"Red renders obsolescene obsolete."
Continuing on with what was clearly the star of the LAFCPUG show (what a jaw-breaking acronym, but then, these are video guys, not writers) – everyone in the audience clearly sat up and attached their drool cups in preparation for the presentation by Ted Schilowitz. We were all hoping to be able to see and sniff and fondle the new Red camera. Sadly, this mass almost-videographer-bukkake was not to be, as Ted didn’t bring even a mockup of the camera. Dammit!
Anyway, I have to say that Ted is about the happiest, most enthusiastic camera guy I’ve ever met. Unless he’s on horse pills full of Happy Juice, this guy is having a blast making this camera. He bounced around the stage, all grins and cracking jokes. He flew by his pants with his PowerPoint – showing us the slides of the NAB booth – they apparently didn’t decide until about the last minute to even try to do the show, and wound up being jammed into the very back of the cavernous space, in a tiny little tent which they threw together. What a compelling, insurgent narrative.
At 9 a.m. of the first day, there were only a couple of people hanging out – and they had fear flop sweat coating them. Within a half hour, there was a crowd of about 100 all blocking the aisle (lucky for Red that they weren’t in a high-traffic area or they would’ve been hocked by the NAB coordinating weasels — who I swearta Gawd are the same at every event).
The phrase that struck me the most – hell, the concept that struck me the hardest was the subhead for this piece.
"You all know what it feels like to buy a camera and have it be obsolete before you even walk out of the store," Schilowitz said. The audience all nodded in grim, pained agreement – these are all indie operators, for the most part, and they face real tough will-my-business die decisions as to what gear they plunk their coin down on. "Well, what we aim to do is to render obsolescence obsolete."
Basically, the Red camera is going to be so flexible that you can strap on any imaginable storage
system (tape, P2 card, Blu-ray or most likely, big-ass hard drive) as well as real live 35mm movie lenses. The best (and most expensive) glass in the world. Red is also venturing into that world – their first lends, a 300mm F2.8 is selling for $4800 or so. Which made a couple of the vid guys in the audience come right through their pants. Hell, that’s a great price for a still camera 300 F2.8.
Ted’s title – and he emphasized that his official title in the org chart – is "Leader of the Rebellion." Jim, owner of Oakley, has the title of "Madman." Which is so apropos for a couple of guys who aim to sell this camera, which will beat the pants off cameras costing in the $90,000-$250,000 range – for the low, low price of $17,000.
Best of all – the heart of the camera is the "Mysterium" sensor – which is the CCD chip that will convert the image into digital information (for those non-tech reading this). It takes the images of duckies and bunnies that come through the lens and turns it into 1s and 0s. This thing is sick.
Check out this chart. The resolution that this will allow you to get is astounding. The only thing that beats it is some wild-ass experiment by Hyundai (I think – can’t read my notes) which shoots in 8K line resolution, which requires a roomful of computers to make work right. Basically it shoots in a resolution that’s about 4x better than HDTV.
That ain’t hay, folks. That is gold. Pure gold to a vid-head.
Best of all, if in the future that sensor ain’t cutting it, you can ship the camera back to the Red factory and they will slamp out that old sensor and put in the new 8K or 16K or whatever absurd resolutution that thing will be in by then. Thus, the death of obsolescence.
To continue. They’ve also put a "cage" around the camera with holes drilled in it. This allows you to hold and manipulate the camera. It protects the camera from being bounced, dropped or otherwise hammered. It looks a little like something that you’d see on the body of the Terminator.
Also, the holes will allow the cameraman to attach stuff to the camera – like mikes, mixers, lights, auxiliary power – without having to kludge up something with gaff tape and velcro. Oh, will that ever be an advance.
One of the best things that I heard Schilowitz say was that at the NAB show (where they won an award), employees of the other big camera companies (Sony, Canon, Panasonic) were coming up to him on the sly and thanking him. "You are scaring the shit out of our bosses, and for once, they’re actually listening to us, even asking us what we think the next cameras should do."
This is the very definition of a disruptive technology – something that makes everyone else have to adjust, because when it comes out, everyone just says, "Oh yeah, of course. That makes sense."
Love that. Dunno if I’ll ever be able to afford a Red camera (well at least not unless I either hit the Lotto or decide to do the videographer thing fulltime – or until a year or so on down the line, when economy of scale kicks in and the prices drop) – but I’ll be rooting for them.