Cautionary Thoughts on the RED SCARLET-X from Philip Bloom
I’ve mentioned a dozen reasons I ordered a SCARLET-X in the past, but not all of those reasons apply to everyone. Far from it. For documentary filmmakers and low-budget or reality TV, in fact, I think the RED would present a lot more workflow obstacles than other (non 4K, non RAW) cameras. Beyond this, RED has a reputation for shipping “beta” cameras, and EPIC owner Philip Bloom has posted about just this:
So all in all. Is this the camera for you? Possibly. Weigh up the pros and cons and the costs especially. Working with the Epic is a dream and a massive pain in the butt that almost always pays off in the end. Despite having 3 shoots which have had huge issues with my Epic. Total lockdown on my first commercial, had to be sent back. BAD skipped frames on “Host” making sync a nightmare and on my last piece, done for fun…The Redneck Hippie buzzing all over the audio. I still love the camera and will continue to shoot with it a lot. But this is the first time in 23 years of shooting that I have gone on a job with a camera that I don’t trust. I worry about how reliable the Scarlet will be. I really hope the all the issues will be ironed out so nobody goes through what I have gone through. My Sony F3… how many times has it gone wrong? Never. How many issues have I had? None.
Read his whole piece, as it’s a must-read for anyone considering a RED. Nothing he says there changes my mind — one, I was already aware of the camera’s issues, and two, we won’t be shooting Man-child until this coming summer. So there’s a lot of time for me to shoot tests and shorts to iron out the kinks before needing a camera that’s rock-solid six months from now. This is not a situation everyone is in, however, so definitely read Philip’s thoughts before pulling the trigger. However, I have one correction to his post:
The Scarlet is not killer in low light. When it gets the (paid for) upgrade to the Dragon chip maybe next year it will be, until then the chip is 3 and a half years old.
This didn’t seem to be correct (the age part) so I checked with RED and they confirmed that the sensor was designed for EPIC, which only recently started shipping, though there’s no “born on dating.”
For reference, here’s Philip’s EPIC piece on “The Redneck Hippie.” You won’t get this kind of slow motion from
most any other camera even the EPIC, as they were shot on a Phantom Flex, but then again, how frequently do you need super slow-motion?