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March 14, 2012

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.

Link: MEIZLER MODULE - Sneak Peak

Your Comment

28 Comments

Bout damn time.

March 14, 2012

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think about it, if Digital Bolex just announced, RED will fires back.

March 14, 2012

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Donald F.

RED does not give two-shits about ultra-low-budget filmmakers. Their fan-base was somewhat small prior to the "3K for $3K" announcement. Once they announced that, their fan-base went through the roof - three years later, they dogged the very people that made them what they are. Digital Bolex means nothing to RED - they only cater to those with deep pockets. RED fan-boys so often claim that RED is the saviour for low-budget filmmaking, but those fan-boys don't know what "low-budget-filmmaking" actually means. Digital Bolex, if it succeeds, is everything RED should have been. If you're a low-budget filmmaker, the reality is, RED DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.

March 14, 2012

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Jean

I should know better than to get involved in this discussion, but... a 4K Super35 camera for $20k is not catering to low-budget filmmakers? Huh. Tough crowd.

March 14, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

$20K for some of us is half our yearly salaries...

March 14, 2012

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Jean

Yeah, Koo- you and your multi-billion dollar site stay out of this. We have families to feed.

On a serious note, I'll just reiterate what I said in the Bolex thread:

RED caters to a specific type of indie filmmaker (and, as we know, the big Hollywood names like Fincher and Jackson). Those that use it ultimately should be doing so not because of a pretty image or because they feel the RED brand will make their film any better, but because they know their final output; i.e. festivals, high-resolution projectors, etc.

Koo has expressed numerous times that he is using the Scarlet on "Man Child" for these very reasons. For his purposes, as well as other low-budget indie filmmakers looking for 3-5k resolution and slow-mo up to 300p, RED certainly hits the sweet spot vs. other competition out there. Again, though, if you're looking for 2k resolution and are fine with the 60fps/720 (I am for my purposes), then the Bolex, Canon, Nikon, etc. will be fine and are clearly in a much more affordable bracket.

March 14, 2012

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I also want to say.... RED, maybe a little more light for this module teaser video? Maybe it's just me, though.

March 14, 2012

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Seriously, that was hardly a teaser... it was more of joke. At least we can read about it haha.

March 15, 2012

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nate martin

Oh boy, another overpriced accessory from RED

seriously though, Digital Bolex is going to cut them up into pieces and feed them to their babies

March 14, 2012

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John Jeffreys

Sure thing. That red thing is already cooked, brah

March 21, 2012

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Natt

It still eats me up inside that the very people that helped RED grow (the "3K for $3K" supporters) where the very people that RED didn't care for in the end. Hopefully the Digital Bolex is successful and kicks RED square in the nuts.

March 14, 2012

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Jean

How did they help red grow, they didn't buy anything

March 14, 2012

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Ryan

What they've done exactly, except for whining?

March 21, 2012

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Natt

I still don't get why so much hate is going towards RED.

Everyone bashing them for "betraying" the "3K for 3K" concept should take this into account — the camera was in development for 3 years, that's 36 months. Take a nice Scarlet-X package priced at $20,000 and divide it by 36. It's $550 a month, not a super crazy amount of money to save up.

I'm glad RED made Scarlet what it is now. The idea of a tiny sensor with a fixed lens was never appealing to me anyway.

Now, about the Meizler module — a great accessory for sure, but I doubt it will be priced too aggressively, considering the cost of all the gear it replaces I won't be surprised if it's gonna cost half of what the Scarlet costs, the features it provides are needed more in the Epic world.

And please, everyone, cool down about Digital Bolex, it's not going to "kick anyone in the nuts", especially RED.

March 14, 2012

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Demetri

Good news. The Epic is severely lacking in functionality unless you add about 325872395863495 things to your rig. And as far as RED not caring about "ultra low budget filmmakers", I honestly can't think of a company who wants to turn a profit that does. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic here, but everyone is clamoring for the digital bolex, yet no one has shot on it. No one knows whether it sucks horribly, or whether it's everything everyone is making it out to be.

And yes, a $20k camera is a lot of money (even half of someone's salary), but since when did shooting on red mean that you have to buy the camera? Rentals, anyone? I'm about to shoot on a feature where we got a whole RED One MX package (EVERYTHING for the camera) for around $700 per week. You're telling me that's not affordable? If shooting something that high-quality for the price isn't affordable, I am not sure what is.

/rant

March 14, 2012

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Trevor

Exactly! Rent it. Rent it. Rent it.

March 14, 2012

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I dont want to "rent" a camera. A camera is my girlfriend, it stays with me, it sleeps next to me, it goes where I go. Renting one for projects just feels like I am buying a whore, I want a keeper, after all, its an extension of my brain, and I cant just like borrow that stuff.

I dont know, different strokes for different folks.

March 14, 2012

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John Jeffreys

Different strokes for different folks, indeed.

It's just baffling to me to see people complain that a professional grade cinema camera costs too much for their micro-budget projects. Do you see the problem in just reading that sentence?

I think people immediately assume indie film = micro-budget, which is kind of baffling. Even Aronofsky's "Black Swan" was considered an indie feature. People just need to step back and reevaluate the meaning of the terms being thrown around.

March 14, 2012

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Trevor

Indie film was micro/no budget before Hollywood came in and capitalized on it.

March 14, 2012

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John Jeffreys

I feel like Koo is being trolled by the comment section today. Either they are completely ignorant to what a huge step this is for *any* company, both in terms of form and functionality of the module, as well as the gigantic ramp up in on set worklfow that this will provide, or they are just so overwhelmed by the Digital Bullocks (call me when the sample video is in HD/the camera makers can figure out how to use Vimeo/they figure out how to stream video through their own servers) announcement that they can't see straight. I have to wonder if any of these people actually use RED camera's, or if they just feel inclined to rant about increased support and function in products that they don't seem to be using in the first place.

March 14, 2012

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Chris

Wow, has the 21st century really turned us all into entitled whingers already?

Since when did any company owe us all a cinema-quality digital camera that's affordable to anyone and everyone? Sure RED cameras and accessories are expensive, but try buying an Arri Alexa fellas. And even that is a marked leap forward in affordability compared to cinema cameras of ages past.

Let's face it - if you're in the market for a sub-$5,000 camera, you're not a serious feature filmmaker yet. You're still paddling in the DSLR/Digital Bolex end of the pool, which is awesome and allows you to do heaps than ever previously possible, but you haven't hit the big time. Expecting the entire film industry's technological accessibility to collapse into a narrow price range that allows backyard enthusiasts to make their films look like David Fincher's is unrealistic. And besides, every time there's a major advancement in the budget end of image-making, the top end is similarly going to be pushed further and further out of reach for newbies. Hollywood WANTS there to be a marked difference between the look of a $100 million movie and a $10,000 student film. Heck, so do I.

So in the meantime, be thankful for what we DO have. Without RED, we wouldn't even be able to complain about not having a RAW-shooting 4K digital cinema camera for sub-$100,000 right now. RED has completely broken the mould as to what's possible, and just because it doesn't place it in your price range doesn't mean the breakthrough is any less revolutionary. They're just making the possibility of us all being able to own a 4K digital camera come sooner.

March 14, 2012

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Mike

So if we're in the market for a RED, we're automatically serious feature filmmakers? I know people who throw around money like it's a disease- doesn't mean they're any more professional or serious than someone that tries to save up or purchase whatever works for their purposes under $5k.

You might as well have said anyone who doesn't spend $44k on the 200mp Hasselblad H4D isn't a serious photographer and hasn't hit it big time...

This marked difference "The Man/Hollywood" is trying to keep has to do specifically with budget and pull, not some force trying to keep great cameras out of the hands of "newbies" (maybe I have yet to walk into a rental house that says, "Sorry, these cameras are only for people that have made it in Hollywood.") A $100 million movie only puts a fraction of the cost into the camera department- the rest has to deal with the effects, props, crew, actors, locations, etc. etc. etc.

Portions of "127 Hours", "Black Swan", and "Iron Man II" were shot on these sub-$5,000 cameras, which should tell you something about the fact that at least some people in Hollywood are embracing the stunning image quality coming off these HDSLRs- I'd love to see what reaction you'd get from telling those DPs that their sights on low-end cameras was a joke and unprofessional. Let's also not forget the Canon 7D feature "Like Crazy" that has become huge.

You can look back on the past all you want and say that this or that was revolutionary. The fact of the matter is that we're living in the here and now, and if things can truly be 3k for $3k without all the extra overhead, it would be nice for companies to provide that. We could also do without Mr. Cock of the Walk Jim Jannard spewing trash talk towards other companies just for not meeting the RED standard.

March 14, 2012

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Sorry, but you have to be somewhat serious in order to buy into the RED workflow. Just the sheer amount of research one must do to properly utilize their cameras is indicative of their commitment to the artform (or at least the company workflow). No one is denying the usefulness of the video capabilities on DSLR cameras; you're preaching to choir here. RED is doing something that no other company is at the moment, at an unbeatable price. If you don't like the attitude of one person representing the company, the problem lies with you, not their products.

March 14, 2012

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Chris

^ LOL that means guys like obama can make any decision and its ourproblem with him not those policies

March 14, 2012

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thomas

Some people are embracing the stunning image quality coming of a hdslr with 15k lenses in front of it man.
Like crazy was shot on Zeiss Ultra Primes. Cheap camera, expensive rig! All of those movies used 100k lens packages. Not very indie by your standards.

Hey if you want 3k for 3k then make a camera yourself, no one is stopping you, otherwise pick from the options available.

March 14, 2012

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Ryan

Yes..LIKE CRAZY was budget at least $250,000 I would estimate.
Zeiss Ultra Primes + professional actors w/credits = very low budget
Hollywood Film. Micro cinema is something very different that that.

March 15, 2012

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sammy

If this thing is $10k or less, the wireless 1080p with less than a frame of latency is worth the price of admission right there. There aren't very many options for this, a couple of them coming in at over $20k.

It's too bad this comment page turned into a flame-fest. They're just tools...of course everyone wants the best quality tools at the cheapest price...

There are tools at every level nowadays...if this level is too high for you, instead of complaining about the cost increases, work with what you can afford, but don't grip and flame about what you can't. Red has brought down the price of admission in the same way photoshop did 20 years ago for print/still photography.

To those who seem to think a $20k camera is expensive (somehow thinking that was all you needed), wait until you realize that to run the Meizler Module, those Heden or Preston motors (3 needed for focus, aperture, zoom---although, I say leave the zoom at home unless you're a sports or nature photographer) run $2500-$3000 each, or that the cables to them run $200-$300...each.

March 22, 2012

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Daniel Mimura

"gripe", not "grip"

March 22, 2012

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Daniel Mimura