Sunday, 23 September, 2007

The Red camera is real

Just back from IBC 2007 at Amsterdam. I saw the Red camera up close.

First, I saw a large screen presentation of 'Crossing the line' a film shot on the Red camera. Directed by Peter Jackson, its a war story. The film was shown in a large theatre - as large as Metro in Mumbai. Really huge screen.

But the 'Red film' was not on film 35 mm. It was a digital 4k screening off the new Sony 4k digital projector. Presumably playing 4k files from a Clipster. It looked great, really good. No grain, no scratches or spots of dust, clean sharp picture, great contrast and saturation. But did it look like film? More on that later in a separate post.

I also went up to the Red stall and saw their presentation on work flow. As well as a small presentation at Apple's stand and Assimilate Scratch.

Here are some work flows...

For now, the camera shoots 4k RAW files to a memory card. later it will shoot to a removable hard disk. So it will shoot to 8 Gb CompactFlash cards. It shoots as RAW images just like Digital SLRs do for still photography. An 8 Gb card is good for 4 mins. I need to re-check at what res its 4 mins.

After the shoot you connect the card via a card reader to FCP and you can 'transfer' not capture these files via a new 'Log and transfer' window. Here you see all your shots as clips. You choose shots even mark in and out, and transfer them to your hard disk. The raw files are transferred and there's a reference Quicktime that opens in FCP as a 2k Quicktime clip.

Then edit away at 2k or even downres to Pro-res, Apple's new nearly lossless codec. After you are done, you can make an EDL and send it to Assimilate Scratch. Scratch, is a grading system running on Windows. Scratch connects your EDL to the original 4k files. And you can then grade 4k.

Once done grading, you can export to dpx, 4k or 2k depending on your film recorder. Then record out to film.

All this is work flow that's here and now and demoed. No one has actually done all this for an entire feature length film, so one doesn't know how it will all hold up to the rigours of a real schedule.

And other manufacturers - DaVinci Resolve, Nucoda Film Master - told me they were in talks with Red to use the Red codec in their app so they too can work with Red RAW files. The months to come will show interesting work flows. Maybe even FCP-Color will show up a complete Red work flow.

Examples of Red images


  1. Anonymous8:51 am

    One of the things that struck me when seeing the Peter Jackson short shot on RED was how "clean" the image was. It wasn't typical digital, it was film, it was it's own unique entity. It's going to be interesting to see what Steven Soderberg does with his two pictures shot on RED, I would image the images will look pretty great. One of the great things about RED is that it is a viable option for high-budgeted main stream films as well as Indie films and individuals. As always if anyone is in need of a red camera rental please check us out. The more the RED gets used and people create beautiful images with it, the more the camera and workflow will become standard in the industry.

  2. I've made a new post on this "looks like film". And linked to your company there as well. Let me know if you get hits from India.


  3. Anonymous12:43 pm

    Dear Neil Ji,


    I am a regular reader of your blog, i always wait eagerly to see your new posts.

    Please do keep sharing your observations for we can learn through your vast experiences.

    finally i would like you to know that I AM YOUR FAN.

    Warm Regards


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