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Old July 11th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #1
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My next camera would have to be the Scarlet - right?

I've had a JVC gy HD 100 since shortly after they came out. My main interest is filmmaking more than event videography and I've been very happy with it. However, I get very tempted by all the new cameras coming out.

I got really excited reading about the JVC HM700, but I then I heard about the RED Scarlet.

I know the prices, specs, etc about the Scarlet are subject to change. But reading what they've got on the RED site right now, it seems like for the price of a new HM 700, I could get a version of the Scarlet. I'd probably need a bunch of other gear to get the most out of it, but supposed all the components of the RED family are upgradable individually. So I save money in the long run?

Comparing the capabilities, it seems unwise to get anything but the Scarlet. However, I'm sure there are a lot more costs in extra equipment to really use the Scarlet properly. I guess my main issue is I need to do a lot more research on the RED world, which I know nothing about.

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts? I'm posting in this forum, because I'm trying to look at it from the filmmaker's perspective, not necessarily the dp, the event videographer, etc.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #2
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Scarlet, from the announced specs, is going to bring a LOT to the table. However, I think the price is going to put it out of range for those really trying to do what you're doing.

If someone were to approach Scarlet as a $15k low end digital cinema camera, then I think they'd have it about right. Or approach it as an $8k high end prosumer video camera, then I think that would also be right.

Those who crave the shallow DOF, and other niceties are going to want at least the S35 brain if not the FF35 brain. That alone will put the cost above most competitive cameras like the HPX170 and the EX1. Then you're going to need lenses, and EVF, some recording module, etc.

I had high hopes that the Scarlet would be my next filmmaking camera but frankly, I cannot afford it. I love what it offers though.

If I was looking to get into doing Film-style work for less than $10k, I'd seriously be looking at something like an HMC-150 with a Letus, rails, and some good glass. If I wanted to step that up a bit, I'd be looking for a used EX1, a Nano-Flash, a Letus or Brevis, rails, etc. Buying a video camera with an SDI port REALLY let's you step your game up in terms of recording performance. And buying a Convergent box is a LOT cheaper than a Wafian or trying to rent an HDCAM SR recorder.

There are just no free lunches in this game. Things are getting cheaper, but they still aren't "cheap".
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Old July 11th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #3
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Well, yeah, wasn't asking for a free lunch, I'm asking for best bang for the buck. If my budget is $10K, and I want to do narrative film, what's the best use of $10K?

I'm asking a ridiculously open ended question of course. There are many variables to this, beyond what camera has the most features, produces the most lines of resolution. There is the total cost of the workflow, all new gear, etc.

So you're feeling is, just going on what's on the Red site right now, it would cost $15K to the S35 and all the gear you'd want along with it? Are you thinking the PL mount, prime lenses, mattebox, etc?

I already have a Letus35 with a Canon FD mount. I've used the JVC camera a lot, so that's what I'm used to. So in terms of money, it would make most sense to stay with that model.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #4
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You know.. something I realized when considering doing wedding videos.. and looking at the cost of the good canon/sony's, and what they bring to the table, and then the Scarlet fixed at $3700, or probably about 5K for the next one up with the removable brain.. I realized that the end result of the video that someone is going to watch for most purposes is DVD. Bluray if you are lucky but it still uses the same mpeg2 dvd compression that dvds use for their best quality... or h.264 to put more content on the bluray. As far as I know, the mpeg-2 dvd compression results in a BETTER quality picture than the h.264 compression does.. but uses up more space.. and in the case of bluray I don't know for sure yet, but I thought they apply less compression to result in even better quality when using mpeg2?

At any rate, for anything but theater bound movies, any of these cameras even with their compression will do a great job. What I look at tho, and the reason I wanted the Scarlet for the price, was what it brings. 2/3" sensor instead of 1/3 to 1/2 that every other camera has. If you step up to the 2/3" removable, you now have a completely configurable camera that you can later move up to a S35 and do film with for 7K more. That is very attractive all by itself. But then you consider the 2/3" will (or should) offer better low-light, and for me.. doing wedding videos that's probably one of the most important features as a lot of weddings are inside and in dark environments.

I then look at it's ability to do 4K resolution. I haven't seen if the Sony EX-1 can..but I don't think so. 4K resolution requires a beefy system to work with..but even for commercials or wedding videos, it gives you an outstanding range of motion within the HD picture frame to move around in. You can do zoom outs with a 4K image that you can't do when you shoot HD because HD is all you got (unless your shooting HD and going SD..which is usually the case for wedding videos). That too is very nice. For example.. if you get some jerky video at 3K resolution, and producing a HD video, you can apply motion tracking, stabilize the shot and NOT worry about the outer edges of the frame having holes in it do to the stabilization in the software. Even at 2K, since most videos are still SD bound, including commercials, you have a bit of extra room for these scenarios. I suppose to be fair you DO have this on all the other cameras when shooting HD and going SD.

Next up, and again for me this is really big.. the 120 frames per second at up to 3K resolution. That is amazing! Sure, it's going to eat up flash memory space, and for me.. doing weddings.. that would mean a LOT of 16GB flash cards to bring.. not necessarily cheap especially for RED, but none the less to shoot 5x the frame rate.. if you've seen the footage of RED slow mo it's outstanding. For weddings and commercials, it's very nice to have.

Then there is the R3D raw format. It's very close to the CineForm 4K compression.. given you outstanding lossless video to work with. Without using an HDMI or HD-SDI out on one of the other cameras, you are almost always getting compression in your video. Unless I am wrong about how the other cameras including EX-1 work, I am pretty sure the video you get from them is compressed and not lossless. So you're losing quality with them. To work with lossless (or barely compressed) video as the source, just seems to me to be much better than working with compressed video. I'd rather work with uncompressed 24-bit wav audio, than mp3 audio for editing.

I am not sure about the RED lenses. Honestly I need to learn about f-stop, mm, etc.. I don't know enough about all that lingo yet.. like WTF is a Letus? lol. But a lot of you pros talk about the lenses and such you use on video shoots, and I am clueless on that part of it. So I can't answer in regards to if the RED lens that you get for the price is as good as the EX-1 and such. They look really good. The quality of the videos I've seen look the best I've seen... but without comparing side by side I suppose the coloring and such is hard to tell.

All in all, if I had 10K to spend, I'd find a way to save 2K more or so, and get the S35 brain and build my camera. That depends on how they finally price the cameras as well tho. If it's cheaper, the S35 is the way to go. If not, get the 2/3" Cinema and upgrade the brain later.

Question for you guys.. Looking at the red.. what does the S35 bring to the table? The resolution seems to be the same, 4K, 3K, 2K, etc. There is the 5K...yes, but 4K is considered theater sized.. 5K maybe gives you extra wiggle room..at the expense of really requiring a few of their flash HD systems as using 4 16GB cards would probably barely net you 10 mins of 5K filming. It would be more expensive most likely to use 5K just for the memory required to record it.. although I've never shot a movie, not sure if every single shot in a movie is usually a few minutes or less at a time or if there are scenes where you shoot for 1/2 hour or longer straight through. But does the 35mm bring you better lighting/colors as well (the sensor)? Can you make up for that with a better lens on the 2/3" cinema maybe?
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Old July 11th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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Ok, Cliff Notes version:

1. Mpeg4 (h264/avc) is cleaner compression for a given bit rate. If I compress with Mpeg2 and Mpeg4 at the same bitrate, the mpeg4 will look MUCH better. The problem is that most consumer camera use a MUCH lower bitrate for mpeg4/avc since they know they can get away with doing it and still have nice looking video.

2. Completely agree that ANY of these moderately priced cameras will do an absolutely fantastic job going to DVD or even BluRay. And the better ones look pretty darn good projected at movie theater size too. I wouldn't worry about that too much.

3. The Sony EX1 (and several other cameras in it's price range) can output uncompressed HD. It goes no higher resolution than 1920x1080, but it is uncompressed 10-bit (560GB/hr).

4. The Sony EX1 and some other cameras can shoot up to 60fps. Honestly, unless you are planning on doing special effects, you can get some GORGEOUS slo-mo with 60fps.

5. REDCODE Raw is still compressed. It's clean, but it's compressed. The RED can deliver uncompressed video, but trying to record it is beyond anything someone here would want to pay.

6. The Letus is a 35mm adapter. It allows you to use 35mm lenses on video cameras that do not natively accept them. benefits are shallow DOF if desired, and the ability to use a wide variety of lenses. There are some drawbacks to the system that the Scarlet avoids.

7. There is likely NO WAY, you will get a shootable S35 Scarlet for $10k. I just can't see it happening. Using current RED accessory prices, just putting an EVF, power, and recording module on the camera would take you over the $10k. And that's before you bought a lens for iit.

8. What does S35 bring to the table? It brings a TON more low light performance. If you think the change from 1/3" to 2/3" makes a big difference, the change to S35 is another order larger. You could fit ~4 2/3" sensors on the face of an S35 sensor. It brings in that wonderful shallow depth of field like the new Canon and Nikon SLR/Video cameras and the GH1. It allows you to put 35mm lenses on the front and use them to full effect. You cannot make up for what the S35 gives you any other way. Basic physics. And to answer your question about movie making, generally you are recording scenes or parts of scenes. The camea rolls maybe 20 seconds to a minute or two maximum at a time. So with that kind of filming, shooting onto smaller media isn't that big a deal. And in fact, it emulates the way film is shot (with real celluloid film) so it's very familiar to those in the industry.
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Last edited by Perrone Ford; July 11th, 2009 at 03:41 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #6
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Perrone, thank you for your most informative reply. Couple thoughts/questions to add...

1. mpeg-4 vs mpeg-2.. maybe I am wrong on this, but I thought both were lossy compression schemes? I do realize mpeg-4 will give you as good, if not better quality videos for same bit rate and smaller files.. but both lose video quality at the expense of compression. As a software engineer by day, I do realize the tradeoffs. My question then is.. I thought the reason some bluray movies use mpeg-2 instead of mpeg-4 is that the mpeg-2 is LESS loss of video quality than mpeg-4. Mpeg-4, having actually worked on code with it.. uses multiple frames to deduct parts of "blocks" of the frames that don't change, and parts that do. Mpeg-2 I think works something like it..but uses less frames and there was something else too..can't remember as I never directly worked on mpeg-2 code. But, it was my understanding that mpeg-2 provided better overall quality for the same frame size at the expense of being larger file sizes. That said, you brought up something I forgot about.. bit-rate with mpeg-4.. you can reduce or increase the bit rate with it. I don't recall if you can do that with mpeg-2 now. If you can, then the question is.. would mpeg-2 with its less loss of detail be better for HD movies over mpeg-4 IF you don't factor in size.. that is.. put a 2 hour movie on a 25GB bluray using mpeg2 with no room left for anything else (just menus), or mpeg-4 movie with no size constraints (again setting bitrate to use the full 25GB for the 2 hour movie)? If I am wrong..that is great..like to learn new things.

So the Sony EX-1 can record on the medium it gives you to record (I think SDHC cards?) uncompressed? In other words, you do NOT need to use its HDMI or HD-SDI out to get this.it does this internally? If so, is it variable to use less memory space? Does it supprot meta info like the R3D and CineForm do for color/whitebalance/etc info? I really wish we could find a $5K camera that used CineForm directly internally to the memory and you could basically specify various compression schemes right on the camera. I mean..these things are all digital now, why they can't work something like that out..I don't know. I suppose the CineForm being on windows/mac and the software/os on these cameras are definitely not windows or OSX might be one issue. Sure would be nice tho. I'd love to get CineForm compression built in to a camera. Seems like once again the only thing that does this is the RED.

Slow motion..I gotta be honest.. the Adobe slowmo it licensed is REALLY good. At least in SD it looks really good. I have slowed video down to 10% and the interpolation it does is impressive! Of course reducing by 20% in camera by recording more footage is better I would guess.

REDCODE Raw I believe is a lossless compression. Maybe I am wrong on this? If it is compressed.. by how much? It's no where near mpeg-2 or 4 is it?

As for the S35 for 10K..I think I said that wrong..not the S35.. the Cinema 2/3". They currently show the Fixed Cinema for $3700 including battery and such. I don't think that includes a memory device tho.. so that will add some more to it.. although if it does.. that is a freaking steal for that camera! To be able to record with it for $4K is insane. The fixed lens does suck tho (or did I read their brochure wrong and it's just a fixed sensor, the lens can be interchanged?). But ya, the S35 with lens, memory, batteries, etc.. I'd ballpark at 15K if not more. So agree with you there.


So obviously my eyes are far bigger than my wallet.. and because I am a tech geek I want the best..but I am sadly realizing that not only is the RED S35+ way overkill for just about anything I'd ever do (unless I get into shooting film), but for most things like school/church/corporate event shooting and weddings, the RED is really if you've got the money to burn it would be great.. but far from necessary. If the EX-1 can do uncompressed (or even slightly compressed) to the memory cards, it looks like it may be the best option for all around weddings/events.. even short films and commercials I'd guess? At about $6K it's not too bad. I just can't help look at the specs of the RED.. (please explain the 8X fixed zoom to me..) that a few grand more gets you a lot more for the money.

On a side note.. bit off topic but I was reading another thread in here about tripods.. I had no idea that $1K for a tripod is normal for these types of cameras!! That's something I gotta factor in as well into the price of buying one of these.. not to mention the body kit with the arm and steadicam to avoid having to hold this camera up for long periods of time with just a steadicam! Boy..this is expensive stuff. How do you guys do it. I am wondering if many of you get business loans to afford all this gear. I am trying to figure out how to save a bit here and there..and it will take years to save up to get two good cameras and tripods and such for a darn wedding shoot. That's ridiculous.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
Perrone, thank you for your most informative reply. Couple thoughts/questions to add...

1. mpeg-4 vs mpeg-2.. maybe I am wrong on this, but I thought both were lossy compression schemes? I do realize mpeg-4 will give you as good, if not better quality videos for same bit rate and smaller files.. but both lose video quality at the expense of compression. As a software engineer by day, I do realize the tradeoffs. My question then is.. I thought the reason some bluray movies use mpeg-2 instead of mpeg-4 is that the mpeg-2 is LESS loss of video quality than mpeg-4. Mpeg-4, having actually worked on code with it.. uses multiple frames to deduct parts of "blocks" of the frames that don't change, and parts that do. Mpeg-2 I think works something like it..but uses less frames and there was something else too..can't remember as I never directly worked on mpeg-2 code. But, it was my understanding that mpeg-2 provided better overall quality for the same frame size at the expense of being larger file sizes. That said, you brought up something I forgot about.. bit-rate with mpeg-4.. you can reduce or increase the bit rate with it. I don't recall if you can do that with mpeg-2 now. If you can, then the question is.. would mpeg-2 with its less loss of detail be better for HD movies over mpeg-4 IF you don't factor in size.. that is.. put a 2 hour movie on a 25GB bluray using mpeg2 with no room left for anything else (just menus), or mpeg-4 movie with no size constraints (again setting bitrate to use the full 25GB for the 2 hour movie)? If I am wrong..that is great..like to learn new things.
Mpeg2 and Mpeg4 can both record at varying bitrates. That is exactly what happens when you make an SD DVD. It asks you what bitrate, or it calculates for you. SD DVDs have a maximum of about 8 Mbps on DVD, and the DVD spec ONLY allows Mpeg2 compression. BluRay spec allows Mpeg2, Mpeg4, and VC-1. If you look at the very best (video quality) BluRays, they are ALWAYS either Mpeg4 of VC-1. Mpeg2 may well be able to provide a superior look, but it demands so much more bitrate to get there, it doesn't fall inside the BluRay specification. You need to get to about 100Mbps for Mpeg2 to look visually lossless when recording full-sized HD. Mpeg4 and VC-1 can achieve the same look with about 35Mbps. Thus, BluRay discs encoded with high bitrate Mpeg4 and VC-1 are always going to look better. Given no size constraints either can provide visually lossless performance. But the Mpeg4/VC-1 will always do it with smaller files.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
So the Sony EX-1 can record on the medium it gives you to record (I think SDHC cards?) uncompressed? In other words, you do NOT need to use its HDMI or HD-SDI out to get this.it does this internally? If so, is it variable to use less memory space? Does it supprot meta info like the R3D and CineForm do for color/whitebalance/etc info? I really wish we could find a $5K camera that used CineForm directly internally to the memory and you could basically specify various compression schemes right on the camera. I mean..these things are all digital now, why they can't work something like that out..I don't know. I suppose the CineForm being on windows/mac and the software/os on these cameras are definitely not windows or OSX might be one issue. Sure would be nice tho. I'd love to get CineForm compression built in to a camera. Seems like once again the only thing that does this is the RED.
The EX1 will NOT record uncompressed or even lightly compressed to it's native recording media (SxS/ExpressCard). It records with ~35Mpbs Mpeg2 encoding. It's good, but it's not great. If you want to get uncompressed HD, you have to use it's HDSDI port and record to something like the Convergent box or a Wafian. It also does not record RAW like the RED. Very few cameras do. The RED, the Viper, and the SI2K are some that come to mind.

The RED does not use Cineform. It uses Redcode. Which is a variant of Jpeg2000 I believe. Or at least it used to be. In any case it is wavelet compression which is cleaner than Mpeg4 and Mpeg2 by a wide margin. The Silicon Imaging SI2K uses Cineform RAW in-camera. I am not aware of what the Viper is doing. The Panavision Genesis is using a proprietary system. I cannot remember what the Dalsa Origin uses.

To be honest, if you are working at a level where RAW is really a requirement, then the few grand you need to get a recorder that does it is a drop in the bucket. For us mere mortals, we just need some decent compression, and all the latest cameras above $4k seem to be giving us that. Those in the $5500-$10k range also give us HDSDI ports should we want to record that uncompressed image. Not many folks are really going to want to spend the $100-$150 a minute that would be required right now to record uncompressed in camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
Slow motion..I gotta be honest.. the Adobe slowmo it licensed is REALLY good. At least in SD it looks really good. I have slowed video down to 10% and the interpolation it does is impressive! Of course reducing by 20% in camera by recording more footage is better I would guess.
If you are doing a 24p production, something like the EX1 is giving you a better than 50% reduction in camera for slow-mo. That's pretty darn good for a $7500. The Pansonic's I think can do the same, and do it slightly cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
REDCODE Raw I believe is a lossless compression. Maybe I am wrong on this? If it is compressed.. by how much? It's no where near mpeg-2 or 4 is it?
Redcode RAW is not lossless. It is "visually" lossless. But that is debatable. It's still excellent. Redcode comes in 2 flavors. Redcode 28 (28 MegaBYTES per second (about 224 Mbps) and Redcode 36 which is 288 Mbps. HDV is 25MBps, and Sony's XDCamEX is 35 Mbps. The Panasonic HMC150 which uses the better Mpeg4 compression scheme is at 24 Mbps. So not only is the RED using a much better codec than all the others, it's giving the codec about 8-10 times the bandwidth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
As for the S35 for 10K..I think I said that wrong..not the S35.. the Cinema 2/3". They currently show the Fixed Cinema for $3700 including battery and such. I don't think that includes a memory device tho.. so that will add some more to it.. although if it does.. that is a freaking steal for that camera! To be able to record with it for $4K is insane. The fixed lens does suck tho (or did I read their brochure wrong and it's just a fixed sensor, the lens can be interchanged?). But ya, the S35 with lens, memory, batteries, etc.. I'd ballpark at 15K if not more. So agree with you there.
Many have doubts as to whether the fixed lens scarlet will get sold at $3700. My bet is closer to $6k which is STILL the best deal on the market as far as I am concerned. And you didn't read wrong, it is a fixed lens. You'll need to add a couple grand to move to the interchangeable lens model.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
So obviously my eyes are far bigger than my wallet.. and because I am a tech geek I want the best..but I am sadly realizing that not only is the RED S35+ way overkill for just about anything I'd ever do (unless I get into shooting film), but for most things like school/church/corporate event shooting and weddings, the RED is really if you've got the money to burn it would be great.. but far from necessary. If the EX-1 can do uncompressed (or even slightly compressed) to the memory cards, it looks like it may be the best option for all around weddings/events.. even short films and commercials I'd guess? At about $6K it's not too bad. I just can't help look at the specs of the RED.. (please explain the 8X fixed zoom to me..) that a few grand more gets you a lot more for the money.
The EX1 sells for closer to $7k, but media costs are pretty cheap if you use the SDHC adapters. The 8X zoom is generally the lens equivalent of other cameras in the price range.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
On a side note.. bit off topic but I was reading another thread in here about tripods.. I had no idea that $1K for a tripod is normal for these types of cameras!! That's something I gotta factor in as well into the price of buying one of these.. not to mention the body kit with the arm and steadicam to avoid having to hold this camera up for long periods of time with just a steadicam! Boy..this is expensive stuff. How do you guys do it. I am wondering if many of you get business loans to afford all this gear. I am trying to figure out how to save a bit here and there..and it will take years to save up to get two good cameras and tripods and such for a darn wedding shoot. That's ridiculous.
Business loans are how many get started. The trick is to buy what you can afford. If you are only bringing in $5k a year, then trying to buy a $15k camera is really tough. Many of the RED guys bought $50k cameras, insured them, and then rented them out. Doesn't take much more than a year or two of rentals to pay for the camera. Not a bad deal to be honest. That kind of thing is much harder to do with the small cams. I've rented one of my cams a couple of times, but I wouldn't do that with the EX1 since it belongs to the office. So any money I make with it, comes with ME at the back of it! :)

And that $1k figure for a tripod is conservative. A good set of legs can cost $500-800 for cameras at this weight, and a good head for a camera this size is generally around $500. You can get some deals and bargains, and you can try to save some money in certain places, but yea, it's pricey. I went cheap on my tripod and shooting outside is a major pain if there is even the slightest wind. I wish I had it to do over again.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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Perrone, you are my new best friend. :D Man you know your stuff.. I hope one day to understand it like you do. I think I have a decent grasp. You've taught me a lot tho. I didn't realize that mpeg-4 was "better" per se than mpeg-2.. in that using mpeg-4 at a higher bitrate would still result in smaller files than mpeg-2 and the mpeg4 would yield better visual quality.

So as you said and I've correctly guessed.. for the money the RED is probably the best thing going when it comes out.. but when is that? Gees. I am dying to know what the actual price is going to be for it. I posted in another thread why it is I am interested in the RED.. a brief summary is that while I am saying I'd like to do wedding videos, I am also interested in doing stock footage. Having the higher quality of the RED and using that for stock footage to me allows those that may pay for the footage a much better source to work with. That is why, basically I am trying to kill two birds with one stone. If I am going to need (or think I need) a good quality image that the RED offers for even as much as 2x as much as an EX-1, and I also need a good camera to shoot weddings with (actually probably need at least two), why not get the RED (if I can get a business loan), use it for the stock shots, and use it for the wedding videos. I don't know if RED has an option to use higher compression so as to utilize more time.. which besides the worry of my nice expensive camera possibly being broken doing a wedding video (dropped, stolen etc), I'd worry about the costs of memory cards to record many hours at once. I wonder if recording for an hour straight would overheat it as well or not? Can it shoot 3K footage for 1 hour straight? The only problem I have with the nanoFlash is it is using Long GOP mpeg-2, so even if you feed it the HDMI/HD-SDI out of any camera that can, you still end up compressing the video quite a bit. I am not sure (haven't looked it up yet) what Long GOB mpeg-2 is compared to say what the EX-1 does, or DVD mpeg-2 for that matter. But I am guessing it is no where near as good as the REDCODE or the CineForm.

BTW, is CineForm better than REDCODE? I heard they are similar in visual quality. I am curious you said CineForm RAW on the camera.. that one model.. I am guessing that's a very expensive camera that can do that, not to mention does it store to flash or tape and at what mbps speed?


I thought about the renting of the RED too. I looked at renting one and its about $350 for the day, or for a few hours..can't remember which it was. I think they charged extra for more batteries, cards, etc as well.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #9
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Personally, I think Red has missed their opportunity. Large sensors are just around the corner, making hi-res and DOF control the new norm. This will leave Red with no discernible market advantage. What about modularity? No reason for modularity when the modules are high priced and the prices of technology continually fall.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #10
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From a purely business point of view (as opposed to coveting the latest toy), you have to ask yourself whether renting might not be a lot cheaper than buying, especially when you factor in the upgrade cost. How many films are you going to make with your $20,000 camera before you have to replace/upgrade it? And how much would it cost you to rent the camera over that same time?

I use my XH-A1 for small shoots; anything with a bigger budget, I hire a cameraman and equipment.


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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:38 PM   #11
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Perrone, you are my new best friend. :D Man you know your stuff.. I hope one day to understand it like you do. I think I have a decent grasp. You've taught me a lot tho. I didn't realize that mpeg-4 was "better" per se than mpeg-2.. in that using mpeg-4 at a higher bitrate would still result in smaller files than mpeg-2 and the mpeg4 would yield better visual quality.
I'm still learning so much. Thanks to generous folks on this site and others, and by getting my hands on things and experimenting. In terms of visual quality per bit rate, Mpeg2 ranks behind Mpeg4, and Mpeg4 ranks behind Wavelet (REDCODE, Cineform RAW, JPEG2000).

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I don't know if RED has an option to use higher compression so as to utilize more time.. which besides the worry of my nice expensive camera possibly being broken doing a wedding video (dropped, stolen etc), I'd worry about the costs of memory cards to record many hours at once. I wonder if recording for an hour straight would overheat it as well or not? Can it shoot 3K footage for 1 hour straight? The only problem I have with the nanoFlash is it is using Long GOP mpeg-2, so even if you feed it the HDMI/HD-SDI out of any camera that can, you still end up compressing the video quite a bit. I am not sure (haven't looked it up yet) what Long GOB mpeg-2 is compared to say what the EX-1 does, or DVD mpeg-2 for that matter. But I am guessing it is no where near as good as the REDCODE or the CineForm.
RED allows you to record to CF memory cards or it's RAID drive, which is currently at 640GB. Should give about 4 hours continuous if memory serves. And yes, the camera can be used for long continuous recording.

The NanoFlash uses Mpeg2. But it uses it at numerous bit-rates. At 100Mbps it looks better than anything has a right to. At 160Mbps, it looks like uncompressed. And it will also REALLY store uncompressed with the firmware update. I believe it will also do 220Mbps. Mind you, the Sony EX1 is shooting Mpeg2 at 35Mpbs and that level of compression seemed fine for the new Johnny Depp movie, Public Enemies. Once you get Mpeg2 at 100Mbps, it looks fine for anything you'd ever want to do. Consider that less than 5 years ago, if you wanted to record a signal equivalent to the NanoFlash, you had to rent an HDCamSR tape unit (or buy one). I believe the purchase cost was $80k and the tapes are $110 per hour. And they are not reusable. Now, for $3500 you can record a superior signal onto media that costs about the same and is reusable. The Convergent units are absolutely the best thing in portable recorders on the market. Period. The new AJA Ki is getting a lot of attention, but it's FAR more limited in many ways than the Convergent unit.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
BTW, is CineForm better than REDCODE? I heard they are similar in visual quality. I am curious you said CineForm RAW on the camera.. that one model.. I am guessing that's a very expensive camera that can do that, not to mention does it store to flash or tape and at what mbps speed?
They are similar. I don't know that I would say one is "better" than the other. They use similar technology to get the job done. The camera that uses Cineform Raw is the Silicon Imagine SI2K. You can read more about it here: Silicon Imaging.

Yes, it is quite an expensive camera. It had it's day in the sun recently when Slumdog Millionaire did so well at the award shows. That movie was shot with this camera. It writes to hard drive like many of these units do or can. Part of the appeal at this level is getting AWAY from tape. No one wants the extra work.


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I thought about the renting of the RED too. I looked at renting one and its about $350 for the day, or for a few hours..can't remember which it was. I think they charged extra for more batteries, cards, etc as well.
Yes, REDs are expensive to rent if you are coming from the small camera world. Try renting a 35mm film package some time. Then you'll see what a bargain RED is!
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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:48 PM   #12
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Personally, I think Red has missed their opportunity. Large sensors are just around the corner, making hi-res and DOF control the new norm. This will leave Red with no discernible market advantage. What about modularity? No reason for modularity when the modules are high priced and the prices of technology continually fall.
I somewhat disagree. This is not RED's primary market. They are a digital film company. Or at least that is where they have positioned themselves. Offering a modular camera that can move from new shooters, to full on feature film making with the changing of the brain and some components has GREAT appeal to many. Think of the students leaving film school. What a great vertical market. Buy a RED Scarlet out of school, and upgrade every few years. Or rent an EPIC brain to shoot your feature and use everything else off your own camera to keep from renting that stuff.

No one else is doing anything like this for anywhere near the cost. The ability to mount 35mm lenses (especially PL mount) saves thousands of dollars right off the bat in not having to fool with an adapter. The ability to capture serious images on the camera saves tons of money in not having to buy an off-board video recorder that can utilize the HDSDI port. No one else is doing anything even close under $50k.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #13
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I always respect your opinion, Perrone, and you make some good points. However, I think the introduction of the 5DMk2 foreshadows an era of full frame 35mm sensors. These will provide cinema-quality resolution and eliminate the need for 35mm adapters. I also believe it will wipe out Red's major competitive advantage. They may still retain the high end, but the capapbilities of cheaper cameras will take away the low-end.

I believe Red recognized this immediately when the 5DMk2 was introduced. They shifted gears with the Scarlet almost immediately. Could be coincidence, but I don't think so.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #14
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I always respect your opinion, Perrone, and you make some good points. However, I think the introduction of the 5DMk2 foreshadows an era of full frame 35mm sensors. These will provide cinema-quality resolution and eliminate the need for 35mm adapters. I also believe it will wipe out Red's major competitive advantage. They may still retain the high end, but the capapbilities of cheaper cameras will take away the low-end.

I believe Red recognized this immediately when the 5DMk2 was introduced. They shifted gears with the Scarlet almost immediately. Could be coincidence, but I don't think so.
The 5DMk2 is a nice step in the large sensor direction. But it's a LONG way from a broadcast or film ready camera. That development path is going to be years. Not to mention Canon risks stepping all over it's current offerings in the $2500-$8k market. RED has no such products to worry about, is years ahead in terms of development, and is already a recognized name with some fairly big name production houses, rental facilities, and DPs. They've won the hard battle already.

When I look at small cams like the Mk2, GH1, and others, I keep asking myself how I'd use it for broadcast work, or for filmmaking. How do you do long-form recording? How do you over/undercrank. How do you power it for long shoots? Video cameras have solved these issues long ago. RED has solved them too. They aren't insurmountable issues, but by the time you outfit a 5Mk2 with everything an S35 Scarlet has, will it be cheaper? And will it offer 2k/3k/4k recordinng? Will it use Wavelet compression or something not as good? What will the workflow be? Will that workflow be embraced by Avid, Speedgrade, FCP, Premiere, Vegas, and other NLEs. Will you be able to attach PL mount lenses? Will the codec pass along Metadata like REDCODE does.

Making the camera is about 1/3 the battle. Making it usable in the field is the hard part.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #15
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Just to step back in, I think the question of what camera to buy, to buy or rent, etc has a lot of intangibles.

For one thing, if the camera I can get for $10K is only marginally better than what I have now, it's probably not worth it. But if $15K got me something vastly better, then maybe I go back to my financial planning seeing how/when I can get $15K.

The crux seems to be what 'better' is, and how you mention it. If you have an established videography practice, and you know your market, your audience, your costs, etc, you probably have a fairly objective idea of what you will push you forward.

It seems if you're a filmmaker - established or 'wannabe' - things are less easy to define. Not to forget that technology is always changing.
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