Why I will probably choose the Red Scarlet over the Sony FS700.
Since my wife approved my $25,000.00 budget beginning in September 2012, I have done some research on all cameras for upgrading within my price range. ( I know, I said “wife”) I want to move to 4k for my short documentaries and commercials.
Raw is not the deciding factor anymore for me when I buy a cinema 4K camera. This feature will be standard on most professional cameras in the next 2 years and on many now. The only factor I see for any “RAW” will be the codec used and how well editors can ingest and play this codec natively; even though, I may transcode these files to ProRes if my computer storage and speed is lacking. Red has done a great job with it's codec flexibility from what I have read from many editors who cut on Avid, Adobe and FCP.
The Truth About the SONY FS700.
As of now we don't know the recording source for the Sony FS700, but I assure you I have a good idea. Sony has come out with their proprietary SSD cards for capturing Raw. The cost of these cards are extremely high, even compared to Red's SSD modules. It's even rumored that their SRPC4 Data Transfers Unit for transferring files to the computer will be around $3000.00.
Their current configuration for a 1 TB SR Memory card that only records only 60 minutes of raw video will retail at $6,056.00 with 2.5 Gbps write speed. Or you can pay $4220.00 for 20 minutes with 256GB 5.5 Gbps write speed. Why the different speeds? Does one not fit all?
No one knows for sure about Sony's decisions to capture this wonderful RAW Footage, but I can't see Sony allowing you to use any record device for their 4k output considering they just sold you a 4k raw capable camera for under $10000.00. They are going to make the difference up somewhere. If you want more info on Sony's new SSD Modules – look on their site.
If this is going to be the route Sony goes, many people really need to think real hard about the pricing here. Sony will definitely be higher in terms of out of pocket expense over a Red Scarlet.
THE CAPTIVATING MARKETING BY SONY FOR THE "SONY FS700”
Sony knows what people want. So now they are offering you your 1080p high frame rate camera without quality loss in burst modes. I think the plan is to sell the firmware and hardware upgrade at a later date - after you spend $10,000 on their camera - not knowing the cost of the 4k workflow.
Hmmmm – I wonder why they did not mention the cost structure for the capture hardware and firmware needed? Sony has always been pretty good with giving close predicaments on pricing with upcoming products - well... until now. Could it be because they are going to make you invest another $15,000 to $30,000 dollars later on to add an attachment and necessary SSD's to their FS700 camera. Do they think people would go ahead and buy this upgrade, considering they already have experience with the camera and know the FS700 workflow, but most of all already bought the camera and all the accessories? Did they take into consideration that many customers will not be able to afford the upgrade after buying the camera if the price structure becomes what I think it will.
Think about what's going on here. The Sony FS700 will be the camera to buy if you plan on shooting and working in 1080p. In my opinion, No one has anything to compete with this cost structure; however, if your true intent is a 4K workflow – BEWARE OF THE SONY FS700 FOR NOW!
I would wait and see what the cost of their 4k workflow is before I buy the Sony FS700 if your intent is 4K. The Sony FS700 will be costing more than the Scarlet for the same camera and workflow. Sony may be trapping everyone with the “Slow Motion In The Camera NOW Effect” which is really cool, only to hit them hard later for a 4k pricing workflow in my opinion.
Sony and Canon are really trying to hit this lower budget market knowing of it's high profitability. And don't get me on Canon. I don't know what they were thinking with their cost structure and performance, which is why I didn’t even mention them till now.
My wish for Scarlet would have 300FPS in 1080p mode added to it's current configuration. In fact, the whole 1080p mode in Scarlet should be open to all the bells and whistles. This would be the best choice for those who invest in 4K on a budget. Give me 5k and 4K options with Scarlet as the current configuration is, but anything lower than 4k on the Scarlet should be a 1080p on STERIODS!
Trust me – there are thousands of little shops like me who can only afford to make one purchase for a 4k camera. We're an ARMY of thousands, with ONE TIME purchasing power. However, I think Sony is being a deceptive right now knowing this. People buying the Sony FS700 now, may be trapped, not knowing the full cost of their 4k workflow.
For those wondering, I don't see where a Scarlet with an added 1080p / 300 FPS to the current configuration would interfere with EPIC. If this wishful configuration took place with Scarlet – well lets just say game over for another 3 years in the camera market.
Don’t get me wrong – if the recording system for the Sony FS700 4K option is not what I think and the price is reasonable, I have no problem buying the Sony.
All I ask is Sony to come out with the 4k workflow and pricing ideas before they start selling the FS700. Trust me – a company like Sony already has an idea.
Just my two-cents.
Um, the main question is whether FS700 will output compressed RAW or uncompressed RAW. And what frame rates you shoot.
This will affect your choice of media and make it either more or less expensive than RED.
We don't know the answer to this yet. We also don't know if Sony will want to go out to this format or will allow 3rd party options, like Canon does.
- RED's 256gb SSD (which if you use Scarlet. maxes out at 55MB/sec sustained write speed) is $3200.
- if you use Epic, its max data rate is 225MB/sec.
- Sony's SRMedia 256gb S15 with 192MB/sec sustained write speed is $1400.
- Sony's SRMedia 256gb S55 with 700MB/sec sustained write speed is $4300.
- RED's price on 1TB of SSD media is $9950 for a 256GB 4-pack.
- Sony's price on 1TB fof SSD media is $5700 for a 320MB/sec SSD (can write full 18 megapixel 3.2:1 compressed RAW files at 24fps from a F65.
Thanks Bruce -
After seeing your resume on your site, Ill listen to what you have to say. So I hope they come out with a compressed raw, considering this will be cheaper. Given your experience is there a to the eye difference when you edit with the average compressed raw or uncompressed raw?
RE: Scarlet... you do know that its high speed modes are cropped, right? I mean, the promised 300fps 1K mode would basically be a 1024x512 tiny window in the middle of the sensor. Plus it's a Bayer sensor, so it really wouldn't be super-sharp.
I don't think they offer any kind of 1080p scaled RGB mode. If they did, it would be awesome, even at 24fps, let alone 300fps!
The big question is how much it would cost to upgrade Scarlet to the Dragon sensor (Epic will cost $6000 and RED has stated Scarlet will cost more) - and if RED will then raise the price of new Scarlet bodies by the same amount like it did with the RED ONE. They did announce a deal where if you spend $50K on an Epic package, you get the Dragon upgrade for free... so I am already kinda thinking that the cost of a Scarlet Dragon package in 2013 may be less than the cost of buying a Scarlet package in 2012, then upgrading to Dragon in 2013... but there quite likely won't be much of a difference. It all depends on whether you want to get going with the camera and workflow on current projects now.
With the FS700: it's cheap compared to Scarlet and has scaled 1080p slow-mo, which is awesome. You could just get the FS700, then hold off on buying the 4K recorder and only rent it as needed. Seems sensible to me. I wouldn't bet on clients being willing to pay much extra for 4K at all in the next 2-3 years and that way you don't take the risk of investing in 4K prematurely - but you have the option to offer it in case they're willing to pay for the rental. And the post production expense. Depends on your clients though!
However it's all up in the air. I'm leery of buying anything that has an "upgrade path" to 4K because usually by the time the upgrade path is released, there are other solutions available that do more for less than the price of original camera plus upgrade path.
So I'd only buy if I really needed a cam now. And I'd consider second hand.
It does seem to me that since the maximum speed out of a single HD-SDI port is 3gbit/sec, Sony will probably target the mid-range S25 SSD line for RAW recording - eg the 2.5gbit/sec S25 that costs like $6000 for 1TB. If the cheap FS700 requires the most expensive S55 media, it'll just be crazy, especially if F65 can record 24p to the S25 media. So I think that's out.
Personally, of course I hope that they open it up to 3rd parties.
Also, is there any official word on whether it will even record 4K without some stupid "software upgrade" you have to buy?
In addition, there is presumably a Sony F5 coming. What if they offer a nice bundle of F5 + 4K recorder? Or a bundle of FS700 + 4K recorder + "software unlock" free?
Personally I am not buying a damn thing - but then I'm kinda swamped doing movie trailer work at the moment and just raising funds for my next short film. So it makes the decision easy for me.
If you have $25K though and need to spend it *now* on filmmaking gear, here's what I'd get: a ton of second-hand stuff that doesn't depreciate. So that you could sell it and buy the right 4K solution when the smoke clears and your clients are actually demanding 4K.
Because then you can sell that in a few years' time and not take too much of a loss - and get a real, mature 4K camera package - Scarlet Dragon or F5 package or FS700 4K unlock special. Or an old Scarlet really cheaply.
RE: compression and image quality:
It depends on how complex your scene is. Check out this:
Anything at 4:1 compression, 3:1 etc should be fine. Beyond that, you get a certain (small) scene-dependent quality loss.
RE: compression and its effect on playback:
- REDCODE is tricky to play back. It is not GPU accelerated. For the online stage, either you do a non-realtime decode beforehand or you need a Rocket. Though even our rocket can't play back 5K smoothly. I think you need 2 for that! So then you have to shoot in cropped 4K or Quad HD mode. Or like, I said, plan ahead. Not too big a problem, especially if you're doing a lot of short-form stuff.
- ArriRAW is apparently easier to decode (just a debayer, no decompression)... but when we shoot broadcast stuff we just use it in ProRes mode because it makes editorial super-simple and we've never had a client request for "sharper"! This is pretty much our go-to camera at the moment, although we shoot RED on occasion.
The only time I've dealt with footage from an ArriRAW shoot was for The Avengers - and then I got DPX files from Technicolor - they had already debayered it and done a one-light. We actually delivered back 2.1K DPX files. Seeing as how The Avengers is doing pretty well at the box office, I do kinda have reservations about the short-term necessity of 4K for even feature films. But that's another story.
- the F65 codec is apparently GPU accelerated. Supposedly it can play back in realtime although I haven't ever tested it.
To be honest, I don't know where the FS700 will fit in here.
OK - good night!
First of all, my wife and I saw the Avengers in 3-D last night. It's now on my top 10 ten list of best films ever watched by me. My favorite part is when Loki looked at the Hulk talking how he was a God, then Hulk picked him up and smashed him around like crazy - everyone in the movie threater was cheering like we were on a roller coaster going downhill. It was great.
But to get back on topic - you have been a great source knowledge and I thank you for your advice and will adhere to this.
Let em know if you ever come to Houston, I'll buy you a beer.
Thanks again Bruce!
I didn't read the whole thread but there is one thing I want to point out:
Spending 25000 on a Scarlet will not include the extra cost you will have in post. RED footage demands very powerful and expensive computers.
And REDRAW is aslo compressed by the way. Only ARRIRAW is truly uncompressed.
I have been shooting with the FS700 for a little while and the cinegamma settings are so amazing that you don't really need RAW in most shooting conditions. It gives you 12 stops of latitude.
Yes, comparatively the FS700 looks quite competitive. The only thing holding me back buying this camera is the codec. Has anyone used a Ki Pro Mini or NanoFlash with this camera? Recording to prores or DNxHD would be better than AVCHD, even if it outputs only 8 bit. I am currently working in 422 8 bit, which seems fine for what I am doing at the moment but would like to future proof myself as some clients have asked me to take on some broadcast work in the near future and cinema ads in the more distant future. Competition is rife at the moment, so holding back until I know what the up-grade will cost and how it will perform.
It works well I heard. I would suggest to rent it because there is going to be a Sony 4K compressed raw recorder in the very near future. This recorder is going to be another game changer.
There is a rumor that Sony is releasing another codec in September.
On a different note I have to say that I'm truly impressed by AVCHD after working with DSLR's for a long time. It holds up very well and doesn't fall apart in grading.
I planned on buying an external recorder but I'm holding off now since I'm truly pleased with what's being recorded onto my SD cards.
I agree with the AVCHD statement. I own a Sony NXCAM NX5U. This is a great camera. After encoding to ProRes the grading is wonderful! It also helps that the default profile on the camera shoots very flat.
Thanks for the advise and info. I think what you said is wise. While reading a review of the FS100, I was impressed with the detail in the shadows of the FS100 at +9 gain compared to 5D footage at 1600 ISO ( http://www.eoshd.com/content/7862/sony-nex-fs100-as-a-dslr-alternative-firs... ) which I thought was a fair comparison (I'm sure the FS700 would be at least as good). That boosts my confidence in sony's AVCHD a little. We all know that low light performance should not be a major issue when we have control over lighting, but I have been in some situations where I had to work in the light provided by the customer. I think I will take your advise to rent and do some tests with the codec. Can't wait to see the new recorder.
The Sony FS700 deserves all the hype that the Blackmagic is now getting.
Any opinions now on this, guys? I mean, I know the blackmagic and fs700 are two different beasts, but maybe you want to clarify on your 'hype' statement? Because after all the initial balloon popping videos and low-light comparisons, I haven't really seen much commentary on the camera overall; good or bad. Maybe the BMCC, Sony cams, and RED price drops have been taking over the news. With all that I can't help but thinking the fs700 might see a lil price drop.
But at the same time, I'm seeing some good barebones scarlet packages popping up on reduser for 9000... So now, I'm in a quandary: if I'm going to be saving up a bit of money to look to purchase a cam in the next month or so, what to do? Seems like obviously I should think about the style of shooting I'd do. I'd slant to more of the cinematic/music video 'beauty/imagery' videos to complement the music I make; not so much narrative, and probably no documentary work. I don't work in the industry, so I won't see a 'return' most likely on this camera (or... maybe in 3-4 years all of a sudden! lol no)
So do I want low-light & slow-mo capability.... or 4k, high-res and great color push-ability? IS that what I'd be looking at here? (Post-prod isn't going to affect my decision either way.)I know the 700 can do 4k eventually, but not sure if it's as good looking as the scarlet, and it'd be more expensive anyway.
Also, now that I'm thinking of it, I've already invested in twixtor, and 120fps in 1k + twixtor would probably be enough to achieve believable results for what I'd use it for
The RED 4K deos not demand powerful and expensive computers unless you are trying to edit in Full 4K...... or unless you are using final cut and nobody uses that crap anymore. I can edit 4K Red footage inside Premiere on my laptop. Just google Premiere and Red, why do you need to edit in FULL 4K if you are only just going to output in 1080p.