Tuesday, 12 August, 2008

There's a Red camera in Mumbai

For the past few months I've heard of someone or the other who 'has a Red' in India. But no confirmed sighting. Now there's one.

A production house in Andheri West has a Red camera. It's here. With lenses. I know this as a fact from a gentleman from Benchmark who are the resellers and support people for Red and Scratch.

I'm not sure if I should name the place that the Red camera is at, since I'm not sure they want it to be publicly known. The camera is functional and soon we will see stuff shot with this camera appearing on our TV screens maybe even in a theatre near you.

A lot of people - including those who own this camera - are keen on shooting with Red, here in India. Reasons include, 'filmic' lensing and hence depth of field, 'film look', no expense on film or even HD tapes, no time lost in processing and other such.

But before you rush out there and shoot with Red, especially if you're thinking of long-form film like a documentary, feature or even music video, there are things to consider.

Red shoots to memory cards - CF cards - or to hard disk. Either way, its all data. There's no film or tape. So it can 'vanish' in a fraction of a second if its not correctly stored and backed up. Almost everyone has a hard disk crash some time or the other.

Second, a post work flow. Red files can be natively edited in FCP, but not in Avid. They carry time code so the edit can be replicated on another system. But that another system cannot directly be smoke, flame, eQ, iQ or any such that one is used to 'doing online' or finishing on.

Some amount of conversions are needed from Red's native format to a format that these online systems can see and work on. And these converted files also need to be reconnected back to the edit. This is easy but takes some doing. the average editor who works with the comfort of EDLs that match back to tape or film will need some re-learning. And educated trial and error.

With a work flow that doesn't take into account this methodology, its entirely possible to end up with an edit that doesn't match back, has slippages and other such horrors. As usual, Its very easy to 'blame FCP' as a lot of editors are prone to doing.

You also need an 'ideal' system to work with Red. Just any old FCP system won't do. it will have
to be a new MacPro, gobs of RAM, loads of hard disk space. Correctly configured with the latest and compatible FCP, Quicktime, and MacOSX versions. Compatible RedCode, RedCine, Red Alert, RedRushes, FCP plug-ins. And time before the edit to explore these software, measure time taken for various conversions, and a strategy that's well documented.

So, if you plan on shooting Red, take a moment and consider and discuss these things and make a plan. Red is not film, but its easier than film. All you need is to invest time and effort to understand how to make it work.


  1. Anonymous1:43 pm

    Hi Neil
    I'd like to get in touch with you to find out a bit about the Red camera, if you are using it etc.
    Please can you contact me on vsusan@gmail.com

  2. Anonymous4:42 pm

    Hi Neil,

    could you please let us know who has the red in mumbai and how much do they charge as rent per day ..It would help ..Does any one also have the cannon EOS 5D Mark II.. could you help..sumzik@gmail.com


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