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A RED SCARLET-X Video Review and Short Film

01.4.12 @ 9:47AM Tags : , , ,

Sebastian at Cinema5D has released a short film shot on his Canon-mount SCARLET, and some very nice video overviews to go with it. Since you can’t get your hands on a RED camera at a normal camera shop — they only sell direct — these video overviews are very helpful. Here’s the short, which was shot in 3 hours on the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L lens (more details on the shoot here) and graded in DaVinci Resolve:

Sebastian and crew recorded sound to a Zoom H4n — they couldn’t get audio working on the SCARLET, likely because the SCARLET (and EPIC) have balanced 1/8″ inputs. These are nonstandard 1/8″ inputs — they are superior to unbalanced stereo mini input, but require special adapters (I have two of these, which work, and also one of these, which I haven’t unpacked yet).

Onto the video overviews. These are collectively less of a review and more of a well-done introduction to the camera. Note via FreshDV that there are reports of firmware 2.0.5, which is the release version for SCARLET, causing issues on EPIC cameras — though 2.0.5 is still marked as BETA for EPIC cameras.

I’m going to leave this one up to you guys to evaluate. What do you think of the images?

Link: Short film shot on RED Scarlet-X – Cinema5D

[via FreshDV]


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!

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  • Fauxtogramme on 01.4.12 @ 10:54AM

    So nice. I highly recommend downloading the HD file on the Vimeo site.

  • The images are awesome. Great short! FINALLY… something that can keep my attention that was shot on Scarlet.

  • A decent short although it looks like it could have been shot on a DSLR. I guess I was expecting something more out of the image because of it being shot with a Scarlet.

    The reviews of the camera are fantastic.

      • Lighting,

        • What about lighting?

          • It was all natural light, I believe. If they had used some additional lights to help sculpt the imagery of the scene, the camera could have really shined.

            That being said, still looks good as is. This could have been with a 5D? Well duh. But they had a Scarlet and were using this short a test to see how the camera worked in the field. Not every short or camera test is gonna push a camera to its limits, nor need it have to.

    • Fauxtogramme on 01.4.12 @ 11:52AM

      It would have been nice to have a detailed establishing shot of the forest, just to check the amazing detail the camera is capable of.

    • I agree too, the should have used a 5d as a cam on transformers, and drive, and mission impossible, it all looks the same right?!

    • definitely could NOT have been shot with a DSLR. i’m no RED fanboy, but there’s currently no dslr in the world that will provide that level of clarity and definition at 1080p.

  • Am I the only person who thought this just wasn’t very good (besides the acting)?

    • It’s a camera test. Good movies take a lot of time in prep to make… doing a test with what you have handy, and shooting something that resembles a narrative film, is far more helpful than just shooting people’s faces or resolution charts. To me, anyway. Hell, I shot a test film that doesn’t even have any dialogue! (coming soon). But I think you have to manage your expectations for test shorts. We’re looking at image quality here.

  • How you compare the batteries of this camera to, lets say, Canon C300?

  • I actually found there to be a lot of ART in this film.. even if they just whipped it together.

    Sure you can probably achieve this look with a 5d, but the flexibility you have when shooting RAW is what makes this camera a winner.

  • uh, I have a 5dmkII and don’t think in heck it would hold up to this. It would be beautiful and work fine but it would not be nearly as sharp and the highlights would be blown way before the scarlett.

    Just adding some realism. I can’t afford a Scarlett or C300 so I’ll probablly get a mkIII

    • Oh and the workflow could not of worked with a 5dmkII or even a C300 – on the write up they show the light difference that occurred between the shots. Since he had true raw, he could match the shots perfectly. This would not be possible with a limited codec. I’ve tried in Davinci and it gets ugly!

      • I would also add that my 5d would have little to no detailed information in the darks of the scene, especially the dark jackets, plus there are no noticeable compression artifacts, its clean, my 5d is not.

  • lordbronco on 01.4.12 @ 4:34PM

    1/8″ Balanced inputs-interesting! I take there are two inputs-left and right, then. You could just chop up two 1/8″ PC speaker plugs, and wire each individually with the extra ground connection. (For example, it would take two PC speaker adapters-one for each channel, Left and Right, assuming the Scarlett records in stereo). Time to bust out ye olde soldering iron and heat shrink wrap. The signal path would then be 1/8″ balanced male connector to Female XLR or 1/4″ balanced.

  • The resolution is breathtaking in natural light but I think the real test for the Scarlet will be how it handles artificial light and situations with a higher dynamic range or low light source. For now I am more interested in shorts that are going to test the capabilities in different scenarios. Also want to see various ISO and frame rates before I weigh up its practicality. I know the Sony F3 is a very diverse camera for shooting different situations and by the looks of it C300 has really good low light performance. 5D MkII to Scarlet is a massive difference, will be interesting to see what Canon bring to the table with the MkIII though

  • Trankilstef on 01.4.12 @ 6:46PM

    I pretty much like the shots in this short film. The image and the resolution is just outstanding.. That’s what’s important to me, to see what this little thing holds inside !

  • Thanks Sebastian.
    The actors were very committed and interesting to watch.
    The resolution was intense and to me 4K is an entirely different look than film.
    I had an adverse reaction to the bokeh. I will have to work out what the factors may have been.

    I think that it is constructive to point out the blocking (lack of) simply as an aspect of conversation over the finished product. I am more frustrated (feeling cut off from the story) by having to view the back of the characters, or negative profiles for 75% of the film (and often at crucial reactionary moments) than I am by low resolution. I point this out as a director, but the frustration came from an audience members perspective. I agree that expectations should be managed, but most of the blocking issues would have been somewhat resolved by a few steps to the left or right by the camera op.
    Food for thought. . .

  • i thought it looked really good.

    imagine the same thing shot with a min-dv camera from ten years ago. it would look like a wedding video or the blair witch project. i think the point is that this camera shoots stuff that looks ‘cinematic’. in my opinion the footage rests in the ‘cinema, narrative feature’ category and not the ‘low-budget, wedding video, home movie’ category like old school digital.

  • Great Picture! Nice colours as well.

    Here’s a new short of mine:


  • It DOES NOT MATTER what you shoot on. The camera WILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER artist. I’ve been shooting a web show on a DSLR. I now own an epic. I personally think the better episodes were shot with the DSLR. Focus on getting strong performances and a cohesive story. The camera is not going to do that for you. Here’s two episodes..

    DSLR episode

    EPIC episode

    • James: Joey and Turbo absolutely rock. VERY funny stuff, I was laughing my ass off. Can’t wait for more episodes. Also, sorry to disappoint you, but the Epic episode was just gorgeous, don’t know if I agree that the DSLR episode was better. You are right, the performance are the thing…I’d watch those clips shot on FisherVision.

    • nice shorts i’ll be sure to follow the series. the epic is clearly ‘better’ image wise than the dslr episode. plus, really a lot of dlsr/5dmk2 stuff is starting to look really samey. vimeos littered with it.

    • I enjoyed both, but the EPIC episode is way more Epic. Good work!!

  • I thought this was great. Nicely shot, believable performances and an engaging story about a selfish man who should have thought a little harder before he spoke.

  • John Jeffreys on 01.5.12 @ 2:01AM

    Wow, I want a Scarlet really bad now. The amount of freedom in post seems godly.

    But why, why so expensive? :/ How does a normal person go about affording one?

    • You rent. :)

      It shouldn’t be long before a fair number of people get their hands on a Scarlet…find your local owners and see what their packages go for. You should be able to find better rates than the rental houses offer.

      • John Jeffreys on 01.6.12 @ 12:03AM

        I feel like if i rent, and then fall in love with the camera (which i will), i would be renting so often that it would make more sense to just buy one.

        can i lease one or something

        • Rental prices could very well plummet as all the debt ridden Scarlet buyers dump their cameras on the rental market.

        • In that case you get a loan, and then be one of those owners who rents their camera out so you can pay off the loan. I’ll bet you can find a fair number of people interested in renting.

  • I really like the story of this short. That’s great. Good characters and all, but the camerawork.. The terrible follow focus. Why? It makes it all looks so DSLR. That’s the big problem I have when it comes to shorts made by Cinema5D. It started with that lowlight scene in a industrial place with the C300 and Scarlet. Same thing with the short film they shot with the C300. It all looks so DSLR and unprofessional in a way. The product reviews of the RED Scarlet are really good though, but this definitely confirms that the RED Scarlet is not a camera for run-and-shoot. It takes time. It takes good character positioning, good follow focus and good lightning. This is not worth the camera. It can do so much better than this.

  • Why are people so harsh on the camera work? It’s just a quick test of visual quality. Aside from that people are always trying to put film making in a strict box of rules and regulations. Not everything has to be shot with a locked off establishing shot followed by medium over the shoulder shots and then start moving in tighter when the story starts to get more emotional. Also keep in mind that they had no control over the ambient sounds like passing cars and such so the only options they probably in editing was to use a take with the camera panning to the next character or just commiting a jump cut so that the sound jumping around wouldn’t take you out of the moment.

  • I think this is a testimony to what can happen with decent actors and a premise that is grounded in something that most can relate to. The test short is being talked about as if it is a bonafide short, and people are drawn to the other aspects of production:

    Resolution √
    Story √
    Cinematography. . .

    I for one was not being harsh. I liked it! Seriously, when you get a “real” thing happening in the frame, the audience gets invested and conversation moves beyond camera specs. That is a pretty rare thing in test shots or short films in general. Thin skin is not conducive to rapid growth.

  • I think this is a fine example of cinematography, and I also think it does a very good job of distinguishing the Scarlet from a DSLR. You could get a passable approximation of this look with a DSLR if you really worked at it, but the point is that the RED makes it a lot easier, and obviously all of the things like resolution and color quality are on the RED’s side as well. I don’t really think that’s the main point, though.

    I think the point is that, if you actually want something better than a DSLR, you’d have a difficult time of getting a better image than this (at least under these particular settings), at least without spending more than $100,000.

    I guess I’m probably more drawn to natural lighting than some people, but this is by far the best demonstration of the Scarlet that I’ve seen.

  • Gourley,

    I am all for climbing (or flying) out of the box.

    Some might say the point is mute because this was a test shoot, but hey man, those actor’s weren’t just standing by a tree holding a chart. They were cookin’ . . . So my simple point is that the best camera in the world pointed in the wrong direction, or at someone’s back when the story is around the other way is a problem and ultimately the story loses impact. I read some of the harsh criticism over at vimeo. There were a couple of guys there taking pot shots at dogma style filming and so on. I, actually like the fact that in the last thirty years handheld has become a much used technique. It has a very different emotional quality (perhaps more immediate, in some cases, more intimate) than locked off or even steadi-cam.

    Even if you jump out of the box, you have to get the action in the frame. In this case, the story got across, but some good stuff was not seen . . .

    I am putting together a website that focuses much more on the what’s in the frame. Testing writing, acting, camera techniques. I think that as the technology tips fully into affordable HQ, these areas will inevitably be a bigger part of the conversation. These aspects of film making artistry cannot be bought with money. They require inner payments that lead to the long and winding road of understanding the vast human experience.

  • Detail is pretty darn nice.

  • Mike Faunce-Brown on 01.12.12 @ 1:59AM

    The Video was fine creating a depressing atmosphere. What could be more depressing than a break-up!
    Video is only half of it. In English with a clear cut Audio, so much better.