David Fincher said "I choose RED over film" and is shooting "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on RED. Peter Jackson said "RED looks like 65mm film"... and is shooting "The Hobbit" on EPICs. John Schwartzman is shooting "The Amazing Spider-man" on EPICs in 3D. Dariusz Wolski shot "Pirates 4" on RED and chose RED again for Ridley Scott's "Prometheus". "The Social Network" was given an Academy nomination for Best Cinematography. Steven Soderbergh has chosen RED for 6 straight films. "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Underworld 4" are currently shooting RED.
These guys have shot film most of their careers and have done side by side testing of all the latest digital offerings. Yet they are now shooting RED. What is it that they know?
Forget the story, actors, set design, wardrobe, and makeup for a minute. What they know is what an image should look like. None of these guys will compromise the image for anything... their reputation and finished product depends on the best image they can make.
So... why RED? They all have the budget to shoot anything they want. What do they know that us mortals don't?
1. They understand dynamic range, resolution... and "feel" of an image. All matter in combination.
2. They understand that their final product is headed for the "big screen". What resolution might be "good enough" for a 42" screen today may not be good enough for a 40' screen. And what is good enough for today's home theater may quickly change.
3. They have figured out the best way to get the best results from RED footage... more on this below.
4. They appreciate the value of on set feedback and have a good "hourlies" workflow.
5. They understand the value of shooting RAW and the flexibility it gives them for a final grade.
6. They understand lighting and how that effects the final image. Lighting... what separates the men from the boys.
So how do they get the very best image from RED?
They stay in REDCODE RAW as long as possible. Whether you use REDCINE-X or Pablo, stay in REDCODE RAW until the very end. Don't make DPX files 1st and then grade. Limiting the color space, range and white balance right off the bat is not a good thing. Don't do it. This is true if the final output is a DCP package or a film print. For VFX... use Log space and 16 bit EXRs. The very LAST thing you should do for a DCP output is make DPX files.
The pros know how to light and expose. If you have aspirations to make great images... learn these two thing 1st. There is no longer an excuse to blame the equipment. Too many great looking features have been Shot on RED. If your stuff doesn't look right, you are doing something wrong. Ask for help.
We are proud of the big projects being shot on RED... the biggest projects actually. We are just as proud to be able to put RED in the hands of many aspiring cinematographers. We are here to help you learn the craft. There is no mystery... just hard work and a lot of info to be learned.
Now... back to the story, actors, set design, wardrobe and makeup.