Craft & Design
Analog meets Its match in Red Digital Cinema’s ultrahigh-res camera

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The guy who started Oakley is now going to kick the butts of every high end camera maker in the world, the Red Digital Cinema looks amazing! Great article about him and the gear @ Wired.

Jim Jannard, 59, is the billionaire founder of Red. In 1975 he spent $300 to make a batch of custom motocross handlebar grips, which he sold from the back of a van. He named his company Oakley, after his English setter, and eventually expanded into sci-fi-style sunglasses, bags, and shoes. In November of last year he sold the business to Luxottica, the owner of Ray-Ban, for a reported $2.1 billion.

His team of engineers and scientists have created the first digital movie camera that matches the detail and richness of analog film. The Red One records motion in a whopping 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution—”4K” in filmmaker lingo—and 2,304 of vertical. For comparison, hi-def digital movies like Sin City and the Star Wars prequels top out at 1,920 by 1,080, just like your HDTV. (There’s also a slightly higher-resolution option called 2K that reaches 2,048 lines by 1,080.) Film doesn’t have pixels, but the industry-standard 35-millimeter stock has a visual resolution roughly equivalent to 4K. And that’s what makes the Red so exciting: It delivers all the dazzle of analog, but it’s easier to use and cheaper—by orders of magnitude—than a film camera. In other words, Jannard’s creation threatens to make 35-mm movie film obsolete.

16 thoughts on “Analog meets Its match in Red Digital Cinema’s ultrahigh-res camera

  1. There is not much I would NOT do to have one of these babies that are sweet as grandma’s cupcakes. Here are some kinds of things I could think of:

    I would chew off a decent section of one of my own fingers of my choice.

    I would walk into an abandoned trailer park, go to the refrigerator of one of the units and eat eight ounces of one item a RED executive picked.

    I would watch ‘The O’Reily Report’ every day a new episode airs, for one year. (hmm, maybe not)

    I would ask my own father to describe his first sexual experience.

    I would change my name to ‘Phineus Gorgo Smushyballs’

    I would go door to door for a 3 block chunk of any town in Kansas asking residents if they’ve accepted Kenny G as their personal Lord and Savior.

    In short…I would really like one of these cameras.

  2. Well, it’s about the price of a midrange car. It won’t take you as far in the short term, but it’ll probably depreciate in value a lot less, and if you’ve got any movie making talent, will take you a lot farther in the long term…

    Depends on your priorities I guess ;)

  3. I don’t understand why Wired is writing an article about these things now… I know they’re really nice and cool and all that, but the company I work for has had ours for 5 months now and we weren’t even the first people to get them

  4. Agree with Brad, why the noise now?

    Why not cover Red’s new project, the Scarlet? 3k video for a rumored price of under $3000.

  5. I’ve been using output from Red One cameras for the last several months, and it is a very quality camera with a few caveats.

    The “4k” resolution isn’t truly 4k in terms of film resolution. I am told that the Red One does have 4096 pixels across in its sensor, but that is divided amongst red, green, and blue pixels. A 4k high-res film scan will have 4k pixels in each of the red, green, and blue channels. That said, it is relatively noiseless (depending on which version of the firmware you are running on the camera) and out puts images in raw format, allowing for a much higher exposure range than standard HD cameras.

    I would gladly work on projects shot with the Red One in the future, but only if they are using the most recent firmware. Older versions of the firmware had problems with green and blue screen footage, with a bit of ringing in some of the channels that led to some ugly-ish matte extractions.

  6. The reason they’re so late with so little in the article is systemic. Wired is a Conde Nast (“Condescending and Nasty”) publication that is more about the Vogue/GQ/Architectural Digest (which they also publish) fashionista side of technology than anything really new or inventive.

    You’ll notice that most of the article was about Jannard, Jannard’s money, lifestyle and arm-twisting management, and the filmmakers who salivate over the camera rather than the camera itself.

  7. It’s only 17500 USD! You cannot even get a propper TV-Camera for that! If it’s really decent we’ll soon have news reporters running around with those.

    I know you need another 20-80k for the lens, but still it’s cheap.

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