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RED SCARLET-X First Impressions

12.14.11 @ 4:37PM Tags : , , , ,

I’ve had my RED SCARLET-X for about a week now, but am still waiting for some third party batteries which got unexpectedly delayed. Thankfully, Tonaci Tran (who was the first person to get his hands on a RED SCARLET-X and was also the first to post footage from it) has written up his first impressions, and shared feature film footage from the SCARLET. I also have some initial thoughts of my own based on running the camera on AC power. Here’s the new clip posted by Tonaci, and my own thoughts so far:

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We’ve heard about some high-profile RED reliability issues, but here’s Tonaci with the flip side of the equation:

As of this writing, [the crew] just finished Day 13 and I am happy to report that the Red Scarlet-X has been running non-stop flawlessly. You have to keep in mind that in Vietnam, the budgets are too low to afford backup cameras. Fortunately, “knock on wood,” no Red camera has ever failed on us in the past 3 years working in Vietnam on 20 feature films and over one hundred commercials… A good bulk of my work is supporting feature films in Vietnam where there are very little resources. If Red cameras were unreliable, I would have zero chance of ever sustaining a rental business and shooting movies overseas. It’s not like I can drive down to Hollywood to pickup a backup camera. If my Red Epics gave me grief, I definitely would not have ordered the Scarlets. As of this writing today, I am currently managing five Red Epics and two Red Scarlets on seven different jobs all happening at once.

Check out Tonaci’s full post for more of his thoughts, as well as a downloadable .R3D still file (use REDCINE-X PRO to grade it). For more .R3D files from a SCARLET, see Will Wernick’s post.

An aside about IR pollution

About the footage posted above: one, I think the EPIC/SCARLET handles highlights much nicer than did the RED ONE/MX. Two — and most everyone who’s shot on a RED will say this — the flexibility you have in post with a RED is so far above and beyond working with h.264 video files that they feel like different mediums. And this is why I think it’s harder to make snap judgements about RED clips than DSLR stuff: you’re not just judging the photographer, you’re also judging the colorist — the “developer” — much more so than on cameras that bake-in a look. That said, if I had to pick one bone with the RED stuff I’ve seen over the years, it would be that a lot of it has an overly brownish tint to my eye. Given you’re working with RAW files, this should be easy to remove in post, right? Or is something else going on?

Not to get too deep into it, but I wonder after watching this excellent demonstration of IR pollution (also known as “far red”) by Ryan E. Walters if that’s what I’ve been reacting to over the years. I won’t go too much into it — Ryan does so in his post — but check out how this RED EPIC (and any highly sensitive digital sensor) responds to infrared light once you start putting ND filters in front:

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That there would be such a brownish/reddish cast, even after white balancing in post, was eye-opening to me. Certainly makes the Schneider Platinum IRND filters look like a must-have for the RED DSMCs. For the ARRI ALEXA, DP Art Adams recommends the Tiffen T1 filters. Anyone have any thoughts on IR pollution they’d like to share?

First impressions

A note about why I haven’t been able to shoot anything on my SCARLET yet: despite RED often being in backorder for accessories, this is not their fault. I decided to buy the PL mount version of the SCARLET-X despite not owning any PL lenses at present, knowing that I would eventually upgrade to PL glass (and in the meantime I’ll have the flexibility of renting PL lenses). Because the PL version was shipping first, this is one of the reasons I received one of the earlier cameras — serial number 00072, to be precise — but until I receive my Canon mount, I don’t have any compatible glass sitting around. I also ordered third party batteries which have taken longer to ship than expected (and promised), so in addition to being without lenses, I’m also currently restricted to wall power. As soon as I get batteries in, I’m looking forward to doing some tests here in NYC in collaboration with some other shooters and production houses (who have PL glass). For the time being, then, here are some initial thoughts, coming from someone who has shot on traditional video cameras and HDSLRs for years:

The camera powers on quickly — the RED ONE took over a minute to boot up, whereas the SCARLET takes eleven seconds. The touchscreen menu is intuitive and informative, though as with all touchscreens, you will have “missed” button presses. The REDMOTE and Side Handle give you tactile buttons.

As I noted before, usually when you open a camera package you expect a warranty card, a printed manual, CDs with software and drivers, some sort of service contract with numbers to call, more documents that upsell you on accessories… for my SCARLET, at least, there was none of this. Just a (very securely packed) box with the “brain” inside.

It’s pro. Everything is thick, heavy duty metal. If someone tries to steal your RED, the best thing to do would be to hit them over the head… with your RED. It’s a rectangular brick; as they used to say about 80′s SUVs, the RED features “barn-door aerodynamics.” Anyone hit in the head with a flying RED will die instantly. In 4K.

A “nuclear reactor in a matchbox” requires a fan. Yes, many cameras these days use fans to keep cool, given the amount of processing that high-resolution, high frame-rate video requires — but the RED DSMC system is so compact (as compared to, say, the cooling needs in the much larger, but still fan-utilizing ARRI ALEXA) that the fan must stay on at all times — even when recording. The fan slows down when you hit REC, but it does not shut off; it’s still generating a bit of noise, so in a quiet room make sure your boom is pointing away from the camera. This is not so much a consideration for narrative features, but documentary filmmakers take note: do not ever expect to use an on-camera mic with a RED DSMC. There is a top facing fan and a front-facing fan, and both generate enough noise (even while recording) to ruin any chance at good on-camera audio. It can be an issue, even on narrative film sets. It’s not something I’ve heard discussed much, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Other shooters have found that setting the fan at 35-40% during recording yields a fairly quiet camera that can run for extremely long takes; so far I’ve just left my SCARLET on “Auto,” but manual settings are available. Ultimately, I’d rather have a 4K RAW camera with fan noise than a silent 1080p camera, but again… as with all things RED, it’s not for everyone.

How much tighter is the space inside a RED than an ALEXA? See here:

A “nuclear reactor in a matchbox” also requires a lot of power. The SCARLET runs at approximately 60W/h, which makes it easy to predict runtimes: a 30Wh REDVOLT will power the camera for roughly 30 minutes of shooting (36 minutes seems to be what you get in practice). Note that power management is not enabled in firmware yet, so a REDVOLT gives you the same amount of runtime whether you’re recording or not — that number should increase in the future (by how much, no one really knows). A larger 140W/h REDBRICK should power the camera for over two hours. I ordered some 160/Wh V-mount batteries and they should last nearly three hours apiece. There’s also a REDVOLT XL on the way, which will be 90W/h. But compared to a Sony F3 or Canon C300, you are going to buy — and pack more — batteries with a RED.

In retrospect, I think it’s a good thing that RED didn’t release their “$3K for 3K” small sensor camcorder. Shooters who want a small sensor camera are being served well by Canon, Sony, JVC, and Panasonic, and RED’s entire ecosystem isn’t as “friendly” as those manufacturer’s. Most people want to pick up a camera and get a pretty image by default — RED is more akin to using a film camera. You have to “develop” your footage. I’m working on a feature and I’m a big fan of tinkering in post, which is why I bought one. People who are dissatisfied with the images straight out of the camera, however, may end up as dissatisfied customers, and compared to the massive HDSLR market, RED is — and should stay — a niche market. By “niche market,” I mean tens of thousands as opposed to millions.

RED’s polarizing effect

Ultimately, the RED is such a polarizing camera that I had to shut down comments on post about RED (a first for this site). Why is it so polarizing? Part of it is the at-times offputting attitude of RED. Some of it is a result of backlash against the fanboyism frequently found on REDUSER. Some people just don’t like their “badass” design aesthetic. And RED only sells direct, so for many camera stores it’s in their best interest to talk down the RED and talk up any camera they sell. But I think one of the main reason the RED is such a polarizing camera is because it’s designed for a very specific purpose, much more so than camcorders from Sony, Canon, or Panasonic. Those three manufacturers make cameras that fit into existing workflows, and with a few exceptions, they apply in-camera “looks” to try to get you as close as possible to a pleasing image out-of-the-box (in exchange for reduced flexibility in post). Their cameras feature long run times on small batteries, they are virtually silent, and they run seldom-updated, mature software: they are more convenient. RED cameras, on the other hand, are really designed to make narrative features. On a set. With a full crew. And a DIT. And lights. Yes, the DSMCs have definite applications for fashion shoots — partially because everyone wants video content in addition to stills these days, so they can create multimedia features — but my point is that the RED is not an ideal camera for the kind of run-and-gun, low profile, no lights shooting that HDSLR owners take for granted these days. You can still shoot in low light — the following was shot on a SCARLET at ISO 1600 for example — but I expect the F3 and C300 to be better in these kinds of conditions.

Keep in mind this was at T2.9.

I’m making a feature film and that’s why I bought a RED. But I think the more people read about the Canon C300 the more they come to understand the following: if you’re running a home production company, if you do corporate videos or weddings, if your primary delivery medium is the web or DVD — the RED is not designed for you. Yes, it’s small, yes, it’s sensitive, and yes you can configure it for run-and-gun situations — but if you want a camera to get you “most of the way there with minimal effort,” this is not your solution.

Personally, I can’t wait to unplug this thing from the wall, slap on some proper PL glass, and shoot. That said, I’m not going to be Johnny-on-the-spot with tests, given I’m working on a new draft of my script, I’m still looking for the right producer, and camera tests are only going to help me to the extent that they help Man Child. There are enough camera tests in this world and the just-shipping SCARLET, for most intents and purposes, yields the same image as the extant EPIC.


If you’re like me, you’ve shot with a variety of cameras over the years. Were you a Canon fanboy when you were shooting on Canon? Were you a Sony fanboy when you were shooting on Sony? Were you a Panasonic fanboy when you were shooting on Panasonic? No. You shoot with the best camera that’s in your price range for your particular needs at the time (I’ve owned cameras from all of the above). There’s an infamous quote by the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who said, “You go to war with the army you have — not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Similarly, you shoot your movie with the camera you have — not the camera you might want or wish to have at a later time. All things being equal, I love the dynamic range, colorimetry, and highlight detail/roll-off of the ARRI ALEXA. As a RED owner I’m not afraid to admit that. But if it comes down to shooting my sports feature on one rented ALEXA or multiple rented REDs (with my own thrown into the mix)… the latter makes the most sense.

So I’m not a fanboy, and I think that fact alone should make this site a good source of even-handed information about the SCARLET-X. But I will say this: I did not make the SCARLET the largest purchase of my life because I think it is the best camera just for the time being. Despite RED’s shortcomings — buggy firmware, availability issues, numerous delays — I don’t think anyone would deny that they’ve worked very hard, and effectively, at constantly improving things. REDCINE-X Pro is an improvement on the original software. They’re getting better at manufacturing, and their backorder times are dropping. The MX sensor was a step up from the original, and everyone expects the Dragon sensor to be a step up from the current EPIC/SCARLET sensor. As someone who has sold several obsolete cameras on eBay, I very much like the concept of dropping a new sensor into an existing camera. You can’t do that with anyone else’s camera, and I bought into the RED system because I think, compared to the other cameras on the market right now, the SCARLET will remain a good investment for a longer period of time. However, I wanted to share my thoughts on the power, fan, and other RED issues in case there are folks out there mulling over which system they’re going to invest in.

Now, back to working on the movie…


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 73 COMMENTS

  • First and finally cant wait for the video review

  • Darius Lyles on 12.14.11 @ 5:09PM

    Koo you are the man and it shows in how you tell it like it is. No agenda just facts!

    • Oh, I have an agenda… trying to make this movie! :)

      • I like that agenda! Make that film, man.
        Great post, balanced as always. And I have to second the kudos for your turn of phrase about using the camera as the way to protect the camera. It would be quite a fantastic gravestone. Here lies Douchey McDouche done in… in 4k.

      • Im been sitting on aftermarket parts, for the Red,
        Hit 14k already over the the last 3yers
        but it all has some future proof with product
        I have. cause I don’t like to rent.

  • Great post, patiently waiting for mine to arrive.


  • Thanks for your continued balanced and practical feedback regarding your experiences with your Scarlet. I’ve ordered 2 Scarlets for the purposes of shooting stereo 3D and look forward to corresponding with you.

  • ” very much like the concept of dropping a new sensor into an existing camera. You can’t do that with anyone else’s camera,”

    Koo, with all due respect, people keep going back to that like it’s something they will personally do it, we know it’s far more complex than that, it will take a long time, and Jannard has mentioned it will require changing the insides of the camera and it will be way more expensive for the scarlet-x owners. so ok, c300 doesn’t give you that option, but that’s like when duclos on his blog mentioned that sometimes fixing a broken dslr is way more expensive than just buying a new one, i feel that changing the sensor to dragon on the scarlet-x is just about the same as buying a new camera. the mx sensor upgrade price was +30% of the price of a camera body, with the scarlet-x we dont have a clue.

    you make alot of valid points as for why you bought it, and i can agree with many of them except that one.

    • I didn’t mean to imply that it was something an individual could do (did I say it was?). But if you’re investing $30k in a system, it’s nice to know that you have an upgrade path wherein all of your bits and pieces will continue to work. I know it will take a long time, and I don’t doubt it will cost a substantial % of the camera’s original price. But let’s take Canon by comparison: they’re already talking about how the C300 is just the first of many cameras, they’ve said they’re going 4K, and they’ve said that they had to use the 8 bit 50Mbit codec because that’s what they had to work with for this first camera. Regardless of how GOOD of an 8-bit implementation it has, 3 years from now will the C300 be as competitive? As I said, “you go to war with the camera you have” — so by all means, the C300 is a GOOD camera. But a camera is an investment. And the RED should actually be better with Canon lenses than is the Canon (autofocus, for one), plus it has an upgradeable sensor — say two years from now , conservatively– plus it’s 4K. Because of these factors, if I were deciding how many years to amortize my camera over, I would expect the SCARLET to be in use for longer.

      • I don’t understand the fuzz about autofocus (or lackt thereof). I mean… it’s quite useful for photography, but I don’t really see a *need* for autofocus on a camcorder. Am I missing something?

        • With autofocus, the C300 could be a great documentary camera, but manual-only would make that slightly trickier, David. I agree with you though – for a camera like a RED which is best suited for narrative work with a full crew, the option of AF isn’t a selling point the way it is for a smaller camera/DSLR.

          • I agree autofocus has saved my ass a few times. I wasn’t use to it working with video but with still and video capabilities its very rare I am not taking photos in the same day, and for documentaries its very convenient to have the camera take a quick estimate on focus with the click of a button and you take it from there. Especially for things that move unscripted. Its not needed, but its damn useful.

        • Right now, it’s primarily an issue for photography.

          But in the future, it’s POSSIBLE — no guarantees — that the REDMOTE PRO, which has a focus wheel, could operate Canon autofocus lenses as a gearless follow focus. Canon L lenses are fast and (compared to PL glass) cheap, so this is something to keep an eye on…

  • Can’t believe ou quoted Donald Rumsfeld. Mad loss of respect.

  • Clayton Arnall on 12.14.11 @ 6:33PM

    Koo, curious how you plan to shoot the sports scenes? I think in a previous post a while ago you said you planned on using a stedi cam of some kind, but you also said you wanted a higher frame rate for slow mo? Curious if you’ve found a good way to do this seeing as the crop factor is 3.9x at 60p. I would assume this would require some wide lenses if going for a stedi cam type shot – just wondering how those shots look (distortion wise etc.) when using a wide lens which is then cropped heavily by the camera. Would love to see some test shots of that.

  • Like all of your stuff, well thought out. Hopefully RED doesn’t find any of the issues you raised as defamatory of negative or that stuff you’re waiting for might just get pushed to the back of the line… Wait was that negative… I just don’t know anymore….

    • They’re going to be getting a lot of “column inches” from me — and hopefully a decently publicized, well-shot drama as well — so I don’t imagine they’d have any issues with honest appraisals…

      • You haven’t read Philip Bloom’s experience with RED!??! In short, they bought his camera back because of his “Honest Appraisals.”

  • Before I get flamed…

    I use RED and I don’t use RED. All depends on the project, budget, time, and goals of the project. Right camera for the right purpose and right job.

    I’m of the opinion to spend less on the latest greatest camera toy, sorry tool, take the money you saved and put it in the art department so there is more stuff so see, hire better talent so your script is better acted, hire a proper sound guy with his high end audio kit so it sounds great and never feed your crew pizza.

    At the end of the day the audience doesn’t care what camera you shot on, just whether they liked your film and connected with your characters.

    And I’ve been as guilty as anyone as I’m a bit of gear junkie but as its been said many times before and will likely need to be said many times in the future, its the people and not the tools. Tools enable but do not inspire.

    • Agreed! This is why I bought the camera with my own $ and plan on using it for a lot of things over the next 4 years… not just my (first) feature. As for why this helps put more $ on screen, that has to do with tax deduction/fiscal year/capital expenditure/amortization reasons. That could be a post in and of itself…

  • Hey Koo,

    Great review. I can’t wait for mine to arrive, and am excited to see your sample footage.

    One thing that did strike out a bit, though, was “the RED is not an ideal camera for the kind of run-and-gun, low profile, no lights shooting that HDSLR owners take for granted these days.”

    I understand that there are a number of people around the world that simply pick up these HDSLRs after watching a few online videos, go with the 24-105 stock lens, and have at it without any consideration for lighting. Conversely, there are those out there that spend time making the image look as great as possible with a crew, lighting setup, and their HDSLR rigged out.

    It doesn’t seem fair to categorize HDSLR shooters as ones that abuse open apertures and are completely ignorant/arrogant when it comes to setting a shot properly. As you said, you make do with what’s available to you today, and achieve the look and style you set out for. (Again, though, I do agree that the market is over-saturated with people who have little understanding of the limitations on their HDSLR).

    • I didn’t mean that to suggest “DSLR shooters are haphazard and/or unskilled,” but instead to say “some DSLRs are so sensitive that you get used to being able to shoot without lights.” The RED sensor is natively 800 ISO and you can push it pretty far in port, but it’s not going to handle 6,400 + ISO as well as some DSLRs or the F3/C300. That sentence was meant to be a warning for anyone who might buy a RED thinking they’ll be able to shoot in EXTREMELY low light… not a denigration of DSLR shooters.

    • Brendan/Koo – you both make a great point. Since I like having the freedom of running and gunning with a skeleton (or zero) crew, this really isn’t the most ideal camera for me. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys are able to do with the Scarlets and a proper crew.

      Although I love the crispness of RED, I couldn’t have shot this in a half day with zero crew on RED. It could’ve looked much better with a RED and full grip crew (or even a little more time lighting), but for the time/effort put in I was happy with how well it turned out, thanks to the latitude of the GH2.

  • Ewan Thomas on 12.14.11 @ 7:50PM

    Koo I hope the Scarlet lives up to your expectations when you get all the bits to make it work. I’ve had this sort of thing with my Nex-5n recently (not having any e-mount lenses) then I got one and it blew my mind!

    I just saw a feature Another Earth shot on EX3 and it wasn’t amazing tho not without merit. It looked awful for one thing (so little of it was actually in focus! underexposed etc) and that actually made a big difference to my enjoyment of the film because I was distracted by how poor it was visually.

    On Allan’s point, I’d say the camera is irrelevant, but your film should look good, be well lit, and in focus, those are basics and the format too is not as important as set-design or the most important thing, casting. Because a great DOP can get a great result on any camera. Another Earth wasn’t good visually and my non film-maker friends were as unimpressed as I was.

  • IR pollution is an issue with the ND filters used. This is not an issue with Red.

    Prior to digital imagining, ND filters only blocked visible light. The IR light passes through them freely. But since digital sensors are sensitive to, and are effected by IR light, traditional ND filters are not compatible.

    Traditional ND filters will block visible light evenly, but allow IR light to pass through freely. As ND is added, the imbalance of IR and visible light becomes more and more problematic.

    Digital cameras require full spectrum ND filters.

  • Rev. Benjamin on 12.14.11 @ 11:38PM

    After all the silliness that has been the comments, competing blog posts, and probably insane amounts of RED hate mail you’ve had to deal with, you’ve still written an entirely unbiased, incredibly read-able blog post. I’d say this is one of your best yet – a portfolio piece if you will. Great job on this one Koo!

    Also, I love:
    “Anyone hit in the head with a flying RED will die instantly. In 4K.” THAT’s where RED beats my GH2… I don’t think I could kill a mockingbird with that thing. : ) Ah, to kill a mockingbird… what?

  • Interesting problem with IR and Red. I have an AF-100 and have no issues with the built in ND filters. I’ve even used a 3 stop HD in a matte box so I could stop down in daylight with no issues. Maybe its a RED issue?

    • No. Although, different camera manufacturers apply different amounts of IR filtration o the sensor. Though, I can see how the article was confusing. It definitely could be understood like it was aimed at Red cameras in particular, but that would be inaccurate information.

      • Gotcha… that’s why I said “any highly sensitive digital sensor,” and also mentioned the ALEXA — not just a RED issue.

  • If A Chinese Makes Red – Then it was Fully loaded With Multiple Frame Rates, till 12000 fps, 8 XLR, ISO – 5,000,000. 1/8 Size of Red Scarlet. price @ $ 499. Only. And There Quote Will Be IFa YOUuuu WANaT Youa Take-a Ittte Ore Else Leavea Iteee.

  • I just found these amazing low-light frame grabs from a Red Epic in combination with a voigtlander. Does anyone know what Voigtlander that is? I just couldn’t find that much videos with the combo of Epic and Voigtlander. Which is pretty weird, since the images are amazing.

    Link can be found here:

  • Hello Koo:
    I like the post, thanks for your continuos efforts and sharing. On a side note, please tell me where you picked up your Canon mount. I’m looking to go the same route as you. (EF—> PL )

    Thanks Koo

    • I just ordered the RED Canon mount. I was going to try to wait for the Aluminum version, but it seems that’s going to be backordered indefinitely (as they’re all reserved for SCARLET orders), so I just ordered the Ti mount.

  • Lliam Worthington on 12.15.11 @ 8:38AM

    Thanks Koo. Terrific Blog.

    Best WIshes


  • RE: infrared spill

    I’ve ran some tests with my cheap screw-in tiffen ND filters: no color shift indoors, but clearly a lot outdoors, it looks like IR spill; it is mostly corrected using the custom WB on my canon (each time I change lenses or filters, take a still, use it for WB)

  • Among the best blogs I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, thank you. Ordering my Scarlet this week!

  • “If someone tries to steal your RED, the best thing to do would be to hit them over the head… with your RED. It’s a rectangular brick”

    Haha, great quote.

  • I would like to see how the C300 internal ND-filters look like and how much IR light it lets in. Prob just as bad as Scarlet-X with the Formatt filters.. ?

    • Yes, it is the ND filter. Most traditional ND’s and almost all cheap ND’s are only blocking visible light, so as they block more light, the Infrared light becomes more apparent. This happens on any digital camera. Some more than others, because there is an IR filter on the sensor, but some filter more than others.

      It is not a Red defect, it is using the wrong ND’s for digital cameras.

  • “…I’m still looking for the right producer…”

    I’d like to hear more about this: what you look for in the right producer, how your search is going, and so forth. :)

    Best of luck with the camera and the feature.

    • I’d like to hear more too…
      What you look for in a producer, why you haven’t gone with the people you have met with, what you expect from them, etc.

  • “Ultimately, I’d rather have a 4K RAW camera with fan noise than a silent 1080p camera”

    Fine for music videos, commercials, exteriors and action scenes; maybe not the right choice for interviews or dialogue-based drama… Pointing a boom mic in the opposite direction isn’t a solution unless there is only one speaker and the speaker is static; if you move the microphone (e.g. with more than one actor, or with moving actors), the fan noise will change in frequency and level: ADR time.

    Sync cameras have been silent for decades. What’s with the reintroduction of noisy cameras? Arri, Panavision, Aaton, Canon, Sony and Panasonic all make near-silent cameras with plenty of resolution for the big screen.

    • I think it’s pretty clear in the post why this camera has a fan and the others don’t. The RED is 4K (more processing). The RED is smaller (more heat). I wanted to raise awareness of the issue, but I don’t think it’s going to cause issues with dialogue-based drama unless your actor is RIGHT NEXT to a RED and the boom is right there too.

      • Don’t see the fan noise being an issue for productions, but is of particular interest to me, from a cinema verite’ documentary one-man-crew style use.

        I’d imagine testing an on camera mic, would be outside the scope of your needs, but I would be interested if you were to do such a test.

        • I should be able to do this test, but I will say that I don’t think the RED is right for one-man-crew, cinema verite shooting. At all. Get a C300 or F3 — quieter, lighter, the batteries last forever, you can record forever on their media, and ingest hundreds of hours of footage without needing a supercomputer. My $0.02.

          • Thanks. I wouldn’t readily recommend it either. But the only two things that kill the camera for these purposes, are the 11secs start up time (film is on and go), and the fan noise. Other than that, it is cheaper than film with shorter down times, and far easier storage and edit workflow (that is also cheaper.) The c300 and F3 are far more convenient and cheap, but are still 8bit HD, which is fine, but there is a texture issue I have with HD. It is either crisp jaggy’s or a murky mess. 4k has smooth tonal true detail, in comparison. It is also good to note that cinema verite was a style developed during the days of film and large low-performance batteries.

            Thanks again, for your input and readiness to share.

      • I can’t speak for the Scarlet, never having used one, but the Epic and One/MX both present issues for sound in interiors, especially as the camera warms up (at the start of the day, they can be nearly silent). For quiet dialogue on a lit set/location, the fans will be audible even with the mic on the far side of a largish room, even with the cameras recording at their quietest settings. Sounds like an electronic ballast or desktop PC (or any of the other things that normally get turned off or removed before filming).

        Not a problem if your end product will be watched on Vimeo or YouTube, but painful through cinema speakers. Bigger productions solve the problem with money: a few million will buy you a combination of good noise reduction, ADR, Foley and sound editing and make it sound like the scene was shot on film, Alexa or… DSLR! Lower budget productions have to make do with masking the noise with music or traffic atmos etc. or else just leaving it as it is.

        I’d be interested to hear your own findings once you start shooting on the Scarlet.

  • There is something that intrigues me so much and no one has talked about it and is how sharp is the CANON C300 compared with RED SCARLET. For me the image quality and definition is one of the key points when deciding on a camera. And the truth about how little has been online the c300 does not come out very well the fight. Any comment ?

  • “In retrospect, I think it’s a good thing that RED didn’t release their “$3K for 3K” small sensor camcorder.”



  • You’re right Koo but the many other aspects has been discussed before and there are those who are evaluating the c300 to make movies and this is one of the most important points to consider as the monetary difference is not remarkable IMO to deciding on the c300. There are many factors to take into account both post-production to the final result. And if after so much sacrifice my short film or movie when go up to 35mm see a little “out of focus” I have not saved some money. My two cents.

    So, for a new filmmaker trying to break through in a professional field with some money, RED is my way to go.

  • Way too much talk about cameras !!! To be honest the first Scarlett footage just looks like video – very electronic and viewed on the web is meaningless as it could have been shot on anything pretty much. I’m glad you bought a Scarlett and I am sure many followers of your site are interested in the spec, info etc. but I get the feeling that there is an awful lot of effort being expended here in justfying a purchase – we all do it, I have done it many times but you get to a point where you say “shall we move on now”. As a backer of Man Child I am more interested in finding out how this project is progressing and not about which camera it is being shot on – save that for the camera department. If are a director then your focus should now be on story, actors and how you are going to feed them all on set. As a zero budget film maker – the cost of decent food for everyone to eat is often far more relevant in the film making process than which camera I am shooting on. No-one cares.

    • +1 Martin.

      • I just reread your post, Martin. So, I am going to clarify my +1.
        My plus one was for the comment on the scarlet looking like video. Mainly, because it is video. With all the cons and pros that come with it.
        The other side of the plus one, was your interest in all parts of the production, and how you feel the story is King.
        A plus one for food being most important.
        And another plus one for the heart and good intent.
        And another plus one for being a backer.
        And another plus one for being engaged and involved. It’s through people sharing their experiences that have benefitted me the most.

    • If you don’t want to read about cameras, then don’t read the articles about cameras. :) Koo has proven to me that his website is hardly one dimensional. Understandably, he’s talking a lot about the $15,000 camera he just purchased. When he’s filming I’m sure we’ll hear about his experiences as a director, and when he’s editing Manchild I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about editing.

  • I agree with Martin, this talking just about cameras looks like to showing off who has bigger attributes, and filmmaking is not about cameras. I think it’s fine to talk about some new feature, cameras but Cinema is not about that, it’s about storytelling. It’s true that Cinematograhy has to support the story, and so also the Camera, but they’re not the main thing. Remember that Script is the King! Main thing is going out there and shot something with what we have at hand, tomorrow is another day! And I’m talking also for myself! Then I’d love to read on this interesting blog I check everyday, more about Storytelling, Interviews to Directors, Dop and other crew people, see short films and DIY tricks&tips… since november it’s just about Canon VS Red and it’s going to be pretty boring, looks like ten years ago battle between Film VS Digital… The winner is always the Script!

  • Martin and Rubamatik –

    It’s not an either/or thing. This site should grow into a resource about all aspects of filmmaking including directing and writing, but right now I’ve got this new camera and a lot of people are wondering about it. So that’s what I’m sharing. I can’t be here writing articles all day on every topic — because, yes, I’m off working on the script for Man Child and, believe me, if I had something interesting or useful to report I would. But I don’t. I’m stuck in the murky phase of taking meetings and notes and going through revisions, and right now I just don’t have anything interesting to share about that. All in good time.

    • I wrestle with this one constantly, the pre-eminence of camera and technology over the other elements of filmmaking craft. I think it comes down to the predictability and the knowability of the camera. After all it is plastic and glass, you can understand how it’s going to behave and plan accordingly. So much of the craft of filmmaking is based on hunches, best guesses and instinct and it’s nice to have something firm and concrete to hook all that other flimsy stuff onto. The other part that is concrete and knowable is the budget and that’s far less pleasant to talk about and, as far as I know, hasn’t spawned any communities on Vimeo. I think Koo’s journey as a producer/director is perfectly articulated on this site. Whether that’s what you want to see or not, you can’t accuse of him of not sharing his own struggles. My own experiences of filmmaking have taught me that, really, director is king. Or maybe he’s more like an emperor, controlling a collection of kingdoms, all with their own individual monarchs, petty squabbles and in-fighting. The kingdom of script is tiny, populated most likely by a single individual and therefore it’s easy to rush through. In truth it requires as much time and effort as all the others but because it is relatively cheap, and we all know how to write, it’s not as valued as it should be.

      I wish I could state unequivocally that the script is king because then I’d know exactly what to focus all my energies on, but that just isn’t the case. All the departments demand equal attention and care. Which is why film is collaborative, which is why it’s expensive. We struggle through doing the best we can and often that best is very very good, but if the triangle of good:fast:cheap applies to the end product, the internal workings of film production are more like a triskaidecahedron. And how on earth are we supposed to keep all those balls up in the air?


  • Quick question. Which Batteries are you buying actually? and how are you planning ot connect it to your Scarlet? thanks. -vitaly

    • Writing a “RED powering options” post now!

      • I just ordered the Wooden Camera quick back, backplate, and V Mount. totalling 600 bucks. not cheap. But I already have the V Mount red batteries from my RED ONE, plsu i got 4 redvolts just in case as well.
        If you have some better options let me know now! before all my cash is gone… :)