Time Running out to Buy a $4,000 RED ONE MX, and RED Founder Jim Jannard May Call It Quits Soon
If you somehow missed the price drop announcement a few days ago, RED’s workhorse camera, the RED ONE MX, is now selling for $4,000. Forget 3K for $3K, the RED ONE is capable of an astounding 4.5K for $4K. While it will cost a little bit more to get one shooting, there’s no question it’s a sign of how far technology has come that a camera used on seriously high-end feature films like Contagion and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is now available for such a low price. If you’ve been on the fence about getting one, you’ll have to move quickly as these are going fast — the CF module version has already sold out. We’ve also got word that the man who started it all, RED’s CEO Jim Jannard, may be stepping down once the new Dragon sensor and a “new technology” are both released.
First, here’s what Brent said Monday on the REDUser forum about the number of RED ONE MXs still left:
I know I posted in the Attitude Adjustment thread, but since people keep asking “How many RED ONEs are there as battle-tested?”, I figured would post here as well. We are already sold out of RED ONE [BT] with the CF module. We still have a limited number of RED ONE [BT] with the SSD module. While we never give out numbers, safe to say if you are interested in one, you should make your decision in the coming days, not the coming weeks. There is a finite number – and when they are gone, they are gone.
As of right now the RED ONE MX (in the SSD version) is still available in the RED store, but if it does sell out, there are still great deals if you’ve been in the market for a digital cinema camera — with the RED SCARLET brain down to $7,950 and the RED EPIC brain coming in at $19,000. Even with Sony’s announcement of the F5/F55 cameras and Canon’s new 4K-capable C500 now shipping, the prices of RED’s products fit right in line with the competition.
In other interesting news, the often outspoken founder of RED Digital Cinema has somewhat unceremoniously declared that he will most likely be retiring soon, probably after Dragon and a so-called “new technology” are released. Here are his exact words (in response to other comments):
Thanks for your thoughts. I will actually retire soon. Jarred has made that possible.
As soon as Dragon and our “new technology” has been released, I won’t be just taking a little time off. I will have done my job.
That seems like a clear declaration that he’s more or less done running the company, and will likely hand the reigns over to Jarred Land after his departure (assuming Jarred stays on as well). Jim is, after all, 63 years old (which I still can’t believe — time has been kind to him), and if there’s one thing you can’t deny about him, it’s that he works tirelessly. Whether it’s been helpful for the company’s image or not, he spends countless hours on the REDUser forums talking with users (or future users) about current issues and where the company is headed, as well as late night posts that vary from the quality of RED products all the way to talking about Aspartame and Sodastream carbonated drink makers (yes, that thread really happened).
Even if you disagree with the way he’s gone about running his company, this industry has changed drastically from a little over 6 years ago when RED announced their first camera. While the Dalsa Origin was the original 4K camera (released in 2006), it was a $3,000 rental-only, and available to just the highest-end productions. At that time it was normal for a company like Sony or Panavision to create a $250,000 camera that rented for thousands of dollars per day — and the cameras from those companies were only capable of 1080p at best. You can say whatever you’d like about RED cameras and their reliability (which has improved tremendously over the last few years), but we would not have affordable digital cinema quality cameras under $10,000 if it weren’t for their insistence on pushing the industry forward.
On to a bit of speculation, it’s certainly not clear what this “new technology” will be, but there’s no doubt Jim and Co. are dreaming big. Even though Dragon may be almost a year out before it gets into the hands of most current RED users, I’m sure they have already begun working on whatever will succeed it. I would not be surprised if it was something no one was expecting, and there had even been mention before that RED was working on a motion version of the light field technology used in the Lytro camera — which is capable of capturing all points of light and then adjusting the focus of the image in post. That kind of powerful technology does mean that the rest of the image quality suffers (and megapixel counts are extremely low at this point), but a motion version of a light field camera would be a serious breakthrough in motion pictures, and would certainly cement RED’s legacy as a leader in the field. Only time will tell.
In the next few days we’ll be doing a post about what to expect if you’re a new RED owner, and how you can get in on the action for the lowest price possible. It can be a little daunting to get started in the RED world, so it’s definitely important that you aren’t purchasing something you may not need, and are getting the best bang for your buck — so stay tuned for that.
If you’re in the market for a camera like the RED ONE MX and you still haven’t decided, what might be keeping you on the fence? As for Jim’s announcement, what do you guys think? Will RED continue to be a force in the world of cameras after Jim retires, or do you think it won’t survive a major transition like that? (If you think the latter, consider that Oakley is still in business long after it was sold by Mr. Jannard.) How about RED’s “new technology” — what do you guys think it is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
- RED ONE MX w/SSD (BT) — RED Store
- Brent — RED ONE MXs — REDUser
- Jim Jannard “Retirement” — REDuser
- Jim Jannard “Time off” — REDUser
[via Wide Open Camera]