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Old June 2nd, 2007, 12:36 PM   #1
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Your opinion: RED or HPX500?

I'm going to be starting production on another film (I finished my first feature this year with an HVR-Z1U), and I want to up the production value on the camera side of things.

RED is awesome: 4k, but the price for a good set-up is around $50k.

Meanwhile, a good HPX500 set-up on bhphotovideo.com is $25k.

I would really love two cameras. Keep in mind I would like an option to print to film if possible.

So, opinions, any and all. Should I just plan on $100k for two cameras? Or can I go with the HPX500, get nice theatrical results for $50k (two units with nice lenses), and spend the rest of the money I might have on other areas of production?

Thanks in advance.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM   #2
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Depends on your schedule. HPX500s are on store shelves now, RED is on an engineering hold and we won't know what the new release dates look like until they announce a new schedule, which I believe they'll do in a few weeks.

I've seen RED footage on a reasonably big screen, and nothing but film can compare. However, HVX200 footage has been blown up and looks great too; the HPX500 will look better than the HVX200 stuff.

What's your production schedule going to be like? If it's a three-week shoot, why not look into renting instead? That way you'll spend less and you'll be able to afford better gear than you ever could by buying.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 03:24 PM   #3
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Production schedule will more likely be one to two months.

Long term I want to be a RED man, but I'm filming next summer, and would like to have at least nine months with the unit I use before the shoot. I'm concerned that the RED is not going to be available to someone who hasn't already reserved one.

I understand that the RED will be the superior picture, but I think each film deserves me having the better half of a year to just mess around with the camera(s) that I'll be using ahead of time. That way I can know all strengths and weaknesses. Case in point, I'd used the HVR-Z1U for about a year (and the HDR-FX1 a year before that), so despite some obvious limitations, I was able to really push it to its limits, getting some nice shallow DOF in camera and good dynamic range.

I'm afraid if I only have the RED for a few months before the shoot, I won't use it to its full capabilities (since it is such a jump from the HVR-Z1U) with such short learning time.

BTW -- I plan on filming a feature every two years.

Plus, I also will need a lot of other production values paid for in this film as well, and I can't guarantee how much funding I'll have.

Who knows, I might have to just go with the HVX200...

CONTINUED THOUGHTS:

So basically, I don't want to just rent because I'd like to be able to know the camera inside and out by the time we shoot. Each camera has different abilities, limits, and personality traits. And, I just like to own the camera that I'm shooting with -- less worry on my end.

Last edited by Brandon Freeman; June 2nd, 2007 at 03:31 PM. Reason: Further thoughts
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 10:40 PM   #4
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If you've got the money to buy $100,000 worth of cameras, you certainly have the money to hire a RED owner/operator who knows the camera inside and out...
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 11:11 AM   #5
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Good point...

Well, like I said, I might be going into the next one with nothing, but I'm hoping to get at least some funding.

I just like to own the camera gear. :)
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 01:37 PM   #6
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As mentioned in a different thread, RED is a completely different animal from anything else on the market and can't be aptly compared against anything from Panny or Sony. RED's format for example is Super-35 which is a wider aspect ratio than 16:9, just for starters. Not to mention the huge difference in imager and software technology.

Top that off with the fact that the first RED cameras released to reservation holders will not have the full-feature set enabled which means it will easily be sometime next year before any of us will get our hands on a fully-functional RED body to put it through it's paces and, get familiar with it's workflow and options.

The other thing to consider - and a point that most forget to think about - is support after the sale. RED is totally new from the ground up including the company, which at last published count had a mere 15-20 people on-staff. While that's an amazing statistic to consider from a development/delivery standpoint the caveat is that when things go wrong or, when people damage their cameras that getting it repaired quickly *might* become an issue until the company ramps up it's infrastructure.

Personally, I'm anxiously awaiting a fully-featured RED cam to shoot and I have clients that are just as eager to have footage from it. However, it's not quite ready for prime-time - yet.

Unless you absolutely must-have film-like resolution-output straight from the camera then I'd suggest the HPX500 would be a great way to go. It will be the ONLY camera my production company will use - until either RED becomes available or the next-gen P2 camera makes it's debut.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 02:14 PM   #7
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Interesting.

So, another reason that I really like the RED is the variable frame rates. This next film of mine is going to need a lot of 60p slowed down to 24p type shots.

The HPX only does 60p at 720p, though. If I shoot the rest of the project at 1080 24p, will the 720p sequences look as nice once uprezzed?
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Freeman View Post
Interesting.

So, another reason that I really like the RED is the variable frame rates. This next film of mine is going to need a lot of 60p slowed down to 24p type shots.

The HPX only does 60p at 720p, though. If I shoot the rest of the project at 1080 24p, will the 720p sequences look as nice once uprezzed?
Incorrect, the HPX also does variable frame rates.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 03:35 PM   #9
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Yeah, but it doesn't do 60p at 1080, only 60i. I'm thinking it'd be better for resolution to shoot 720p than de-interlace 1080? Point remains, will the difference be noticeable?

Or is bhphotovideo.com incorrect in their specs?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...r_Mounted.html
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 07:35 PM   #10
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1080 60p is not a broadcast spec. I know Sony tries to tout some of their cameras as shooting 60p.
But you cannot edit 1080 60p. 720 60p is a broadcast spec.
Take a look at this:

http://www.tvtechnology.com/features..._hoffner.shtml
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:04 PM   #11
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Well, I know that if I shot RED 60p 4k I could edit it.

My question isn't does the camera do 1080 60p. My question is, will 720 60p uprezzed and slowed down to 1080 24p match native 1080 24p alright, especially when blown up?
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 08:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
RED's format for example is Super-35 which is a wider aspect ratio than 16:9, just for starters.
Actually, Super-35 is 4:3 aspect ratio. Super-35 is just using the optical audio track of the 35mm neg similar to how Super-16 exposes into where the other perfs.

Often, Super-35 is generate product that is 2:35 or 2:40 either through anamorphic lenses or masking off the top and bottom of the neg.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 10:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Freeman View Post
Well, I know that if I shot RED 60p 4k I could edit it.

My question isn't does the camera do 1080 60p. My question is, will 720 60p uprezzed and slowed down to 1080 24p match native 1080 24p alright, especially when blown up?
I don't think you could shoot 4K at 60p??
I think you could shoot 2K at 60fps?

Shooting 720 60p and then using the frame rate converter to make
a slo-mo 720 24p file and then blowing that up to 1080 will look OK.
Try some tests. That should look better than than shooting 1080
24p and using that file to slo-mo. I think FCP 6 now has some slo-mo
tools that will give a better result then just altering the speed.
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Old June 4th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #14
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Yes, visit Red's website. Up to 60p at 4k. Up to 120p at 2k.

The reason I'm asking is I don't have a 720p camera to test with 1080p source material (all I own is an HVR-Z1U). So, testing for myself is a bit hard at this point.

For my last film I achieved the effect by taking 60i material with a shutter speed of 180, slowing and resampling to 24p. It is a very smooth look, and since I used CF25 for the rest of the shots, which reduces resolution anyway, it all worked together pretty well.

The next project I want to shoot with an actual progressive system, however, and would like to see how 720p compares with 1080p when it is stretched.
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