RED's Epic/Scarlet Meizler Module: One Module to Rule Them All
RED always seems to be a topic of conversation in the independent film world, even if their prices have been steadily rising over the years. They've always been quick to add modules or accessories, but many professionals have found that system to be a pain, and many argue that to get the camera to do anything, you've got to buy a ton of accessories that only RED makes. That modular system is unique in the film world, however, because it allows RED to make a device like the Meizler module - a module that provides a tremendous amount of functionality in a small package.
To quote Jarred Land:
The MEIZLER module... the brainchild of Steven Meizler , Instigated by David Fincher, and co-developed by RED and the 3ality Technica, is finally complete. Lots of excitement at RED STUDIOs today as we fired up the first units today.
Here's the teaser announcement for the Meizler module at REDuser. Thanks to Mark L. Pederson from Off Hollywood for uploading the dark teaser to Vimeo.
You can't make out too much from the video, but you can certainly see that it's a module attached to an Epic and it has blinking lights and a few antennas. Thankfully they gave up more than just a teaser, as the module's features are outlined at the REDuser thread. Here's the list:
- Module base has 3 lemo powered outputs for Focus/Iris/Zoom for Heden or Preston lens motors. Plug in your motor of choice and you are set.
- Module has full wireless lens control built in for 3ality Technica, Preston and eventually other lens controls. No more MDR hanging off your camera. Just show up with hand control of choice.
- Module has built in wireless timecode receiver. - Jam camera timecode wirelessly from sound cart etc. No more Lockit box via velcro hanging off the side of camera.
- Module has wireless Audio receiver built-in. - Send audio wirelessly to camera from anywhere..... audio is embedded into clips on the R3D file on your REDMAG.
- Module has wireless 1080p Video transmission built-in. - You heard that right.. We finally figured it out. less than one frame latency.. with a healthy working distance.
- 3rd front lemo can power Cinetape if Zoom control is not needed.
- Optional active REDMOTE tether mount to mount your REDMOTE and charge/send signal to mount on rails, side, etc.
- V-LOCK plate on back. One REDBRICK powers everything including the camera.
- D-tap is horrible. but it is on there ( on the battery plate )
- There is an optional REDMOTE charging mount.
- Cmotion support likely will come.. Just not done yet.
- Additional RED monitor port will not be on this..we use that output port for the wireless video. But there is an additional HD-SDI port so you can use a " normal " monitor with the EVF at the same time.
Even if you don't care much about RED, all of those features built into one small device (assuming they all work correctly) is pretty unbelievable. Instead of building a proxy video device, RED did the next best thing and built wireless 1080p right into the Meizler. I'm not sure exactly how it will be sending out the signal, but it's remarkable that all of these features are built into this tiny module. Most of these features required separate control boxes for each, and typically it turns your camera into a mess of devices and wires. RED's idea is to make everything wireless - which can cause a number of problems by itself - but it should make the ACs a lot happier on set.
Video village can be simplified, and your sound person has a much easier time jamming audio. This module will probably not be cheap, but if you consider the devices that it replaces, it will be worth the cost. RED has been pushing for everything to be smaller and more adaptable, and the Meizler module certainly fits that motto. I think as long as you can avoid interference (no idea how complicated it might get), sending audio wirelessly from anywhere and have it embed into the R3D file is simply amazing. Syncing audio might be a lot easier once you've jammed timecode, but this device can allow you to avoid all that. If it works like I think it will work, it might be able to send that audio and 1080p video to anywhere.
This is the list of the actual ports on the device:
- 1x 2B Lemo DSMC standard input power
- 2x 2p 1B accessory power output
- 1x 9p 1B Gig-E
- 1x 10p 1B 232/422
- 1x 4p 0B CAN
- 1x HD-SDI video BNC
- 1x genlock BNC
- 1x timecode BNC
- 1 x D-Tap output
I think even if you don't own a RED, or despise the company with a passion, you have to appreciate the fact that this device replaces a ton of others. I'm not sure if we will see Arri or Canon go the modular way with any of their future cameras, but you should expect that many of these features will be built into their cameras down the road.
The Meizler module will be introduced fully at NAB, and it should ship by the summer. RED's goal is to be completely out of backorder for current products by the beginning of April, so it might be safe to take them at their word, and expect this sometime in June, July, or August.