Isn't it time to talk about Red again?
Oh, pleeeassss. lets have some fun.
I'll start off.
Is it true that you cant get a wide angle lens for Red? I looked at their web site and was surprised. And by the way I understand that Arri and others are marching towards 8k will that force Red to up their price and lower the rez to 2K?
Oops, new set of pimes kind of has me all wet.
I guess a little of the jokes on me...
Is there a new camera called RED? why is it RED?
I’ll go Red devil’s advocate…
Red may soon be the little camera that could.
However (a big one) – in most endeavors, the difference between big concept and good execution is a chasm, deep and wide. If Red solidly pulls off its pledges it will no doubt change the paradigm for filmmaking.
The question is, how well and how fast does this happen?
Unfortunately, it seems at least half the practical effort of Red’s success will be left to media companies that must fully support a Red “revolution”. If this doesn’t occur in a tight and steady way, the revolution may be a feeble one. At least for dog years.
What say you?
What say you indeed...
Well...first, I think the jury will have to remain at least somewhat out on the comprehensive RED package as even the early release models won't be feature-complete and it will take a bit for the fully functional release-configuration cameras to hit the streets and put some miles behind them.
My observations (not my unwavering doctrine...just observations) are:
1. For many of us, there were doubts this could even be pulled off at all, particularly considering the substantial period when there were promotional messages on the camera's impending arrival, but not even an artist mockup of what the thing might look like...keep in mind many of us lived through the period that spawned the term "vaporware."
2. This camera does, as its most fervent advocates state frequently, have the potential to change our industry. Those changes have yet to be fully realized or evaluated. Most progress comes trumpeting the promise it holds as that is the very reason for its development. The hurdles or challenges associated with any major advancement are either unforeseen outside of a development environment, or a compromise made to make a solution viable in an environment that has some limitations.
3. The camera exists. I have seen one, many of us have seen the footage. A guy who taught us that it's perfectly natural to pay 250 USD or more for a pair of sunglasses will singlehandedly make D-Cinema image acquisition as inexpensive as it has ever been.
4. Base price vs. "nicely equippped" does seem to hold potential for some to perhaps underestimate what their entry into the world of 4K acquisition will really cost them.
5. Lots of video people will buy these. This will be interesting. Just as one of the more obvious benefits of the DVX100 early in its life cycle was that it simply allowed most who bought it to shoot 20% less garbage every second (NTSC), there will certainly be users who have the money to purchase a RED and no inherent ability to harness it. I've seen this principle in action in our industry for some time however, and the RED will not be the first or the last camera to change pricepoints of an entire market and arm meager skills with immense technical power. After all, selling cameras is the business RED is in. Even though Oakley sunglasses were engineered for all sorts of extreme climates and conditions, they made money because the people who would get out of their car by sliding over to the passenger side before stepping in a mud puddle wanted to look like the guys climbing Everest.
6. It seems pretty clear that some pretty substantial compression will be employed to get this 4K material onto at least some of the media that will be available to shoot with... I'm not afraid of compression myself and the RED images that have been shown have looked very good, but I think that whenever the conversation about how "pristine" and amazing 4K is happens, the compression, and its corresponding workflow and relative resources required (the girth of the computer and the time involved for a given amount of footage to be demosaiced/recompressed/transcoded/whatever) should be included.
7. The workflow that "comes in the box" (whatever the most efficient scenario that RED designs for is...2K proxy in FCP with ProRes or whatever it is...) will need to be strong, easily understood and as elegant as possible. The 2K Silicon Imaging camera with a super 16mm sized image target (as opposed to RED's super 35mm image target) is probably RED's most direct competitor for pricepoint and market target, has a very clear and well documented and demonstrated workflow. Other 2K or 4K contenders are really not in the same price range, and have workflows based around DPX files or other non-AVI/QT media.
8. RED really seems to want to go it alone. From proprietary lenses (obviously manufactured by an optics company somewhere) to actually outright purchasing at least one of the companies that made the part that was desired for the RED, RED has sent a definite message that they want to do it all. While there certainly isn't anything inherently wrong with this, There is a reason why Sony doesn't make lenses and Sennheiser doesn't make video cameras...because they each focus on their specific competency and draw on the expertise of other players to create the best package possible. It will simply be some time before we'll know if RED (who also announced at NAB that they were going to build a mini camera, a monitor and a projector) can be the one to buck that tradition and come out strong across all the components they've claimed for themselves on this project.
9. I'm a little concerned about some of the expectations associated with the camera. I stood in a taxi line with a guy who said he was a filmmaker and he had a big project in the works. He told me that he was going to use the RED...in a taxi line at NAB 2006. I think there is a group of people that are anticipating this camera's release so intensely that their teeth hurt. This marketer's dream can be a support nightmare as the expectations for the camera just simply keep elevating through the constant, increasing buzz.
10. This camera will require support. This thing is not just a new product...it's a new mindset. The camera itself is not expensive...but it's replacing (or intended to in at least some cases) cameras that may be much more expensive. While on the surface this seems like a no-lose proposition, a company that sells a 100,000 dollar`camera can allocate a certain amount of those profits to supporting cameras already sold. Perhaps this means keeping a bank of phone-answering technicians to answer the questions, maybe it means having a stable of loaners that can be shipped to someone having a problem so they can complete their project while the camera is being fixed. Whatever it may be, if a camera is used to shoot a feature, time is money and the money saved on buying a RED over something else far more expensive will be long forgotten if the crew is past 10 hours and the actors are on quintuple-time waiting on a broken or malfunctioning camera issue that isn't immediately rectified.
11. 4K images require careful planning for post production and are difficult to handle for any but the biggest post systems at this moment. Sure, it will all catch up eventually, but for right now 4K is still a lot of image data in any but the most efficiently compressed form. And there is no truly cost-accessible 4K full pixel count display device as of yet. I think we'll see a lot of RED users initially finishing in 2K or HD for at least a while.
...that's what I've got for now. I just returned from a two week vacation away from technology so my brain is still getting back up to speed.
Creative Cow Host,
Now you,ve done it!
Many thanks for your list of keen observations.
My own added 2 cents