November 5, 2011

Why I'm Ordering a RED SCARLET-X, and How it Relates to My Feature 'Man-child'

In a post about the new RED SCARLET-X, I mentioned that I ordered the camera myself. First of all, some context: I've been a "professional" in video (since apparently we need to distinguish between professional and amateur) since I was hired as a video editor in 1999, at the age of 18. Since then, save my four year stint in college, I've made my living in and around the industry, shooting, editing, directing, producing, designing, etc. for hire (here's a resume). Yet I've never owned a "professional" camera. So I got all excited on Twitter about the prospect of finally being able to own and operate a camera of the SCARLET-X's caliber, after twelve years of working my way up to this point. But I've been surprised at the number of people who have left comments questioning this decision, accusing me of misspending the Man-child Kickstarter funds, or writing critiques with me at the center. So here are a dozen points of clarification:

  1. I have not touched a penny of the Kickstarter funds and would never betray the trust of the 2,336 individuals who are making my dream possible. Anyone who knows me, and I hope any of my readers, would back this up times a thousand. I'm in this for the long haul, and misappropriating the funds would not only go against my own sensibilities and honor, it would also be the stupidest thing I could do for my career and this website. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not thinking straight.
  2. The decision to buy this camera has to make sense for my larger film career regardless of whether we use it on Man-child, because I'm probably not DPing Man-child myself (I'll have my hands full writing and directing, especially when working with child actors). That's why I'm not spending a penny of the Kickstarter funds on the camera. This purchase should benefit the film, however, because if I own a SCARLET, I can rent it to the production for free (or a deferred fee), which will allow us to put more of the Kickstarter funds on screen. Not sure how there's anything wrong with that.
  3. Ordering a $15,000 camera does not mean you have $15,000 to blow, just as buying a $300,000 house does not mean you have $300k in the bank at the time. If you have good credit, you can get a credit card with 0% APR for 12 months and pay off the camera over a full year with no penalty. If you spend $25k on a RED including lenses, that's an extra $2,000 a month you're on the hook for. Can I afford this over the next year? By not having a family, by not owning a house, by not owning a car (or paying car insurance), by refraining from moving into a new apartment, by saving money living out of a suitcase for a year, by not going on extravagant trips or buying really nice clothes, and by not having health insurance for the last two years: yes, I hope so (see the notes below about partnerships and renting it out as well). But only because of these sacrifices. Which is what irks me when people say "cameras don't make a movie!" I know, man, I've arranged my entire life around this. And I've spent a lot more time over the last year writing the Man-child script than I've spent writing about cameras (or anything else, for that matter). The script wouldn't have gotten into, for example, IFP's Emerging Narrative program if I hadn't worked my ass off on it (and I continue to do so, and will up until we roll camera).
  4. "I'm ordering a SCARLET-X" does not mean "I'm spending $15,000 today." You put a deposit down in order to get in line, and given RED's site was slammed with orders and I couldn't get through for a few hours, I'll be lucky to get a camera before 2012. You're charged 10% up front and the remainder when the camera actually ships. Which, as many RED owners have found, could be a while (even if it says they start shipping on November 17th).
  5. On top of this, "I'm ordering a SCARLET-X" also does not mean "I'm ordering a SCARLET-X and am going to pay for everything alone." I may or may not be going in for a SCARLET with one or more NYC-based filmmaking partners, wherein we split the financial commitment. Most filmmakers are not shooting twelve months out of the year, after all.
  6. On top of this, buying a "professional" camera means you could/should rent it out. For many this is the main way of recouping their investment, though I do think the market is going to be flooded with SCARLETs over the next year and, similar to what happened with the RED ONE rental market, prices are going to be driven down a lot. But due in part to this website, I should certainly be able to make my rental package more visible than others.
  7. If I'm not planning on DPing Man-child myself, shouldn't it be up to the DP to choose the camera? Absolutely, but as I said in my multimedia lookbook, I expect we'll shoot it on a RED because of the slow-motion sequences in the script. If we can find a discount on an EPIC package, then it would make sense to shoot A cam with a rented EPIC and B cam with my SCARLET-X. They're actually the exact same camera, the only difference is the ASIC included in the SCARLET can't handle the higher frame rates of the EPIC.
  8. For the people questioning why I would order a camera without getting my hands on it first: let me repeat, it's the exact same camera as the EPIC, but the circuit boards are spec'd lower. Same body, same sensor, same dynamic range, same accessories, same everything. I've handled an EPIC and I've seen it projected at 4K, so it's not as if this is a brand-new camera that I'm unfamiliar with.
  9. Now that Sony, Canon, and Panasonic have played their cards, the indie feature film camera market is pretty set as far as the next year is concerned. I'm in love with the colors of the ARRI ALEXA but it's a $75k camera and renting one is around $1,400 a day. Using one rental house as reference, with support gear and lenses that's $2,460 a day. A three day week is $7,380, and so a month of shooting would work out to roughly $30,000. Is that $30k that I'd rather spend on owning a camera that can be used for future productions? Yes. Are there also advantages to the RED, like its small size, resolution, and (in the case of an EPIC) frame rates? Also yes.
  10. That said, if the DP wants an ALEXA, and he or she can convince me we'll be able to get some of the shots I have in mind despite its larger size, we'll try to find a way. Whatever it takes.
  11. If I'm not DPing Man-child, why do I need to own a camera? Well, I have DP'd things in the past, and I probably will again in the future. Getting familiar with a camera's ins and outs is useful regardless of whether you're operating, DPing, or directing.
  12. Buying a SCARLET-X is committing to the RED ecosystem: learning the RAW workflow, REDCINE-X Pro, etc., and it's an ecosystem I believe will continue to improve. RED also does what other camera companies do not, which is to release new sensors for existing hardware (the first example is the M-X chip for the RED ONE, and the SCARLET will be eligible for the forthcoming Dragon sensor in a year or so, which should improve its low-light capabilities among other things). There's a certain element of future-proofing built-in with the RED, and while I think the new Canon EOS C300 is a nice camera, I also think there's an element of planned obsolescence at work there. I'm a big fan of the Sony F3, but the 720p/60p limitations hurt Man-child in particular, and it's actually significantly more expensive than the SCARLET-X once you include the the $3,500 S-LOG firmware and an uncompressed external recorder.

So that's why I ordered a SCARLET-X, and how it relates to Man-child. I could go on, but this should be enough to clarify some of my logic behind the purchase. And hopefully some of these thoughts are helpful for anyone else considering the new cameras.

While I hope to share what I learn along the way with the RED, don't worry, No Film School will not be turning its back on DSLRs and lower-end projects/shooters/budgets. More on this soon!

One RED thing I would like to share at present: the idea that you need a $5,000 RED ROCKET in order to edit 4K files is apparently not true. Via commenter RebelPhoton, check out this $3,500 homebuilt PC editing 4K .R3D files in Premiere Pro in real time without any special hardware other than an nVidia graphics card for CUDA acceleration:

From the vimeo page, here are the specs, courtesy editor Tom Lowe:

As computers get faster, and as interfaces like Thunderbolt find mainstream acceptance, this will become more and more viable. Hey, now we're back to discussing something productive that is useful to other people! Great, that's why this site is here.

[original basketball photo by The Tattered Coat]

Your Comment

164 Comments

With Premiere Pro CS5.5 you can always adjust the playback resolution to say 1/8, making it a lot easier. I do it with an iMac (the fastest however).

November 5, 2011

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Simon Falkentorp

I can see no reason to buy this kind of a camera when DSLRs at 1/15th of the price produce beautiful results. Nothing you've written appears to come close to justifying the decision. Now, I don't even pretend to tell you what to do, but it seems like a fairly indefensible thing to do when making a film like yours.

November 5, 2011

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David

Wow, "indefensible," seriously? Try shooting a fast action feature film with a DSLR's slow CMOS readout and tell me how it looks.

November 5, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

You can use the money to buy it if you want. Even though you won't do that and I totally understand. I think you did a great job with this website. If you have a need for money for another project on kick starter I will back you up again. I want people to give you a break.

November 5, 2011

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Menelikk

@Menelikk: +1

November 5, 2011

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Hampus

That doesn't appear to be the project for which it will be used, does it? One can make up hypothetical films to justify just about any expense.

November 5, 2011

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David

He's making a feature film about a basketball player. I'd say that does qualify as fast action.

November 5, 2011

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Actually, he could very well use a DSLR for the regular scenes, and rent a RED or something more capable for the fast action scenes. Unless of course this movie is going to be fast moving all the time (like, Run Lola Run perhaps?). Weren't DSLRs used on the fast action motorcycle chase sequence in Captain America?

November 6, 2011

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studio17b

Good god, are you people serious? Firstly, "indefensible" - to whom, exactly, does he need to defend spending his own money? Secondly, if you don't think the Scarlet will be a significant improvement over a DSLR for this kind of project then you're an idiot. Yes, DSLRs are fantastic, I adore mine, but get with reality.

November 6, 2011

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Luke

Putting aside whether or not a DSLR would give an acceptable result for a film like this (and I don't believe it would), how is it any of your business what kind of cameras Koo and his DP use to shoot "Man-Child"? Koo is in no way compromising the production by wanting to either buy a Scarlet or rent an Epic. There is still plenty of cash left for all the other areas of production. He was upfront about wanting to shoot on the RED too. If you didn't agree with his choice then you shouldn't have backed the project. If you didn't back the project then maybe you shouldn't be commenting on this at all.

November 5, 2011

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Shooting on DSLR versus Scarlet is indefensible? I'm taking a wild guess you're not a shooter or editor.

The differences are insanely well documented across there inter webs but here goes:

Try: picture quality, build quality, edit workflow to start. Add to that time burned on set and in edit. And your math is really off-- a Scarlet setup versus a commensurate Canon 5Dm@ setup with Zacuto accouterments (necessary to keep things in focus and moving on set)... I'd say 15K versus 8-9K thereabouts.

Basically-- if you're making a movie, you're making deliverables. That's what you sell to distributors (or what you make consumer units from). The better the deliverables, the better the price you can get, the more chance you have of making back your investors' money. There's always cheaper ways to go on any set, but you have to choose what you *should* be paying for-- a good DP, good sound, decent technical fundamentals.

November 5, 2011

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Can I chime in here as an AC?

DSLRs provide many obstacles for us on set. Batteries go quickly, external monitoring is cumbersome, and focus pulling is frustratingly tough, amplified by a large sensor and very few lens markings. These difficulties tend to roll uphill into the production. The DP has to wait longer or do more rehearsals and thus the director gets fewer takes.

Over a one or two day shoot, you can make do with this. Many commercials I've worked on are DSLR. But over the course of a feature, those little things add up.

It's true the results of the two cameras can be similar and, with the right application of whichever tool, will provide images that are beautiful. But there are practical considerations to have when you are living with the camera for 12 hours a day over a month-long shoot.

If your budget is limited, it's hard to justify the cost in exchange for practicality, but if your budget is more open -- as Koo's is -- then the cost isn't as large of a factor.

November 5, 2011

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I was going to write a list of all these things, but previous posters hit the nail on the head. In terms of being on a fully functioning set, a Pro Camera just makes everything less complicated.

November 5, 2011

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Obviously like some ppl here you don't know what you are talking about. Each filmmaker has a goal. I don't see what is wrong in getting a Red scarlet x of 15k when you can afford it.
Let me tell you some , DSLR camera shoot good images. But it has never been used as main camera for serious projects.
I support Koo in his choice..

November 5, 2011

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Menelikk

Fantastic post.

And I certainly hope that in line #2, about how you're "probably" not DPing yourself, turns to "definitely" not DPing yourself. Speaking from personal experience, it's always better to get a great DP, esp on a first feature-- and there are plenty of awesome ones in NYC (email me if you need a couple names). And get a great editor too.

November 5, 2011

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I'm not planning on it by any means, and I don't want to. Figured I'd leave the window open an inch since nothing is firm at this point...

November 5, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

you don'tu need to explain your self for this people man!... anyway thanks A LOT for your comments respons you always been helpful.. you're a good man.

November 5, 2011

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You were excited about the RED release... and you got flamed. Philip Bloom was less excited about the release... and he got flamed. Moral of the story is you get flamed no matter what side you take sometimes. Funny how the release of these cameras brought out all the haters.

November 5, 2011

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Clayton

Dude don't worry about defending yourself... in my humble opinion, you're at a point where you can (within some limit of reason, and this camera purchase does not come near that limit) do what you damn please as long as you think it's a good choice.

Now go and make that film already!

November 5, 2011

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A lot of good points here. The fact remains that while these people are flaming at you for your decisions, no one cares what the f*** they do. Maybe they should spend less time spewing their ignorant, ill-thought-out opinions on the internet and try to actually accomplish something.

November 5, 2011

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Brian

Hey thanks for the mention, I didn't expect that :) The reason I linked to the clip without adding words was that I felt the need to add hard FACTS among so many legends, rumours, and irrational BS. I've noticed a strong tendency towards irrationality growing in the last few years in the camera world, and it saddens me, although I can understand the many reasons why it happens. Cognitive dissonance ("I bought this camera and I must be right, everyone else is wrong"), financial interest ("I rent this camera and my clients have to think it has no flaws"), group dynamics (the dark side of forums, blogs and social media, throwing around fallacies like arguments of majority, or arguments of authority), inexperience or lack of knowledge (relying on rumor and legend, how many times have you heard that the RED ONE overheats and needs ice packs? that the workflow is hard? it's 2011, wake up guys) and many other reasons. It's become a hard job for anyone in charge of choosing a camera system to cut through the FUD and get to the facts. Don't listen to those spewing irrational BS, not even if they have overrated and noisy blogs.

Another fact: if you're not DP'ing, as the director you want to monitor the picture that's being shot. I've been on some DSLR feature sets and I can tell you that the #1 source of technical problems and delays has been the HDMI output and cables. Throw a teradek cube on top of your Red(s) and get an ipad and you have some pretty incredible wireless video assist solution.

Good choice and good luck.

November 6, 2011

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RebelPhoton

errrr, sorry, meant to reply to the original post ;)

November 6, 2011

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RebelPhoton

maybe this critique on the decision to buy the RED is a good example of a caveat in the kickstarter process, by giving away money to fund a kickstarter project the donators think they can 'bitch' and 'moan' when they don't agree with a production decision, well i say tough shit to you all, you gave money because u believed in the kickstarter campaign from the get go, koo is not buying a porsche cayenne he is buying a top notch camera for his film, it is a FILM after all. and seriously i dont think it warranted an entire post in 'defending' yourself. i wouldn't have defended such decision.

November 5, 2011

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Harry

Haters gunna hate. I've been following your site for about a year and never commented until now. I think you've done something amazing so far in your pre-prod for Man-Child and I think your decision to purchase a Scarlet for yourself is completely logical. I'm a college student currently directing my thesis film and I've taken a lot of insight and inspiration from your site. I bought a T2i last winter, with the intentions to shoot my film on it, and the freedom of not having to rely on rentals and used gear is amazing. I can relate to being on a small budget and having to make big decisions. Good work so far and please stop feeling like you have to justify everything to people who just want to complain for the sake of it! Thanks for what you do and good luck!

November 5, 2011

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Cameron

While I agree that Koo has no responsibility to explain what he does with his own money, I think it shows incredible character that he did. As for DSLR Vs Red and the Cost/Quality Argument on top of the editing workflow... I think there is a disconnect with some film people (fans, makers, producers, etc) from what the shot is, what it could be and why it is what it is. Can a 5DII capture slow motion, sure. But are you able to get the shot with the right speed, lighting, resolution, focus, etc. I think the choice of the Red will give you a much greater versatility in shots. It will be up to the filmmaker to get the most out of their choice of equipment. Using a RED to get shots that are easily captured on a DSLR is what would be "indefensible". Buying a good Pro camera for your personal and long term business needs no defense as it is your money. =D

Personal opinion outside of logic and wider pressures. Use the money from Man-Child to buy a Red if you want, i really dont care. =D Just make the movie and make it well. =D

November 5, 2011

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I really don't think you need to justify yourself like this!!!!! If you want to buy a Scarlet X then that's your business and you shouldn't feel you need to justify yourself to anyone.

November 5, 2011

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Daniel Remer

Andrew from EOSHD is a douche...

I look at it this way. You had your kickstarter campaign, people liked what they saw and they invested in your project. Done deal.

If you want to blow 95% of it on crack, that's fine if you still deliver on what you promised.

November 5, 2011

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Ben

HOW DARE YOU WANT YOUR MOVIE TO LOOK GREAT. I supported you as one of the couple thousand who donated to the kickstarter campaign, and i'm 100% behind you. True feature films should be shot on true cinema cameras. Shoot it on your own terms, and don't listen to all the crap people are going to throw at you.

November 5, 2011

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Jake Kilgore

when you raise more money than anyone ever for a film on Kickstarter people are gonna hate

November 5, 2011

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Brian

Even charities tell their donors what they are using the money for when people have concerns about where the funds are going.

Koo understands this. Those who don't, may not get additional donations down the line for future projects.

November 5, 2011

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moebius22

My thoughts exactly Moebius. Its not that he has too, its that he understands that people with a vested interest in you appreciate being in the know.

November 5, 2011

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The funds (115k) were contributed to Koo and his project Man Child in order to produce a better looking independent film than, say a $1500 film will look. With the Canon C300 & the Scarlet X being reasonably priced for mid level productions, I would be highly upset if Koo didn't get one of these cameras to shoot. I would really wonder where did the funds go. (side note: 100k is still considered low budget, especially if you are paying professionals for every stage, including prints and distribution) Besides, he was probably going to rent the more expensive cameras anyway, so at least he can save and still shoot non fast moving shots with a 5D..That advice was free Koo...lol

November 5, 2011

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I really don't understand why some people have to be haters, Koo is Awesome and he is going to be on the top of the game, I can't wait for the haters to see this.
Don't give a f*** about this haters man, just do your thing!!

November 5, 2011

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Kirubel

Wow this David guy is out there, but obviously he knows something the rest of us don't. I am a pretty lowly shooter and even I could probably scrape together enough money to buy this camera. As one poster said he's not buying a Ferrari and driving it to a Starbucks. He's buying a camera the help build his life and passion.

Cheers

November 5, 2011

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Wow I can't believe your getting grief for this purchase. Part of the reason we are in this field I'd because we are all tech junkies! This camera is a great purchase and investment! A company that believes in future proofing their products and offering upgrades for equipment you have already purchased awesome!! It's not the camera but the story but if you have a kick ass story and kick ass camera...that's one kick ass movie!!

November 5, 2011

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Dathan Graham

Good post man. I appreciate the accountability. Keep it up Koo! Point one should be satisfaction enough for all the whiners out there worried about where the kickstarter funds are going. It's obvious you've got respect for the community you've built here. Beyond that, it's your money man. And I don't see why a personal investment, in a potentially career-broadening piece of tech, is point of contention for anybody. Haters gon' hate i guess....

November 5, 2011

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Matt

Hey Koo,

Could you potentially give us an article that breaks down how we could rent out our cameras without having the expensive equipment stolen from us? I don't think most of us can afford credit card machines to run plastic, so what are the alternatives?

Thanks!
Brendan

November 5, 2011

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How about this. Koo ordered a RED Scarlet-X because he wanted one. Why should he have to justify any of these choices to anyone. I donated because I believe in Koo and the story he has to tell. Reading Koo's background I know he's not going to screw up the chance to make his movie so cut the guy some slack.

November 5, 2011

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Odd that anyone would make an issue out of this. Don't sweat it - buying a camera is incredibly useful for working independently, and will save you money in the long (and short) run. I don't even think it would be an issue to do this with the kickstarter funds, but whatever. Looking forward to seeing it in action.

November 5, 2011

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I would typically be for not justifying, but I can understand in your case, having just campaigned for backing for your film.
Hey, one good side job and you can cover the cost (or at least the depreciation).

November 5, 2011

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Granville

Concerning EOSHD (now that name dropping is allowed) ... the dude never mentioned "Man-child" or your Kickstarter campaign on his website before. But when the opportunity to hate came before him, he didn't hesitate to mention your name without doing any fact checking whatsoever. Pathetic.

It is you film and you have the right to choose any equipment you need for it ( especially when the money come from your own pocket ). So don't be distracted by those TMZ type of "article" and get busy !!!

November 5, 2011

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Melas Kizawa

Crazy that you're having to do this.

November 5, 2011

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Andy Smith

TLDR! lol, jk

Just go for it Koo, it's a passion that you dont have to justify! Looking forward to seeing the first shots.

November 5, 2011

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Why are you justifying spending your hard earned cash?
Congrats, good luck with Manchild

November 5, 2011

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Nicely written article, Koo. Some other bloggers can get so angry and pretentious. It's nice to read one that restrains from getting so fired up.

November 5, 2011

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Iain

Agreed. I think you'll be happy with your choice.

November 5, 2011

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Perhaps we should have a go at Peter Jackson for shooting with so many Epic cameras. then we can shoot Jim Cameron in the head for not shooting avatar on a 5d, Bastard!.

We invested in Man-child to see a good movie. If shooting it on a Scarlet-X is what it takes, so be it.

November 5, 2011

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SebT

Respect to you Koo! It's so strange that in this "community" that you can come under fire for "betraying the brotherhood" simply by using certain gear (ie. not a DSLR). If "Someone" would rather shoot static shots of buildings with a GH2 then good on them, you shouldn't have to justify your choices to anyone. You buy the tools you need to get your dreams made, I know I will! Good luck man, can't wait to see the finished product!

November 5, 2011

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Nick

I read your blog to keep up with news on lower end camera systems. Like DSLRs and Red. Quite useful.
I direct commercials and music videos and have been doing so for more then 15 years.I never owned a professional film camera since graduating from filmschool, but I directed stuff that has been shot on almost every high end (film)camera available the last two decades. Just to show it's not necessary to own your own camera.

I do understand the critics. Although I believe you should buy whatever you want to and make whatever you want, I also do believe that when you are asking for funds for a film project you have a certain responsibility to the community that decided to back your project. And not have any doubts going around that those funds are not being used in a proper way. Any confusion would not only harm you, but also the general audience' trust in crowd funded films.

I would expect some people to say that if you can max out your credit card as you have explained, why didn't you do that for your project instead of spending it on a camera. If you really want to make your movie, the comment can be made, that you would have put every penny towards your film. Like all the other sacrifices you've made already.

If you like the Alexa (or any other camera for that matter) and believe that is the best camera to shoot your film on, rent an Alexa. Doesn't your project deserve the best that your budget can afford? 30K for the Alexa or 25K for the Scarlet. Don't compromise on your film because you want to own that camera so bad. You owe it to your backers and yo yourself for all the hard work you already put in the project. And in the process don't hurt the general opinion on crowd funding.

I wish you all the best of luck in getting your film made. But never compromise. Only the best and most original make it.

November 5, 2011

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Delano

Give me a break! When you donated, you donated to support his vision of the film. I don't recall seeing a part of his pitch that said "If i take your money, I promise to dedicate my life to this film and not spend any of my own money on anything else ever again." Moreover, your donation does not entitle you to scrutinize the director's personal financial decisions. His money is his money. The donated funds should all go to fund the film, but beyond that, I don't think donors have any right to complain about/influence how those dollars are spent.

As a donor myself, I have to say I couldn't possibly care less that Koo bought a Scarlet with his own money. Even if he'd spent 20k of his own money on a worn-out shoe, I wouldn't care. That's his money and it's none of my business.

MY money went to help finance his film, so I do expect to see a top-quality final product. But beyond that, it's not my right to say how Koo spends the money, beyond that what was donated goes toward the film in one way or another.

November 6, 2011

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If you read again, I state that I don't care on what he spends his own money or the funding money on. As long as he delivers the best film he can. He could by marshmallows for that money for all I care.

What I do understand is where the criticism can come from. If someone asks me for money for example, and I give it to him. But later I find out he also had 20K+ of his own money stashed somewhere to spend. A logical question would be for me to ask, so why did you ask me for so much money if you also had some cash of your own.
In this case he buys a camera, but same principle applies if he would buy a car.

Point is, he asked for funds, but wasn't willing to spend his own money. He asked for 100 to make something, where he should've asked for 80, because he already had 20 in his back pocket. If he had given full disclosure about that before funding started, no problem. But when someone asks for funding you'd expect him to have already tried every means to get some money together.
That's where an issue can arise about transparency. Not if he buys a camera or not from the funding. If that's the best and most economical solution then great.

All I'm saying is that project owners should be careful with the trust from backers because crowdfunding is totally based on that same trust.

November 6, 2011

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Delano

Delano, I comprehend your logic, but I think that it's flawed. Just because a person has some personal cash doesn't mean they shouldn't seek full funding (minus their personal finance) on a project. Koo, stated that this money was accumulated from living in a suitcase, not having health insurance, no car, etc. So let's just say he spent the money on the aforementioned things.... Now does that put his trust into question? (I know you're not questioning his trust, just hypothetically you stated how his critics can be justified) I would think no one would have an issue had he obtained health insurance or any other life related expense. Those are things he negated in order to get this item he seemingly wants. Whoever said Koo was broke? He never said it. Sure he alludes to working on micro budgets and still climbing his way up if you read into his posts, but also what is revealed in them is that this guy really knows his stuff. So another inference that could be made is that this guy could be getting hired to do gigs and saving some dollars up... (note: he did just do a commercial for NYC that's played in the taxis).

When someone starts a business they sometime will go to the bank for a loan. Let's say they get 50,000. The bank doesn't look into their personal savings or checking account and say, "Hey, you have 7 grand in there... You should only be asking for 43k!!!" That business owner also has to live, take care of his family, health insurance, etc. So now put Koo in that same situation os the entrepreneur at the bank and let's not judge what he does with his personal funds. My personal opinion is that his personal purchase is all the more reason to feel good about supporting Man-Child because even when he had the option to take better care of himself (with his own funds) his mind was still on the film first. Again.... Just my 2 cents.

November 6, 2011

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Chuck

Yes, one of the oldest adages of filmmaking: you never spend your own money making a film, you spend other people's money. It's as old a concept as Hollywood. Even if Koo had $115k sitting in the bank he should not have put that into making a film.

November 6, 2011

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Shenan

It's good that this discussion is being held. And it is not so much about Koo, but more about the rules of behavior around crowd funding in my opinion.

When one goes to a bank or a private investor to ask for money to start a business, they will ask you for a business plan. And in that business plan you have to state what your own investment is going to be. What are your assets and/or cash that you are bringing in to the new business? Every bank (or private investor) will ask that. And they will hugely base the granting of that loan on your own investment. Check every business plan template or bank, it will tell you the same.

So yes, a bank does care how much you have on the books when applying for a loan. Furthermore, a bank will get interest in return. So the rules are pretty set.

With crowd funding the bank is the public in my opinion. Those are donations. It's like spending and managing public money. If Koo in this case had said upfront that his project needed 144K and he was putting 24K of his own hard saved money towards a camera for the production. And now needed 120K for the rest. No one would have said anything. But he didn't.....

It's a bit like when the Red Cross, a charity, asks the public for money and a few months later their director buys a new Bentley as a company car. Anyone who get's money donated, gets that money because people think that they don't have the money and will probably never get it from a bank. But deserve a push to get them going.

The fact that he lived very sober doesn't change that premise.

And the old adage of filmmaking to never use your own money only goes when the money your using is from a big studio or a financing institution. When someone else gets a ROI. Not when you've asked the public to assist you in funding your dream and donating money. Big difference!

It's not completely wrong, but something just doesn't feel right. And for the integrity of crowd funding those doubts shouldn't be there. But hey, maybe I'm just old-fashion...

November 6, 2011

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Delano

Delano, I understand and respect your perspective although I obviously have a difference in opinion. Good debate points tho....

November 6, 2011

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Chuck

Delano, you are confusing crowd funding which are voluntary donations with a loan at a bank.

He didn't go to a bank and ask for a loan. He's not seeking investors that get something monetary in return.

Your analogies simply don't apply here and are extremely unintelligent.

He received donations and now can do ANYTHING with the money that he feels like doing. People like you have an "entitlement problem." You think you're entitled to know what Koo spends his money on. You're not entitled to ANYTHING. Koo doesn't owe you or anyone else ANYTHING. Not an explanation. NOTHING!!!

The money is HIS!!!! people donated the money and there is absolutely no recourse for the people that donated no matter what Koo does. Everyone needs to stop the jealousy... That's all this really is.

November 6, 2011

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MadP

No, when someone asks for money for a specific project it's because they want to be able to do that project WITHOUT paying for it themselves, or because they can't. Maybe you assumed Koo would be spending his life savings on the film, but he never said that, nor is it something that you should have assumed.

November 7, 2011

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A Kickstarter pledge is a donation and even more than that the purchase of a product or service (hence the rewards and reward levels). Sure you're "funding his dream" but you're also getting something in return, which is why Kickstarter campaigns don't automatically stop when the funding limit is reached -- more people may want to buy (in essence) those products.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that the Scarlet-X obviously WILL help with the film production so this whole argument is completely irrelevant anyway, the crowd-sourcing system is this:

I give you some of my money. In return, you finish the project that I'm helping you fund, and I also get whatever rewards I paid for (i.e. DVD or whatever).

You should not assume that the person asking for money is impoverished; nor should a creator be required to put their entire life savings on the line before you donate your $15. Koo is a person, not a Man-child robot, and he needs to make financial decisions with his own money based on his life and overall career, not just this film. My guess is one of the reasons he asked for $120k was so that he wouldn't HAVE to choose between impoverishing himself and risking his future for this film, or giving up on his dream film. I'm not sure why you're so dedicated to the idea that crowd-sourcing is only moral if the person asking for money has bet their life (or at least their entire financial future) on their project, but that's ridiculous.

November 7, 2011

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Delano,

I think if you go back and re-read the post you'll find that I'm agreeing with most of what you're saying (the ALEXA point, for example). You'll also see that I'm pointing out that the decision to buy a SCARLET does not come from having a hidden $20k in my back pocket (partners, renting it out, paying off over time). Finally, if I buy a camera and then rent it to my movie for free, allowing me to spend more of the Kickstarter money on actors/locations, I have no idea how that is any different from putting my own money into the project. Anything that ultimately helps the film, I have and will do.

November 6, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Good on you Koo. I love that you report everything here as pure as a free blog is supposed to be and not committed to suck up on a particular brand for the ad revenues unlike other sites. Please keep it as it is forever. Im excited to see Manchild in RED resolution downsampled 1080p quality.:)

November 5, 2011

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quobetah

I donated money to Man-Child so that you could use that money however you thought best. If that buying that camera helps, that's what it should be. The price for renting a camera is insane, this saves so much money. No brainer.

November 5, 2011

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Ajit

Congratulations Koo on the purchase! :D

I for one am excited that you bought the Scarlet-X because that would mean that you'd be able to share your findings and knowledge as you get to play around with it and share it with those who are still at the starting point of our filmmaking aspirations. All the information and knowledge that I've attained from the site regarding dslr filmmaking has been invaluable and I hope when I come to the point that I might have the funds and the need to upgrade to the RED, I could go to this site for some pointers and how-tos.

Honestly, it's a very smart and logical move and naysayers just couldn't see the bigger picture. The Scarlet-X is not just an investment on Koo's current project or future films, but also an investment for NoFilmSchool. So it's a big yay for me. I can't wait to read your take on it and I wish you all the fun in the world shooting with that thing. :)

November 5, 2011

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Lin

wow.... crazy !
I wanted to order one too but I'm a little scared now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g&feature=related

Beside, I'm one of your project backers, please take my money and buy yourself some drinks to relax !

November 5, 2011

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Stephane

OK, great, now please stop writing ads worshiping the damn camera while saying that the competitors suck and go shoot your film! =)) People will start to suggest you to change your domain to redloversschool.com. =P

November 6, 2011

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FCT

I said I liked the C300, I said I'm in love with the ALEXA's colors, and I'm a fan of the Sony F3... should it be redcanonarrisonyloverschool.com? :)

November 6, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Koo, let me get this straight.... So you write a valuable book for thousands to have for free, operate a site with useful information with daily updates for indie filmmakers and future filmmakers like myself, you run a successful, genuine, and passionate kickstarter campaign and now you feel the need to defend yourself on YOUR site when making a decision on something YOU'RE spending YOUR money on??? C'mon Koo, your above that, homie. Everyone that frequents this site appreciate what you do and we rely on your information because your credible. What you do with your money in no way questions your credibility. For the sake of conversation, lets just say you did spend 15k of 125k of kickstarter funds to get a Scarlet-x. If I'm not mistaken you were up-front in the promo vid for "Man-Child" saying that you preferred to shoot with R3D over other cameras for the "fast-paced basketball scenes" or what not. So wouldn't it be justifiable to just buy the camera you want to shoot with instead of eating up 10-20k renting a camera during the time it may take to shoot a "feature" of this magnitude??? Maybe it's just me, but I see nothing wrong with purchasing this camera (even with your budget funds). Does it suppose to make the backers feel better have you rented for the same price of owning a camera you can get the job done with? Whose fault is it that technology changed within the pre-production stages of "Man-Child"? Should you not take advantage of technological advancements if their accessible? Whoever would to allude to such a thing is obviously... well... delusional because such a thing is ridiculous to ignore that the game is changing before our very eyes. In the end, this is your dormain and whatever is in your bank account are YOUR funds. You have already proven your credibility. Have you not done so, there is no way in hell you would have raised 125k. No need to defend any decision that you chose to make on or outside the site... again, what's the point in that? While people are steadily judging a decision that doesn't concern them they should instead be saying, "Thanks for all you do, Koo. We appreciate it". At least that's what I'm saying.

November 6, 2011

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Chuck

Thank you Chuck! I did think some of the thoughts re: partnerships, defraying costs, renting etc. would be helpful above and beyond defending myself. But you're exactly right -- the game is changing and ultimately, any filmmaker is going to do whatever's best for his or her film. Regardless of what their initial concept was, and regardless of what camera platform they got their start on.

November 6, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

wow, that sucks that you have deal with all this Koo. Figuring out the needs for a film takes lots of time money and hard work. I am fully confident you will use the money to make the best film possible...a scarlet isn't a good option for everyone but I am sure it's a great option for you and a great investment. Luckily this will all die down soon and you can focus and making the most awesome movie that you can!

November 6, 2011

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You are grateful which probably to us, which probably means you actually do double-check your purchasing decisions right now, for fear of offending us, but bear in mind that most of us gave you $10 or $20 and it's not a big deal - we didn't buy your soul. Even if people gave you $1000 it's not like that. That's peanuts for someone who felt able to give it to you.

So don't start doubting your decisions. They've brought you this far, so on average they work out.

Goddammit I should write an emotional self-help book for indie filmmakers. * goes to Kickstarter

November 6, 2011

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Danyal

As for F3's 720/60p being a problem... Do you realize that with scarlet to overcrank you'll be cropping the sensor lot more, we are talking similar crop as putting canon glass on m4/3 camera or even more if you want more fps. It's really going to limit with what lenses you can use and the general look on DoF and perspective distortion

November 6, 2011

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Sebasti

Crop doesn't distort perspective.

November 6, 2011

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Shenan

And he's not ruled out renting an EPIC for such things.

November 6, 2011

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Luke

Yes it does when you have to shoot with 20mm lens to achieve the same composition than otherwise shooting with with 50mm. When wide becomes tele you don't get the same flatness, objects on the background will look smaller instead of larger...

November 6, 2011

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Sebasti

Hi Koo

I don't think you need to justify what you spend your money on, and I think that comment from EOSHD was totally unjustified I'm with Chuck, if buying a camera is more economical than hiring it (and it means you keep the camera) then you buy the camera. It's a budgetary decision, one I've made a lot with all the DSLR kit you weigh up the high cost vs the long term keeping the equipment cost.

Personally I still think the editing is a problem, a $3,500 dollar machine is not that dissimilar from a $5,000 RED Rocket card price wise (plus I'd worry about the stability long term of the overclocked processor). I think that's a route I would leave in the hands of production houses for safety on a project as big as Manchild. That and you don't want to get into processing your own dailies (depressing AND stressful believe me!). For this reason I still think the SCARLET is very much not an Indie camera, it's just too darn expensive and complex to post yourself AND get a great result. That's why DSLRs still win out for me, I can process it on ANY machine quickly and edit it on anything and get a great result.

When I watched the feature Rubber (shot on 5D Mark II) you can see the you absolutely can shoot something beautiful and cinematic on these cameras that holds up for 90 minutes. For Slow-Mo sure you need another camera (I'm loving my Nex-5n for it's 50 fps) but the option is still there and I think it's a really good one for Indie film makers. Just think what you can do with $20,000 on screen....

November 6, 2011

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Agreed re: the overclocked machine -- I was sharing that video not to say that's what I'm going to be editing Man-child on, but to show it's possible.

I had no idea Rubber was shot on a 5D Mark II. Thanks for sharing!

November 6, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Koo: the fact that you are being open with your project from the beginning proves to me that you are following your professional judgement only to achieve your goal - making the movie - and nothing else. If you would've raised the money and then dropped off radar, would've given the totally opposite message.

I agree, that you do not need the doners (including myself) approval to your investments as the project proceeds. Personally, I trusted your project the minute I decided to support you and that should be enough. Now you need to work in peace and concentrate to do the thing you love the most. I'm happy to be able to follow the work and learn at the same time.

All the best to you and the Man-Child!

-Juha-

November 6, 2011

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Juha Tuomimaki

Shocker! Filmmaker buys camera with with his own money! A Red Epic kit to hire in England is around £2400 a week plus insurance. To buy a Red Scarlet package, with the same sensor, is around £11,000 inc. V.A.T and import taxes maybe a little more. I'd be crazy not to buy at that price if i were making a feature film. He could use a DSLR, but given a choice between a Red or Sony F3 and a DSLR i would choose the former. Real no brainer decision.

Secondly i can't believe people give credence to anything eoshd says. Every few months he's starting some flame war . He had one with DVXuser, with Vitality of the GH1/2 hacks, with Lpowell (who developed alot of good gh1 hack settings). Considering the last narrative piece he released 'Patsy' (terrible audio, camera handling noise) i don't think he's really in a position to judge who is professional and who is not.

November 6, 2011

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Andy Smith

First Thx so much for your website it's one of my favorite and may be the more helpful with your HDSLR book and Hackintosh guide that you maintain up to date.
I get by without any family, own house, car, valuable staff you can get that material that will follow you in your "Man-child" project as the other next ones. The only thing i do not agree with you is to go through an health insurance! Even young it's useful.
Wish you "good health" and a long life ... with lot of creativity and success. Congratulation for your hard work and all you sacrifices to make your dreams real. No doubt, your website is not a product advertiser as other DP cinematographer famous blogger & teacher ... You are a real real indie in all field. Best Regards. Serge

November 6, 2011

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serge

Good Luck on the project Koo!.. I donated my money to see you make the best film possible. No explanations are necessary on how you spend it as long as you spend it making a great film.

November 6, 2011

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Zyun

Hi Chuck - I don't ever really bother with writing comments, but for once it feels necessary.

(Full disclosure - I didn't fund Koo's project as I'm currently skint. If I'd had the money, I would have donated.)

'Ridiculous wall of text' - you've attacked the guy's reputation. It's not ridiculous of him to respond - it's perfectly justified. I went to your website for the first time today, to read the piece that had sparked this reponse. It will be my only visit to your site - You can deny it all you like, but the stench of jealousy is pretty hard to wash off.

'self worshiping "I'm a professional" banter' - I've never noticed Koo's self-worship before. I shall have to pay more attention during my daily visits to his site, in between reading the useful information he collates for other filmmakers and the free guides he has written and shared. If only there were more such self-obsessed people online.

'talk about being a professional less, and go be one, with your crowd funded Red' - I assume that your envy towards Koo has unfortunately made you ignore the article to which you've responded. Let me summarise, in case you didn't catch it - He didn't buy the camera with Kickstarter funds. I hope that's clearer now. Again, correct me if I'm wrong - perhaps by reading the article first - but the guy has saved his arse off for a few years and is using those savings to buy a camera. He can - if he wants to - use the camera on the project. Or not. It's his choice. It's not your choice, it's not your project and it's not your Kickstarter campaign - that's the beauty of it, and the thing that I suspect will make the green-eyed monster rear its ugly head every time you read about 'Man-child'.

Chuck - I'm a filmmaker too. Like a lot of people on here, I'm working hard and trying to get somewhere. Attacking the reputation of other filmmakers doesn't make your own success any more likely. No excuses - we should all be looking at what Koo has done (and the information he has shared on the process) and trying to learn as much as we can.

November 6, 2011

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Alex Richardson

Wait, who's Chuck, and what's his website that you're referring to? I thought you were talking about eoshd.com but the guy there is named Andrew.

November 6, 2011

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Shenan

Ha! Must admit - I thought I was too... Managed to put 2+2 together and come up with the wrong angry person. Still, thought the eoshd post stank, and Chuck - the criticism still stands. You can't make a film on your own, and this attitude of attacking other people's success - rather than learning from it - isn't going to get anybody very far.

November 6, 2011

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Alex Richardson

Thank you Alex.

November 6, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Koo, I also contributed to the man-child kickstarter and don't mind, even support your decision to buy the camera. It's unfortunate that some people have reacted this way. Like others have said or alluded to, you're very generous with your time and knowledge, so the readers of your blog will also benefit from this. Good luck with the camera and with the film!

November 6, 2011

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Shenan

Obviously the new Chuck (Red avi) is not the same Chuck (Blue avi) who posted the two previous comments defending Koo, which is myself.... Ummm who am I again? Let me specify self by now being known as Chuck-A in the comment section. LOL!

November 6, 2011

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Chuck

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