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'We Just Aren't Up for the Grief,' Jim Jannard and RED Give Up on June 4th Camera Shootout

05.3.12 @ 2:37PM Tags : , , , , ,

Welcome to the world of public camera testing, Jim. The wild west camera shootout that Jim and Co. were planning to have at RED Studios Hollywood on June 4th has been cancelled. It seems all of the “grief” that he’s been getting over the situation isn’t worth the trouble, and he and RED “have better things to do.” Surprisingly, Steve Weiss entered REDUser forum territory to explain the choices that had been made for the Zacuto camera test, and the fact that RED had been offered many times to come to the shootout, manage their own RED Epic, and control the post-production method used for that camera.

Here is the entire post from Jannard, just in case it gets deleted (like so many of his posts do):

This idea of a real test has gotten out of control apparently.
Several companies have refused to participate. I guess if I were them I might consider the same thing.
Resolution is not everything. But it is something.
Dynamic range matters. So does the “feel” of the image.
Frame rates matter.
Size matters.
Price matters.
Upgrades matter.
Support matters.
Community matters.
We are going to take down our offer to do a comparison test at RSH. The grief and complication doesn’t warrant the effort.
I hope that everyone can do some testing on their own that includes all aspects of image capture. We just aren’t up for the grief. We have better things to do.
There are lots of options for you to consider. I hope that RED is one of them.

Shortly after he also posted this:

There are lots of good options for consumers.
We love that other companies are doing 4K.
We just hope that our customers realize that everything matters to us. Resolution, dynamic range, frame rates, size, price, REDCODE RAW, REDCINE-X Professional, our upgrade program, the Bomb Squad… etc. Obsolescence obsolete. Posts at 3am.

Trying to coordinate a camera test as large and complicated as those done by Zacuto is not easy. In fact, that’s why they’ve been letting people like Bruce Logan, ASC, manage the test and they’ve simply been documenting the process and posting the results. You’re never going to make everyone (or maybe anyone) happy with results from an objective test. I know this, and certainly Jim also now realizes this.

His choice of words is extremely interesting, as it seems very contradictory to the philosophy of RED and the cameras they create. Up to this point, Jim has tried convincing the world that 1080p is not enough, and resolution should be the deciding factor between his camera and something like the Arri Alexa, which shoots only around 3K in ArriRAW mode. His no comprises approach to building cameras is admirable, but the one major positive that RED has accomplished so far is changing the game to make cameras more affordable. It can be argued that 4K would still be out of reach for any independent films if it were not for a company like RED pushing itself into the industry.

It’s no secret that the Alexa is becoming the camera of choice on many films and most major television shows (unless they’re still shooting film). Why is this? Camera stability, faster workflow, better light sensitivity, more native dynamic range, and most importantly, a more natural filmic image right out of the box. That last one is purely subjective, of course, but it’s a comment I’ve heard over and over again from many different sources. RAW is fantastic, and it’s one of the strongest reasons to choose RED over another camera system, but it also means that you can have too much flexibility. Many DPs prefer the skin tones that Alexa creates. Is this because of the extra color sampling when the camera finally gets down to 1080p? It certainly has something to do with the way the color science of the camera has been engineered, and Jim and RED have claimed that Epic and Scarlet should be able to achieve results as good, if not better. This is one of the reasons for their new color science – to help colorists get to a more natural, filmic image.

But is Jim having a change of heart about resolution (and maybe his attitude about the industry in general)? Let’s hope so, as more recorded resolution can only go so far. Oversampling is the best way to get these bayer pattern sensors to get good color reproduction, and that’s obviously going to get better going from 6K to 4K. The ability to reframe in post can also not be overstated, and it’s something that’s been done in film forever – but is only now starting to be used in digital because of the extra resolution. It also allows for less destructive stabilization of the frame.

I think Mr. Jannard is finally talking some sense. Resolution is not everything – camera sensitivity and dynamic range are arguably more important. Maybe this will be a new RED going forward, where making the best camera possible includes every aspect of image creation, and not just how many pixels you’re working with. It’s refreshing to hear Jim backtrack a little from the opinion that RED is the only camera you should ever shoot with – and acknowledge that there are many viable options for cameras out there.

You should choose the camera the best possible camera that fits your aesthetic and your budget. Camera technology has improved dramatically over the last 3 years – to the point where you no longer can blame the camera for making a bad image. You only have have yourself to blame.

Link: Cancel that thought… – REDUser


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 58 COMMENTS

  • McBlakewich on 05.3.12 @ 2:46PM

    Interesting! Didn’t see that coming at all.

  • Lucas Adamson on 05.3.12 @ 2:49PM

    I think it must be hard to accept that the revolution is over, and now RED is just another player in a game it invented.

  • Rev. Benjamin on 05.3.12 @ 3:13PM

    There’s something to be said for a company being emotionally honest with itself and others, but then there’s also something to be said about being toooo emooootional. This snaps of that effect. I’m still into RED cameras (in general I’m a fan of all the fancy-shmancy digital cinema cameras!), but I hate seeing such PR blunders. I’m reminded of the awkwardness when RED went after my favorite camera dude Philip Bloom…

  • Jim Jannard, if he would just keep his mouth shut! Just keep making cameras Jim.

  • Ha! I figured this would happen. Red needs to hire someone over there to act as a censor for what comes out of Jim Jannard’s mouth. I get upset about things all the time but I don’t take to the internet to whine about it and call people out, challenging them to ridiculous tests that will only serve to stroke my wounded ego. Do people really think that Arri couldn’t make a 4K camera if they wanted to? Sony did it. It’s not like Red has a handle on top secret technology. The number of 4K equipped theaters are few and far between right now, so why the big rush to push EVERYTHING to 4K? No one’s watching 4K in their homes except people like Jim Jannard. Granted I know all this will change over time but things just aren’t there yet. One classless company owners internet voice isn’t gonna change or propel the film industry into a technological state that isn’t ready to be widely accepted yet.

    • I prefer a hundred times Jim messing up once in a while online than a PR dude controlling the communication between the guy and his costumers.

      • That’s why we end up with unrealistic announcements, lot of people felt cheated waiting for something that was announced out of excitement, people get banned and bashed after reporting bugs and problems, some quality control even helps selling more cameras I believe. I can understand you enjoy watching the circus, but this isn’t healthy for any serious business in a long run.

        • It’s not the circus. It’s the fact that I appreciate the direct contact with the creators of the cameras. I don’t know who is behind the C300 or the F700.

          • YES! Call Sony Professional Support, it’s ridiculous. The RED User forum has support pretty much on lock, it’s a much smaller company and therefore more personable. That’s half the reason I love Blackmagic so much. The companies that get my money are the ones with proper support channels, manned by competent personable folks. That’s why Sony won’t get my dime.

        • I’ll take Jim any day over any of the faceless Sony, Canon, JVC, or Panasonic leaders. At least I know what he’s thinking, and that he’s passionate about it. I disagree with those that think Jim’s outspoken nature is a huge drawback for RED as a company… some will be turned off, but many, including myself, feel that it’s more genuine and we have a closer link to where the company is going and what it thinks.

          And maybe even Jim is capable of changing his mind and admiting this publicly (with this recent post that resolution is not everything). A company leader that admits he might have been in error is a rare thing these days.

      • Jim Jannard is the Joe Biden of RED.

      • Daniel Mimura on 05.10.12 @ 5:34PM

        I agree, hearing a PR voice is just annoying and it’s hard to take anything a PR person says seriously (and it also doesn’t get much press b/c no one is saying anything “interesting”, if you want to look at it that way). As irritating as many of those Jannard rants can be…how many other company owner/founders do you see that have almost 8000 posts up on their forum? I like that we hear only a marginally filtered view from the top.

  • john jeffreys on 05.3.12 @ 3:51PM


    i can smell the RED fanboy butthurt from all the way over here

    • Gross. You can smell their butts?

    • Well, the Red fanboys, being the delusional bunch that they are, see this as “competitors being afraid of the results” while, in reality, it’s “competitors not giving a shit about catering to Jannard’s out of control ego”.

      Go to the Reduser forum and read the comments: it’s really sad…

  • Nice article, thanks for this report, I can’t stand checking on Jim’s post anymore, its getting outta hand. You can be a pioneer as Red obviously is, but only wisdom will keep you running. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Arri don’t get emotional hence they go a long way.

  • RED is like some girls….looks great and light weight, but to expensive and not worth the drama of this cultish reduser forum.

  • Since Red was the first to go big with 4K they had a leg up and bragging rights but know its not the same and the compatition has closed in on resolution. Its smart now to focus on image qualty and DR. That is what will separate these cameras.

  • This test was a great idea 2K vs. 4K
    Let’s see if there is a difference and if so how much.
    Why cancel it. The World needs to see this.

    But it should be later this year..and only with RAW cameras.
    Arri…Kinefinity…Digital Bolex..and BlackMagic 2K’s vs. Red 4K

    You guys read it differently. Red still believe in 4K.
    But if 4K did not pass this test. Trouble.

  • some of the people on here lately are real clowns man. I am in no way a fan boy of RED I’ve never even used one. But to sit their and criticize someone who has accomplished what Jim Jannard has done, for being transparent? For wanting to put cameras up against each other in a way that hasnt been done before?
    Sound like a bunch of arm chair revolutionaries. Everyone makes mistakes, and some people dont give a fuck what you think because their passion drives them to change the game. RED is responsible for bringing these high resolutions among other things at unprecedented prices. Dont lose sight of reality just because you use a different camera system. Dont be sore because you cant afford their cameras because we think the cost of a cinema camera should be that of 5D.

    No one owns Alexas, there are thousands of RED owners. I think that says a lot for independent film. Which is what most of us are here for no? I could care less what Hugo or the Girl with the dragon tattoo were shot on they both look great because of their DPs, crew, and budgets. not because one was alexa or the other red.

    • “No one owns Alexas, there are thousands of RED owners.” Actually, Carlos….many people own Alexas. I know about a dozen owner/ operators personally, which is just a SMALL fraction of the number there really is. I also work with the Epic and the Alexa very frequently. The Epic is a decent camera, as is the Alexa. The Alexa has a proven track record of being more stable but it is what it is. Don’t you think it’s interesting that RedcineX Pro has never been out of beta? Seriously, Red is on build 13 now of RedcineX Pro but there’s never been a release version of the software, just a beta version. All of their beta firmware/ software comes with a disclaimer “not recommended for use on commercial productions” but a small part of me can’t help but feel like they keep things in beta for so long so they can deny responsibility if something goes wrong. They can point back to their disclaimer. I appreciate transparency with a company but when your transparency equates to unfulfilled promises (like the LATE release date of the Scarlet) or mistreating spokespeople within the industry (Philip Bloom) or making wild claims like that 4K 2.0 should be the new “standard” (Jannard made a post about that not long ago but caught flack for it from the reduser community so it was deleted) but not having the knowledge or even any good reason to back up why your saying it…well…it makes me appreciate the transparency a little less. I don’t really care to know what the founder of Oakley is thinking, just when my redmote will have better wireless connectivity range and anything else that’s relevant to the actual product(s) that the company makes/ supports. I agree with your last statement very much though, Calost. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people..wait what I meant was cameras don’t make movies, people make movies.

    • Nobody is denying everything you mentioned about RED, Jim has achieved something unbelievable and changed the industry. Nobody is criticizing this nor his cameras. He can keep doing his passionate speeches for his fanboys, just don’t expect sympathy from everyone else. Zacuto perform their test every year, and this year is not the 4k year yet. 99% of the industry will be doing 2k deliveries in 2012, hence Zacuto wants to tell them which camera perform the best for this, maybe in 2013 98% will be still doing 2k, so they will keep on going. I don’t care about an overkill feature today, I rent my cameras.

      Jim has been very successful so far, but honestly to change an industry standard delivery from 2k to 4k takes more than having a camera and a 4k projector. Sometimes I ask myself if it’s not only marketing and we are all falling, he can’t be serious saying 4k is now.

      Most of visual effects studios are almost broke, very low profit margins, they struggle to render realistic 2k images, it’s a hell of a job, just tell them 4k is now and you see them closing one by one next year, and then no more summer flicks.

    • You see I agree with both of you, I am not sympathizing with Jim or backing his words I just find it incredible how people can speak of someone who has reached his success the way is being done here. Maybe he is asking for it being so outspoken, so I guess people prefer the way the big boys like canon do business?
      I read steve weiss’ comments on reduser and I thought he answered them extremely well and was very professional in regards to someone the things that were being said about his movie. All im saying is for example I am not going to lose respect for Shane Hurlbut because he thinks the 1DC blows alexa/epic/f65 out of the water in terms of picture quality. I think its kind of a crazy statement, I dont agree with him, but the man is a successful cinematographer and I have a lot of respect for him.
      If people talk trash about Jim or RED in every blog post on here why keep them coming? this is starting to fee llike industry gossip which is not what I check this site for.

      Oh and im sorry for saying no one haha, sure people own alexa but the difference in numbers is huge.

  • Looking at the pattern in which Oakley his previous company was run under his rule. He is no doubt an innovator and a full blown rebel. Which I completely respect what he is done. Red is one of the most brilliant PR machines I have ever seen, Jim knows hype. It’s a business and he is running an exceptional one at that.

    But at the end of the day you can buy a camera. But you can’t buy creativity or authenticity.

    People need to cool their jets and refocus on the art of story telling. Not an Arms Race.

    • john jeffreys on 05.3.12 @ 7:57PM

      “People need to cool their jets and refocus on the art of story telling. Not an Arms Race.”

      Won’t really happen, ever. There are way more consumers than actual artists, and the more affordable/in reach cinema quality cameras get (everything post-5d), the more blog posts, online hype, and shitty youtube videos of flowers and ducks you will see.

      • I don’t mind the flowers and the ducks. I DO, however, mind the pointlessly shallow-focus crapola. And the cats. I hate footage of cats.

  • I agree with Nature. Red knows hype. That’s what drives the crimson colored beast. I’m sure anyone that’s seen them at NAB previous years would agree. Militaryesque fatigues, symbolism, guards, even code names on the forum. All hype. It would be interesting if Arri and Sony conducted themselves that way too. I think NAB would quickly become a strange uncomfortable place to be with a militant Asian group on one side of the room, combat fatigue wearing Germans on the other, and Red in their own militarized zone (booth), ha! What ever sells cameras though. I heard a rumor that Canon was adopting a martial arts themed brand of marketing (bs hype) to help sales. Apparently their president will soon be referring to himself as Grandmaster Adachi on the web and everyone at the Canon booth come NAB next year will be donning ninja costumes.

    • They’re too busy making better cameras and meeting release dates over at Canon and Arri and the others. RED has time to focus on the useless/non camera stuff because their shit is weak.

  • I saw the foot, and I saw the big gaping maw, and knew it was a matter of time before the two collided. I agree with what I’ve read from a lot of people so I’ll try not to rehash. Here’s a few things no one has mentioned:

    - If you try to pick a fight and everyone just walks away, that’s SAD. It’s one thing to get beaten, but it’s pretty much the ultimate snub to be dismissed by the competition so out of hand, and quickly, that even my hardened hater heart had to cringe at this trainwreck.

    - How about Steve Weis, eh? Holy backfire, JJ! Reading his open comments, which came off so collected, factual, and level, that it was a smackdown even before he added a few little jabs. Add that to the snub by the competitors and oh goodness! I’ve watched many an interview with Steve Weis and while he’s got just enough “hollywood industry insider” credibility, he tempers it by showing he can be 100% no-bullshit without coming off like a jackass or a smug prick. I blame being located in Chicago. It’s a nice friendly city [where I was born]! ;-)

    - Some day the tightrope act of having outrageous vision and just being outrageously douchey will be balanced with RED, but until then they can just keep on being the trainwreck example of “people who can build expensive things, afford expensive things, and move in the upper echelons of a high priced industry, can still be internet trolls prone to tantrums.” Dear JJ, ate a granola bar and get that blood sugar under control. Then drive home and punch yourself in the face. Just because. ;-D

  • Other companies didn’t just decline, they “refused” to participate!

  • A lot of great stuff has been shot on RED. But I’m really concerned about the long term viability of the company. This Jannard guy reveals himself to be so irrational and emotional and reactionary…it’s like he had this one great stroke of genius and the money to make his vision a reality, and then when an industry that has dozens more decades of engineering and experience and resources comes along and beats him at his own game, which apparently has happened, he decides to “take his toys and go home.” The reasoning that he “can’t handle the grief,” is not something a stable person says. You would think with all the expensive cameras he’s made he could afford a good therapist and some good drugs. Who I really feel bad for is all the owners of RED cameras when he either decides to take up mountain climbing and sell the company or just close it all down and “recall” all the cameras because they aren’t industry defining anymore, or whatever. Someone should do an intervention. Going with Canon, at least I know my stuff will work, or they’ll fix it, and they’ll still be around in 100 years if we haven’t blown ourselves up.

  • Anthony Marino on 05.3.12 @ 10:58PM

    If Jim Jannard was standing on a corner blowing bubbles in a sequenced tutu I’d still buy a camera from the guy. (do not own a red or need one) What do I care if he’s a nut or some emo freak. Apparently the guy does have a vision, he wants to win, he loves his product. He’s a little crazy, rude or eccentric, whatever? If I had the need or shooting a feature I would seriously consider a red product without hesitation. Usually large egos are spawn from large insecurities. The guys freaking out, the market opened up, competition is mounting. Jim’s in unfamiliar territory. The pressures on. This next round could be a defining moment in Reds history. I can’t remember anytime in my life a seeing this many cameras coming out at such competitive price points and feature set. Let’s hope it’s at least worth it for red to compete. I wouldn’t think he’s in this game to make a little bit of money. I do hope they adjust and keep driving the market to create better equiptment for us. Whether you like the company or not, you gotta reconize to some degree that red lead the driving force to where we are today. In my opinion 4k is a natural progression, I just think Red caught everyone off guard and fueled the competition. Let’s hope it keeps moving. Cheaper and better doesn’t seem too far away.

  • That Reduser thread was an entertaining read. The Jannard Ego, the fanboys, yet Steve’s level headed and awesome responses. He’s my new hero. And what was up with that snarky smartass guy questioning David Mullen? What a disrespectful idiot.

  • Shaun Wilson on 05.4.12 @ 6:07AM

    There is a plus.

    The RED vs Alexia debate even made it onto YouTube with the ‘Downfall” mashup of Hitler returning his T2i to B&H when someone told him the 4K hack was actually a joke. Im sure there is material in this latest no show at Red Studios that will situate someone saying to Hitler ‘actually… actually there is no one coming to the Red shootout”. “If anyone thinks that no one will show up to the RED shootout, please leave the room”.

    Come on, I dare you. Someone make this into a Mashup!

  • San Diego Filmmaker on 05.4.12 @ 8:08AM

    After reading all of this and going to the 2012 NAB, I’ll stick with my Super 16mm converted K3 and CP-16 movie cameras. You can’t go wrong with the real look everyone is after.

  • higher resolution is only important to a point. but the truth is at what cost?
    RED is now going 6k with their new dragon sensor upgrade which is larger – it is going to make more lens sets incompatible with Epic. Glass you are shooting on is as important of a creative choice as the camera, if not more important.

    Arri on the other hand takes “film industry ergonomics” into consideration, not just with their camera ergonomics, but sensor sizes. Now their Alexa Studio and Alexa Plus have 4×3 sensor options which are perfect for anamorphic lenses and their regular alexa sensor is S35 which is great for spherical. Resolution is important but when it sacrifices other things that has been in the industry for years, it’s not good. As far as color science with RED – who cares? it shoots great RAW, you can bend it any way you want if you know what you are doing.

    • Well the idea is that if your lens can’t fill the entire frame, you just crop down to 5K or 4K or more until there’s no more vignetting. It actually makes a lot of sense in terms of lens compatibility.

      • Daniel Mimura on 05.10.12 @ 6:23PM

        That’s true…but if you had to crop down to 5k you wouldn’t really be bothering to upgrade the sensor. I guess obsolescence obsolete is just wrong here.

        And I agree with Alex about Arri. The Alexa studio is perfectly set up for ‘scope. If Red (who once said they would never do anamorphic lenses, and later said, “we’re definitely making anamorphic lenses”) does ever actually release anamorphic lenses, they won’t fit with anything else, so there is going to be a small market for it (and fewer choices available).

        So a red epic shooting scope will either have fewer lens choices, less than optimal usage of other lenses (such as the Total Recall remake using ‘scope lenses on the smaller Epic sensor), or…they’re going to have to make larger 4 perf sized sensors making obsolescence obsolete completely wrong.

        • Well no, just because you’re cropping, doesn’t mean you lose the other attributes that a newer sensor would give you – better low-light performance and much higher dynamic range, as well as higher frame rates, like 120fps at full 5K 1.9:1 aspect ratio.

          I’m sure if RED does ever make Anamorphic lenses, it would make a lot of sense for them to cover the full academy ratio (meaning physical size – 22mm x 18mm, not just aspect ratio – which happens to be 1.2:1). I remember them saying they were going to make 2X anamorphic lenses, so I have to imagine that’s what they would be aiming for.

          You’re right that the Alexa 4:3 is better set up for scope, since its physical size is bigger than Epic in ANA mode – 17.8 x 14.6mm for Epic vs 21.3 x 17.82 for 4:3 Alexa. But the Epic is actually recording higher resolution, 3296 x 2700 vs 2582 x 2160. Keep in mind that that’s with the Alexa using some sort of external recorder going to RAW, otherwise you’re stuck with ProRes resolutions. That’s one of the advantages to using the Epic for scope, you don’t need any other recording devices to get the full resolution. If RED does develop larger sensors at some point, it would take away the advantage that the Alexa has in terms of utilizing the anamorphic lenses.

          But higher resolutions and bigger sensors aren’t inherently bad if the sensor’s performance is improved, as long you can crop inside them to fully utilize whatever lens is on the camera.

  • I don’t understand why Jim gets soooo wound up. You sell people on how great the camera is but you don’t want a non-biased comparison done? It’s just a camera dude. Zocuto is not AGAINST Red, they just want to do a fair comparison to help film makers decide on what camera they’d like to work with. Some will choose RED and some won’t. That’s just the way life is.

  • I own an Alexa Plus w/Master Primes and if it weren’t for Jim Jannard we’d still be using $150k Sony cameras with few features. Jim Jannard saw the future because he created it. Thank you Jim.

  • Why not just shoot film? You can’t get anymore filmic than that, and it ‘s actually cheaper in some cases.

  • Someday, Jim Jannard will come face-to-face with the reality that he is not Steve Jobs v.2.0

    • Daniel Mimura on 05.10.12 @ 6:37PM

      I think as CEO’s, they seem to work in much the same way. It’s a top down force of nature thing, not something run by consensus and focus testing and market research. They don’t see what they want out there in the marketplace, so they do things in a totally different way, and their own ego keeps them from accepting doing things conventionally.

      What makes Jannard great is also his weakness. Ego…force of will. Having read Isaacson’s bio of Jobs, it’s clear that Jobs was incredibly difficult to work with and deal with…but fortunately, he didn’t spout off and rant about the competition publicly the way Jannard does on his forum.

  • most sincerely – between this and the Epic ‘Bloom Scandal’ i’ve heard some people say RED has blown their PR, and is increasingly starting to look like the baby throwing it’s dolly from the pram.

    no offence.

  • PerfectSavage on 05.11.12 @ 7:07AM

    Forget whatever you personally feel about RED in general, there is almost a defeatist tone in those posts. Wait, what’s that I hear in the background “tick tock tick tock tick tock…”

  • “The ability to reframe in post can also not be overstated”

    Must respectfully disagree there. IMHO that’s an argument that has been way overstated by RED fanboys as justification for the resolution argument. That’s not to say that it’s not important, but it’s not THAT important.