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Old November 4th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #31
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

Ok, I'm going to probably sound cranky or cynical, but I've been not only behind the camera (many different types) for well over a decade now, but I've also been a technical writer who had early access to many cameras we've grown to love and use. I was the guy who felt that the camera made the difference, not the shooter, crew, lights, etc. I learned my lesson fast.

Anyway...

1. In defense of RED, and I know a lot of the guys there personally, they've restated their vision and goal to focus on high-end productions and studios. Hobbit pts. 1 and 2 are budgeted at $400 million +, and they have guys from RED on the set at all times, I'm sure. RED has my respect for laying it out that they cater to high-end professionals and productions.

That being said...

2. RED promised this camera, and EPIC, April 2008 at NAB, and when I walked out of the presentation, there were a lot of angry RED ONE owners. Suddenly their sexy cameras were obsolete and they couldn't do a direct upgrade. I was about to co-produce a feature back in Florida, and I was on the phone with a potential DP with a RED ONE to discuss his possibly shooting the film. When I mentioned EPIC and Scarlet to him, and that it was supposed to ship early 2009, there was silence on the phone. He was angry, understandably so. Also, RED doesn't have the supply chain of Canon, JVC, etc., so they're at the mercy of vendors who are going out of business, or are busy making stuff for the bigger companies and have to put RED on the backburner. I'm going off what Jim J has said in the past. I'll be happy to hear someone receives their Scarlet.

Also, I can't tell you how many young directors in South Florida would advertise they were casting and they had to throw in "We're shooting on a RED, the most advanced camera in the world." Who cares? And if an actor knew it was 4K, they'd run for the hills unless there were plenty of pro mist filters and a fantastic makeup artist on set at all times. Then they'd have tech issues with the camera, and someone would inevitably pull out an EX1 or HVX200...

3. RED needs to be less like Google, very open about development, putting out betas. and more like Apple, quiet development, getting the product ready to go, then ironing out whatever bugs may be present. They can't be everything to everyone, but they can put out a great camera when it's ready to ship. And maybe that's why Scarlet is coming 3 years later than promised. (But, as they say, things can change and do.)

4. Canon is marketing the C300 to high-end productions; my friend and colleague Jeremiah Hall was out there, and he got to hold it, watched films (feature shot with it, showed trailer) and shorts and spoke to major DPs there who liked it. This is Canon's first high-end camera, so they're marketing it to guys like Scorsese, etc.

5. Someone on this thread mentioned that they'll stick with their camera until they can buy this one. Good idea! But keep in mind, when the RED ONE came out, a lot of people bought it, and regardless of the economy, the rental prices were too high at the time to be affordable. I still link to this story 3+ years later, and it's still relevant today: Red One Rentals Impending Crash New Breed

6. Someone else on this thread mentioned REDs are getting replaced by Alexas at some rental houses. I can vouch for a friend of mine in South Florida, who would rent both his RED and his colleagues' units (sublease, I guess), but he bought an Alexa and has more business with it now. The colleagues, I don't know what happened to them and their REDs. The problem was the beta/prototype issues with the RED while on set, esp. in the South Florida weather. That's one example, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear other companies in Florida are doing the same thing.

7. Lastly, it isn't the camera, it's your (and your crew's) talent. Read this: It's Not About Your Camera

Ken talks about still cameras, but he's right, it's you (and your crew, lighting, etc.). I came close to buying cameras in 2001 and 2002, respectively, that I didn't need. I bought a JVC HD10, and made more money writing about it than I did with the camera! I thank that camera for launching my writing career, but a DVX100 would've been better, or just my old Canon XL1.

Okay, that's what I got. Feel free to argue, debate, agree, etc. I'm cynical when it comes to technology now, because it changes so rapidly. If I had to buy a camera today, I'd buy something like a Sony F3 or FS100, get great lenses, and use it for 5 years. Then buy the next thing and use my lenses I already bought, because those never grow old.

Here's a little something I said to Jeremiah before he flew to L.A. for the Canon presentation: If the camera doesn't automatically make my script, actors, lighting and overall production magically better, then I'm not interested. He laughed, because he was the one who told me not to buy a $15,000 JVC minidv camera in 2001, because it ultimately is about how great my script, actors, lighting and overal production quality is, not to mention my hardworking crew of 4 (Jeremiah on cam/lighting, my pal Grant on sound, my friend Demi on swing duties and me directing), not my camera.

That hasn't changed from when I was working on a commercial by myself (one-man band!) 2 weeks ago, or a cast and crew of about 100 three+ years ago.

Okay, rant off. Thanks for letting me share (gripe).

heath

ps-One more thing: speaking of economy, as a tech writer, I was able to check out all the high-end DSLRs (and HDSLRs), and I noticed that many of them were 2-4 years old, and the newer ones had marginal updates at best, like adding a few more megapixels or an HD video feature. Other than the newest Canon and Sony DSLRs, I think manufacturers are holding off on anything major for a bit, because of the economy. And also, like computers in the late 90s, people aren't upgrading every 12-18 months (as they were in the mid- to late-2000s with DSLRs and pro cameras), but now more like every 3-5 years. If it still works, then go for it.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #32
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

And please don't think this is an insult against RED; far from it. I'm very impressed with what they're doing, and the proof is in the pudding with major films like The Hobbit, Pirates 4, and lower budget, but big-time films like Knowing, Robert Rodriguez's films, the Hughes brothers and so on.

I also don't think the Scarlet and C300 are competing directly with Sony's F3, except maybe on price. I see Albert Hughes using Scarlet or the C300 to shoot a film, not an F3. Maybe the F35, but not the F3. Just my opinion.

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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #33
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

Heath,

I suscribe everything you wrote, except for one thing.

You say you can see the C300 doing a film (a low budget one I guess) but not an F3.

So you think 11 stops at 422 8bit@50Mbps is better than 14 stops at 10bit 444@330Mbps ?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #34
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
That could depend on how long this camera has been in development, presumably well under wraps and if the bugs have been ironed out during that process. Presumably much of it is derived from the Epic, so you'd assume those aspects of the camera have already been debugged.
It is in almost every respect an Epic. According to Jim Jannard, the sensor is the same used in the Epic except it doesn't meet the stringent tolerances needed for 5K motion work beyond 12 fps. In addition, the electronics are stripped down so data rates are lower. Ironically, Scarlet fixed had a higher maximum data rate (100 MBps) than Scarlet-X (50 MBps). Image quality and dynamic range are said to be the same as Epic's, with the exception of resolution.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:30 PM   #35
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

I just don't think someone shooting a $50 million film will reach for the F3 as their "A" camera, maybe "B." I can see them using an F65 or F35 as the "A" Camera. But I can also see them using the C300 and Scarlet as the "A" camera, too, because of the additional features and, from what I've been hearing from high-end pros who've seen footage from both, the overall look of the footage from the cameras. I'm thinking more along the lines of compression.

Maybe I'm wrong, because another buddy in L.A. tweeted me the other day a photo of the F3 he's shooting with, and said it's the best camera he's used in years. And he's used some great ones.

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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #36
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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Originally Posted by Lawrence Bansbach View Post
It is in almost every respect an Epic. According to Jim Jannard, the sensor is the same used in the Epic except it doesn't meet the stringent tolerances needed for 5K motion work beyond 12 fps. In addition, the electronics are stripped down so data rates are lower. Ironically, Scarlet fixed had a higher maximum data rate (100 MBps) than Scarlet-X (50 MBps). Image quality and dynamic range are said to be the same as Epic's, with the exception of resolution.
It's almost like buying a brand-new mid-range Nikon or Canon that has the same processing image and other under-the-hood features as a $7000 model that camera that came out 2 years ago. You're getting close to the same thing.

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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #37
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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Hasn't Scarlet really become the Red One replacement? From that point of view it's an excellent price cut for what is likely a more robust and modern electronics package.
Jim Jannard has said Red will stop selling Red Ones (I forget when). Unfortunately, Scarlet-X lacks some of the features of the Red One, such as higher frame rates (120 fps) at 2K and built-in XLRs.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:33 PM   #38
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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So you think 11 stops at 422 8bit@50Mbps is better than 14 stops at 10bit 444@330Mbps ?
ps-I don't go off white paper specs; if I did, then I would've shot my last feature with the HVX200 instead of the Z1u and a prototype V1u. Better compression with the Panasonic, but the 960 x 540 sensor produced ugly results when we watched test footage on a movie theater screen. Talk about stretching the pixels!

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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #39
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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Originally Posted by Lawrence Bansbach View Post
Jim Jannard has said Red will stop selling Red Ones (I forget when). Unfortunately, Scarlet-X lacks some of the features of the Red One, such as higher frame rates (120 fps) at 2K and built-in XLRs.
There's the "cripple" to protect the higher-end camera. We always talk about it, almost like an urban legend, but companies have to protect their bottom line. Remember the Sony HC1? That cannabalized Sony A1u sales for a solid year until the HC3 (very consumerish) came out in 06.

heath

ps-The RED ONE had an overall great run, but it will evergreen at rental houses. It's still an advanced system, only bested by new REDs and the Alexa.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:59 PM   #40
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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There's the "cripple" to protect the higher-end camera. We always talk about it, almost like an urban legend, but companies have to protect their bottom line.
In all fairness, Scarlet-X isn't truly a crippled Epic. It's cheaper because Red could repurpose sensor chips they'd otherwise have to throw away. And the reduced data rates are a function of the number and kinds of circuit boards. It's not like with some manufacturers who sell you a camera technically capable of much more but cripple it in firmware. It's more like a car that has two different engine options and Scarlet-X has the smaller, less powerful engine. I might, however, feel apprehensive about betting a production on a camera with a "factory second" imaging chip.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #41
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

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Originally Posted by Heath McKnight View Post
ps-I don't go off white paper specs; if I did, then I would've shot my last feature with the HVX200 instead of the Z1u and a prototype V1u. Better compression with the Panasonic, but the 960 x 540 sensor produced ugly results when we watched test footage on a movie theater screen. Talk about stretching the pixels!

heath
Well, I've seen the F3 shot with a Gemini (which was still in beta) and it's s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g.

On the other hand I'm very uninmpressed with Laforet's video with the C300. Compare it to other videos also in Vimeo, shot with th F3+SLog, so that you get apples to apples. On Laforet's video I see plenty of noise in the shadows in high contrst scenes, awfully clipped highlights and oh-no 709 video-look due to a more compressed latitude. And Laforet had plenty of money and a $1.5k/hr colorist, while the F3 videos have been done by a couple of guys alone.


If I was to shoot a film, even an independent 1M one (which I would not do, as it's easier to win the lottery than to get proper distribution), I'd use none of the above but an ALEXA with a Codex recorder. The cost of this is under 2k per day, times 3 per week, which means it would cost less than 25k to rent it for the entire film. That's peanuts compared to everything else, so I don't see how would anything use anything below such a great, simple and reliable setup that the ALEXA with the smaller Codex brings.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #42
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

No doubt, the F3 follows the tradition of other great CineAlta cameras, from the F950 to the EX1.

I am going off my friend who was watching a bunch of C300 footage at the presentation. Most audiences aren't going to stop watching a movie to check for video noise, etc., but we do. Then again, if I'm paying that much money for a camera, I'd hope I wouldn't ever notice that stuff.

I'm cautiously optimistic that RED will get the Scarlet out on time, and even more excited to see some footage!

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Old November 4th, 2011, 08:09 PM   #43
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

I'm pretty happy, as an underwater shooter it looks like it is in the same body as Epic, hence I will have a housing that can cover both. If I need high frame rates I can hire an Epic, Scarlet X works out cheaper than an F3 with all necessary capture equipment. Use an Atmos Samurai for Prores capture for quick turnaround jobs. Use my Canon glass plus have a PL mount when I work on high end jobs.

Do I need 5K, probably not, higher frame rates... possibly sometimes.

SSD's can be swapped between Epic and Scarlet, Redmote works with both plus all accessories and batts. I'm a happy camper.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 02:24 AM   #44
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

Wow. The natives are restless. Those who have been waiting three and a half years for a 2/3" camera for $3k, then an expected $6k, and now no 2/3 camera at all are not happy. Lock the windows on the upper stories.

Jim has recently written that 2/3" and 3K were not enough. He wrote that the 8x lens had terminal problems. And nobody is less happy about that than him. He's the guy who spent all the R&D money on the 8x lens that didn't pan out.

Neither the Scarlet-X or the C300 are the right camera for budget shooters. The 5D2 with anti-aliasing filter might be the best quality, budget, large sensor solution. The 1D-X might be the best choice come March. And then there's the mystery DSLR and the next generation 5D, 7D and all the rest.

But for the event shooter, there's still a 2/3" or S16 opportunity. Or maybe 4/3" is the new S16.

Even if the recent announcements don't fill the needs of budget shooters, there is no better time to make budget digital films than today.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #45
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Re: Scarlet At $10K

The option for the 2/3" 3k camera is still open for RED, they've done the R & D, although the 8x fixed zoom currently seems to have problems maintaining focus while zooming.

Unfortunately, Jim Jannard seems to have got rather obsessed by 4k, rather than the real world of 1080p distribution, which is where most of the productions shot on his 4k cameras will actaully end up.

Although, no reason why they shouldn't do a 2/3" 4k camera. That was an option that the Kinetta camera was following, unfortunately, the downside to keep following a new greater version is the camera never gets manufactured.

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; November 6th, 2011 at 04:35 AM.
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