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May 1, 2012

It's a Wild West Camera Shootout: Jim Jannard and RED vs. the World on June 4th

Pay-Per-View...Or not. It seems that Mr. Jannard has a bone to pick with the people at Zacuto, and he wants the world to see in 4K. He's unhappy with the tests (I couldn't see the newest test at NAB thanks to technical difficulties) since the final output for all of the camera shootouts thus far has been 2K, and it levels the playing field for those cameras that can't shoot above 1080p. With more and more theaters moving to 4K projectors, it is important to at least consider if 4K should start to be included in the near future. Unsatisfied with anyone else who does camera testing, Jim has decided to do his own camera test in 2K and 4K and is inviting other camera manufacturers to RED Studios in Hollywood on June 4th.

Update: Steve Weiss from Zacuto has responded to Jim Jannard's comments. Check out what he said at the bottom of this post.

It looks like he's already got all the equipment he'll need for the test. Here's what he's been saying about the situation:

Each company can bring their own cameras and techs to supervise the testing. Each camera company can take their resulting footage and process the best way they know possible. Results will be posted in 2K and 4K. Results will be shown on a 10', 20' and 40' screen. Comparisons will be made regarding resolution, dynamic range, color and frame rates. Footage may be captured in RAW or RGB codec. Display will be DCP.

It will be interesting to see once the tests are completed if they will be projected using RED's own projector pictured above? Would that give an unfair advantage to RED? Possibly - so I think they would be wise to use something standard like Christie or Barco when they are showing in 4K. I have said that their projector looked fantastic, and that's after seeing many other things at the show projected on all sorts of 4K projectors. But as usual with RED, it wasn't completely working yet - and there's really no timeline for when we might be seeing them in the wild.

As for Zacuto, Jim had some strong words:

Do your 1080P or 2K finish. But also do a 4K finish. 4K is the future... and the future is now. Why not test what is... not what was. Up-rez where necessary. People need to know what to expect when 4K delivery options happen (like now). Down-rez the higher resolution cameras to 4K. Look forward. Studios are preparing to re-release old movies shot on film with 4K scans. Show what an image will look like on a 60' screen. Everyone needs to know what their original is capable of... starting with tests like these. Pick your (Zacuto chosen) team to do the post. But also give each manufacturer their own footage to get processed under their control.

The big beef that Jim seems to have is that each manufacturer isn't choosing how their footage is handled in post. With RED, this can be a problem since their workflow is very non-standard, requiring that everything be kept as an R3D file all the way through for best results. Workflows are not getting simpler, but I think he does have a point. It would make a lot of sense to finish the footage in the workflow that best suits each camera. This is not to say that the Zacuto tests are unfair, in fact, the very opposite is true, and they've been run by talented ASC shooters who know a thing or two about cameras.

We've already discussed that 4K isn't really here yet, only for major motion pictures. Theaters are adopting 4K at a relatively high rate, and in a few years it is not unlikely Hollywood will stop sending 35mm prints to theaters - and just stick to DCP. But the real issue here is that for many purposes, 4K just isn't as important. Many folks, especially us indie people, would much rather have a camera that can do RAW 1080p (slightly oversampled like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera) rather than a monstrous RAW 6K file. Data rates are only climbing, but because of events in Asia, media costs have actually risen.

It will be interesting to see if any manufacturers actually take up the offer and go to RED Studios. It feels a little bit like a schoolyard fight, but there is some value to the idea that the digital cinema cameras are being handicapped by being forced down to 2K. Even if no other manufacturers show up, it seems that RED might go ahead with the test anyway since they already have a rental house on-board to provide equipment.

Wouldn't that be as "biased" as the camera shootouts from Zacuto? Let us know what you think below.

Update: Steve Weiss has responded - these are only some of his words, but you can check out the full posts by clicking here, here, here, here, and here.

We stayed with the original R3D files until the last render which is what the DCP was made from.

I really don't want to embarrass anyone but I did invite every manufacturer, including you and Ted, I sent the email to you several times, I can publish it on the site here if you want, although I would never do that without your permission. In it, I told you that you may pick your own team to operate your camera. I told you that you could take the footage and post processes it anyway you want, anywhere you want. I sent the email to you several times with no reply. Where art thou Jim? Further, I sent you the same letter for the 2011 shootout, as well with no response. I "begged" you for the EPIC in 2011 which you started delivering 2 weeks after the shoot, so there were obviously cameras available. I caught a lot of flack about that from your fans/users as well because the EPIC was not included.

In regards to 4K, this was his response:

My only issue is that 4K theaters are not here. Statistics prove it and at NAB I believe only Canon had 4K projection and it cost them a $250K rental for 2 projectors from what I heard. Sure I might be able to find a 4K theater to screen in LA but no way can I find one in all of the countries I'm screening in, probably not one. Again my issue is that I don't want to misrepresent the public on what they will be seeing. In 2012 they will for the most part be watching 2K. In the history of cinema for all practical purposes there has really only been one 4K movie released. So the theaters that do have 4K are only playing 2K in them because 4K films are very scarce in 2012.

RED was contacted by Zacuto well before the test was conducted, but it seems there was no direct response at the time from Jim Jannard or Jarred Land. The RED Epic was then shot and managed by the best DP suggested by the REDUser forum, Ryan Walters. Bruce Logan, ASC, conducted the test, and these are his words on the process used for the shootout:

All raw footage from the cameras was imported into the Baselight as the only color corrector which could accept all codecs natively. The conform, color correction, online editing, titling, scaling and rendering were done in one step in P3 colorspace in native resolution. As the majority of digital cinemas in the world run 2K Jpeg 2000 DCP, we decided to make this the standard for exhibition for this years test, meaning that the HD cameras were scaled up to 2K and the 5K, 4K and 3K cameras were oversampled down to 2K. The scaling engine in the Baselight has multiple algorithms and the best setting for each format was picked for resolution, contrast, noise, and lack of compression artifacts. All cameras were then output at 16bit Tiff image sequences in xyz colorspace and converted directly to DCP.

So as with any story (especially those with RED and Jim Jannard), there is always more going on than meets the eye.

Link: Real Camera Tests - REDUser Forum & Challenge to Zacuto - REDUser Forum

Your Comment

97 Comments

So hypothetically speaking, if someone brings in Kodak 500T film and does a 6k scan, will Jannard STFU already? Or the Alexa's Arri-raw 3.5 output?

This guy seriously needs to get his head out his ass. Seriously.

May 1, 2012

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I guess he's looking for all cameras - but those that shoot 4K (or close to 4K with 35mm film) would probably be more suited for the task since they don't have to be upscaled.

May 1, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
195

Too many people on here simply have no idea what they are talking about unfortunately.

May 1, 2012

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Lliam Worthington

ISO 500 film doesn't have 6K of actual resolution in the real world, so don't bother. maybe a low ISO film over exposed 1 stop ( increases contrast a bit ) might if the lens will do the job.

my experience with the RED ONE was that it was a pretty miserable camera to work with in production. haven't tried an EPIC yet.

in post you can stay all native to the end if you plan your workflow appropriately.... I know people who are doing this editing native in PP, grade in resolve, output to whatever they need. a RedRocket card helps, but CPU's are getting there, especially if you set up playback for 1/2 res which works well.

however, going to DPX its probably more realistic because people know how to handle it better. it also has enough bits to handle the RAW images IF no one messes up in the chain and clips / crunches anything.

May 1, 2012

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You can do a scan of 35mm film in 12K and it's still gonna be 4K measured resolution. 15-perf 65mm IMAX film is a different matter, that'd kill off anyone with a machine gun.

May 2, 2012

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Natt

Good grief, that guy will whine about anything. lol
I do agree with you though, man. It's an interesting idea, and it does make sense to test the cameras to their max workflow AND delivery format potential as well. Although, the Zacuto tests still have their place for showing the majority of us how cameras will differ when it comes to online delivery and 2k theater. Nicely written article!

May 1, 2012

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It's not as biased since you are not dumb ing down any camera to fit with the others.

Although you may not finish yet on 4K there are obvious uses for the extra resolution, from reframing to stabilizing and it's only fair this difference in resolution can be seen on those tests, just as well as we get to see the extra dynamic range of the Alexa or the extra sensitivity of the Canon C300.

Here's a quick comparison I threw with Canon 550D and Epic-X footage. You tell me why this isn't fair:

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?75542-VERY-unscientific-test...

May 1, 2012

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Yup, a $50,000 camera should beat a $700 camera. What's your point? Shouldn't you be doing "tests" with cameras in that price range?

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Zacuto compared cameras in these wildly different price ranges and since they downrezzed the Red One down, it looked much more similar to a DSLR.

My 'test' compares apples to apples.

May 1, 2012

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Who is showing their final image in 5K? How is that relevant? Probably should do the test at 2K and then come back here with that "apples" nonsense.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

As I stated, that extra resolution can become handy in a lot of scenarios: reframing, different angles from the same shot, stabilizing or taking printable stills from the original footage.

I, as a guerrilla filmmaker, have used all this techniques in my films: it's fair that this adventadge is quantified and shown in any test that wants to be representative.

May 1, 2012

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At Best Buy? Where at??? I'm so excited to hear where this will be taking place!

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

When 4K is in Best Buy, then you have camera tests at 4K.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Nono, didn't you hear? We're having a 4K test in a few weeks from now!

May 1, 2012

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At Red! Don't worry, results will be probably be posted here as well!

May 1, 2012

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In 4K? If not I have a feeling it won't count.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Also, in your test you say the 550D has "the same" resolution as a Mark II. Come on now. Someone is preparing for their career in stand up comedy. Ha ha ha! Comparing an Epic to a 550D. Jeez man. It's just funny to me.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

All resolution tests with Canon DSLR's state that the video resolution of the 5D Mark II, 60D, 7D, 550D, etc... is almost the same.

The video resolution of the 5D Mark III is only margially better. Get your facts straight, man.

May 1, 2012

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The Mark II is actually higher resolution in video than the cameras that share the same 18mp sensor - but you would be correct in saying that the Mark III is about the same as the Mark II.

May 1, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
195

Ah. There we go. "All resolution tests state". There is a big difference in the Mark II and the 550D. My facts are very much straight.

You just don't get it do you? Let me put it into an analogy for you.

Your Epic vs. 550D comparison is as stupid as saying that flying a helicopter is faster than driving a car. REALLY? We needed a side by side comparison to show us this?? Not all of us can afford a helicopter and now that I think of it, neither my house NOR my home has a landing pad so what the hell am I supposed to do about that?? Cars will always have their uses because it's what the majority of us still use! Every business has a parking lot while not many places have helicopter landing pads as of right now.

Get it?

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

As I said, resolution wise they are almost the same:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTd39ErgDeM

And again, the new Zacuto test is throwing a GH2 into the mix, to compete with the Alexa and the Epic. Is that stupid as well?

May 1, 2012

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Álex Montoya

Nope, is they are outputting in a resolution that is the industry standard none of it is "stupid". I will say that the GH2 stands a much better chance than the 550D though. This comes from actual use btw, not resolution tests. So again, my facts are still straight :)

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Ok, you admit everything you said was wrong but nonetheles you are mainly right.

Congrats, you are a dialectics genius!

May 1, 2012

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Álex Montoya

The industry standard being 2K not 4K. I will watch a 550D vs Red Epic test at 2K. Or a GH2 vs. Epic or Alexa. How am I going against what I said before? Are you confused?

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Lol, you're so funny.

May 1, 2012

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Ditto, Red EPIC vs. 550D being exhibit #1.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

We should hook up and grab some beers.

NO.

May 1, 2012

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from this test i see that canon picture looks more natural in therms of dynamic range, which is very strange ))))))) upscale 1080p p from canon which is actually somewhere 720p is really dumb. try to do the same with hacked GH2 or alexa or canon c300. Then do not upscale it in PC, do a real projection on screen from digital cinema projector in 4k and 2k and make photos of the screen from the middle theatre. that will be real test.

May 2, 2012

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shijan

Well, I agree with Zacuto, why would you do a 4K finish when 100% of the theaters, televisions, and most of computer monitors are still projecting in 2? In real productions, post workflows don't change much based in a specific camera, studios have their own pipeline to deal with the footage received from the client.

He mentions, "why not keep raw until the end?" in REAL production nowadays, almost nobody stays raw until the last minute, specially if you have to work on the footage in After Effects, Nuke or whatever, cleaning wires, de-dust, effects, etc. Working on a 4K footage ( also raw) will get your stuff stalled in most of the softwares.

Jim, we are not there yet, sorry, maybe in 3 years? or more, nobody will be doing 4k finish or maybe Peter Jackson or Cameron? they do 1 movie every 4 years or so. You clearly afraid to compete in the 2k ballpark, your camera is great but it's overkill for today, and when the time comes,all the others will come up with something like Red too. Sorry Jim, it takes more the one camera to change a whole industry standard. Tons of work you might not be aware.

May 1, 2012

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Marcus

Originally Posted by Jannard
Also... if the RED footage isn't finished R3D to the end... it doesn't count in our eyes.

Jim

--That is one of the dumbest things I've ever read on REDuser. "Social Network", "Prometheus", "Haywire". "Book of Eli", none of those films were finished R3D to the end, so do they not count as prime examples of what the RED camera can do? His whole rant is ridiculous and he should not comment about workflow processes he's obviously not familiar with. "R3D to the end..." is just not realistic and no one is doing that. I don't know if it's ignorance or arrogance that spawned that comment but it's just a fact that "R3D to the end..." doesn't work as well for DI, VFX, etc...when compared to some of the other workflow options available. If Arri said "Arri Raw to the end..." any one who's ever done jobs dealing with the production/ post workflow all the way to the end would probably laugh.

May 1, 2012

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Benny G

He's the RED Leader. He doesn't answer to anyone over there. Can't you play out a scenario where Jarred stepped up and said "dude, maybe you should stay out of the forums for a while...". RED is accruing this horrible image based solely on how this guy carries himself online. What do you think peoples idea of RED would be if their Leader never went on the forums? Much better I think.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

I'm not talking about the forum regulars either, I'm talking about people that are on the fence with RED.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

Agree that it is unreasonable to require R3D to the end, even if you're going Premiere (native R3D) to DaVinci (also is), yeah- once you pull a shot into After Effects or whatever, you need to render it out of R3D. Anyone who's made the mistake of linking an AE project to Premiere in 4K knows that.

May 1, 2012

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This is just ridiculous. Isn't there anyone at RED to do damage control for their psychopath "leader". Come on, where is an Image consultant when you need one.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

word! :D:D :D :D :D and I´ll take that to my goddess! KALLISTI! REDheads can be funny most of time! :D

May 1, 2012

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Benny G on 05.1.12 @ 12:32PM
Originally Posted by Jannard
Also… if the RED footage isn’t finished R3D to the end… it doesn’t count in our eyes.

Jim

That is actually pretty funny. I'll remember R3D to end the next time a client that shot on RED comes into my DI suite. Do you know what Jim Jannard and George Bush have in common? They both make no sense when they speak.

May 1, 2012

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Christy Moore

Jannard is like the troll leader of the RED troll army. 4k workflows are retarded for today's computers and editing stations, unless you are James Cameron its really hard to edit and grade and finish everything in 4k on and indie infrastructure AND have it screened at that res too, because most theaters dont have projectors that handle it anyway

its way ahead of its time

May 1, 2012

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john jeffreys

I've been banned from the Red forum for (I guess) posting about the fact that my one experience with a Red One resulted in a few lost files, overheating and a few other well know "bugs". And Philip Bloom was asked to return his Epic after saying on his blog that it wasn't very reliable. That whole attitude has turned me off of the whole "Red revolution". Jannard can name 10 or 20 movies "shot on Red" in the past year, but what about the hundreds shot on Alexa ? Say that on his forum and get banned !

May 1, 2012

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FabDex

If 2k and 1k are such crap why did he put them on the Scarlet?

The demeaning attitude of the RED forum is directly proportional to Jannard's personality, he is their leader. I wonder how much this attitude permeates the industry? The first thing I think of when I work with someone with a RED is 'do they have this same superiority complex, will they be flexible and how will I adjust?' I've found the success of any shoot depends on my ability to manage personalities not technologies.

May 1, 2012

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Oy ve. I imagine that Jim Jannard likens himself to a Steve Jobs, and while in practice there may be distinct similarities insofar as creating a platform well ahead of it's time, making a superior product, etc etc, the major difference is that Steve Jobs had a steel poker face. Steve Jobs knew in the end shit would shake out and he'd be on top. It's savvy business to let your products speak for themselves and not overshadow your own work with your ego. Moreover, on a personal level, it's just being an adult and not some raving child.

Ultimately JJ is looking for exactly one thing, to be told he's the bestest thing ever since sliced bread and fried bacon. This much is clear because no one doubts that RED makes a fantastic product. No one is actually dogging his products on a professional level. And certainly plenty of people know and BUY the RED products so he's not even hurting for cashflow or to be noticed. So in the end this is just some brat CEO incapable of being told by a group of people who actually use his equipment, that it might need some work or even be great at some things and need improving in others. Where I'm from that's just called being an asshole. And frankly if you're going to make it your personality at the forefront of your brand, don't be surprised when you turn off prospective buyers as a result.

May 1, 2012

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+1

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

I should add that JJ's mentality definitely trickles down. I remember watching video interviews of Ted from Red during NAB2011 and thinking to myself, "This guy has a real chip on his shoulder, and boy is he incredibly insulting, smug, and not at all who I would want representing my brand." There were a number of times when he was downright rude to the interviewing people because they apparently had the gall to film him with a DSLR and not shoot his little sales pitch in 6K RAW. Sadly, as time has progressed it's increasing clear that it's a pervasive bad attitude problem throughout RED's management and marketing department.

May 1, 2012

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I'm planing to buy a RED Scarlet in a near future for the camera it is, but I just can't stand checking on their forums, at first I thought: Ohh that's cool! we can actually get closer to the company's big heads and stuff, but after one month following I was disgusted, for me it just looks like a nonsense community where the boss sneezes and has 50 guys to clean up his snot where any outsider who comes with intriguing comments gets banned.

JJ is incredibly frustrated that the whole industry didn't buy the 4K yet, so he keeps writing at almost every post "4K is now" and then 60 fanboys right behind his a** say something like :"Yes, you great" , "we love you", "I can't wait", "red rocks", it's just not a intelligent reading for me, I'd rather come here.

May 1, 2012

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Marcus

Totally man, if you're too close to something you can't see the truth as it is.

I don't have ties with Canon, Sony, or RED...at all! I have to make an unbiased decision when I fork over money on a new piece of gear and 4K is not now. It's the future, but it is not the present. I won't spend an extra $10,000 for something I can't use now. I will spend $3,000 now and then get 4K when it's the standard (at which point it will be available in cheaper cameras!)

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

The problem is Marcus if you are going to be a RED owner you need to be connected to the community to keep current on firmware updates and any 'issues'. RED technology is on the bleeding edge and with that comes problems. The forum is useful for trouble shooting those problems with workarounds. Look into black shading, fan noise and LCD cables for example.

May 1, 2012

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Here's my beef with RED. When there was the rumor about 3K for $3K they had all of our attention. Then they delayed an announcement. Then delayed an announcement to make an announcement. Then they said "everything is subject to change" and made a $50K camera for Hollywood. So all of us bought what we could, 5D's and 7D's. We were ready to buy RED and you shat all over us and catered to Hollywood! Then to top it off they poo poo on us for using 1080p DSLR's!

News flash morons, you did this to yourself. You could have had the Hollywood market and the Indie market but you chose to be an asshole about it.

May 1, 2012

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Luke Neumann

I'm not sure if any camera test can really tell you everything you need to know about a camera, but filmmakers need some info to help them choose what camera would be best for what subject/shooting style/etc. The best way to learn would be to go shoot actual projects on each of the cameras and take them all the way through to release, but most of us don't have the resources to do that.

It's been said before, but the camera is only one tool among many in the shooting process. I just shot a black & white short on a T3i, and I'm perfectly happy with the results... for YouTube. If I knew that I would be going to a 4k DCP with the short, I would have wanted different equipment on just about every level to get a look I would be satisfied with; not just the camera. Others would have different opinions. Camera tests help people form opinions. The trick is to look at them as informed opinions, not to take them as be-all, end-all representations of the cameras.

May 1, 2012

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Andrew Swan

Does anybody know when the new Zacuto camera shootout will be posted online?

May 1, 2012

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dixter

It looks like it will be released June 15th, but the actually shootout is less important to their documentary that's being released online - I guess they really wanted to focus on the process that they used to get to the final product.

May 1, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
195

Though I do not share Jannard's manners I can understand why he is angry.

What Zacuto is doing, probably meaning well, is basically ignoring Red's more distinguishable feature (along with accessible RAW) and competitive edge until Sony, Canon, etc... catch up.

If you think about it, it is a bit unfair.

May 1, 2012

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