural) in its look but we all liken this to the differences between 35mm/ 16mm stocks/

< fyi- I am working with a full set of Cooke S4/i lenses-- so its not the glass>

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




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cowcowcowcowcow
Aaron zander
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 7, 2008 at 5:24:21 am

ok, I gotta step in as one of the youngest people to be using a red in the world. period. My friend who literally just graduated college is a bit older than me, but is still on the younger end of the people buying the cameras.

and you want to know why we chose the red to shoot this high profile student run piece, using a camera that was new and unfamiliar vs the f900 or our in house hdx's? Or even our cameras.

well MONEY, for one, we wanted something extremely professional, and I think every one of the post guys my self included would have walked off if we had chosen to do film or hdx, for the following reasons

HDX- has no filmic look even with a lens adapter it looks like flat, television comedy too clean etc, and dvcpro HD is a nightmare highly compressed, and it's not great for vfx/keys/tracking.

Film, with the budget we have, and even the grants we could have gotten (to say a certain film company owes my school big would be an understatement) there is no way we could have pulled a full DI or even the time/storage to get even selects done of a 5 minute project at a decent post house. Let alone bringing it back for a retiming process.

So not only was the red package 100% free, do to our Dp owning one (as well as one of our instructors) but so was the HDX as I have dozens of blank tapes laying around. Our high level of vfx going into the project dictated high quality medium, (1080p or above) and our final presentation, of which we still don't know the format could be as stated above a large 100" screen with some un godly pixel ratio.

every point you could need to shoot red is listed above, not only in my post but others. The 4k images aren't really compressed, do to the wavlet functionality it's lighter but has far more information and room to play than the standard 4k image, do to the raw nature.

There are many reasons to use a red isntead of film or hd, and the price of the camera itself is laughable compared to say an HPX3000. 41k for the body and some minimal parts, vs 40k on a red, which gets you body and lenses? Or body and some other gear as many people prefer to rent lenses as their are so many to choose from.

I hope this helps.

Oh and btw, I know what a basic lighting kit is (:



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:58:33 pm

Aaron. Thank you very much for posting this.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 7, 2008 at 5:58:57 pm

[Aaron zander] "Oh and btw, I know what a basic lighting kit is (:"

I'm sure you do... you sound like you have a good knowlege of the way things work, and I have no doubt that the RED is the right choice in your situation, regardless of your age.

Abilities and experience are certainly not based on how many candles were on your last birthday cake. I have one internet friend in California who is barely 20 (in film school now), and managed to shoot a full-blown 35mm feature (perfectly polished and professional) with name actors and every piece of equipment any filmmaker could want, and was more than completely competent to do so. He made great use of "student freebies" from everyone from Panavision to Kodak to Mole and was able to make the equivalent of a couple-million-dollar film for peanuts which was accepted to and very well received at Tribeca... quite a feat for "just a kid."

I have another CA bud who is literally the best DP that I personally know... and I think he is 24 or 25. I hate him, he is so good. If I ever get around to directing the feature we have been planning to death, he is definitely shooting it.

Is the RED right for these guys? Abso-frikkin'-loutely.

Conversely, there is a guy I know here in my area who is about 45ish has been shooting for a loooong time, and was chatting me up about the RED a while back ("It's only about $17,000 but the dang thing don't even come with a lens."). Calendar experience aside, he can't shoot his way out of a wet paper bag and wouldn't know what to do with a RED if you gave him one. Is the RED right for him? Doubtful.

I am just afraid I am sometimes seeing people getting caught up in the techno-wonders of it all and winding up with a great piece of equipment but not the chops it takes to use it. I'm not railing against these people, just shaking my head a bit over it. As COW guru Tim Kolb reminded me once, "technique" comes before "technology" in the dictionary, and it should in our daily work, too.

I'm probably somewhat jaded because as an employer and as creative director of our little company I get reels in every week from young people looking for a job... shooters, editors, DPs, etc. I am polite and accommodating, I do indeed extend them the courtesy of watching every reel that lands on my desk, and even gladly meet with the ones that "do the drop in" when I am available. It's just amazing to look at the quality of some of the stuff out there... some (not all) know what all the buttons on the camera do, know the technicalities of editing with FCP or PP2 or Avid... but have no idea how to compose a frame this way, or how to light a scene that way, or why to make a cut here instead of there. Many are filmschool grads, but no one even attempted to teach them the things that they really should know... just which buttons to push. It's disheartening at times. Occasionally though some kid will show up, and I'll pop in his reel and get to say to myself, "Oh wow, yeah." I wish that happened more often, though. We had a young After Effects artist drop off a reel last week that was phenominally good.

Age has nothing to do with it... talent, experience, and ability do. It sounds like your school is doing a great job of pointing you in the right direction, giving you experience, providing resources, and teaching you the things you should know. Sadly, mine didn't...had to get it out in the "real world."

I think the RED certainly is a viable choice for you. You defintiely do not fall into the "newbis" category that I was somewhat ranting about.

Shoot well,


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 7, 2008 at 6:28:18 pm

Todd-

Thank you for posting this too. I am just sick and tired, exhausted really, of people lumping young folks with a small amount of experience and apparent talent into the "don't touch this camera or it's footage cuz I think you don't know sh*t because you are young and I shake my head at you" category. It's time to move on, you know? While I wasn't really offended, a tip of a hat dismissal always flags my defensiveness. I don't even really fall in to the "young" category anymore. I am just youngish.


Jeremy


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Aaron zander
Re: Why 4k?
on Jan 8, 2008 at 3:30:55 am

Thanks for the perspective Todd. You are very right age has nothing to do with being able to use the camera, and your friend sounds like a lot of people I know, I was talking to my DP this mourning about why 4k, and what he and I agree on is the quality that revolves around it, to down res down to 1080 or even standard def creates amazing images, and for the commercial broadcast world, thats what matters, is how good it looks. and for the price and affordable transfer rates.

AS far as users are concerned, there are people who shouldn't use this camera, there are people who shouldn't be allowed to touch film either. I have a good friend who is a DP, does amazing this with HD footage, but give him a film camera, and it's basically throwing film out the window. The variables involved just aren't his thing, understanding film speed and how the negative works and loading just all combined into one cluster *&%$ of a situation. It's not that he's stupid or incapable, but it's not something that meshes with his gears. I'm sure there are many people who would have the same issues with the RED. Now that being said, I think the red is a very good crossroads between standard HD and FIlm, it's looks and feel as well as it's operation has many intrinsic values associated with shooting film. Also it's shorter record time (w/o the HDD) is much like your standard 400 foot load. It's ease of use is also a good stepping stone.

And your absolutely right, If you can shoot the same thing on a DVX and have it feel and look good, then stepping up to 4k won't do anything other than make your flaws look that much worse. I think learning technology ad experimenting can help you boost your skills, and seeing your flaws in 4k is certainly a good lesson to learn, and at a relatively in expensive cost compared to making those mistakes with film.

Should every DP switch to the red, definitely not, nor should every high school grad with some extra graduation money. If you want to learn how to shoot and how to motivate a story with the camera, start small and work your way to a camera like the red.

Schools like mine really do help felicitate that. And It also proves your point. We got a bunch of HVX's and now the last thesis film shot on negative film was longer ago than I care to remember. And frankly it's sad. every project I saw go by me since we started using the HVX's (and believe me there have been many) there are a lot more mistakes, and the quality of the 1/3 inch ccd is lack luster at best, and though it's "HD" it's about as HD as the bolex is a feature film camera. It's great for training and learning but the fact that people have given up 16 and 35mm cameras for cheap throw away footage. Footage that if you make a mistake there's no worry no waste of film or real dollars, just some time. And to me if you are willing to treat any project like that, you will never be able to grow as a cinematographer or story teller.

Now we all make mistakes, it's the name of the game, and especially at film school. We are paying to make mistakes. But the thing with cheap media is there are fewer consequences. It's like plastic cars, if you back into a poll and your bumper bounces back, are you really gonna learn from that and make sure your clear next time, or are you going to back into a car next time, if you had a normal car and you had to live with that dent or pay for the repairs you'll remember next time, that you can save yourself the shame, and the 500 bucks of bumper repair (that's actually a bit cheap isn't it?) if you just look behind you.

With no consequences comes no learning. And if you aren't learning you can't get better.

Sorry if this is a bit off topic but it should be stated, Why 4k? Well because you can, there is no better reason or worse reason. Is the camera right for every situation, probably not, could it be, yea, in the same way a 35mm camera could be right for your wedding videographer (yes I know that's an oxymoron). should the aspiring shooter use the red, well If he can sure go grab it. But it won't make you a better dp. Like wise if you are a film shooter and you want to take a step onto the wild and crazy HD frontier, id say this is great way to start, it looks and feels a lot like a 35 camera body, unlike many of it's competitors which are mostly plastic and rubber the metal body balances and feels a lot like a film body, short and stalky unlike the very long AJ panasonic series of cameras.

-Zander

oh PS, Todd tell your friend if he's trying to shoot out of that wet paper bag, his exposure is going to suck, bu due to it's wetness it's most likely translucent and will act as diffusion. Then again, the lights will most likely dry it out, and he's SOL in a dark paper bag. I recommend at least an 800 ISO shooting WFO (:



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