November 3, 2011

Full Specifications of the Democratizing (and Canon-Beating) RED SCARLET X Camera

Since RED's announcement of their world-beating (and certainly Canon-beating) SCARLET X, their website has been down sporadically, but I was able to grab the full specification sheet from their website during a moment of uptime. First of all, I want to say that yes, you can shoot a beautiful film on the new Canon C300 -- in fact, Vincent Laforet already did -- so, taken in historical context there is nothing wrong with Canon's new camera. A few years ago it would've been amazing. But it's not a few years ago, and in fact just a few hours after Canon launched their first foray into the professional motion picture arena, they were upstaged by a startup named RED (you could also argue that the Sony F3 is also a superior option). While the Canon will be better in certain areas -- low light performance, perhaps? -- the SCARLET X starts at half the price of the Canon. Yes, you'll need to add some accessories, but looking at these specs, I couldn't help but order one.

SENSOR 14 MEGAPIXEL MYSTERIUM-X™
PIXEL ARRAY 5120 (h) x 2700 (v)
DYNAMIC RANGE 13.5 stops, up to 18 stops with HDRx™ 6 fps with 5K FF and HDRx On 12 fps with 4K HD and HDRx™ On
MAX IMAGE AREA 5120 (h) x 2700 (v)
LENS COVERAGE 27.7mm (h) x 14.6mm (v) = 31.4 mm (d)
LENS MOUNT Al Canon EF (PL mount optional)
MAX DEPTH OF FIELD Equivalent to S35mm (Motion) / APS-H (Still) lenses
ACQUISITION FORMATS 5K FF REDCODE RAW (Full Frame)
4K HD REDCODE RAW
3K HD REDCODE RAW
1080p REDCODE RAW
1K REDCODE RAW
PROJECT FRAME RATES 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 47.96, 48, 50, 59.97
MONITOR/PROGRAM OUTPUT HD-SDI and HDMI with Frame Guides and Look Around or Clean Feed 1080p 4:2:2, 720p 4:2:2 SMPTE Timecode, HANC Metadata, 24-bit 48Khz Audio
DIGITAL MEDIA REDMAG (SSD) Module : (64, 128, 256GB Media)
REDCODE™ 16-bit RAW Processing : Compression choices of 18:1 to 3:1
1-12 fps 5K FF
1-30 fps 4K HD
1-48 fps 3K HD
1-60 fps 1080p HD
1-120 fps 1K
AUDIO 2 channel, uncompressed, 24 bit, 48KHz.
Optional 4 channel, and AES / EBU digital audio.
MONITORING OPTIONS RED LCD 5" Touchscreen Display
BOMB EVF™ High Definition Viewfinder
REMOTE CONTROL REDLINK Wireless, Ethernet, RS232, GPI Trigger
WEIGHT 5lbs. Body only
CONSTRUCTION Aluminum Alloy
COLOR Battleship Gray Brain Body, Black Canon Mount and Side SSD, All DSMC Modules Black
TEMPERATURE RANGES Operating Range: 0˚C to +40˚C (32˚F to 104˚F)
Storage Range: -20˚C to +50˚C (-4˚F to 122˚F)

Also, here are the barely readable resolution/datarates (larger image here), which are lowered from the $28,000 EPIC-X but wipe the floor with the Canon's 8-bit MPEG-2 codec (an 8-bit codec for $20k, really?!):

Camera specifications do not a good movie make, I know. But I'm sorry -- if you're not excited about this, you're not into cinematography. RED's Jim Jannard claimed this would be the most significant announcement in RED's history, and he wasn't kidding. And while I know the cameras will not ship with all features intact from day one (and RED says they'll probably be back-ordered until February), this camera has at least 2/3 of the EPIC-X's ability for less than 1/3 of the price. You can bet that the price of this made-in-USA camera was set more by Jim's desire to win the fight with Canon (and everyone else) than it was by a calculation of maximum profitability. It helps that he has deep pockets from Oakley, but still: to me the SCARLET-X represents RED making good on their initial startup promise (if they haven't already) of democratizing film production, ((Along with DSLRs, of course, which I wrote about long ago.)) and I'm excited to shoot Man-child on a SCARLET-X. So much so, in fact, that:

Whew! What a night. Hopefully I won't wake up in the morning and feel like the SCARLET-X is one of those products on late night TV that you order drunk and regret it when it shows up a week later. Not that I do that. But I've seen it happen.

Link: RED SCARLET-X

Your Comment

112 Comments

I like to think that my kickstarter contribution is helping to purchase this camera. Maybe one of the buttons. Or one of the screws that holds it together.

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
Michael

Thanks Michael! I'm actually not going to use the Kickstarter money to buy the camera -- the Kickstarter funds are all going on screen. I've been saving up a long time to get to this point, and it's as much a business investment (as any camera at this price point should be) as it is for one project. But thank you again!

November 3, 2011

-1
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

That's not what "investment" means. The camera isn't going to make you - or even SAVE you - money, on the contrary. Hell, people have shot features on less than what the fully package will cost you.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jacques E. Bouchard

That's a very simplistic way of looking at it, and doesn't really address the realities of the situation.

If the Scarlet means Koo spends less time jumping through hoops in pre-production and production, that's time and money saved.
If the Scarlet means Koo can shoot faster and more efficiently, that's time and money saved.
If the Scarlet means Koo can get through post more quickly and with less hassle, that's time and money saved.
If the Scarlet means that along with all that, the final film is higher quality (which is due to a combination of all the above, as well as the pure image quality, and resolution if you're interested in that, of the camera) then that might well mean more money made at the end of it.

So while a better camera doesn't just sit there and accrue money, it's definitely an investment in my book. I can certainly see it paying for itself on Man-child alone. And the Scarlet is, frankly, perfectly priced for such a view. It's not DSLR cheap, but if the specs are to be believed it is perhaps the first instance yet of truly professional quality equipment at an indie price.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Luke

It's realistic, not simplistic. Film productions rent, they don't buy. There is no downside to renting, except for the fact that you don't get to keep the toys.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jacques E. Bouchard

You have a funny definition of investment. Plenty of people make money off their camera, by renting it out, by DPing projects and renting it at the same time, by running a production house that uses the RED and saves money on rental (in the long term), by having it in-house for TV shows... all considerations of mine.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

You say on your kickstarter site (pasted below ) that you were renting a camera at $15,000 from the kickstarter funds, yet you are now saying you had at least $20000 saved (eoshd.com and I've posted it below) for buying the camera (and who knows how much more you have). You should have disclosed how much you can put into the project to begin with and have been honest about your intentions of using your funds to buy a camera instead of adding $15000 worth of expenses into your kickstarter begging. Now that you bought the camera with your money as you put it, you should be honest and return the $15000. Unless I know someone personally and see their finances there is no way I'd take part and what you just pulled is why. From your comments and kickstarter begging, it appears you're just into self-promotion (not movie-production promotion) and shady tactics to get money for who-knows-how-it-will-be-spent?? Don't even bother replying, you've said enough.

"As ujojazvec and carsonbenett say above, I’ve noted that I’m NOT spending Kickstarter funds on the camera:"
And on nofilmschool.com:
Koo on 11.3.11 @ 11:41PM
Thanks Michael! I’m actually not going to use the Kickstarter money to buy the camera — the Kickstarter funds are all going on screen. I’ve been saving up a long time to get to this point, and it’s as much a business investment (as any camera at this price point should be) as it is for one project. But thank you again!

Renting equipment: my equipment isn't good enough to shoot this movie. Especially because there are a lot of SLOOOOOWWW MOOOTIIOOONN shots. We're going to shoot it on something called a RED camera, which can do great slow-mo. But we have to rent it, because a fully equipped RED camera with good cinema lenses costs more than this campaign's entire goal! So at $500/day for a camera package (a conservative estimate), a 30-day shoot = $15,000.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
none

1.) Wait, so you'd rather have me spend $15,000 on renting a camera instead of buying one? What's the difference to you?

2.) When I wrote that a RED EPIC cost $58,000. So of course I wasn't buying. Now one comes out for $15k... which is what I'd budgeted... that changes things. Wouldn't you say?

3.) I'm not using Kickstarter funds anyway. And who says I'm buying it alone? Going in for one of these is easier if you have (a) partner(s).

Every single dollar is going on screen, so if I want to get a new credit card with 0% APR for 12 months and pay a camera off over time, I'm not sure how that relates to you complaining that I was self-promoting my Kickstarter campaign (how else do you promote one). I'm not being duplicitous or anything of that nature, I'm trying to make a movie. And that's what my Kickstarter pitch was all about. It's not like I'm spending it on caviar and strippers.

November 5, 2011

-1
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Hi Koo and all;
Sorry for the foolish question.
Whats the purpose of 1k footage?

November 3, 2011

1
Reply
David

Not exactly going to be an everyday useful thing, but... I suppose if you were shooting slow-motion videos for the web or something...

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I wouldn't exactly call it "90% of the epic". I consider the frame-rate resolution differences as well as the difference in data rate to be a bit more like 65% of the epic. Which is still good. I do think that we're all getting lost in the ACTUAL cost of the Scarlet. Even with the 14k price tag for the package, you still NEED an EVF, you NEED WAYYY more than two red volts, YOU NEED WAYYY more than a 64gb SSD card. Total cost with shit you NEED....more like 22,500$. Price it out, you'll see..

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
James

Hey James,

Sometimes is very useful for shooting a fx element for compositing, for instance. Specially at high frame rates.

November 3, 2011

1
Reply
Berdani

Agreed, I suppose I mean "90% of the EPIC in many situations." I'll rephrase!

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

And the price point? I'm curious on your thoughts on what the camera will REALLY cost after you get all the vital tools with it. Red should do a better job at giving actual costs instead of starter kits that get you 30 mins of footage on 25min batteries..

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
James

Sorry James,

This was meant for David, upstairs :)

November 3, 2011

-1
Reply
Berdani

Money better spent on a script, actors, and P&A.

November 4, 2011

1
Reply
moebius22

I was wondering when someone would note this. You're paying for the same amount, if not more. And that's not even taking into account all of the post issues.

Not to mention most people won't be editing or displaying their films at 4k in the first place. So what diff does it make if the camera captures at 4k only to be downsampled to the 1080p res output to make the image similar (or inferior) to what the Canon is offering?

And I'm guessing the Canon will have both better low light capability and better firmware stability.
You'd be fooling yourselves to believe that the Scarlett is for the lower end spectrum of the filmmaker. Only to find out that it's just as expensive and less reliable than other options.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply

When you say "most people" Kahl, I think you mean "most people are not making product intended for film print". Distributed film can go "4k" just fine, and I believe that's the intention for Man-child.

November 4, 2011

1
Reply
RevBenjamin

With the pro market shifting away from RED, they really have to hope for the Wedding photography market, because what's the point of a 2/3 chip? If the 5D taught the world anything it's that sensor size is arguably the most significant factor.

November 3, 2011

-1
Reply
cb

its not 2/3 chip bro

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
Carlos

It's not 2/3, it's a full frame sensor, same as the EPIC

November 3, 2011

0
Reply
Tim

and wedding photography? You must be joking man, that'll make up 1% of their market share just wait and see how many films made with scarlet we'll be seing come 2012

November 3, 2011

-1
Reply
Carlos

I am blown away! Trying to order, on phone to bank, trying to contain myself!!!

November 3, 2011

1
Reply
Paul

What exactly do you mean by democratizing? For who...professionals who already have that kind of money to spend? This camera held some relevance for me when it was originally planned to be around 3000.00 in a galaxy far, far, away.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
moebius22

I think that this pricetag is the epitome of democratization. I'm not rich by any means, but a camera like this, for once, is not out of the question.

November 4, 2011

-1
Reply
Trevor Macdonald

Like a Ferrari coming down to the price of a Lexus? The analogy may not be exact, but I think you get my point.

I see many fellow students trying to get productions off the ground and the least of their worries is the price of a camera. If you are not already financially established or plan on running a production company, this is a waste of funds that could go to talent $$$$ or P&A..

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
moebius22

I mean democratizing for feature film production. And you don't have to BUY it -- renting a $10k camera is a whole lot cheaper than renting a $100k one. Even most of the HDSLR-shot features to date used so many accessories (PL mount, support rigs, pro audio gear) that, going forward, they'll probably be shot on a SCARLET-X or something like a Sony FS100 instead.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I'm not Darren Aronofsky. Why would I want to waste money on digital camera rental costs when DSLRs already exist that give me quality good enough to get my work noticed? It's easy to get caught up in this tech game, but it's not worth it for most of us.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
moebius22

His Alexa rental would probably give me chills.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
moebius22

I agree with you about it democratizing the means of production. It will allow smaller/low budget filmmakers access to similar image quality as their big budget counterparts. Which, in turn can allow filmmakers/studios to take risks with their content. In the end: better picture at a lower cost is a great thing for the growth of the medium.

November 4, 2011

1
Reply
J

this camera is the one. I feel it.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply

Yeah man. Let's go halfsies.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

You have the money why not shot Manchild on Alexa?
it has better out of camera image.
of you don't plan finish post at company 3 .

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Alex

Alex, I respectfully disagree. Alexa is a overpriced beast that can't even go beyond 60fps. As Koo said himself, Man-Child will have lots of slow mo.

You can argue the Alexa has better picture quality but the Epic/Scarlet has the room in post to make the quality better than the Alexa.

I compare the two cameras at the end of my article- http://artofthestory.com/once-you-go-red-you-dont-go-back/

November 4, 2011

-1
Reply

Hah! "Apparently it's a touchscreen." Amazing.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Misinformation. Alexa and Alexa Plus allow 120fps at prores HQ.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply

I love the ALEXA, but no I definitely don't have the money... going to be pinching pennies to shoot a sports film for $125k (115 after fees)!

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Did you even SEE the images that came out of the Canon cam? Obviously you need to understand the sensor in that cam, and how 8 bit is "good enough" because of how the tech is applied. No debayering, no aliasing/moire, rolling shutter almost non-existent, and the best and sharpest 1080p image a 60 ft screen has ever seen (thank you Star Wars, but you've been surpassed).
Canon's cam IS expensive, but the 1080p they offer is more than good enough to compete on the BIG screen...And they have a totally reliable system there, whereas Red, even with the Epic, has had terrible reliability issues, which has made many pros boiling mad on set. This is totally unacceptable, especially when you're shooting with your own camera (your only one) and the dark stuff hits the fan. What then?? production is at a stand still, but the clock keeps ticking away, taking the money with it. God help Red if they release a beta cam in huge numbers and they all have to go back to be "serviced". That would be a nightmare for them, and could bury them, and your production.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Dave

Agreed... that's why I started the post with "you can shoot a beautiful film on the Canon" -- my point is compared to the market most people (myself included) see them as overpricing the camera.

And that 8-bit codec... time will tell how far it can be pushed in color correction. Certainly not as far as RED footage.

Well aware of RED's reliability issues, but they've definitely gotten better. Soderbergh shot Che on the RED ONE... one, and we've come a long way from there.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Just how far do most people HAVE to push their CC/grading? When any of my 'old-style' Canon 8 bit footage is run through Cineform and upscaled to 10 or 12 bit/4:2:2 or 4:4:4 there are no issues at all. I can then push my grades to the next county if i want.
Look at what Vincent Laforet said about the C300 footage on his blog...As far as price, they are both going to be close when you add up all the goodies.Really.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Dave

with cineform can you obtain a better quality from your DSLR? Can you really see it? I've never tried to use it... can you explain me your workflow... Do you see anything different than editing native CS5.5? Thanks

November 4, 2011

-1
Reply
Luigi

Let's not forget.... These are all tools which will never make an untalented filmmaker great. You can give Tiger Woods the cheapest set of clubs and he'll still kick ass. Go out and make your films. Content is everything. Without good content, you pretty much have nothing. Don't use these tools as a crutch or you'll be spending all your time acquiring the next best thing instead of making a film. I love this camera too, but I like making films even more : )

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Erika Basil

Precisely. In the indie film community, I'd say that about 90% of what I see is crap. Filmmakers put more importance on the hardware and the software than on the actual script. I was a screenwriter before I was a filmmaker: story is EVERYTHING.

And if you're scrounging to make a film, buying this camera is not only a huge lack of responsibility towards your investors, it also demonstraytes a dismal ability to intelligently manage money. I'd like to use a RED to shoot my short films and features, but calling it an "investment" is ridiculous. I would only buy one if I could use it to shoot corporate videos and ads. But for now, the cost is too prohibitive. Maybe in a ocuple of years.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jacques E. Bouchard

Jacques E. Bouchard: its an investment if he rents it out, like traditionally most red-owners do. pull your head out of your you know what.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
dre

"Renting it out" is the excuse you use to convince your wife or accountant to let you buy the camera. But in reality that only incurs more expenses (insurance, repairs, maintenance0 and even in the best case scenario where you rent it out every week, it'll take you a few years to recoup your investment.

My head's right up the balance sheet. Where's yours?

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jacques E. Bouchard

He said at the top of the thread that he did not use Manchild money to buy this. He did it the old fashioned way by saving.

November 4, 2011

1
Reply
Shenan

Exactly. And $14,000 is just about the right amount of money to cover all the unpredictabilities and complications that arise on a film shoot and will keep your unfinished project off the shelf.

I've seen enough productions die to recognize blowing money on toys as a classic pattern.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jacques E. Bouchard

To supplement NoFilmSchool's coverage, here is the User Group community for Canon's new Cinema EOS C300 and C300PL Super 35mm camcorder. All of the breaking news and user discussion will be posted there, connected across social media platforms, and eventually it will be the best place anywhere for sharing and sampling actual footage:

http://cinema-eos.info
http://facebook.com/eosC300
http://twitter.com/eosC300

November 4, 2011

0
Reply

I'm drooling over the specs myself... but what made you make the jump to purchase before seeing a single image from the camera? Seems like a big leap of faith.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
Jason

It's essentially the same camera/sensor as the EPIC, and I've handled an EPIC and seen its footage projected at 4K, so that makes it much less a leap of faith.

November 4, 2011

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Pages