Thread: Defending RED, Camera (Brand) Wars, Shot On What?!

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  1. #1 Defending RED, Camera (Brand) Wars, Shot On What?! 
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Defending RED is not something I've needed to do as of late, not for a long time really.

    However.

    That recent Sundance Shot On graphic from NoFilmSchool certainly has produced a lot of odd conversation on social media. Rather than have conversations with a great deal of people, conversations I've had already numerous times, I thought I'd just express a few things for everybody to look at under a bright light. I'm not into click bait articles, FUD, or misinformation. So take this all as a fairly in the frame perspective on this subject from somebody who sees where cameras are used industry-wide.

    First, keep in mind that RED cameras are used by every major studio, a great deal of broadcast content, every streaming service, commercials, in submersibles, Panavision, nearly every rental house (even Arri Rental, hell I've rented from them), NASA, SpaceX, the Military, etc.... A whole lot of camera bodies out there filming all sorts of stuff at every budget level and for pretty much every type of outlet. The industry is massively dynamic, but RED has been broadly accepted industry-wide for some time now while pushing the industry forward in a few ways.

    Also, just to the point of independent film production and in particular to that graphic, bare in mind you can get an Alexa for the low end of $$,$$$ purchased used these days and rentals are on the less expansive side of things, I've seen Mini rentals going below 1/2 market rate at this point, which is fine as many productions get decent deals on gear especially for longer shoots. Same likely for all the cameras used on a variety of these festival productions. No biggie.

    I've read a great deal of the comments and some of it is so nuts to me. I enjoy the jabs here and there and the knocks on reliability, but keep a solid head on your shoulders, RED cameras are in space and it takes a great deal to even get to that point for how they are being used way up there. Back on Earth, I've used them in piss freezing cold and torturous hot temperatures, and staked my livelihood on them performing in those conditions. I'm certain you've seen some of the Collective pieces and you can see that these cameras are being used well outside of the safe confines of an air conditioned sound stage.

    I personally don't care what people choose to work with (a lesson oddly taught to me by Deakins long ago), but I know deeply why I choose the tools I use for my creative efforts, my client's needs, and to create compelling high quality imagery with because I test literally everything that comes to market. Most of you who know me know I'm constantly looking at cameras, lenses, lights, filters, support, and a whole bunch of other things surrounding day to day motion picture production. As should you. That effort pays off in knowing the strengths and limits of the tools, which will influence what you use, why, and when you use it. Also, I'm never feel behind the curve staying that up to date on motion picture technology and in these fast moving times I find that rather important.

    With that said, use the gear that you enjoy working with that fits the needs for you and the projects you film for whatever the intentions are for delivery. Considering the rather discerning and deliberate filmmakers who choose to work with RED cameras and why they have chosen the cameras, I'm always surprised by internet responses surrounding what is shot on what, when, or where.

    Many people replying to these shares via social media in particular haven't touched a RED camera and/or haven't touched one in a really long time, which shows. Also, some of the previously spread information or misinformation has been truly harmful particularly to those who don't test out their gear, but do go by what is said. Some of that has been cleared up, even by the sources of such weirdness, but in a narrow canyon filled with a loud voice an echo travels a great distance and can be heard over and over again even before another word is spoken or heard at a later time. Redaction rarely has the impact of the initial response. Indeed in the earliest days a great deal of hurdles had to be climbed for RED as a whole, but considering where the cameras are as of DSMC and DSMC2 so much of this conversation is just silly now.

    To that point, I hope you as a filmmaker take the time and evaluate newer cameras in every manufacturer's line-up. Find what fits, find what works. But do note, every manufacturer is making 4K or 4K+ cameras at this point and that's been in the face of the anti-RED audience and influencers, some of whom bashed 4K not long ago, yet are working in 4K today. I don't have a short memory on that particular subject and I do find that to be the funniest part of much of this. And yes, it's not all about resolution. Color, Total Capture Dynamic Range, Noise Character, general features such as frame rate, format size, reliability, size, etc. all play a role which is honestly what has led RED to where they are today with their various offerings.

    Brand-ism is certainly alive and well from all perspectives, but it's strange to not look at the industry as a whole. Even stranger when the concept of a filmmaking communities becomes much more divisive in nature. It's crazy to see where some of this online chatter descends down into and there's a massive reason you don't see professionals get caught up in this sort of tornado.

    I do have a perspective on RED, the brand, the company, and their mentality towards camera development and innovation. It's a rather different ecosystem than other manufacturers, even outside of the upgrade paths, which most find beneficial at some point. RED has an alarmingly active R&D department looking for what is next. For me RED as a company is very active and progressive rather than reactive to a developed trend or cycle. Which is why they hit things like 8K early on. I note this as we soon will be greeted with the future camera offerings from other manufacturers who are going to scratch the 8K paint. Also keep in mind every camera made by RED to date actually hasn't really been outdated in the UHD era, just more features and technology advancements as well as additional formats have been introduced. Most of that equates to improved image quality or an easier time on modern sets. People are still working with MX out there folks. The newer sensors and cameras are indeed better however, and that's the R&D paying off in my opinion.

    Feel free to share or copy pasta. I don't mind voicing a bit of actualities into the chatter boxes. No venting, just well, some perspective.

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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Scott Balkum's Avatar
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    Well said.
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  3. #3  
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    Very prescient, powerful, and important to be heard. Thanks, Phil!
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  4. #4  
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    Phil, with all your efforts towards Red, I'm surprised you still haven't been hired by Red, you seem way more convinced than most of their employees ;-)
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  5. #5  
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    There's a similar list at this link:

    The Cameras and Lenses Behind 2018’s Oscar-Nominated Films
    https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/cam...minated-films/

    I think all of the Oscar-nominated films (Best Picture and Best Cinematography) were shot on either some form of Alexa or film. What surprised me is that none were shot on Panavision DXL, because that's a helluva camera. I think this will change next year, and there will be some major features that go with the DXL.

    If this were TV, there's a ton of shows shooting on Red and the vast majority of them look fantastic. But I also see terrific pictures on Sony and Panasonic Varicam, even a handful of Blackmagic Ursa Minis and Canons here and there.
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member luigivaltulini's Avatar
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    Phil, there's no need to defend RED, I think most professional people know it's a great camera.
    If you are watching facebook or other sites you can only eat displeasure, and anger, in seeing so much ignorance. This is true sadness.
    Anyway, it's time to focus on the new DMSC3 camera body;)
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    All one needs to know: RED updates firmware and colour tech for free. One of RED's competitors charges a licence fee merely to change ISO.*

    *I'm kidding, but I'm also not.
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  8. #8  
    Love you Phil
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  9. #9 The reality of a test is reality 
    So here's the straight simple TRUTH I have been shooting the same Red body for 5 years, things flogged, the internal clock battery died the homemade batteries I built for her are all slowly dying, the motion mount does wird shit on -20 days but other than that the thing is a fricken printing press for $$$$ I just released a book that was mostly frame grabs from the last project I released (That project paid off the camera and a bunch of accessories I did not really need but see as a tech tax) it has hammered out a bunch of other things and just keeps whirring to life it has had snow in it, been in the humidity of Papua, been tossed from boats to jetskis had lenses forced onto mounts when I forgot to back off the locking ring and as I speak is in a back pack in a car freezing. IT STILL KEEPS DELIVERING the footage I shot day one is as good as the footage I shoot today. This camera system was a revalation from the outset and it is the bar that everything else is judged by sure my little go pro can give it a run in low light but other than that it's fricken magic in a box. that's 4K can't even imagine what 8K is doin. Talk less shit, shoot more gold, listen to Phil the guy is obsessed with quality and when somebody can prove they have a better camera buy it.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Peel View Post
    So here's the straight simple TRUTH I have been shooting the same Red body for 5 years, things flogged, the internal clock battery died the homemade batteries I built for her are all slowly dying, the motion mount does wird shit on -20 days but other than that the thing is a fricken printing press for $$$$ I just released a book that was mostly frame grabs from the last project I released (That project paid off the camera and a bunch of accessories I did not really need but see as a tech tax) it has hammered out a bunch of other things and just keeps whirring to life it has had snow in it, been in the humidity of Papua, been tossed from boats to jetskis had lenses forced onto mounts when I forgot to back off the locking ring and as I speak is in a back pack in a car freezing. IT STILL KEEPS DELIVERING the footage I shot day one is as good as the footage I shoot today. This camera system was a revalation from the outset and it is the bar that everything else is judged by … sure my little go pro can give it a run in low light but other than that it's fricken magic in a box. … that's 4K can't even imagine what 8K is doin. Talk less shit, shoot more gold, listen to Phil the guy is obsessed with quality and when somebody can prove they have a better camera buy it.
    Damn, that should be copy in a magazine ad.
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