They've taken a lot of flak because they make big promises and only sort of keep them (or rather, they keep them with a few galling compromises, as I understand it). But the fact is they kicked the cinema industry right in the ass and made them work for it. RED leapfrogged them into the digital era and because of the industry panic we now have amazing cameras like the Arri Alexa and Sony F35.
I don't know what RED has for a future, but despite all the weirdness, hype, and inside baseball, it has a pretty glorious past. Good work, Jim, and thanks from all of us.
And they were pretty unprecedented (for the cinema industry) in the way they handled upgrades - dramatically improving many aspects in their cameras through free firmware upgrades and then offering a major sensor upgrade for the cameras, whereas their competitors would just release whole new camera models.
I've dealt with RED professionally on a few levels. Firstly I came across RED footage shortly after the cameras were released to film makers. Back then to transcode the output from the camera (jpeg2000 with some meta data) to something useful required a beefy mac pro, some free software and lots and lots of time (3-10FPS if you were lucky). Either way, it was expensive. (we used to charge £500 every ten minutes of red footage transcoded)
This made me sad, especially as there was no SDK for linux to allow us to use the render farm to transcode it. You could spend £5000 on an "accelerator card" however, its £5k and prone to breaking. The annoying thing was the despite the hype the camera really wasn't all that. Yes it was 4k, but it was noisy, had rolling shutter and colours were duller than dish water. It took the Foundry "reverse engineering" the codec to bring RED to linux natively
35mm film was still far better in terms of image quality(assuming decent DoP and film lab). Yet the hype still built. (Early RED films were dark and broody for a reason....)
The next generation of camera was alright, still expensive to hire/buy/use. Yes the sensor unit is relatively cheap, but you still needed to buy lenses, adapters, storage medium, handles(£250 for the cheapest handle), focus gears, etc. You then have to factor in the cost of post production. It was at the time expensive to shoot RED. On a par with film. It took at least two generations of RED cameras, and a lots of third party dev hours to make RED reasonable to use.
Nowadays RED decoding is fairly trivial to do, and the modern sensors are fairly good, assuming you down res from the 5k to avoid sensor noise.
One thing to note is this, RED fans are utterly fanatical. They will swear that anything RED is cheaper, better, faster, messianic compared to the competition. They are also prone to pirating software.
In the annals of cinema, there will be many inches devoted to RED. Evangilising its reforming power. However the camera that really stood out is the canon 5Dmk2. It was cheaper (genuinely throwaway in cinema terms) good enough quality to get by, and has cheap high quality lenses.
In short, RED camera, its alright for cinema, pain in the arse for post. REDuser.net and the surrounding noise is worse than angry 4chan.
The people at RED however are lovely, its just some noisy users that are obnoxious
And RED fans are fanatical. Take the biggest mac fanboy and cross him with a Patriots fan, that might get you close. There is also a very vocal group of RED haters who spew bs for no apparent reason. The cameras should be the tools, not the owners.
Full disclosure: I've never owned a RED, but spent quite a bit of time in post with the footage (worked post on some of the first major commercials shot with the RED) and used it to shoot some of my own work. I've owned a 5D since it's release and have Blackmagic Pocket and 4K on order to finally replace it. I learned on film, spent a decade as a news photog shooting betacam before moving to post for features and commercials (nuke/flame and fcp/avid). I prefer working with the Alexa when at all possible, but that can increase the budget considerably (at least for me as i know plenty of great DPs that own REDs).
And imho, the most beautiful film release this year was Upstream Color, which was shot on a Panasonic GH-2, current retail for that camera is about $1000. And the most daring was a tie between Computer Chess which was shot on 80's era tube cameras and the experimental narrative Escape from Tomorrow shot on Canon 5D/7D at Disney World without Disney's permission.
It's never really been that bad - originally we'd just pump out a 1/4 or 1/8th res proxies out of Redcine and then reconform to the full-res files at the end, so you'd only have to render out the ones you'd need in full quality for grading. We did it all in house on pretty standard machines...
And I wouldn't say that 35mm film was 'better' - really, that is a big oversimplification. 35mm definitely had the edge over the original RED Mysterium sensor in dynamic range, but not in resolution - although some crazy people scan 35mm all the way up to 6K, when you measure what you get you don't get anywhere near that (I can't remember the numbers exactly now - If I recall, due to the OLPF to stop aliasing and other factors, a 4K pixel raster from the RED ONE would measure at about 3.2K (horizontal), and a 35mm camera neg was somewhat less (around 2.8K or something?)).
From a post point of view, its much harder to deal with just proxies. I was in MCR, so It was my job to convert from RED to exr/dpx etc. Since it was post, artists had to deal with full res most of the time (can't paint and rotos proxies)
Your right it is an over simplification, but decent film stock and decent scanner can get "4k" out of 35mm+, however as you rightly point out you are reaching the limit of the actual res of the film stock (more than quite a few cases)
+I used to work with a northlight which overscanneds to 8k then down samples to give the final result.
After following RED for a while and many other (digital) cameras, I came to that same conclusion. But if anyone is to match it ever, I guess it would be someone like RED?
I don't really know what it will take to capture the magic of film, ie if they had all of the dynamic range in the world, all of the color detail, etc... would it still not match what silver halide captures? Even the Foveon sensor for still photos isn't really there yet, despite looking better (in my opinion) than Bayer.
The personal feeling for me is that watching something shot digitally feels like it's just 1 step away from a DV cam, but something shot on film is like "wow they really put effort into this to give it a proper movie feel". I'm saying this with regards to lower-budget movies. And then on other side of the coin, shooting motion-film seems to be much more expensive for anyone starting out, so it's a no brainer to use digital. ><
And I personally don't think the magic of film will ever be matched. The magic is in the organic process. But I do believe cameras will reach look that isn't video or film, but something all together different.
The Hobbit was a step in that direction, but imho, not the right project for that ultra sharp look (and they need to relearn how to light so it doesn't feel like a BBC soap opera from 1996). I want to see a sci-fi movie shot at 6K and 60fps, use the tech to compliment the story. Star Trek or Star Wars maybe, but even better if it's not something that is already in our collective consciousness, something completely new.
High frame rates also raise the bar for the actors every bit as much talkies did; micro-expressions become much more obvious at 60fps.
And it definitely raises the bar, more so than SD to HD did. Everything from make-up, props, set design, lighting, acting, everything will have to adjust.
Post might take the biggest hit. Post-production times will quadruple. It takes a lot longer to retouch/wire removal/matte painting at 60fps than 24fps. And you can hide a lot with the motion blur at 24fps. I trained a group of photoshop retouchers in motion vfx. The biggest adjustment for them was learning that it didn't have to be perfect because it was hidden behind motion blur at 24fps. It just had to fool the eye for a few seconds as opposed to a still that someone is staring at. Moving to 48 and 60fps will reverse that, it will need to be nearly as perfect in motion as a still image.
((3 frames / second) * (1 second / 24 frames) * (600 seconds / £500 ))^-1 = £0.67 per second
Also, early on, the camera dept. didn't want anything to do with onset media management and transcoding (the job of the newly created DIT), but over time, camera realized their mistake (in losing that control and revenue) and now DITs are typically part of the camera dept and most transcoding is done on set. Now post will get a drive of the raw footage and the transcodes.
I don't know all the details here, but I would venture to say that it's around that idea.
You have to remember that staff are needed to over see this, data has to be conformed into something sensible.
and that post production is expensive.
It's a pity that they didn't deliver there. It's also a pity that Jannard let the hordes of basement dwelling internet trolls and self-entitled, quasi-pro blog dorks get him down, and I wonder if he had paid less attention to these toxic non-customers if they would have been able to execute their initial vision for the Scarlet.
Trying to make software for "casual" red users is a devil's own job. They never really pay for anything, and are very, very moaney.
I think Jannard has developed a kind of healthy-paranoia here, because the work he's doing is flying in the face of titans. His persona makes him want to stand up against the big boys and say, "Told you so!"
In my opinion, he's right to be super paranoid and fall into the background. He doesn't want RED to become another Oakley.
It is a shame Canon really hasn't learned the RAW lesson and has been dragged by people (e.g. Magic Lantern). It is a crime for any camera to deliver less than its best because of crap codecs / software. Red had software upgrades that improved already shipping products without charging an upgrade fee. Canon barely learned with the 24p for the 5Dmk2.
Their back and forth with people making movies is pretty refreshing when you think about some other camera companies.
Its only a few cinemas that are capable of 4k (thats 4098x 2160) and even fewer films released in 4k.
Since they were switching to new hardware anyway, why didn't they just make the CCD the shape they actually wanted, rather than relying on this weird archaic workaround?
Same idea as recording individual audio tracks at extremely high quality. The final mix ends up sounding better than you might expect.
>Typical 2K and HD digital movie cameras keep everything in focus. The 4K Red One is more like an analog camera, allowing depth of field control, which blurs the foreground or background.
The reason this is important is because out-of-focus areas are a very important visual cue. It isolates the subject of a shot from its surroundings. It is even more important in motion pictures than still photography, where changes in focus are used to move the subject from one person to another in a single shot (watch a conversation in a movie that's shot from one camera for an example). There's even a job, "focus puller", that you'll see in movie credits for the person who adjusts the focus on very large cameras.
Depth of field is strongly correlated to the size of the sensor in digital cameras (and also to lenses). Other inexpensive HD cameras use small sensors, which solve a lot of expensive and difficult technical problems, but at a cost of not being able to do a shallow depth of field (you see the same problem in cell phones and cheap small digital cameras). The big win of Red was to use a full-sized sensor, allowing DoF behavior on par with consumer DSLR cameras. Moreover, the Red cameras had interchangeable lens mounts that could use superb, widely available Canon and Nikon DSLR lenses. This greatly reduced the end user cost.
So basically, unlike cheaper cameras, a Red camera could shoot things that looked like real movies, due to shallow DoF and manual focus control. And it could do so inexpensively. Very disruptive.
Its a common misnoma that RED cameras lowered the cost of production. In certain cases it lowered the cost of shooting, but the cost of handling read was at the time ridiculous.
It has the same sized sensor as a 35mm film camera...
The latest generation iPhone can do f/2.0, and it has a pretty small sensor.
The canon 5d mkii has a bigger sensor that the RED one, and therefore is capable of blurry DoF.
Most low-cost HD video cameras have severely compromised lenses, and professional cameras tend to have extremely expensive lenses. Red solved the problem by tapping into the Canon/Nikon lens base.
Depth of field is dependant on f-number and sensor size. A small sensor camera can have a fast lens, but essentially no depth of field.
There is a reason a DSLR is priced < $5000. They are great for what they are, but people are not being honest if they consider a DSLR at the same level as a RED or any other higher end digital video camera.
it's on netflix.
Red is an amazing camera, but they also had good ideas in how to deal with film makers.
I have very little respect for people who make things like Oakleys, which allow people to spend a lot of money for a small piece of plastic so they can wear a high-status brand.
I'm not sure how I feel about this guy.
Oakley lenses are practically bulletproof. They're well worth the cost if you need protective eyewear, just ask the US military. Being a fashion statement is just a byproduct of that. Some would venture to say Oakley has advanced technology more than RED.
“If there is acceptance of 48 [FPS], then that will pave the way for Avatar (sequels) to take advantage of it.”
There are going to be 3 Avatar sequels:
Time enough to iron out any issues with HFR (high frame rate). 48 OR 60.
Never thought about that but yes it makes sense that the conversion from 48fps to 24fps is easy whereas the one from 60fps to 24fps seems impossible or cumbersome. If this is delaying the 60fps age, then I'm really sad about it :(
I remember reading/watching somewhere where someone said (sorry for the vagueness) that you always need a solid little black box in your head you can retreat your conscience to. Where nothing can touch you. Where everything is constant.
Ever since I read that I have never gotten an ounce of hate get to me. I can honestly say I'm living a 100% stress-free happy life. In fact, the more hate I get, the happier I am, I feed off it, it's my fucking life line. It meant I was doing something right.
If I ever let it get to me, I'd retreat to that little black box, and it would tell me everything I accomplished in my life, the things I've been through, where my roots are from. Things nobody will ever take away from me unless they murder me, and that reassurance has helped me get through incredibly tough times.
To cope with hate even further, always look at what's coming your way from their angle. Why are they spouting hate? Do they genuinely feel you have a scammy product? Why would they think that? More often than not it boils down to two things: ignorance and a result, spouting bullshit, and/or personal issues being projected. I know that myself, when I'm in a rage state of mind, I'd spout terrible things at people that I'd instantly regret after. Especially on the internet, typing terrible comments that help to vent your anger temporarily.
I've always been an outsider. I've had so much time to observe people. This is what I found out.
Core human values -> projected mask (either bully, asshole, something else that is fake) -> external projection. You need to see through the mask. I've dealt with huge egos before that after awhile, cried on my shoulder and spilled their guts, all just by being understanding, not getting angry at them, and truly understanding where their emotion comes from and why. By being a source of support.
>Somehow... I read on CML and other idiotic forums, that I an a hypester, a scam artist. I just have to wonder what these guys are smoking. But I have to say... they have gotten to me. I don't need this. I don't deserve this. Life is short and I am tired.
Revolutionized the film industry, yet lets internet comments get to him. Fuck the haters. You changed the world.
Sorry if I went off topic, it's just something I wanted to get off my chest and hopefully this perspective can help others.
Ideally those emails will span a period of years, if not decades- it brings a nice perspective on life during stressful times.
That can be your little "black box" :)
You put out a reasonably good product to the rumor mill. Stoke the rumors, and then refuse to answer anything specific by saying "its a secret"
For example, the REDray, you ask how its connected to the TV, "its a secret"(looks like HDMI to me), what is the colour depth "its a secret".
whats not a secret? its 4k. Its great for the press as there is a hint of mystery and controversy, shit for anyone that has to use it for a living.
It's not personal. It may be for them, but it shouldn't be for you. At the end of the day, their negative social interaction is based around your product, and you as a founder, have to mitigate that.
Nobody is out there digging up personal facts about the guys life and giving him a hard time for it, then its personal.
If the negativity is based around your product, then it's business as usual and should be treated as such.
Never give up.
The attitude is even evident in this last post:
"In 2005, I could see that the powers that be (Sony, Arri, Panavision) were going to attempt to persuade the film industry that 1080P was going to be the digital replacement for film." - for fifteen years years people have been aware that 4k was a sensible equivalent resolution. The first digitally restored film was done at 4k in 1993! The Panavision Genesis (with a Sony sensor) had a 6k horizontal sensor pixel count! The Arri D20 had a 2.8k sensor!
"Sony's digital cinema cameras were $200k+" - cinema cameras are always rented, not bought. Very few people care or even know about their list price. At the time it was bizarre to market a camera like this to the public rather than to rental houses.
"The only way we could do that was through incredible compression technology" - they use JPEG2000. Not even something more specialised like CineForm, which already existed.
"I should mention here that there were many color science and feature upgrades... for free. Again, what company ever offered that?" - cameras rented from a rental house have always had regular firmware upgrades, doing the kind of things Red's upgrades did.
Compare the technical documentation from Red to that of Arri - Arri will shower you with whitepapers full of numbers and graphs, and tell you exactly what is going on in their cameras. The Red colour science is still secret. What are the primaries of the sensor? It's secret. What do the F-LUT controls do? It's secret.
Enough moaning. Red were the first cinema company with a real marketing budget and it was all very strange to people who were all about the right tool for the job, most of those tools being made in limited runs in extremely practical packaging without shiny logos on every corner...
This is pretty quote worthy. It reminds me of Admiral Nimitz saying "If you're not making waves, you're not underway."
The point being that gauging your success by the amount of opposition you receive is really measuring the wrong thing, its actually orthogonal to the value of your work.
If you want to become a genuinely good person, you'll have to learn to differentiate between deserved and undeserved hate.
"In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner."
-- John Stuart Mill
I have no problem deciding if I'm a genuinely good person. I am able to determine if my actions are correct and accept valid criticism.
This isn't about that. It's about not "letting the bastards get you down."
The creative world is rife with people who pooh-pooh your work. Often this criticism is within your own mind, preventing you from developing/creating/succeeding. Having a defense against other people's negativity is an important step to keeping you going.
Duke Ellington simply refused to read critics. In today's hyper-connected world, it's difficult to not be "part of the conversation." Having a way to insulate yourself from undeserved hate is an important tool, and knowing the difference is an important skill.
Actually, writing this, I'm beginning to think it might be better to abandon that idea of accountability, because I'm sure people like Jannard have high personal standards, and holding themselves to their fans' capricious opinions may be more trouble than it's worth.
I think that the creatives who just cover their ears and stop listening to the reviewers have something useful figured out. There are so many channels through which feedback can travel, why bother spending time on the mean-spirited, irrational ones?
> In fact, the more hate I get, the happier I am, I feed off it,
> it's my fucking life line. It meant I was doing something right.
I'm getting there on my own websites. Feedback is an essential part of the process of publishing, if the feedback is mostly negative in nature then that gets interpreted as 'we don't value this, go away'. Small wonder that in the end that is the result.
Just like people get pestered away from neighbourhoods people can get pestered away from running websites, I can very easily relate to this.
"...you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you. In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: The stupid and the envious. The stupid will like you in five years time. The envious, never."
Really. I feel for the guy. But this stuff is nothing new, that's how it works when you do revolutionary stuff. Look at what RCA did to FM inventor Edwin Armstrong, and to TV inventor Philo Farnsworth. It's Not a Business for Old Men.
However I don't really hang out with anyone that much because I can't relate to their problems or experiences. People come to me with their life problems and for advice and I'm okay with that, kind of like a "life consultant".