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RED Announces Price and Availability of New 'Lower Cost' SCARLET-Friendly REDMAGS

10.4.12 @ 3:20PM Tags : , , , , ,

I’ve pointed out in the past that one of the things keeping the RED SCARLET from being anywhere close to a $10k camera (as its price tag first indicates) is the price of its accompanying REDMAG media. RED recently dropped the price on REDMAGs, but even with the new pricing it’s still easy to spend half as much on the media as you did on the camera body — a ratio that is almost never true for other cameras. The EPIC needs high-speed media for its decreased compression and increased frame rates (and the ratio of media:camera is more friendly with a $1,000 media card when you’re spending $30k on the camera brain), but the SCARLET could use some correspondingly cheaper options. Not just in terms of capacity — also in terms of speed, given no one is shooting 5K at 120FPS on their SCARLET. Enter the new 48GB REDMAGs.

If you look closely at the picture above you’ll note there is also a red-colored 512GB card, which is a newer, faster option (though looking at the specs not much faster, at least with the current firmware — I suspect it’s mainly in consideration of Dragon). On the bottom is the new SCARLET-targeted, gray-colored (to match the Scarlet’s body) REDMAG. The one in the picture says 32GB as originally announced, but they’ve since been upgraded to 48GB and may in fact be larger than that (according to RED’s Jarred Land, “there is actually a few extra gigabytes that showed up along the way for free .. But we will continue to sell them as 48GB.”). Originally scheduled for release last week on 9/28, the testing process hit a few snags; here’s the update from Jarred:

Sorry for the delay in update… we found a (rare) self destruct sequence on the 48GB cards last week that required a card firmware change.. The fix is complete but it needs to go through a couple of weeks of testing to make sure everything is rock solid.

As far as availability is concerned, we’re looking at mid-October if the “couple weeks” holds true. Then later in the thread Jarred spilled the beans on the pricing of the cards, which will be “$495 each or 4 pack = 4 x $460.” I think most people were probably looking for something in the $300-$350 range as far as these cards were concerned, but then again they added an extra 50% to its capacity and its price probably rose correspondingly.

As far as proprietary pro media is concerned, the REDMAGs are actually priced more favorably per GB than a Sony SxS Pro Card or a Panasonic Series P2 Card (though does anyone still shoot with the latter?). But what’s working against RED is that cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera are starting to accept off-the-shelf SSDs these days, and those are magnitudes cheaper. Furthermore, even something like the Convergent Design Gemini, which has its own certified SSDs that are every bit as fast as REDMAGs, uses a 256GB SSD that is basically the same price as RED’s 64GB SSD. The 256GB convergent is $2.90 per GB whereas the 256GB REDMAG, at $2,450, is $9.57 per GB.

REDCODE vs. Uncompressed


Enter RED’s not-so-secret weapon: REDCODE. It’s true that there are a lot of S-log/C-log/LogC-shooting cameras these days (see this excellent article at AbelCine if you’re not clear on the difference between log and RAW) and log gives shooters a lot more flexibility in the grade compared to standard video. But log and RAW are not the same, and if you like to shoot RAW these REDMAGs take on a new light. Why? Because a camera like the aforementioned Blackmagic Camera shoots uncompressed DNGs. They are huge. Even an option like the Convergent Gemini records uncompressed video. Top quality, yes, but also very impractical from a datarate/storage space perspective. So it turns out that the 64GB REDMAG at 4K holds about the same amount of footage as does the 256GB Convergent SSD at 1080p. Uncompressed sounds great until you realize 1080p/10-bit 4:4:4 fills up a 256GB SSD after only 22 minutes of footage (here are the Convergent’s data rates [PDF link]). If you shoot ARRIRAW to the Convergent you’re getting 25 minutes per 256GB card, whereas if you shoot at 4K at an excellent/typical compression ratio of 6:1 on the RED SCARLET you’re getting 23 minutes on a 64GB card, 46 minutes on a 128GB card, or 92 minutes on a 256GB card. So it’s virtually the same price, and with RED you don’t have to buy a costly/bulky external recorder.

So it’s all well and good to complain about RED’s price per gigabyte, but if you’re shooting uncompressed video or DNGs you’re going to eat up those gigabytes a lot faster than with the compressed RAW that RED offers. Yes, you could argue that uncompressed is “better” but SSDs are not your only cost — you need a lot more storage space for offloading, backing up, and editing, and each of these things brings additional costs as well. I’ve found compressed RAW to be an excellent editing option, especially with the latest Adobe products able to edit .R3Ds in real-time (on my Hackintosh no less), and so rather than talk about price per gigabyte I think the conversation should much more practically be about price per minute of footage. And that’s not even to get into the fact that I’m compared 4K to 1080p.

Enter Blackmagic

However, that’s comparing RED to Convergent’s SSDs. Even though they’re at much different price points, let’s compare the SCARLET to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, because the latter uses off-the-shelf SSDs and the two are the only RAW-shooting cinema cameras under $10k as far as intro price is concerned (and of course the BMCC is very similar to the “3K for $3k” original RED SCARLET concept). When shooting with the BMCC, according to the tech specs on this page, “5 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 minutes of 24p video on a 256 GB solid state disk.” So with Cinema DNGs in RAW, the BMCC (30 minutes per 256GB) is very similar to ARRIRAW (25 minutes per 256GB). But here’s the thing: off-the-shelf 256GB SSDs are about $200. And that’s where RED’s pricing stops looking comparable. Many would argue that using third-party SSDs opens you to potential failures, loss of data, and that the docking mechanisms aren’t built for thousands of insertions and removals. But the community will have a lot to do with this — people will report which brands have worked great and the wisdom of the crowd will contribute to there being reliable options. So suddenly you’re looking at $200 for 30 minutes of 2.5K RAW BMCC footage versus $725 for (roughly, depending on compression) 30 minutes of 4K RAW RED footage (both at 24p). Per minute of footage, that’s $7/minute on the BMCC versus $24/minute for the RED. If you’re looking at buying a camera you have to ask yourself how much the Super35 sensor, variable frame rates (with windowing), REDCODE workflow, interchangeable lens mounts, and 4K resolution of the SCARLET is worth to you. Don’t discount the RED workflow — they’re years ahead of where CinemaDNG support is currently, especially since Adobe just dropped support for their own format in Premiere Pro — but then again, don’t discount the BMCC’s ability to record ProRes/DNxHD (which is what I suspect 90% of projects will use). And this is why the BMCC is so disruptive, because the package price is even more budget-friendly once you take into account off-the-shelf media.

RED and the Collection Plate

Ultimately it’s completely understandable that RED wants to make these cards with high margins. This is the reason to have proprietary media from a business standpoint — it’s a business model as old as time. Sony and Microsoft sell the Playstation and Xbox for cheap but makes money on the games. Gillette sells you the razor handle for cheap but makes money on the blades. No one paid much for their Holy Bible, but then the collection plate comes around.

Five years after coming out with the RED ONE, no one else is offering compressed RAW 4K internal recording — still. If it were cheap to make the cameras themselves, someone else would’ve already. So RED probably needs to sell high margin items like the media to be profitable — they are not producing at the economies of scale for the cost of production to come down drastically, though they have gotten several years out of that MX chip by now and that should help (for the same profitability reasons that Sony and Microsoft need to have the lifespan of their game consoles be as long as possible).

The Scarlet REDMAGs are… Slower?

But let’s get back to the topic of these particular new 48GB REDMAGs. The thing that makes them less appealing to me is: according to Jarred, they are not just smaller but also slower than the others. They have not announced the exact data rates but they are certainly not being built for high-speed EPIC shoots. Which is part of their raison d’être. But they’re basically the same $ per gigabyte as the expensive ones (a bit cheaper per GB than the 64GB REDMAG, but same as the 128GB, which is to say roughly $10/GB). So why would you pay the same per gigabyte… for slower speeds? For example, at the discount price of $460 each (if you buy four), the total is $1840 for 192GB — wouldn’t you rather have a faster 128GB and a 64GB card, to make that same 192GB total, for $1975 (just $135 more)? If you compare one 48GB card to one 64GB card, yes, the price per gigabyte is lower — but no one goes into a shoot with just one card. For most shoots (where you’ll want more than 128GB on set), these new REDMAGs bring down the cost of entry, but not the cost per minute.

I realize there are going to be plenty of people who want to comment “RED is overpriced, I’m buying a BMCC!” That’s fine, and that’s the reason there are a hundred million DSLRS out there compared to a few thousand Arri Alexas. More people can afford the cheaper camera. But I’m really looking to hear from other RED shooters, or people who’ve been thinking about getting a Scarlet. What are your thoughts on this new REDMAG, does it pique your interest or change the equation at all?

Link: New SSD 512GB + 32GB – REDUSER

Related Posts

  1. REDMAG SSD Cards Will Have a Dramatic Price Drop Very Soon
  2. RED EPIC-X Now Available for Ordering, SCARLET-X Increasing in Price by $2K
  3. Cinemartin to Release Lower-Cost Uncompressed 4:4:4 Field Recorder

COMMENT POLICY

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  • Aw, RED! Every time you do…well, anything, it makes me giggle.

  • I’ve been shooting on 2x 64gb cards since i got my scarlet 6 months ago, which has been great and usually only require 1-2 card dumps per day, if that. I’m considering getting another just in case one fails me somehow on an important shoot but honestly would rather just pick up the 128gb so atleast its Epic compatible in the event I upgrade (which is looking more and more likely given how amazing the Scarlet has been).

    • Exactly what we did and how we feel. 2x64gb has worked great for us…. Need to offload during a shoot, but we use R3D Manager to offload to 2 different storage devices and haven’t lost any data yet. More Redmags would be nice, but we can wait. An Epic with a Dragon sensor would be nice, but that’s a ways away for us.

  • This may be a bit off topic, but you know how some people toss around that tired argument “Film teaches discipline because it cost every time to roll”. Perhaps the same argument can be made for Raw cameras. Raw seems to be the future also.

    On topic, this is nice for RED owners. However, I think the BMCC is doing it right by allowing users to use SSDs from several manufactures.

    • I agree with this. Ever since I’ve started using the Scarlet, I’ve ended up adopting a more disciplined approach to filming. The inability to delete clips further accentuates this. It’s not a bad habit to adopt in my opinion.

  • I have a Scarlet and only two 64gb Redmags. Everytime i shoot for a whole day i become more aware of the need of at least two more 64gb redmags, so i dont have to be worried with downloading and shooting at the same time.. It´s already stressing to be worried about what you are shooting. But now i am really considering buying two more 48gb new redmags, and i´ll be saving 460 $us!!! that´s one extra red station, (i already have one in the editing room, now i can have one more for location only) and still have spare change. Thanks Red!!!

  • Personally I bit the bullet when I got the Scarlet in March and got a 128 and a 64. I’ve found that this is enough for the majority of jobs I’ve undertaken since. For jobs where your deliverable will be 1080p – you might as well record at 9:1 compression which gives you enough recording time. Furthermore, I’ve found that most of the jobs I take the Scarlet on are in controlled environments, allowing me to offload between takes, if it’s been a particular busy day.
    These cards complete the range of sizes available and will probably sell in lower quantities, but I think that it’s too little, too late. Unless RED is planning a cheaper camera launch (which, if you’ve been following Jannard’s cryptic posts seems like a possibility) which wouldn’t require much bandwidth and a 48gb card would yield an hour or so worth of recorded raw footage, then I personally think that current owners will go with the higher capacity options. I know that if I were to get another card I’d go for another 128gb.

  • I have a Scarlet and use it with just a single 64GB card since that was all I could afford back then. I was very much looking forward for a budget Redmag but I’m a bit dissapointed how the ’32GB’ card turned out. I really had hoped for a cheaper option, just to have time to dump the other Redmag while shooting.

  • john jeffreys on 10.4.12 @ 4:11PM

    HAHAHAHHA 500 bucks for a 48GB SSD with custom firmware. Thats rich. I love RED and the accessory pricing.

    • Have you used a Red SSD? They could probably stop a bullet. I bet you could throw one off a cliff and it would still work. Can’t say that about an off the shelf SSD.

      Plus it’s great to say people will figure out which SSDs are reliable…until you realize too late that you got a dud brand and lose a day’s footage. That could end up being far more expensive than spending a bit more on the media.

      Keep in mind you’re entrusting all the money and effort of a production to the memory card you put in the camera…if that fails, you just lost all the money you put into what you shot. And if you didn’t put that much money into the shoot, you shouldn’t be shooting on a camera as expensive as a Red.

      • john jeffreys on 10.5.12 @ 3:54AM

        All of RED’s accessory prices are outrageous. I especially love the 120 dollar video cables.

        • Daniel Mimura on 10.11.12 @ 9:42PM

          $120 for a cable is very cheap for a professional cable. LEMO connectors and Hi-Rose connectors aren’t cheap.

          A steadicam monitor cable is $295.

          It’s funny that people bitch about the costs when it’s actually a bargain.

      • You make a great point, I didn’t think of it like that. Production is a scary thing. All it takes is one simple component to fail and you’re potentially totally f*****, depending on what you’re doing, of course. An interview with a CEO who barely has 15 minutes for you 2 months out– the thought of something failing is enough to keep me up at night. It pays to have the most reliable equipment you can reasonably afford.

      • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 10.11.12 @ 7:09PM

        As far as I know RED or in the same sense other manufacturers don´t “MAKE” SSD´s they just brand them…so think what you like… :-)

  • I am inline with what N.K. is saying. I shot a bit on film when I started out and learned to understand the cost of doing things right. I’ve taken that approach in every method i’ve shot. When I got my first HVX i could only afford a 8GB card initially which wouldn’t last me very long.

    RED Mags are like film to me. Except you can re-use them. If your going to buy a RED suck it up and pay for it. If your going to talk crap on RED’s and complain about the prices from the outside then no one cares, except for you. I bought my scarlet and ponied up the dough for a 256 and a 128 right out of the gate. I knew what I wanted, and I accepted what I’d have to spend. I don’t shoot in places I can drop the media every 30 minutes. I also don’t want to have to sacrifice what I can offer rental wise.

    With that said, I am excited about the lower cost Red mags for those looking to get into RED’s. It’s only going to help those who couldn’t quite afford it and that want to shoot RED. Your going to have to take short cuts but it’s like any other camera. Buy what you can and make it work, and learn how to make it work for you. Personally I’d say save to get more. But i’m also not one of the elitist mindset RED owners (they do exist in good numbers) who buys every new thing that comes out. But if you can make it happen, you’ll be thanking yourself down the road.

  • I’m close to getting a scarlet and will be going with two 128 GBs to start me off, so that it will be compatible on shoots we rent EPICS.

  • We only own 2x64GB cards and one 128GB card for our RED. Haven’t needed more, even on all-day shoots. Then again, yeah like people are saying, you need to be disciplined.

  • Let’s remember that the GH2 won the Zacuto shootout on this site, and its media even with the hacked codec costs pennies per minute. Same with the internal media of the FS700 and C100 which feature log gammas.

    For nearly all current cameras, direct to ProRes is available on the same commodity SSD media via external recorders at something like $2/minute and falling.

    I shoot RAW only for stills. RAW will be nice to have for video no question but forcing yourself to learn how to optimize lighting and exposure for a codec is a good skill to have on the way up to playing in that league. RAW doesn’t make you invincible by any stretch. If you have already paid for everything else you actually need and can manage the total cost of shooting RAW then go ahead, but what I’ve found is people think they don’t need to invest in lighting and how to use it because they think RAW makes that irrelevant and they really are more interested in cameras than images.

    • The GH2 won the shootout when it was a “creative” scene because the GH2 DPs lit it more than any other camera. No one is saying RAW makes you invincible.

      • That is correct. All of the ASC DP’s and $$$cameras got
        put to shame in that test. They phoned their stuff in. The GH2 guys
        had something to prove and they worked it.

      • That is correct. All of the ASC DP’s and $$$cameras got
        put to shame in that test. They phoned their stuff in. The GH2 guys
        had something to prove and they worked it better.

  • I have come to believe that Scarlet is a camera without a market.

    Consider: It’s not priced, nor is it designed for the video-style shooter. It’s an interesting camera because it’s basically a cheap Epic, which is designed for dramatic-single-camera-style productions (kinda). Pricing will never quite make sense for Scarlet’s entire workflow because it’s not a product designed for a customer’s needs, it’s designed for a different market’s needs and then made so cheap it’s being considered by people with different productions expectations. If you’re a video shooter, it’s a pain in the butt to use on set, post is just weird, and it’s oddly expensive after you buy all the accessories.

    Scarlet starts to make more sense if viewed as a cheap film-style camera, where you have 2 or 3 camera assistants onset who can focus on the prep and operation of the camera and accessories. Assuming you have a post-workflow optimized for RAW, only then does Scarlet become ready-to-go tool. But once you have a camera team, whats a few extra grips and electrics… next thing you know camera costs, either buying or renting, fade into the background when compared to costs associated with creating and lighting something worthy of filming. In fact, camera costs become so negligible, the disparity between Scarlet and Epic’s price begins to diminish, at which point why not just rent an Epic and shoot without the limitations. Hum, Scarlet doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense here either.

    When I say ‘sense’ I mean dollars and sense. (huh, see what I did there!) For video, as a ready-to-go camera it’s missing a lot of basics, like XLR inputs, EVF, built-in autofocus lens… It’s a goofy grey box, that needs setup time once you arrive on location. It’s the same nightmare as a DSLR video rig. For cinema, it’s still rare that a movie’s budget is soooo slim that it would consider a Scarlet over an Epic. 15 days on set with enough crafty and catering to feed just the camera team already out prices the rental of an Epic package for the same duration. (You can have the biggest army in the world, but if you can’t feed them… i.e. logistics gets movies made, not cameras.)

    I know I keep referring to just the camera’s costs, and article is about the new REDMAGs, But I think my point about the camera’s economy is the only way to size up the REDMAG pricing as either good, bad, or ugly… (on a side note, SxS cards for the Alexa are 32GB for 648 on BnH, so 32GB or higher cards from Red at 450 is a good deal by comparison.)

    The other issue that’s worth bring up is weather or not SSDs are as reliable as proprietary memory card options in both the short and long term. Drive manufactures have no preference or allegiance to the camera market and I’m sure that their manufacturing techniques allow higher variance in component quality. Consider, when Sony or Red make a memory card, it has to be bullet proof, everything is riding on it. Memory cards are the Achilles’ heel of tapeless camera workflow. It doesn’t matter how great the camera is if it can’t be trusted to record. It does speak well that blackmagic believes in SSDs enough to base their camera around it, but blackmagic isn’t in control of the products quality now or a year from now.

    Ok, enough rambling. Thanks for considering my thoughts.

    • I agree with almost all of what Eric is saying, except he is missing the one/two day mini shoot. Like low budget music videos or commercials in the $10-20 grand range. That is where Scarlet kicks ass. Over the course of a 20 day shoot, yes, the price of an EPIC becomes the least important piece of the puzzle, but when you are worrying where to cut $1000 bucks off a 1-day small budget, that is where renting Scarlet makes sense. You are getting the image quality a ad agency or a record label wants (plus they are more apt to understand that you need to add a day or two in post to accommodate the workflow).

    • Grade A post, though I would argue SSDs as being destined for computers are probably higher quality overall than camera-focused media. Because computer stuff is mission critical to much bigger businesses than filmmaking, and they have economies of scale in their favor.

      Hey Joe, how many insertions are you rated for? Sorry couldn’t resist. But most likely the camera is obsolete, just like most of us, before reaching the excessive number of insertions. The Don Juan DPs excluded.

      • I wouldn’t be so sure of that…I remember Google talking about how they intentionally bought low grade (non-SSD) hard drives because it was cheaper and the cloud based nature of their systems reduced the need for individual drive reliability. So you have to look at each industry, and what they actually need from the technology. And in a lot of cases these SSDs are being used by gamers or other consumer enthusiasts who don’t expect a 0% fail rate. That’s the same reason Nvidia sells basically the same video card to both gamers and high end industry, but the gamer version is 1/10th the price. Gamers don’t care if the precision of their Geforce card isn’t perfect, but a Quadro in a medical imaging system has no margin for error.

        In any case, I have witnessed multiple SSDs fail miserably in computers, so yeah-no. They’re definitely not more reliable.

        • I’ve seen SSDs fail yes, but I’ve seen SD cards and CF cards fail even more. But that’s anecdata, and the SSD format is getting quite mature now. CF pins are so fragile and worse, they are on the camera side not the card side, taking out your whole camera with one grain of sand or off-kilter insertion. At least the 5D3 can also stream its video to SDXC fine enough, the slots are safe on those though the cards die if you look at them the wrong way.

          Rarer formats are going to have less anecdata as a rule, but that doesn’t mean they have a lower failure rate in practice. Redundancy is essential for anything critical, and my planned move of going with a C100 and an external SSD recorder gives me two cheap SDXC backups in AVCHD (better than having to redo an entire day at least) and a direct to prores SSD with an external recorder at a TCO way under $10K. That sort of redundancy gets very expensive with more expensive formats, and those formats are still going to benefit from redundancy regardless. Nothing has a failure rate of zero.

    • There are many thousands of Scarlet being used for all manner of work. I know many people whose scarlets have transformed their businesses.

      But yes, of course Scarlet is best suited for low budget cinema. It’s well documented that this was always it’s target audience. And I think it’s been well found with those indies who want to produce high quality footage but don’t want to rent.

      There’s a huge creative advantage to owning your own camera as opposed to renting an epic for a three week shoot. If your self producing the one thing you can give yourself over larger budget productions is time. Time and the flexibility to shoot and reshoot and learn and keep on producing content. Also potential for your own rentals and helping others etc.

      I think the BMCC release is AWESOME, but Scarlet is still the best bang for buck true cinema camera on the market.

      Have to respond to a couple of your other points.

      Scarlet is not a pain in the butt to use on set. It’s highly modular exactly so you can set it up to meet your needs. And nothing takes more time, than NOT being able to do something with the tool you have at hand. If you think it’s a pain in the butt, with all due respect, I think you need to address your set up. Also post, is a piece of piss to be honest.

  • We have a scarlet here on the company. We’ve been shooting almost daily with it. It has 4x 128gb SMAGs. Really expensive!! In fact RED Bricks and the charger where pricey as hell !! Every single accessory from them is overpriced.

    One thing to mention is that we need more than one camera to keep things fast. now we are really considering the new MFT BMCC.. It’s really cheap compared to scarlet. We’re about to order 3 BMCC and rig them. Let’s just hope they solve the delay by december…

    Scarlet is a good cam but no decent slow motion… 120fps at 1k is a joke really…

    • And you expect to get better slow mo options with the BMCC?

      • We’re using the FS700 when needed for 240fps. Scarlet does 60fps 2k. We use it all the time, but when we need something really slow we rent the FS700. It’s a good cam.

        I’m really interested on the BMCC and speed up things using a bunch of them on set in RAW or ProRes.

  • P2 cards are alive and well in the broadcast industry (and might be in film if Panasonic ever get around to releasing their 4k Varicam). In fact the NHK 8k footage at the Olympics was recorded to P2 cards.

  • Chris Mammarelli on 10.4.12 @ 11:41PM

    Just finished a 9 day shoot in South Carolina for a feature with my Epic. Had 8×128 cards and was able to use four of them most days shooting 8:1 compression at 5k FF. The last day we shot 5 cards. Not having to worry about DIT duties until the day is wrapped is a huge help in this type of shooting environment. Having reliable and durable media when making company moves is a huge plus. One day we had seven company moves and we shot up to 12 pages in a day. The advantages of RAW and being able to shoot for exposure and fixing color in post without worrying about too many other details is very liberating on set and for the performance of talent.

  • brian merlen on 10.5.12 @ 1:01AM

    All you broke guys whining about media costs should go shoot some 35mm cinema stuff or 65mm Imax stuff and get back to me about “what is expensive”. Just cuz your POS 5D or Black Magic Plastic Cam can shoot on dirt cheap cards doesn’t mean its a good camera. I hear Iphones are cheap to shoot on, why don’t you just use one of those and leave the Reds, Phantoms, Alexas, F65′s to us big boys???

    I own a 256gb red mag, and will wait on Dragon before I decide what else I need media wise. No point in getting the cheap mags if they can’t roll on Dragon or Epic

    • Posts like this are what give Red users a bad rep… I own a Scarlet and love it, but I’m not going to act like I’m better than those buying the Black Magic Camera to save money.

      Are you just trying to piss off people that can’t afford cameras/media costing 10′s of thousands of dollars?

    • john jeffreys on 10.5.12 @ 3:52AM

      My 5D is not a POS. I bet I can make better compositions than you. What do you do, weddings and shitty commercials?.

  • They never claimed it was a $10k camera. Just the body.

  • On question,

    I have 4 x 64 GB’s. For my work needs this means I don’t have to worry about backing up/DIT work on set.

    RED cost always has to be discussed relative to quality. It is always quality. But as such they will never give us RED gear for JVC prices.

    I’m not interested in the new media options. Though having a smaller SSD for the emergency loading of firmware would be nice. But I’m not willing to spend a few hundred bucks for that.

    • How did RED go from being one of the cheapest options out there to
      the Ferraris of the camera market in 5 short years?

      • Define “cheapest”. Red was always a “Ferrari” of the camera market. The difference is that today Arri and Sony have been forced to drop their $200,000 camera offerings to <$100,000. So sure Red hasn't dropped their prices by the same percentage as Arri and Sony, but that's because their prices were never so incredibly high.

        Those that can't afford to shoot on Red today, certainly couldn't have 5 years ago. That's why ground glass adapters existed for prosumer camcorders before DSLRs entered the scene.

  • The Scarlet would have been a great camera at $3000, but there are too many other better options at the 10K + price point. I’m not saying the Scarlet is a bad camera, it’s just an overpriced camera.

    • Really? Seriously? The main cameras in Scarlet’s price range are the Sony F3 and the Canon C300. Please detail how you think the Scarlet is worse than those cameras, especially as cinema cameras (as opposed to broadcast).

      PS, I hope you’re aware that the Scarlet that ended up coming out is an Epic with slower framerates, not a 2/3″ camera like they had original planned.

      • I think the SCARLET would have been close to perfect if you could upgrade it to EPIC like you can upgrade sensors now, then I could buy a box + sensor with slower processing and eventually upgrade to EPIC standards by just buying a new faster processor…. or something…..

        • Understandable…although keep in mind that a lot of the money towards a Scarlet goes to accessories that are fully compatible with the Epic.

          Also the Dragon upgrade is going to necessitate a processor upgrade in Scarlet, so it should become more capable as well as having the new sensor.

      • john jeffreys on 10.8.12 @ 1:00PM

        A 2/3″ camera with a fixed lens, too. Would have been atrocious.

        • Meanwhile, the 1/3″ fixed lens, h264 shooting, $3000 cameras coming out now aren’t atrocious?

          Besides, there was going to be a PL mount version in addition to the fixed lens model.

    • Which camera’s are better than Scarlet at it’s price point?
      If there was I’d be very interested, but said camera doesn’t exist and you should really inform yourself a bit better.

  • On the subject of the REDMAG I think RED is making it slightly more affordable in any way they can for entry RED users who want to get into REDs but don’t quite have the initial investment to back up the full package, which is great and will also be great for the other use of the SCARLET as a ‘Stills’ camera that don’t need an hour’s worth of footage in a shoot. Will a 48GB card suffice, maybe, at first so you can dip your toes into a SCARLET, but I would look at it as an “entry fee” of sorts that may end up sitting in the bag on most shoots when you upgrade to a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB.

    Now on the topic of the Scarlet as a feasible or worthwhile camera, depends on what you’re doing. If you’re doing projects that you can happily get away with 8bit H.264, then pull out your 5D3, 7D, D7000 and so forth and do so (I’m currently starting in the industry and have a fairly small budget so I’m shooting with my D7000, it’s not the best DSLR out there but truly it’s good enough for web bound video).
    An exception however is said Black Magic camera, with the 2.5K RAW I can’t say I wasn’t intrigued by this and it is great to see such a low priced camera on the market, at what cost though? 30fps max, 2.3x crop, internal battery (why they did this I DON’T KNOW!) uncontrolled media (I’m sure there’s great SSDs out there however trial and error doesn’t sound so great when you hit the ‘error’) and it’s new, there’s going to be bugs I’m sure, I highly doubt large ones however we will see. This camera or it’s future upgrade will be a prime candidate for a lot of video and Indyfilm uses and I am very excited to see where this goes.

    Now if you’re looking to upgrade to the $10K range, well don’t expect to get a Scarlet. If you’re in that range their are some nice cameras but it’s usually the same story frame rate or quality of image (by that I mean dynamic range and bit depth), an example of which, the Fs-700 yeah you get 240fps in burst mode, but it’s still 8-bit. Again I am not saying great work can’t some out of 8-bit or small dynamic range, it just limits what you can do on set and in post.
    Once you get into the $13K-$20K range now we’re talking about the SCARLET and in this price bracket it’s perfect, of course it takes some getting used to both on set and in post but that’s the challenge you accept when you get into this quality of camera. The 4k 13.5stops of dynamic range and 16-bit image is un-paralleled in this price bracket, as is the modularity and the ability to upgrade when a new sensor or doodad comes out, that simple. Plus those modules that you put on your SCARLET, well when you up your budget then they slap on to that nice shinny RED EPIC.
    If you have the SCARLET already it’s as simple as buying the EPIC body and slapping on all the modules that you had on your SCARLET (Leaving it bare and lonely… ) and go crazy with the insane specs that the current EPIC has and the borderline psychotic specs that the Dragon sensor holds in store (I’ve heard talk of 21 stop dynamic range with HDRx, that’s more than the human eye can perceive at any given time!).

    So to recap on the subject of the SCARLET and the accessories it has, if you have $13K then you can get an entry level SCARLET, if you want more modules rack up the price but you’re going to have a hell of a camera when you’re done. What RED has done is made it easier to get a SCARLET into the hands of more lower budget filmmakers by having the body cheaper and the modules and accessories more expensive (to balance income with expense) and allowed the camera to be upgraded at the filmmaker’s desire. The SCARLET is a hell of a camera and the best bang for your buck under the EPIC, but truly it’s the story that makes the film amazing, it’s the movement of the camera and the application of the lenses that makes an amazing shot, the camera can add to this of course but it can’t fix bad cinematography or story telling.

    Now that that tangent has sufficed, the 48GB REDMAGS, definitely an entry level purchase and one to be thought long and hard about (48GB vs 64GB or higher that is), but it also has it’s applications on the Photography side of the spectrum and should not be overlooked when you make the investment. And for those that actually read it, thank you for reading my essay :P

    P.S. Brian and John, chill out, everyone has their own opinions and camera needs, you can shoot a hell of a film on any camera, end of story, no need to be hatin on anybody.

    • I actually read all that :) – Well spoken and I share your opinion.
      I started off on a 7D – migrated quite quickly to a Mark II and after a few years was looking to upgrade to something a bit more fully featured. I was awaiting with baited breath for an announcement by Canon for a Mark III or something better. I actually stayed up till 3am (local time) to see the live presentation of the Cinema EOS range.
      Simultaneously I was keeping an eye out on RED’s announcement which was seriously underplayed in comparison. The disparity between the products shown was spectacular and that’s why I invested in RED and haven’t looked back.
      Though I learned about working around limitations using DSLRs, I believe that the Scarlet has seriously aided me in attaining the next level of progression. It has allowed me to focus and to play with imagery much like I had in the past with still photography. And by removing the limitations of baked-in, lacklustre codecs, has allowed me to become a better colorist and a better cimematographer.
      At least that has been my experience.
      As for the whole ‘Still’ aspect – maybe a 48gb card would be ideal for this, but for the time being RED has seemingly given up on the whole dedicated stills feature-set. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

      • I had a very similar experience, and also decided to go with RED. While I love the Scarlet, the two biggest issues for me is the RedVolt (how long they last), and the price of the media. For most of my shoots (lasting only a few days) the answer is to rent the cards I need rather than to buy.

        As for the 48gb cards, they don’t really interest me. A 64gb card fills up so fast as it is. If they where 64gb (with the speed limitations) for $500 I’d be more interested.

  • I wish people would stop using the “giving away the razor tin order to sell blades” metaphor. Gillette tried that and soon learned that was impossible to make a simple piece of metal proprietary. By the 1960s there were a couple hundred manufacturers of double-edge razor blades. Most of the blade makers didn’t manufacture razors.

    • They’re still doing it today… Should I have said “giving away the razor to sell the (twin/triple/five) blades?” Rolls right off the tongue.

  • Daniel Mimura on 10.11.12 @ 10:43PM

    The problems of the higher cost of the redmags seem kind of trumped up to me. Sure it’s pricey—it’s definitely overpriced…but once you have them, you’re set. The actually storage for the projects are where the Scarlet looks much better. Uncompressed RAW adds up fast…if you have any project that has a high shooting ratio…the higher price of redmags versus any old SSD like with the BMCC and some onboard recorders quickly sways into Red’s favor.

    I don’t have or plan to get a Scarlet (the BMCC is the only decent option in my price range right now…)…but the storage (for RAW) is a huge problem. I’m already trying to work out some way to shoot RAW and then encode it into DNxHD/ProRes…and delete the RAW original. I know it sounds like sacrilege to delete your originals…but the other option is going straight to DNxHD or ProRes…which won’t give you that latitude.

    It’s the budget shoots that need the dynamic range the most! People keep missing this fact. Sure, the GH2 can look great with all the gear…but its the bigger shoots on the Red and the Alexa that can afford the lighting. On a no budget doc or industrial shoot, I’d much rather shoot RAW b/c I don’t have the manpower to shoot in daylight (nor would I want it if I had the option b/c it would be invasive and interfere with my subjects)…these situations RAW would be way better, but there is no way to make it affordable for at least a couple of types of things I’ve been shooting.

    • Daniel Mimura on 10.11.12 @ 10:46PM

      I meant to say I don’t have the manpower to shoot *well* in daylight…of course I can, but I hate the clipped highlights or crushed shadows and that low latitude D-SLR, reversal film look.

    • “On a no budget doc or industrial shoot, I’d much rather shoot RAW b/c I don’t have the manpower to shoot in daylight (nor would I want it if I had the option b/c it would be invasive and interfere with my subjects)…these situations RAW would be way better”

      That’s always been my opinion, but many still think otherwise. You don’t use RAW as a crutch, but it can help if you can’t control everything.

      As for RAW on the BMCC, a lot of people have been talking about converting the CinemaDNG footage to Cineform RAW, which is a wavelet codec based on JPEG2000 just like REDCODE. There are two ways you could do it, one is shooting the project like normal with RAW and then converting as soon as possible to Cineform and deleting the original footage. Another could be that once you finish your edit for a particular shoot, you convert the CinemaDNG to Cineform and delete the originals. This way, even on the off chance that you need to go back, you’re still dealing with much more manageable file sizes, and you can still have the grading options that RAW allows.

      • Daniel Mimura on 10.15.12 @ 6:23PM

        Wow…cool. I didn’t know about Cineform RAW. I’ll look into it more. It looks like there is a 1920×1080 size limit (I want to keep full resolution into I finish the edit, for image stabilization mostly, but possibly for slight framing corrections))…but I’m sure they’ll eventually make different sizes available. I’m sure most codecs will need upgrading soon b/c more and more cameras are exceeding 1080p.

  • Great Writeup … HOWEVER one thing TOTALLY MISLEADING about selling the cards more expensive in comparison to the Camera … Your example “Gillette sells you the razor handle for cheap but makes money on the blades. No one paid much for their Holy Bible, but then the collection plate comes around. Ha ha ha your so intellectually funny … You only wish that the collection plate came around for camera gear … Anyway its offensive because you dont have to put anything in the collection plate if you don’t want to & there is no set amount even if you were to put money in … idiot … Why does everything have to do with the Bible. Ryan Roo stick to being a modern pen pusher & don’t bring religion into this, firstly is bad & will offend some of your readers & 2 you example doesn’t even support what you set your example to achieve … Shows how little you know outside technology thats obsolete in 3 months. ha ha laughs on you comedian/tech person

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