The RED has arrivED

8 09 2007

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Red camera, you might as well click over to the latest Perez Hilton post, because there’s not going to be anything of value here.

Mike Curtis, of the site HD For Indies, has a posting on his blog which reports on a shoot for a NYC based film called OFFHOLLYWOOD BROOKLYN (at least that’s what it’s called on the web gallery from which I got the picture to the left).

For a look at all the production still on Mike’s gallery surf on over to his .mac gallery.

The RED is the new lower budget HD camera that comes from the Oakley sunglasses magnate. People in the indie world have been panting after it for two years. Some felt it would never come, some felt it was late in coming. Nearly everybody liked the concept of it a lot. Now, it’s out in the wild (as of August 31st, according to Red’s web site) and people are using it whose names don’t start with the initial Peter Jackson (who shot a test film for Red, which was shown at their booth at this year’s NAB show). Steve Soderbergh is shooting his new movie with the camera, and Final Cut claims to have native support for their 4K RAW files (look for the menu item “REDCODE”).

It remains to be seen just how easy the post production workflow is using the camera. Here is what RED claims the workflow is:

  • Shoot 4K REDCODE RAW @27MB/sec.
  • Load footage into REDCINE. Do 1st light correction.
  • Export to any number of output options.

Sounds easy, eh?

Whether it is or not will be shaken out over the next several months as more of the promised cameras start to emerge. For now, one of the strongest attractions the camera has is its great image quality at its price. The body, mount, and LCD screen cost $20,450, before you add lenses, power packs, chargers, memory cards and a number of other necessary accessories, which is a total steal compared to any other HD camera out there that records at 4250×2540 pixels. You know all of the buzz about 1080p HD (there are as many flavors of HD as there are flavors at Baskin-Robbins, read this article, from Media Daily News, for some help in decoding them), here is a flavor that is at 2540 resolution.

Obviously, no one is going to really edit at that resolution. Even if you could have all of that information online at any given moment (which may be conceivable given the falling price of hard drives and the length of your project), the sheer amount of information that would need to be input and output for each second would choke even the best processors in the latest machines. That’s why Avid introduced DNX-HD and Final Cut’s got ProRes. But it will be interesting to see just what the issues will be in the editing room with a screen resolution so good. It’s like in the days when I worked, briefly, on a 70mm film. We couldn’t edit at that size, so we got reduction prints on 35mm. But the frame size and orientation was so different that the cuts ended up looking a little different when the film was neg cut and printed at its original 70mm size. It will be really interesting to see just what the translation issues are here.

So that we can get away from geekdom, and back to storytelling.

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