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

11.5.11 @ 4:45PM Tags : , , , ,

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, NoFilmSchool 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]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 174 COMMENTS

  • Simon Falkentorp on 11.5.11 @ 4:55PM

    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).

  • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

          • 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?

        • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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..

  • 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.

    • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • RebelPhoton on 11.6.11 @ 1:25AM

      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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Daniel Remer on 11.5.11 @ 6:06PM

    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.

  • 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.

  • Jake Kilgore on 11.5.11 @ 6:40PM

    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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!!

  • 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.


  • Dathan Graham on 11.5.11 @ 7:06PM

    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!!

  • 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….

  • 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?


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Melas Kizawa on 11.5.11 @ 7:56PM

    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 !!!

  • Andy Smith on 11.5.11 @ 8:07PM

    Crazy that you’re having to do this.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Agreed. I think you’ll be happy with your choice.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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…

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

          • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.:)

  • 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.

  • 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. :)

  • wow…. crazy !
    I wanted to order one too but I’m a little scared now.

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

  • 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 =P

    • 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 :)

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

    • Crop doesn’t distort perspective.

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

      • 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…

  • 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….

    • 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!

  • Juha Tuomimaki on 11.6.11 @ 6:30AM

    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!


  • Andy Smith on 11.6.11 @ 9:13AM

    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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Alex Richardson on 11.6.11 @ 10:47AM

    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.

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

      • Alex Richardson on 11.6.11 @ 11:23AM

        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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Was thinking of investing in a new Zeiss Lense, the macro 100mm. Is $1842. Anyone have any problems with me doing that?Just thought I’d learn from Koo’s mistake and ask for permission before investing I’m kinda professional I suppose, do paid gigs and teaching work in multi media. Not working for Peter Jackson yet but you never know, and this lense (although it is only a tool!) will benefit my work.
    Oh I bought a car a few years ago, not sure if that’s relevant but better to mention it to make sure. Got married as well, so I guess I spent a few quid on that, what else, let me see… oh yeah, I went on holidays that one time.

  • You should not have to explain yourself just become some blogger with jealously issues disses on you. If you spent all your money on jellybeans who gives a shit, its your money.

    Welcome to the internet where everyone is a expert, yet few of these “experts” can create anything decent. True if these experts were working on the regular they would not have much time to blog.

    I expect you not to be blogging as much in the future and I congratulate you on your success! Kill it man!

  • I’ve been researching an A camera for an upcoming documentary myself. One thing I haven’t seen any mention of is the fact that while DSLRs are amazing, they don’t shoot broadcast quality codecs out of the box. Id imagine if you want your doc to air on TV, you’ve also taken this into consideration. I’m also saying this under the assumption that Scarlet X does shoot 4:2:2 etc. without the need to go through an external recorder.

    Or.. is the concept of broadcast quality going away? We all know content is king — you’ll see some segments appear on networks shot on an iphone, but I thought before accepting a feature length film they’ll still make you jump through the hoops.

    • Me thinks the term “broadcast quality” may be on it’s way out the window. There have been a lot of dslr footage that has been broadcasted on television that looks fantastic in despite of the “technically” crappy codec. If you can see it with your eyeballs, then it’s broadcast quality.

      • The term broadcast may be out the window but not quality. A project shot on Super 8mm or VHS can be worthy of broadcast or theatrical screening but these formats are a sane choice only on the rarest of projects. If I’m aiming for a fresco to rival the sistine chapel, I’m sure as hell not going to use Crayola. 60″ displays and 8ft projection screens are common; this is digital cinema and Crayola will not do!

  • Koo, man, you’ve already got two pages of responses proving that the community’s behind you so it may be a drop in the ocean, but just adding my support. It’s made me genuinely angry to see how some people have reacted to this; I just don’t know where they get off.

    I’m a Manchild backer and I’m totally behind you. Hopefully I speak for all your backers when I say we believe in your ability and determination to get the job done, and trust your judgement on how best to do that. We didn’t back a roadmap of specific plans and milestones, we backed you and your film. Go to it! :)

  • Giulio, no sweat, you get permission to invest on your end, we’ll go halfsies and post it back and forth!

  • Koo,

    As an investor in Man-Child, I am thrilled that you’ve been able to put in your order for one of the sickest cameras on the planet. I can’t wait to see what you and the rest of the crew can do with it.

    All I want to know is: where in the hell do you find the kind of time to answer a witch-hunt inquisition like this and do it so well? Props to you. You’ve handled it better than most people would have, certainly better than I would have.

    Best wishes going forward.


    Burton Morris
    Producer, Cinelook Studios
    Durham, NC

  • Just do what you do best Koo. Remember, you are a trailblazer, no time to listen to the critics. Yet.

  • Great response, Ryan. I’m not sure why anyone should have to justify such a purchase – even to those who donated money. Good luck with the film.

  • Good article. I helped back ManChild on Kickstarter and I wouldn’t have been bothered a bit had you used any of those funds for the camera. Your money, your movie – do whatever it takes to make it happen. Good luck.


  • Jake Jabbs on 11.6.11 @ 9:10PM

    You should only be judged by final product.

  • Koo,

    I love your site, and I think it’s a fantastic resource. Man-child is the first and currently only project that I’ve backed on Kickstarter – because I think you deserve it, you deserve the chance to make your film at the highest level possible.

    I think it’s important to re-emphasize a few key facts, even though they’ve already been covered by you in the post and others in the comments. Your FAQ on the Kickstarter page listed a cost of $15,000 for your intended camera package – and you even stated that you were going to use a Red. So anyone who committed to funding your project could easily have been aware of this.

    Now you’ve made it clear that you’re buying the Scarlet-X yourself – or at least without using the Kickstarter funds – and you may rent it to the shoot for free or a deferred price. So you’ve now freed up $15k of your budget to spend elsewhere, even if some of it does go towards renting a second Red. That’s not just smart – it’s damn good producing! It’s win-win. It helps this project, it helps your business and it helps us because you’ll tell us all about it. It’s a good thing.

    It’s a crying shame you had to defend yourself like this. Absolutely ridiculous. But fair play to you for doing it, and thank you for your candour, for this site and for what I’m sure is going to be a great film.

    - Eoghan

    • Thank you Eoghan for backing, and thank you as well for getting this point! That’s what has been the most surprising to me about all of this, is that I’m trying to find a way to put more of the Kickstarter funding on screen, and there is no way that’s a bad thing…

  • What a silly bunch of folks making you justify this.
    You ave made a good decision based on the fact that you need a pro camera to last for a few years (besides shoot your feature) without becoming obsolete in 6 months. And Canon and all other manufacturers besides Red and maybe Arri make cameras that last and produce consistent good images.
    Just for full disclosure I do own a RED ONE MX and a Canon 7D!, and have purchased an EPIC and Scarlet. I speak with my hard earned cash. And I am a working DP so having these systems doesn’t hurt my career either.
    Good luck on your film.

  • I personally would never judge a person based on what they buy or own. That’s their business. For instance, I used to work in a camera & electronics store, and one day a wealthy father and his teenage son walked in and purchased a 5D Mark ii & 24-70 lens. Hey more power to him, hope he learns as much as he can and create great stuff. Therefor, people coming down on you for purchasing RED, are ludicrous. Hell, I wouldn’t of cared if you purchased the C300 or the Alexa Arri or even the Sony HDW/SRW. It’s your own money, your own decision, and bottom line your own business. I just care about checking out the creation behind it!

  • Vincent Powell on 11.7.11 @ 4:37AM

    This is the most ‘gangsta’ reply to a foolish accusation I’ve ever read. You ever thing of speech-writing for public officials!!!? lol

  • Koo, don’t bother with the haters. I’m really excited to see Man Child, and after everything I’ve read on this site, I’m so happy to be a supporter of it. Most people don’t understand how to run and operate a business. Good luck with your film dude, keep doing what you’ve been doing.

    • Russell Steen on 11.7.11 @ 2:57PM

      I hate when people use the word haters. What motivates people to contribute to these forums is hard to guage from a paragraph of text. The anonymity of the internet contributes to the tendancy of incondsiderate posts, so please pause before hitting the submit button, or those with information you might want to know will quietly disappear. I lose sight of this being a DSLR forum serving those who produce, direct, shoot and edit now that the tools are more affordable. I get that learning the craft using these tools are often the only means for getting a foot in the door for many of you. Unfortunately, the principle of specialization still applies for narrative films that hope to appeal to a broad enough audience to become profitable. I really don’t care if Koo gets a new Red, but as a DP, I have seen how purchased equipment defines the range of options considered, and how expensive items on set tend to impact their owner’s frame of mind. This isn’t theory, it’s experience. This is my advice, not a criticism and certainly not a demand. Think twice before buying professional camera equipment, especially a newly designed camera. If I were to buy anything, I’d consider lenses before a camera.

  • Sniff sniff, smells like troll.

    • being ridiculous is more like it, you should pick up a film book and learn the many different jobs on a filmset. The DP is talking to the Director to organize shots. Artistic creativity is achieved by all as a collective on a filmset.

  • The fact that you were able to purchase such a nice camera only makes me more excited to see Man Child. I know that the camera was not purchased with Kickstarter funds, but even if it was when people back you they should trust you to decide where those funds need to go. When a film has a budget, that budget includes equipment like cameras. Did people expect you to film a full length film on a 5d?

  • Mark Strand on 11.7.11 @ 12:36PM

    I’m late to the party, but also wanted to say that I have often invested in camera gear when it was an extreme challenge to do so financially, in order to obtain equipment that would do what my current gear could not. It bothered me, as well, to read that people were questioning your purchase of camera gear with your own dough. I am also a backer of Man-Child, and would have no problem if some of the budget donated to the film was used to purchase a camera. Do what you gotta do, manage the budget, and make the best film you can.
    And, as someone who has benefitted from your contribution of the DSLR Guide, thank you for that.

  • Koo,

    I appreciate your candor and as one of the many backers of Manchild’s kicker starter campaign, I would not raise an eyebrow at you using some of the funds to pay for the camera, even if it goes against the grain of what traditionally occurs when getting a production together. This is a time where new rules are being written and innovation should be a part of everything we do, including, the financing and production of our work. If people are clutching their pearls over you spending your kickstarter funds on a camera that will more than likely be part of the production’s equipment, they would pass out if they found out where the money comes from for Hollywood productions….let alone how the money is spent

  • I also think that Koo has made a well thought out decision with purchasing the RED Scarlet with the intention (for now) of using it for Man-child. With this decision is he he saying that the RED Scarlet is a better camera than the Canon C300 or the Sony F3? Absolutely not. His unbiased reporting with comparisons between these cameras, shows me that he knows how to critically evaluate and compare features and “true operating price” points. His conclusion is simply that the RED Scarlet makes the most sense for the needs of Man-child. There is no “winner takes all” when it comes to cameras. Every camera has strengths and weaknesses. His argument about the slow motion quality needed for his film makes sense. Scarlet does have the edge there for now with 60 fps at 2K resolution.

    I’m not so sure how viable 120 fps will be for theatrical presentation if a lot of it is used. Would require some testing. If my math is correct, 1K is actually lower resolution than 720 x 1280. Another point of consideration is field of view. I’m sure that Koo already knows this, but for others – when 2K res is used on a RED, the filed of view of any lens is cut in half. So a 25mm lens effectively becomes a 50mm lens. 1K res would cut in half again, so the 25mm would have a field of view of a 100mm lens. Although the depth of field qualities and perspective would still be that of a 25mm lens. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, just considerations to be thought through and dealt with.

    I’ll make another post later about the problems associated with letting emotions interfere with cool headed decision making. I’ve been seeing a lot of that lately with these new camera “wars.”

  • Koo – thanks for writing, great points, I support your vision.

    For the Hack, I want to confirm that I have real time playback, full screen of 4k RED files in Premiere Pro with:
    980x OC to 3.75ghz (this allows me longer life of my CPU because voltage was not changed)
    24GB RAM 1600 mhz (RED footage does not push anywhere near this amount of RAM, more around 12GB)
    4 TB RAID 0 – WD Blacks (not even pushing the hardrives with RED footage)
    NVidia GTX 285, 1.5 GB RAM (I took power management off, so my card is full throttle, but runs cool)

    Yes, that is right, no problem with the 285. I saved money not buying the 580. I’ll get 2 more cards for Davinci – a basic ATI for GUI and another CUDA to process alongside the 285.

    But for kicks, I graded some RED 4k footage in Davinci with ONE gtx 285 (technically, you are not even supposed to run Davinci with only one card), and with 2 nodes, I was getting 12 fps. That alone is faster than COLOR!

    I love it!

    • Great to hear. I’ll have to test this with my own Hac, which is 2.8 right now but could certainly be overclocked…

  • Kyle Kapetanakis on 11.7.11 @ 2:39PM

    What a bunch of crap!

    I agree with your ideology not to use the Kickstarter money to buy the camera. In the same position I’d feel the same way as you, Koo.

    But as a backer I wouldn’t be mad or fault you for doing it. I sent a pledge with the expectations that my money would go toward your movie getting made, and a camera IS an integral part of the overall picture after all.

    Not to mention that the very same camera could then be used for future projects.

    Double not to mention that I could then haggle the crap out of you when I was negotiating a rental package based on the fact that I paid for .002% of that camera. Haha!

    Haters gonna hate. You’re a filmmaker on your way. And the road will be paved with cynics, critics and envy. You’ll deal with more of this for sure. Don’t listen to ‘em.

  • I remember the days before Andrew of eoshd had his own site. Went back and forth withthat guy for months on user before he finally got banned.

    It’s a shame that he’s even allowed on the Internet, you’d think after Jim/RED sued him he would’ve gone back to keeping his mouth shut/fingers off of the keyboard. he’s like the Bill o Reilly of our no name sector. Only nowhere near as educated on the topic.

    Shoot that moviE. And send me my copy! =D

  • Scott David Martin on 11.7.11 @ 7:37PM


    I don’t care if you shoot Man-child on a point and shoot. If you have a good story, I’ll watch it.

    Keep doing your thing.

  • Not sure why it matters how you’re paying for the scarlet – you received full funding for your film, and if one line item costs more than another you just move the money around. You’ll find savings somewhere else to offset it. Why would anyone think you’re required to spend the exact same amount in your preliminary budget as your final?

  • Anyone giving you flak for buying a Scarlet are, frankly, short sighted idiots. I’m in a very small market where I am, and everyone I know who invested in a Red One has more than made back their investment (in some cases 3 times over and counting). There will always be demand for high end cameras, and the fact that the cost of entry is so low means you can price your rental package lower, more small productions can rent it, and you’ll end up making it back faster.

  • Lliam Worthington on 11.8.11 @ 9:25AM

    Great post Koo. Sad you felt you needed to make it.

    Just love it that people suggest that someone who raises funds to make a film, is then misappropriating them by buying a camera. Very very funny stuff.

    Best Wishes

  • I think one point you forgot is also that footage produced with the RED will look better if your movie gets to be distributed for the screen, which everyone should wish you. You are taking a future-proof decision, it’s good.
    But please, if YOU want to be future-proof, take an health insurance, dammit ! I’d donate for that :)

  • Hey Koo!

    Those people are just jealous cheap a***!
    I wish I had enough going on to justify the use of a RED on my features. Speaking of that, I would love to see a post on what’s the workflow when using the 4K cameras.


  • Cinepixtor on 11.8.11 @ 6:30PM

    Sucks that you have to justify what purchases you make – some folks are just idiots. Can’t wait to see what you put out with the Scarlet!

  • on 11.10.11 @ 3:32PM

    Great post Koo.

    Even if you were buying from the funds have people not realised you spend all your time providing them with FAQ about the industry and equipment, surely somewhere along the line you deserve some payback?

    Keep it up and check out


  • Monty Wentzel on 11.10.11 @ 3:50PM

    Keep telling us how to use, learn and master the RED. Nothing wrong with dslr’s but like you the future is changing and s-log and raw are where we’re going and I’m not as techy as some and look forward to you learning curve…


  • Koo,
    Ignore the haters and focus on making the great film you know you can. They’re just mad no one donated to their films, and especially mad that you’re getting a Scarlet LOL Maybe if they put a fraction of the work you put in they would have similar results. Lames

  • Makes total sense to me. I often buy gear then hire it to my own productions, the production gets cheaper hire and I get something back for the investment I’ve made and, as you say, have chance to get familiar with the equipment so there are no surprises on the job. Good on you Koo.

  • If you spent money on a scarlet-x for the Man-child, I would not be the least bit upset (as a small contributor myself) I would not have sent you money to do this project if I did not believe in it, nor trusted your judgement. That being said, if others are complaining about it (even though you did not spend man-child money on the scarlet, but even if you did), then thats kind of weird…why would they invest money into a project if they dont trust the person heading it?

    P.S. in regards to your post about the red rocket edit, and Tom Lowe’s edit suite, I was editing 5k in premiere in real time with transitions and effects on my 1400 dollar LAPTOP with an nvidia card in it. Everything is getting better and cheaper. Congrats on your purchase!

  • Marc Paolella on 11.10.11 @ 4:22PM

    When I decided to Kickstart this project, I evaluated Koo based on his sales pitch and resume. I also read “between the lines” of the pitch and decided that I was going to trust him to use the funds to get the picture made. That is the beginning and end of my ownership of the funds I decided to give to the project.

    Once you handicap a project and decide to “add to cart” so to speak, you have no further claim on the project or the money. You just have to trust the guy or girl to carry through. It’s their dream, after all, and if they fail to perform, it’s on them. After that you shut up and wait for opening day.

    I trust Koo to make the picture, and I don’t care if he uses the Kickstarter funds to pay for a hundred whores if he decides that is what is necessary to get it done.

    Koo, get the camera. It sounds kick-ass. You owe us NO EXPLANATION. You pitched us, we bit, end of story. You will make the movie or die trying, I know that. And if you have to run another Kickstart campaign to distribute the damned thing, I’m in for that too. To anyone else who has a complaint – please just shup up, go about your life, and enjoy the movie when it comes out.

    When you Kickstart, and the project successfully funds, YOU ARE DONE AND HAVE NO FURTHER SAY. You decided there was value, you made your decision, and that is the end of it. If the decision turns out badly, which is always a possibility, well then be more careful in evaluating the talent on the next project.

    Koo, do not waste any further time or energy on this negativity. You have our full support and I don’t want to hear or know anything about the Kickstarter funds now or ever. I just want see the picture!


  • Thanks for sharing, but I don’t think you should feel like you need to explain/ defend your production costs/purchases. You’re taking on a huge project, you’ve obviously already invested and sacrificed alot of your own person time and money. The majority of us are just looking forward to see how it all comes together, and really appreciate that you’re willing to involve us with insight of this projects progress.

  • why are you even taking time out to explain this to people? If they’re making these sorts of claims towards you, they don’t know how the industry works and are what you called, ammeters. You only need trust the opinion of us pros. Get back to doing your thing.

  • On a side note re: working with GPU accellerated 4K

    Sony Vegas always seems to be ahead of the other editors out there…. just saying ;)

  • *Disclaimer
    I am going to sound very rude but the guy asked for it.

    After reading this post I went over to eoshd to see where all this “started”. I was shocked!
    What suck even more is the fact that someone commented below the post trying to drive sense into this eoshd guy to explain why he is wrong;

    the conversation goes:

    carsonbenett November 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Being the good journalists that we are, we should read as much as we can about a given situation before we jump to conclusions. Koo is not using any Kickstarter money for the camera purchase, to quote the man himself:

    “Koo on 11.3.11 @ 11:41PM…

    Thanks Michael! I’m actually not going…”

    EOSHD November 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Business, business business.

    It is all I ever hear from most filmmakers these days. “If you’re not making money off your shooting, you’re wasting your money”? What utter crap.”

    When a person points out mistakes in your reporting and further your poor “journalistic skills” the least you can do is ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR MISTAKE(even big newspapers do it)! you dont have to change your opinion entirely just accept the misreporting!

    I could go on and on about how much I’m pissed at this guy! Can I write a guest rant for this Koo? :)

  • It is definitely the right thing to do, spending a reasonable amount of money on something that will not be obsolete for a long time.
    You are absolutely correct on everything besides health insurance, please think again about this.

  • I do not always agree with every technical point Koo makes but his integrity seems beyond reproach. And who else provides and shares SO much useful info? I hope his film is a huge success and that it is just the beginning of a long run of huge hits. Koo definitely deserves it! We will all get to say we knew him back when.

  • Thanks again for your thoughts and support, guys!

    And yes, it’s time to get health insurance. Though looking back on it, at $300/month, two years of health insurance would’ve run $7,000. No way I would be able to order a SCARLET if I’d been insured all this time.

    But that was a calculated risk that is certainly not wise in the long term, so I’m working on it!

  • “NoFilmSchool will not be turning its back on DSLRs and lower-end projects/shooters/budgets. More on this soon!”
    Thank God for that!
    I hit this site like 10 times a day (on average) and it’s become a reference tool, source of inspiration, and quite frankly a much needed pit stop for an industry newbie like myself.
    Awesome articles.
    Thanks a lot Koo. XD

  • Why to go Koo congratulations on the new Camera. A Red Scarlet is a great investment. Even if you buy it out of the Man-Child budget it’s justifiable expenditure.

    Enjoy the new gear. And thanks for the website.

  • I broke down and bought a Scarlet X as well. The deciding factor was the eduction I would get with owning the camera. Is it expensive, yes, very. But this will be my first professional camera, and I am excited. I had to put off owning a car (my brother wrecked my previous one) to afford it. So I feel you.

  • 30 yr establised DP who always regretted not getting an the 16mm Atton LTR when it first came out. If you want to be a DP you have to buy a camera. You have to live with it and have it around like a good hobby. I’ve owened many cameras in my time and with the tax advantages it can be a good investment if your smart about it. Having said that be realistic, If you want to really make money with it the camera is only the beginnig. You need lenses, filters, tripod setup, insurance. Add all that and now you more than double the cost, probably triple with PL glass unless you have friends you can swap with. The camera will also go down sometimes, yes it will.

    At least you can get in reasonably inexpensively with some marginal glass and learn the craft, just be realistic and fair to yourself.

  • Koo, Just go on with your production. Don’t waste your time on negative people. It’s your dream, not theirs.

  • enh… f**k ‘em Koo. You know you are getting close to make your nofilmschool dream a reality when people are starting to upset about it and wring their hands and hem and haw…

    To wit, I have ranted similarly to those folks before (about tech not making a filmmaker), but is just not the case with you. I’ve been a devoted fan and student of your work since your first film project at Midd — I would wager I know your work first hand better than any of those writing negative things about your project or your camera purchase. The truth is that when I have seen your success over the years, I just feel jealous that I have not been able to be as successful in my filmmaking. You have chose to pursue a difficult path and you are succeeding, that is testament to your perseverance. You have chosen a bold path, a path that many others chose not to take. You have nothing else to stand on beside the quality of your work, no connections, no networks, there is no greater commitment to an art than that. I think others that have made safer choices and chipped up to the green, so to speak, are just a bit jealous — like I am.

    Like, s**t, the world is changing and new ways of making film art are not going to replace the old ones, they will probably exist side by side for a while, but the negative responses to your project and camera purchase are just reactionary knee-jerks from the old way of doing things. “In my day, a filmmaker had to…” more of less sums up much of what they say. I do agree with the idea that many companies are selling professionalism with their prosumer stuff, but what’s the big problem with that anyway… (political spoiler) its like the argument against gay marriage… if homosexuals get to say that what they are married, too, then it invalidates what I have… Its just childish.

    to recap: I’m terribly jealous, f**k ‘em, go you.

  • I don’t understand why there would be an issue for you to use the kickstarter money to purchase a camera you’re going to shoot the film with…? You’ve made it very clear that you wouldn’t do that I just don’t know why people would be upset about that. They donated money to help you make this film, why would there be an issue with you spending money on the main piece of equipment necessary to make the film?

    Thank you so much for all the time and hard work you put into making this site a free resource for people like us. It’s fully appreciated and you 100% earned and deserve that camera. You are living proof that you don’t need an expensive film school education to make your dreams become reality in this unforgiving industry.

    Can’t wait to see Man-Child.


  • I actually really liked the EOSHD article but I find it kind of weird that he targeted you… I mean, weren’t you extremely critical of the Red president guy when he talked trash about DSLRs?

    • I was. And you can bet as a RED owner I’ll be vocal about whatever issues I encounter… at no point have I ever been like, “RED makes the best cameras!!!” Every camera is different, and in my particular situation I think this one makes the most sense. I’m a huge fan of the ALEXA, I like the Sony F3 a lot, and the Canon C300 seems really nice if a bit overpriced…

  • Koo,

    Sorry that you had to write this post. It’s admirable that you decided not to use the KIckstarter funds to finance the camera (though certainly it’s in your right to do so).

    One note: While you *can* edit in 4k – why do it? You’re locked to working on only one properly spec’d workstation. Whereas working at an HD resolution you could work on the road, share project files with collaborators and only go to the 4K files when it’s time for finishing.

    • Hey Patrick,

      Premiere Pro seems to handle 4K files well when playing it back at 1/4 res or so. In which case, why transcode to something lower?

      Admittedly, I haven’t tried this on a laptop. But it does seem a decent desktop can handle the .R3Ds without dropping the res.

  • Philip Bloom on 11.22.11 @ 1:13AM

    I am sorry you have to defend so much what you are doing. As a kickstarter backer I trust you implicitly. for anyone who visits this site regularly no that Koo is a straight up guy. he has a story to tell and as an investor I want it to look as good as possible!!

    You should not have been used as an example on Andrew’s site for his rant. It was unfair and dragging people into it personally is out of order. Can’t wait to see the film Koo



  • Fantastic article. Your years ahead of your time! Thanks for your integrity and honesty. You are the real next generation of filmmaker. A creative with pacients and a understanding that this is a keep it up.

  • Thanks Philip and T.C!

  • I hate the fact eosHD couldn’t just make a small footnote to clarify the things he wrote that were wrong. He doesn’t have to change the article, just write what’s true. No reason to fight when you’ve made a mistake. People respect you more when you are willing to make clarifications.

  • Lucas Adamson on 12.2.11 @ 5:13AM

    I also really liked Andrew’s article, as what he is saying is actually very important. It is a shame that he wrongly made the assumption that you were spending Kickstarter funds on the camera, when he wrote this piece (wasn’t it the same day as you declared yourself buying a Scarlet X?) but fundamentally he has the right idea for what is clearly a challenging article, but chose the wrong guy, as you are obviously climbing up and out of lo-fi movie making and into a more professional sector, and doing so with aplomb. The basic gist of his article is so right though – there are thousands of people out there backwards thinking the whole film making process, and materialism is replacing creativity and talent in the process.

    “I find it interesting that Ryan Koo of Nofilmschool recently pre-ordered the new Scarlet-X for $10k, and once all the accessories and SSD cards are accounted for it will cost upwards of $20k. Before his successful Kickstarter campaign Koo was a DSLR shooter and he still is an aspiring filmmaker, and I wish him the best of luck. Of course he can invest how he sees fit but isn’t the generously donated $120k better spent on the actual film? Hell knows why he felt he needed it. It is like a guitarist joining a band and immediately feeling the need to splash $10k on a guitar and $4k on an amp before writing songs and jamming with his band members.”

    He should certainly amend this, now he knows better.

  • You should rent “Celebration” and your DP too.

    • Great film… saw it ten years ago. Not sure what point you’re trying to make, however… different tools and storytelling approaches for (very) different stories.

  • Hi, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!