January 3, 2013

RED SCARLET Named PDN's Video Camera of the Year, What Will Happen in 2013?

While PDN (Photo District News) is an excellent source of photography related information, they have only just begun dabbling in high-end digital cinema. They just recently finished off their list of 'Photo Gear of the Year,' and on that list happens to be the RED SCARLET -- which was actually introduced in November 2011 but didn't start finding its way into the hands of users until December 2011 and well into 2012. It's an interesting choice, for sure, but I'm sure part of it has to do with cost (it's still half the price of EPIC), and the other part is that you can pull great still images from the video.

Here is the reasoning behind the choice:

While calling the 4K-shooting Red Scarlet-X a mere "video camera," is like calling a Lamborghini just a "car," this digital cinema machine presented one of the best options for photographers interested in crossing over into serious filmmaking. Capable of producing mind-blowing 4K video that will put that 1080p you shot with your HD-DSLR to shame, the Red Scarlet-X offers the imaging power to make the leap from shooting HD clips to creating gorgeous feature films. Meanwhile, the free Redcine Pro software lets you easily pull high-resolution stills from the video, if you find you still need those. But believe us, after shooting video that's four times the resolution of HD with this rad-looking, small and rugged camera, you just may put still photography in the rearview mirror.

I don't think anyone is going to be putting photography in the rearview mirror anytime soon, but I'm inclined to think it will start happening sooner or later based on some thoughts from a recent Canon 1D C post. Of course, their reasoning doesn't factor in usability, which is certainly a consideration, but in terms of sheer image quality flexibility, there wasn't anything in this price range coming out in 2012 that could really match it. Yes you can argue 4K RAW has its downsides, like file sizes, but these R3D files are extremely versatile. This is also a good excuse to share a recent SCARLET video that caught my eye, produced with help from :

This next year could be another interesting one for cameras. We've got the F5 and the F55 coming out, but it's also very possible we could see something brand new from a company that's never made a camera before. Many have talked about GoPro possibly producing a large sensor camera, and they've certainly got part of the camera building process in place already. I think the biggest thing for most people will be whether any of the camera companies besides Blackmagic start producing real video cameras in the $1,500-$3,000 range. Sony has started doing this, but their offerings haven't been any better than DSLR quality -- so the only reason to move up would be a form factor consideration. I think DSLR filmmaking will begin to slowly be replaced by large sensor video cameras at many levels, but they will still probably hang around for years to come, especially when cameras like the GH2 and GH3 are so cheap and still produce fantastic results. That type of value is hard to beat, and the next highest quality camera in the price range besides the BMCC is the FS100, which may see a replacement or a price drop in 2013.

Could be another interesting year -- but what do you think will happen in 2013? Do you think the new Dragon sensor, if released earlier in 2013, will become the high-end camera of choice, or do you think Arri will continue it's dominance? How about at the low-end -- what do you think will happen there? Do you think Blackmagic will secure much of the low-end digital cinema or might another company come along -- whether they currently make a large sensor camera or not -- and steal some of the thunder?

Link: PDN 2012 Photo Gear of the Year

Your Comment

66 Comments

There are floating rumors on linkedin groups of a 4K+ gear from Arri and something called "Digital 70mm" from Panavision... But these are obviously a different target than Scarlet...

January 3, 2013

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SydneyBlue120d

We've been hearing the Panavision rumors for a long time now, I wonder when they're finally going to release an updated camera. The real question they probably should be asking, does it even make sense for them to try to compete with RED, Arri, and Sony? Maybe that's why they are trying to go with a larger sensor, that might be the only way they differentiate themselves.

January 3, 2013

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

Panavision have test cams in the wild.

January 3, 2013

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marklondon

Sensor technology will improve significantly over the next five to ten years, but Panavision will always have an edge over the competition with their lenses. Sooner, or later there's going to be a plateau reached with sensors in that they will far exceed film. When will the data "overflow" become superfluous? If Panavision comes out with a Super 70mm camera that has 12K of resolution, and looks like film, that would be awesome, but unfortunately, there's no "12K" projector (right now), and I think most effect houses work most comfortably at 4K, but can work up to 8K (at a much higher cost).

RED camera deserves all the accolades for bringing some stunning technology to the masses in such a short period of time. Back in 1998 I remember reading the book "How to make a movie for the price of a used car" and in it the author outlined how to make a movie for about $10,000, but even then that was just getting the movie in the can, not a release print. So it's amazing that now you can get a RED (If you're lucky) for around $4k and go make your movie. This is the gift that RED has given everyone. Competition makes everyone and everything better.

Even then, the consumer options are amazing now. I know of two productions that were shot on the FS100 and the C300 and both cameras produced really great images.

January 3, 2013

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Neil Brimelow

Most post houses (or at least all the ones I've worked with) work at 2k. 4k finishing is rare and expensive.

January 3, 2013

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Will

January 6, 2013

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SydneyBlue120d

Can't wait for NAB expect (hope) we'll see a ton of BMC clones someone somewhere must have been hearing the whole community scream for a super 35mm sensor with those features

January 3, 2013

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Chris Lambert

I agree that GoPro has a huge opportunity to introduce a large sensor camera that records cineform raw, but since I just purchased a Scarlet, I hope they don't act on it ;)

January 3, 2013

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I'm interested to see if any company, such as RED, Arri, etc., is going to come out with a "medium format" cinema camera. Absolutely NOTHING can best the image quality of IMAX film, although it's hard to get your hands on. Perhaps someone will revolutionize the high-end market and create something that can compete with IMAX in the $40-75,000 range.

January 3, 2013

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TehRandax

Sooner or later the Monstro will come alive :)
http://camerarentalz.com/epic-617/

January 3, 2013

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SydneyBlue120d

I'm rooting for an affordable 4K DSLR! Any chance that might be a realistic option at some point down the road?

January 3, 2013

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It won't be 2013 but it could definitely happen at some point. The 1D C is quite the premium over the 1D X, so I think that tells you where the current state of 4K DSLRs is at right now.

January 3, 2013

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

The 1D C is still the cheapest entry into real, usable 4K is it not? $12K for 8bit 4:2:2 recorded directly on CF cards. Don't need external recorders, special media, etc.

I do agree it's still priced too high, since you can get a fully equipped Scarlet, with at least one 64GB drive for $14K and then you get higher bit rate and RAW, plus more frame rate options, which frankly, when all said and done, is well worth the $2k addition.

FS700 is also about $14K once you get everything you need to pull 4K off of it.

January 3, 2013

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seanmc

probably about the same time we have 4k iphones imo

January 3, 2013

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Chris Lambert

I think if you want something to shoot 4k, you should be beyond using DSLRs. They're not cinema cameras and I'm still baffled as to why people keep wishing they were.

January 3, 2013

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pat

Because some of us still shoot stills as well as video. Also, if every piece of your kit (tripod/slider/jib/cage/monitoring) is built for the DSLR form factor, then what you want is a more capable camera that fits that form factor. Be baffled no more!

January 3, 2013

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marklondon

Once you put it in a cage and add monitoring and whatnot, you've lost the DSLR form factor. Still baffled. Crazy idea: have two dedicated cameras. Even crazier idea: don't try to own every piece of rigging and peripheral gear. You can afford a better camera to begin with that way.

January 3, 2013

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pat

Since the 1DC is (and do correct me if im wrong) the same sensor size as the 5D3, isnt is just a matter of e.g. processor power and so forth necessary to deal with the larger 4K data load? if thats the case, a 4K dslr must be viable.. As for DSLRs not being designated cinema cameras -- sure, but you _can_ shoot a film with one, so why not use something that you know how to use (and have lenses for, etc)? :)

January 3, 2013

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As much as I've been a fan of them, I'm ready for DSLRs to go away. I'm not a stills shooter, and I don't care about the same things a stills shooter would.

At this point, I'm ready for a new class of "starter" cinema cameras to dominate the $1500 - $3000 range. Make the camera body as cheap as possible, and make everything else modular. Give me the option of recording RAW, but also give me the option of a few different qualities of compression. Make it work with the lenses I already have. Give it timecode. I'll buy all the accessories if they just make the body cheap. RED is getting this right more than any other company I've seen. Canon, Sony, and Panasonic should take note.

January 3, 2013

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Derik

What he said.

January 3, 2013

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Puncher

Isn't what you just described the BMDCC?
While we're discussing unicorns I'd like a medium format hybrid camera that shoots 60mp stills and 6 k video please.

January 3, 2013

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marklondon

I wouldn't be surprised if GoPro came out with a camera compatible with Canon lenses at this year's NAB.

If the Hero 3 can shoot 4K at 15fps, I'm pretty sure they can find a way to speed things up so we can get at least 24fps at that resolution. And maybe 2.5k at 60fps ? HD at 120 ?

They could easily avoid the flaws of the BMCC (idiotic form factor, internal battery...) and, heck, if the HER0 3 is below $500, I wouldn't mind adding an extra grand or two for a Cineform codec camcorder in a useblable configuration from those guys.

January 4, 2013

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Fabdex

I believe Sony has taken note with the F55 it is modular and with their resources (money) I believe they will out compete red in this area soon but I could be wrong. I want a camera like the F5 version that shoots and works in 2K since 1080 is the standard for displays 2K is enough res to work in then down convert to 1080 and get a decent image and it will upgrade to 4 k eventually via up grade. I am curious to what others think about this unless your project is going to the big screen I see no need to work in 4K yet Any thoughts on that anyone?

January 6, 2013

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Gary Simmons

I think it depends on what you shoot. If you're talking certain types of one-off corporate videos (as one example), 4K could be overkill. If you're talking something made for general consumption and entertainment, 4K may give the project more longevity. I Love Lucy was shot on 35mm film in the 1950s. It has probably been on television somewhere in the world since it ended. That's serious royalty money. Once 4K becomes ubiquitous in the home, a 4K scan of the 35mm film negative results in great looking content for even more years to come. You know what won't look so hot at 4K? All in the Family, and it was shot 20 years later.

None of us knows what projects of ours are going to be hits. Sometimes it's the one you least expect. If you try to ensure whatever you do now has legs as far out into the future as possible, the better off you'll be if lightning strikes. If it never does, what's the worst that will happen? You end up with great looking 4K footage you pull out of the closet and share with your kids on the 4K TV in their bedroom.

If you can afford a 4K+ workflow, which is becoming easier and cheaper by the day, I say seriously consider it.

January 6, 2013

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Brian

I forgot to add one thing: YouTube is 4K ready today. I recently bought a TV with wifi and a YouTube app built in. Those people who think 4K content is just going to be for movie theaters aren't paying close enough attention.

January 6, 2013

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Brian

as an indie filmmaker who doesn´t work now with high budgets.. I have to stay light, fast, I can´t have giant crane, heavy tripods that can carry fully rigged epics or alexas.. I have gear that can take dslr or max a camera like sony fs100.. what I am still waiting for is:

GH3 body with s35mm senzor (could be a little bit bigger due bigger senzor size)
- Log color profiles (I want maybe 12-13stops of DR)
- 4k @25fps/ 3k @ 50fps/ 2k@100fps -WITHOUT CROP (XAVC,AVC-ULTRA, or some decent codec that is 4:2:2 and 10bit)
- built in gps,wifi, waveforms, peaking, timecode,

I can´t believe it is so hard to make something like this for under 5k.. I think that only GH3 would be able to handle 4K video.. I don´t even need 4k .. why no 3k camera that has good DR? my clients all need just 1080p material.. somethimes even lower! there is only canon 1DC which is close.. but it is far from perfect ..

January 3, 2013

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matt

I can't tell if this is a joke or not.

January 3, 2013

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It's closer to a joke than a real request. Well, we can ask S. Claus anything... lol

I don't think we're going to see a new camera on NAB. Something far superior for the cost of MKIII. It just doesn't make any sense. Sony just released a ton of cameras including their high range ones...

Canon also just released 1DC and C500...

Nikon? ummm no...

Pana? GH3 just released... Maybe a new ENG style camera? But I don't think so...

BMCC is struggling just to deliver cameras... So not an option for next months...

SCARLET is out there working and I've been using it for months. Great cam. RED is now a proven company with amazing cameras. If you have the cash, is an excellent option.

January 3, 2013

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Alex Mand

The problem with putting a bigger sensor in a GH3 or AF100 body is the lens mount would have to change as well, meaning anyone who invested in m4/3 lenses are SOL. It would also undermine all the money and advancements Panasonic has invested in making quality lenses for m4/3 that users have been requesting them to make for years. Also gotta factor in it would make a less adaptable lens mount (which is a big appeal of m4/3 being able to adapt almost every kind of lens).

Folks get so caught up in sensor size, despite the advancements in performance and image quality of APS-C, M4/3, BMCC, and S16. Think about this: the 5dMkII, d800, A99 all are full-frame cameras whose max iso in video mode is 6400, so is the GH3's which at that iso isn't that much nosier and under the right circumstances still usable IMO. You'd have to get a 6D, 5D MkIII or Canon's cinema cameras to get a substantial upgrade in clean high iso performance from that. This from a small sensor.

Depth of Field control? s35mm is roughly the same size as APS-C, so the depth field is about the same. And the difference between APS-C's DOP vs. M4/3 is only slightly noticeable. Not to mention that a lot indie filmmakers in the past had no problem shooting on S16, which was smaller than BMCC and m4/3.

So for me, it wouldn't be worth it to put a larger sensor in Panasonic's mirrorless camera/camcorder bodies.

January 3, 2013

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I know that.. I have the GH2 now, m4/3 senzor size has it´s pros and cons, I would say way more pros than cons.. and I would sacrifice the s35mm for everything I wrote before (dr,resolution,framerates,better codec) the gh camera what I like doesn´t need to be a stills camera.. I just want a pro video oriented camera in a nice weathersealed DSLM body, I just hate big and heavy rigs and cameras

January 3, 2013

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matt

January 3, 2013

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Alex Mand

The problem is, that everyone is different. If you have previous investments in 4/3 glass than sure, you are going to want Panasonic to stay with the 4/3 mount. If on the other hand, you are looking to get into big sensor cameras and have no existing investments in glass, you are very likely going to chose anyone BUT Panasonic. Red Scarlet, Epic, Canon C100, C300, C500 Sony FS100, FS700, F3, F5, F55 all have chips that are basically
the same size. So lenses bought for one of those cameras, can translate to one of the higher end cameras
if you need to rent, or eventually make enough money to 'trade up' to a nicer and more expensive camera. Some of the nicer Panasonic 4/3 lenses on the other hand, will NOT be able to move to the bigger sensors of the S35 crowd. And because Panasonic doesn't make anything higher end than the AF100......you kind of have a ceiling put on you there.

January 4, 2013

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The problem is, that everyone is different. If you have previous investments in 4/3 glass than sure, you are going to want Panasonic to stay with the 4/3 mount. If on the other hand, you are looking to get into big sensor cameras and have no existing investments in glass, you are very likely going to chose anyone BUT Panasonic. Red Scarlet, Epic, Canon C100, C300, C500 Sony FS100, FS700, F3, F5, F55 all have chips that are basically
the same size. So lenses bought for one of those cameras, can translate to one of the higher end cameras
if you need to rent, or eventually make enough money to ‘trade up’ to a nicer and more expensive camera. Some of the nicer Panasonic 4/3 lenses on the other hand, will NOT be able to move to the bigger sensors of the S35 crowd. And because Panasonic doesn’t make anything higher end than the AF100……you kind of have a ceiling put on you there.

January 4, 2013

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One thing that I feel like gets forgotten in the fray is that the though other cameras may have pros in comparison, the scarlet still has the best image quality of any camera in its price range and higher quality then some above. Its really a beast.

January 3, 2013

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ryan

All these upgrades to Red mean nothing if the image quality it puts out, doesn't distract that it looks nothing like film but just expensive video.
Hopefully they're working on a better color science that will compete with Alexa... maybe supercede it!

January 3, 2013

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VinceGortho

You're right. RED cameras are sooo useless. I'll definately shoot my next huge blockbuster on something else.

January 3, 2013

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michael

Great! Let me know how your next Blockbuster video turns out.

January 3, 2013

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vinceGortho

RED cameras have been used in everything from drama to huge action films with no problem. Color Science? Hi light Rolloff? just sound like talking points to me. I think its safe to say RED Arri and Panavision Sony need not worry how good their cameras are considering that millons of dollars have been made with ALL of them. that being said RED is substantially cheaper than its competition making it an amazing option for indie filmakers. i get the debate and its fine but eventually it comes down to going out and shooting it and with ANY of these i dont see much in the way of complaining.

January 3, 2013

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biagio

I'd agree with everything you said until I watched The Hobbit in 2D. It. Looked. Awful.

January 3, 2013

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Will

Yes... Spider man looks like video... Also Pirates of Caribbean... Just video stuff... lol

January 3, 2013

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Alex Mand

i had to scroll and read up that you were kidding haha

January 3, 2013

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biagio

Yep.

January 4, 2013

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vinceGortho

Spiderman looks like video.
Pirates does not.

January 4, 2013

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mike

What camera anywhere close to the price or performance of Scarlet doesn't look like video at times? The truth is there has yet to be ANY digital cinema camera that NEVER looks "videoish" under certain conditions. As much as people like to tout the Alexa or F65 (both out of most people's price range), those cameras aren't immune. One could argue the Alexa gets it right more often than not. Well, when Arri puts that sensor in a sub-$8K camera, then we can realistically talk about it versus Scarlet.

There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of movies, commercials and music promos shot on RED cameras. You can't possibly know them all. I'm sure you've seen quite a few you thought looked great without knowing they were shot on RED.

January 3, 2013

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Brian

EXACTLY! i hate when people say things looked awful because there are amazing movies that have been shot on red and they ddnt look digital thus IMMEDIATELY proving that it is up to the director and dp to make the camera work to their advantage. you cant hate on RED unless you are either nit picking or not shooting on it. if you are shooting Alexa awesome but that shouldnt b in the conversation considering it is so much more expensive. if you dont like ANY of the film shot on RED than i can say i respectfully disagree with you. as for the hobbit ive heard many say it looked great but i cant speak towards it as i have not seen it.
@will @alex Mand

January 3, 2013

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biagio

Yeah, one huge advantage Arri has with the Alexa is only pros can afford to shoot with it, so they have a lot more tools (on set or in post) to deal with it and not let it look like video. If More Alexa's were in film schools and in the hands of small indie guys like Red, you'd see just as much crappy looking footage.

If Roger Deakins (or any world class DP) shot exclusively with the iPhone , everybody would be going on about how great the image was.

January 12, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

I really enjoyed the short. Thanks for posting it!

January 3, 2013

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im interssted in a super35 bmd offering... also really onterested to see footage from the first run of digital bolex. love the image of the bmcc, but to not have the restriction of rolling shutter for shorts would be really nice

January 3, 2013

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As a demo, "Boundaries" is useless to me. The color grading is so shitty that it could have been shot on my old, retired (sold just in time) Pana HVX.

January 4, 2013

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Fabdex

But it's not a demo. It's a short film that, I'm assuming, has grading that reflects the feel the filmmakers were trying to achieve given the subject matter. I don't know if you're serious or just trying to stir up controversy, but I'll bite anyway in case you really don't know or there's someone out there who may think you've got it all figured out.

Your comment is the equivalent of saying the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is useless as a demo to judge film's capabilities because the color is all washed out and the picture stutters. A) There are plenty other examples for you to choose from in both cases. B) The important thing to know about Scarlet or any camera that shoots raw images is how far you can manipulate the image without it breaking, whether it's towards what you find to be a pleasing image or a shitty one.

January 4, 2013

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Brian

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