To be perfectly honest, I don't understand why so many people seem to be complaining about hard drive space issues when it comes to the latest workflow enhancements offered by Apple & RED. The way I see it - the new workflow is basically exactly the same as the one offered to P2 users.
Although I'm sure a lot of P2 users would LOVE to have the ability to just drop MXF files onto a Final Cut timeline (and of course you can do this with 3rd party add-ons, such as the solutions offered by Calibrated Software, MXF4QT, etc.), the reality is that Apple have decided against this for one reason or another. I'm not sure of the exact reasoning behind this, but I presume this is so not only is everything consistent (i.e. everything is natively Quicktime friendly), but also so that all the meta data can flow nicely between the various Apple Professional Applications. Apple is all about making software "that just works", and by keeping everything in their proprietary Quicktime format that can retain some control over everything. Sure this creates some minor workarounds, as you have to re-wrap or transcode everything into something that's Quicktime compatible - plus there are so many bugs, issues and fundamental design problems with the underlying Quicktime foundations and code, but you can at least understand were they're coming from.
At the end of the day, the P2 workflow on a Mac using Final Cut Studio works, and it works very well. Throw in Final Cut Server (despite the fact it's still only a very early release of the software) and Shake, and you've got a very nice, relatively cheap and almost complete post production system. It's not perfect - but hey, with the right people behind the tools, you can pull together some AMAZING results.
But back to the point - why are so many people complaining about needing heaps more hard drive space. The way I see the new RED workflow, is the same as I see the P2 one. You record to card. Once the card is full to take it to your "onset geek", or whatever fancy title they wish to call themselves. They copy the contents of the card onto one drive (hopefully something that is RAID protected). This is now your camera original. You can also make another backup (LTO?) of the camera "neg" either straight away, or later that night. The technician then opens up Final Cut Pro and "wraps" the footage into Quicktime files onto a new drive (the media drive). Once done, the editor can start "playing" straight away - easy!
In the P2 world (ignoring backups for a second), you'd normally have one drive with your original P2 card contents (i.e the MXF files). You'd then have another drive with your "MXF Wrapped" Quicktime files. With this new RED workflow it's exactly the same - you'll have your R3D masters, and your "R3D Wrapped" Quicktime files. You'd NEVER only have one copy of your MXF or R3D files and work with them directly (unless you're crazy). You're ALWAYS going to be working on a COPY of the camera originals. Therefore, you're ALWAYS going to have duplicates of the original footage - but in this case you've got your original R3Ds, and now your duplicated, but Quicktime Wrapped files as well (same content - different container).
So why even bother wrapping these files when you can just edit using the QT proxies, as Color can now read the original R3D contents from the proxy files? Well, currently, there probably isn't that much of an advantage. However, in the future, I'm sure things will be different. Final Cut Pro will be able to store all kinds of data in the RED Quicktime file - something that it won't be able to do with a R3D file. This will no doubt be very handy for people with Final Cut Server.
In the future - once the underlying architecture is sorted, I'm sure you'll be able to access the raw 4K data, as opposed to just the 2K that FCP can handle. You'll be able to open up these Quicktime files in After Effects, Shake, etc. and be able to choice how you want to look and handle the footage. I'm positive - EVENTUALLY all of the Apple products will be TRULY resolution independent. It's just, up until now, no one's really needed that functionality.
Eventually, I'm also sure that people will be able to write FCP Filters that will have the ability to access all of the raw R3D data. I'm positive that eventually, you'll be able to change the white balance for example on a clip by clip basis on the timeline. I'm sure that eventually if you make changes in Final Cut Pro (i.e. you change the ISO for a clip), then this information will be available to other applications such as Motion and whatever name they give to the Shake replacement. I doubt you'd be able to do all of this if you were playing with the original R3D files - I think (and admittedly I have no technical information to back this up) you'd need the Quicktime "storage space" to contain all this extra meta data.
Also, in regards to people complaining about the speed of messing around with Native RED files - what did you expect? I seriously can't believe that people could honestly believe that they could just "zip" through heavily compressed RAW 4K footage like it was DVCPRO HD! I mean seriously - that's a huge amount of data for any computer to process! I'm sure as time goes on the underlying code will become more streamlined and enhanced, and better multi-processor support will be written - meaning that things will speed up dramatically. But still - unless you have a really high-end Mac Pro, you're not going to be able to do millions of things in real-time, at least not in the short term!
Personally, I'd consider the RED format as if you were dealing with 35mm film. You're never going to edit straight away with 4K DPX files after telecine - you're ALWAYS going to do an offline in a much, much lower quality. So why not "Log & Capture" your R3D files as if there were P2 files, and then use Media Manager to transcode the native files to DV or DVCPRO HD? That way you can "zip" through the timeline when it comes to editing - but with the push of a button you can jump back to the native RED files when it comes time to burn off a DVD of your rough cut for the executive producers. Or you could export off a 2K ProRes file for 2K projection for your financiers, then jump back to the low-res proxies to make any adjustments to your edit based on the wise feedback you recieved. You can continue off-lining with all the speed in the world, and then with it finally comes to doing the online, you can jump back to RED Quicktimes, send any visual effects to Shake, send your sound to Soundtrack Pro, add some cool text in Motion or LiveType, and eventually, once it's all done, you can Send to Color and start making all your RED footage look even better! Pretty cool, hey!
Obviously, I'm overly simplifying things, and not too many people in the world are using Soundtrack Pro to mix the sound for a big feature film, or using Shake for ALL of their effects - but you get my drift. Also, I know there are still Gamma Shifting issues, XML issues, timecode issues - the list goes on. But, despite this, Apple is TRYING to make a complete solution THAT WORKS. That solution - for better or for worse, it based around Quicktime. Given this, I don't see what's wrong with the proposed RED workflow. In my eyes, although certainly not perfect, and there's still a lot of work to do, I think both RED and Apple are heading in the right direction.
A lot of people seem to be complaining about the way Apple are doing things, and say stuff like "Adobe's doing it so much better". Well if that's the case, why are you using Final Cut Pro? If you think there's a better solution out there, why not use it? After all, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Avid, etc. are all just tools to get a job done.
Personally, I'd like to congratulate Apple & RED for working their butts off to get a working solution out there. Having worked with BIG companies before like Apple, I know how hard it is to actually get things done. It must have been really hard for a company like RED (who just "does stuff" without even blinking) to work alongside such a massive and structured company, that has so many fingers in so many pies (iPods, iPhones, iTVs, Digital Stills, Web, the list goes on...). Sure it's taken a good 18 or so months from the point were Apple showed the world a working example, to the point were customers can actually download something - but at the same token, just look at how many the RED camera's firmware has changed in that time. It's going to be SERIOUSLY hard for Apple (and other vendors for that matter) to keep up with RED. But I think at the end of the day, this new RED Revolution, is forcing EVERYONE (including the big organisations) to rethink how things are done. I'm certainly not a RED or Apple "fan boy" by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a great respect for both companies for pushing boundaries and challenging "the way things are". Now I just can't wait to see what magic Adobe and others come up with! Exciting times certainly lay ahead!