August 19, 2013

Is RED Digital Cinema's Jim Jannard Stepping Down?

Not quite, but in a recent REDuser post, Jannard laid out his plan for the future of the company. Whatever you think of the outspoken leader of the California camera maker (he's not technically the CEO, though he might as well be), he has absolutely left a mark on the industry. While his message could be misconstrued to mean that he's not going to be involved with the company anymore, that's not the case at all.

Check out some of the original post below (emphasis added):

In 2006, we announced the RED ONE. 4K for under $20K. That was quite shocking. Sony's digital cinema cameras were $200k+. Apparently shocking enough that I almost got into a fist fight with Geoff Boyle in the aisle of NAB where he questioned why we would "scam" people into giving us $1000 deposits for a product that could never happen. Scam? This is the 1st time anyone had ever questioned my integrity. Ever. In hindsight, I wish I would have pulled the trigger. Maybe I'll get the chance one day. Actually... I look forward to it. (furrowed eyes here)

At that NAB in 2006... we also declared Obsolescence Obsolete. We talked about upgrades instead of having to buy a new camera every time there was some new technology advancement. This concept was new. I had never seen a company do what we were talking about. I still haven't. The question is... could we really do this?

We released the RED ONE with Mysterium sensor... 4K for $17,500 in 2007. It recorded 4K REDCODE to a Compact Flash card! The only way we could do that was through incredible compression technology. "Ché" and "Knowing" were shot on this camera.

Our color science improved on a continual basis. We upgraded firmware for free... as we should have.

Then... we developed the next generation sensor, the Mysterium-X. We offered this sensor as an upgrade. You didn't have to buy a new camera, just send your camera in and pay for the upgrade. As far as I know, this was a first in the entire camera world. Obsolescence Obsolete was alive. Several more features were shot on the RED ONE MX, including "The Social Network", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "The Informant" and many others.

I should mention here that there were many color science and feature upgrades... for free. Again, what company ever offered that?

Enter the EPIC. As promised, Obsolescence Obsolete continued. Trade in your RED ONE for FULL price value towards an EPIC. I defy anyone to find a program on any electronics product in any industry like this one. Your "old camera" just became a "new one".

EPIC is legendary. The amount of projects shot on EPIC will go down in history. "The Amazing Spiderman", "The Hobbit", "Prometheus", "The Great Gatsby"... the list is too long to type.

So what next? The Dragon.

The Dragon is an Obsolescence Obsolete upgrade. More resolution. More dynamic range. More color depth. And it is an upgrade.

Somehow... I read on CML and other idiotic forums, that I an a hypester, a scam artist. I just have to wonder what these guys are smoking. But I have to say... they have gotten to me. I don't need this. I don't deserve this. Life is short and I am tired.

I can only hope that the incredibly stupid posts from people like Geoff Boyle and Art Adams (many other CML posters) do not in any way taint the work we have actually done.

With the release of the Dragon sensor... I have finished my mission. I am done posting. I will no longer be the face of RED. Mercifully, Jarred will take my place and he is worthy times forever. Jarred is me... only 30 years younger.

My final thoughts...

I have done my best. I saw a fatal flaw in the camera industry. We did our best to address it.

I will now sink into the background, I hope with my reputation intact. I will work on the future of digital cinema... behind the scenes.

It is absolutely astonishing what Jannard and the team have been able to do in just 7 years. In 7 years, they went from not having a camera, to being one of the top choices for independent and Hollywood productions alike. Along the way there have always been many options for filmmakers and professionals, but actually carving a market is no small feat. RED single-handedly brought down the price of digital cinema cameras. The only reason you're getting a 4K Super 35mm sensor from Blackmagic for $4,000 (eventually, at least) is because of RED. The F35 cost over $200,000 when it was introduced in 2008. You can now find them for under $10,000. If RED was not there to light a fire under all of the camera manufacturers, that camera would still cost quite a bit, even 5 years later.

This is why we had the F65 and the ARRI ALEXA starting under $100,000. For better or worse, RED made it possible for almost anyone to own a camera that can shoot pictures good enough to project on a big screen. Sure, you can make anything look decent with enough tweaks in post, but there is a reason these cameras were used to shoot major feature films. If they didn't stand up on large screens, they would never be shooting $100 million dollar movies.

I think it's important to highlight those things in light of what Jannard is saying. His late night posts have always been fascinating, especially because there isn't another company of this size with the leader speaking his mind directly to the public.

Many have dismissed the company and the things he has said, but let's face it, without any of that, we don't have digital cinema quality images at anywhere near affordable prices. DSLRs might have made large sensors popular for the masses, but RED was one of the first camera systems that gave you as much as was currently capable inside the hardware, rather than piecing together a carefully designed and crippled camera line.

A few of us here at No Film School own RED and have shot RED. We always try to find the middle ground between the what the company says and what the detractors say, as the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. We've rooted for them and called them out on certain things, but in the end, it's just a camera. Just another tool that you're going to use to tell a story.

Jannard is not stepping down, merely letting someone else be the public face of the company. This has been happening more and more over the last few years, and if you've been following along, it's surprising it didn't happen sooner.

Even if we don't hear from him again (I wouldn't put money on it), he absolutely has had a positive impact on the industry by giving affordable tools to filmmakers and forcing other companies to evaluate their strategies. At very least, we should tip our caps to Jim for that.

You can read the full post over on REDuser.

Link: My Final Post.... -- REDuser

[top image courtesy of Los Angeles Loyolan]

Your Comment

91 Comments

I hope Jannard steps down. He's the biggest reason why Red is a joke in the film world. If you act like an old-timey snake oil salesman and take cheap jabs at other companies instead of silently outperforming them, you end up making your company look like a bunch of tools. Red products should speak for themselves. They should take a page from Arri's playbook and keep their fat mouths shut about future products and competitors.

August 19, 2013

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This one guy wh...

I'd rather have Jim's outspoken personality than the silent leaders of all the other camera makers any day. I don't always agree with him, but at least you know what he thinks.... and he seems to care about more than just the bottom line.

August 19, 2013

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You know what he thinks ? Everything that comes out of his mouth is ego-boosting. I wish he really gets out of the way so his company can reach it's full potential and be quiet about unrealistic release dates because now, Red's reputation is less than stellar.

August 20, 2013

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FabDex

Perhaps you prefer other companies approach of saying nothing until a product is ready. Other companies that have been as ambitious as Red and announced upcoming releases (ie Black Magic) have also missed their estimates terribly. Red has still gone from nothing to producing some of the best digital cameras in the world in 7 years. If that isn't stellar, I don't know what is. Slam 'em for missing product release dates all you want. They are still 'taking it' to large, long established players in the camera making business. If I was Jim, I'd feel exactly the same way he does. He's been told over and over again: 'you can't do that'. And he and his team has done it. End of story. Fact.

August 20, 2013

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And I really don't understand people's love of the business 'style' of the Sonys, Canons, and Panasonics of the world. Sell obsolete/handicapped technology for inflated prices. People quickly forget that many film cameras from less than a decade ago could not even be bought, but only rented because they were so pricey.

Something is REALLY wrong with Canon when hackers from Russia can rewrite firmware for a 5D Mark III that enables it to output RAW video. If the hardware is capable, why doesn't Canon write the bloody RAW outputting firmware themselves?

Now we have Black Magic and even GoPro offering 4k cameras for prices unheard of just a few years ago. This all started because of Red. They were the catalyst for this rapid change.

If it was up to the Canons of the world, 4k would probably not yet be available, and certainly not at the price points we are now seeing.

If the Dragon sensor is indeed better than the F65 sensor, I'll gladly upgrade our Scarlet for a Dragon.

Oh, yes, Red is the only camera company that allows me to upgrade my old camera to a newer model.... and I can still use all of the accessories we have for our Scarlet with the new camera. But perhaps you like buying everything attached to the camera sensor all over again every time you upgrade?

August 20, 2013

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"And I really don’t understand people’s love of the business ‘style’ of the Sonys, Canons, and Panasonics of the world. Sell obsolete/handicapped technology for inflated prices."

agree with that 100%.

August 22, 2013

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shimin

Don't really see how Red is a "joke in the film world." I'm sure you read the impressive list of amazing features this camera has produced. They are far from a joke. I do agree that the "cheap jabs" and constant comparisons get old and that they'd be better off waiting until products are complete before telling us about them... but a "joke in the film world?"...... SMH.

August 19, 2013

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Jonesy

Go check out how many HUGE budget movies are using Alexas. Now compare that to how many are using Reds.
I have yet to encounter a Red Epic being used for anything but effects plates in the last three years on major motion pictures and TV shows. Alexa won the war vs. mysterium and mysterium X. The Dragon may change these numbers, but it's obvious that Red has been in need of a new sensor for at least three years. If you had been listening to Mr. Snake Oil Jannard all along, you'd believe that Red has been in the lead since their inception.

August 19, 2013

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This one guy wh...

RED 84
ARRI 73
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_shot_in_digital
Arri has lost;)
with Dragon, the gap will increase :))

August 19, 2013

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LUIS

I'd like to see what the list is regarding TV shows.

August 20, 2013

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F64

The Arri Alexa was released in 2010, some years after the first Red camera.

August 20, 2013

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Daniel

Red has led the world in a few areas for a number of years. 4k video capture, RAW video native camera recording, and the best RAW compression codec. The Red haters will always want to downplay the significant impact Red has had on digital filmmaking. Just because you don't like their style doesn't mean their product is bad. It's tiring to read people spouting wacky exaggerations, while bitching about Red doing what they are doing even worse!

August 19, 2013

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Red has definitely forced the hand of other camera makers into the 4K realm much faster than they would have otherwise. Jannard may rub people raw, but he gets things done.

August 20, 2013

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Marc B

> "Jannard may rub people raw,"

hehe, I see what happened there..... #rawrevolution

August 24, 2013

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ARRI commenters really need to lighten up. They're not good representatives of the camera they say is the best. Why do they feel the need to be that way when Red is talked about? Insecurity? Obviously they're not feeling secure.

August 19, 2013

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Gene

Weren't you the guy who (falsely) claimed that films shot on Red too more at the box office than the Alexa?

ironically, it's people like you and the fanboys at Red User (and Jim Jannard himself) that hurt the Red image. With that attitude, you'd better have the best damn camera in the world by a mile (and not one that crashes, has colour issues, or comes with an onboard hair dryer).

August 20, 2013

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Daniel

Lighten up. Smile.

August 20, 2013

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Gene

"joke in the film world"

Typical NFS commenter retardation

So, how many big budget features have you made, again?

August 19, 2013

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john jeffries

did your mommy ever buy you the RED MX?

August 20, 2013

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david

Cinematography Mailing List.

August 19, 2013

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Thom

Peter Jackson is a joke in the film world????

August 19, 2013

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Gene

was replied to This one guy

August 19, 2013

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Gene

Aren't ignorant people super fun!? Always good for a laugh.

August 19, 2013

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steve

I didn't like a lot of the stuff coming out of his mouth but Jim and his camera company changed the film industry for ever!

August 19, 2013

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+1

August 19, 2013

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Anthony Marino

The biggest Joke is handing over the operation to JaRED Land . An obnoxious no vision loser. Red will soon be dead because of his ship steering.

August 20, 2013

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MIkey T

Man, you're a funny guy. Probably only touched a 550D with the kit lens...

August 20, 2013

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Alex Mand

Can someone tell me what the CML site he is talking about is? Seems like a good read!

August 19, 2013

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Matthew Rogan

Whoops, see above. Cinematography Mailing List

August 19, 2013

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Thom

Cinematography Mailing List I'm guessing. It's Cinematography.com

August 19, 2013

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Gareth

Wow, the jealous people come flaming out of the woodwork when people like Jim Jannard succeed beyond what they could imagine in their small worlds.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

--Einstein

Jim,

if you're reading this, I hope you venture into R & D-ing 16K.

August 19, 2013

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Gene

Jim was a visionary, and my hat goes off to him and the company. As to "Red is a joke of the film world", the only joke here is the people saying and agreeing with that comment. If it was a joke, then why do so many DPs and producers choose RED to make their films possible? You clearly need to look at reality and get your facts right, sorry to say, the only joke in this equation is you...

August 19, 2013

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shaun wilson

It's his company & he started the s.o.b. with his own money. He can say and do whatever the hell he wants, really... I like the fact that he's on a forum all hours of the night in his off time defending it and reaching out. Some people are better equipped to put up with people's shit than others though, and he's probably thinking he's worked his ass off his whole life and deserves a little more respect than that.. Especially since he's getting older. I would. Cameras aside, he's got a lot to be proud of and a hell of a legacy when he looks over his shoulders. Starting Oakley from the back of a van, and ending with a camera like the Dragon is a nice note to end on.

And here come the fanboy comments

August 19, 2013

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Fml

+1

August 19, 2013

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Defending? He is being worshiped on the forum. You know, money buys "friends", and "admirers", and "followers". You must have noticed how most argument on that camera end with Jim's money and success used as an argument.

And those disgusting forum guys... always looking to be some company's pet. The Sony guy, The Panasonic guy, The Canon guy, The Red guy. All of them complete creative failures. They find somebody to "work" for and that somehow makes them feel better. If you can't make it in show business or art, you can always be somebody's prostitute.

August 26, 2013

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Slobo

All I can say is if ever their was a DOP that needed his light punched out it would definitely be Geoff Boyle.

August 19, 2013

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Paul

All aboard the low budget "red is gay" bandwagon*. Leaves the station when the RED Dragon is revealed to be a scam.

*tickets only available to 550D owners.

August 19, 2013

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Tyler

I think the annoying part is the overeaction of jim jannard in some cases.
I love the red products but i hate the "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude" politic. The best answers to the haters are all the big names choosing the red cameras to shoot. Nothing else is important. I'm not fond of philip bloom but the fact to ask him to give back his red camera because he was honest and wrote an article that was not pleasing jim jannard is totally childish. And there is a lot of childish episodes in the reduser forum. They should just relax and focus on all the positive feedbacks. Acting like arrogant punk teenagers was okay to start the company i guess, but if they want to get some respect they should act like grownups. They claim that they do whatever they want and f**** off if you're not pleased, i think it's also normal then that their customers or non customers do whatever they want and say whatever they want without being censored on reduser or accused of sabotaging red. They should take care of the non american customers a bit more sometimes too.

August 19, 2013

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Bradley D

Some Canon 5D commenters go beyond the pale you are describing.

August 19, 2013

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Gene

I think Jim sees the days of the $60.000 camera coming to an end. It's no longer exciting for him, hell the guys got 2 billion dollars. In his mind he manufactured the greatest camera ever made, so what's next? It sure as hell wasn't about the money, from the beginning it was obvious, it was all about the ego. But we gotta give him credit for pushing the industry as far as he did. That alone is worth something whether you like him or not.

August 19, 2013

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Anthony Marino

50,000 cameras at $50,000 with accessories would be another billion after taxes:) But the window of opportunity was lost, no one can sell common 2.5" hard disks or cheap LCDs at a 1000% margin these days

August 26, 2013

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Slobo

He just got tired of the internets, realized it's time to stop posting and spend time in more productive way. Good for him.

August 19, 2013

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Natt

It's amazing what he and his company have done. I will miss his candor.

August 19, 2013

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claude riban

Isn't the fact that Red cameras are largely modular merely a reflection of the fact that pretty much any camera components can indeed be subcontracted out? If one looks at camera as - the line I stole on the webs - a computer with the lens, then any independent can break into the ranks with enough funding to pay for the programmers, the electrical engineers, the sensor fabs and come up with a reasonable product.
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I'll share the overlap with the high end, audiophile quality stereo where the margins are obscene but necessary due to very small volumes shipped. Similarly, in the high end feature/TV camera world, the volumes are minuscule compared to the 150 million cameras of all types shipped (including DSLR, P&S, camcorders but not smart phones) worldwide and high margins for the F35 and Arri types are to be expected. So, Jim/Red jumped into a somewhat inefficient market niche, which was destined to become more efficient due to the inevitable technological advances not some sort of a genius marketing moves.
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Which brings me to the final point. The technological advancement goes far beyond Red and the ever increasing bang for the buck was in the offing regardless of Jim Jannard. If you compare the low/mid end video recorders, from the full size VHS of the 80's (it did revolutionized the Porn Valley) to the Hi8's of the 1990's to the first DV's of the mid-late 90's to the early HD cams of the 00'ts to the first solid state recorders and the various compression formats, the "bang for the buck" ratio has always been rising. Red did this temporarily for the high end pro market but, let's face it, an affordable mass market 4K camcorder would be arriving shortly regardless. That's technological progress. It has nothing to do with Red.

August 19, 2013

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DLD

That's BS...large companies with a corner on a market don't have any financial incentive to innovate, and they have no goals outside of profit so progress crawls. It's only when another entity enters the game that wants to innovate rather than make a profit that real progress happens. For another example, look at the huge strides in affordable and reusable rockets that Space X has made compared with Boeing, Lockheed, ect. Space X is driven by someone (Elon Musk) who personally wants to go to Mars.

August 20, 2013

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Gabe

Ya, well, that's a beautiful Marxist point of view ... except, Jannard isn't exactly a pauper himself. Moreover, it was the dirty capitalists of Nikon who came out with the first HD capable DSLR (D90 in 2008) that was immediately followed by similar Canon models. Canon, another of these dirty, rotten capitalists - according to Lenin, at least - had by that time manufactured a long line of the "prosumer" camcorders. XL H1S was out in the late 90's and recorded in SD; XL2 in 2004 also recorded in SD only but had a higher frame rate; the HDV consortium was formed in 2003 and basically consisted of major conglomerates; the first 1080p camcorder was Canon HL1 in 2006, the compression codecs were likewise developed either by these conglomerates or by the a multitude of companies supporting the MPEG-4/H.264. There is no indication that the above wasn't progress. Nor that it was in any way, shape or form influenced by Red.

August 20, 2013

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DLD

LMAO, "Marxist"? Methinks you don't know the meaning of the word. Everything I said is about capitalism...and in capitalism, if someone comes out with a better product at a lower price they're going to destroy the old guard....just ask Kodak. That's what I said. Where did Marx come in?

I started filmmaking on the DVX (which was a better camera than the Canon XL2 I might add) and the Red One was miles better than those cameras. It was a camera that challenged the very best in the industry like the F900 and Genesis, cameras that cost $200,000. Because if you wanted the best you had to pay a huge premium. Don't kid yourself, 1080p's been around since the 80's...heck there were close to 720p TV transmissions in France starting in 1949.

August 20, 2013

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Gabe

@DLD. Your post trivializes and dismisses RED while completely missing the bigger picture: RED did it - 6 years ago, at that. It wasn't Sony, Panasonic, Canon or Arri. You make it seem like when Jim announced his plans, everyone said, "Well, duh! Who ISN'T going to be producing a 4K camera for under $20K by next year? Hello...it's called technological progress." But, that's not what happened at all. Instead, many people scoffed and said it couldn't be done or, if it could be done, it would be Sony or Panasonic who did it. In fact, no one else did it that year, or the year after that, or the year after that, or the year after that, or the year after that. It took 5 years, 2012, for 4K cameras to start showing up from competitors. They were literally dragged into it kicking and screaming.

If anything, RED proved your point about technological progress by actually doing what the other companies refused to do at that time, and for a time after. They accelerated the process by exposing and exploiting some of the factors you mention whereas the established players were obscuring them. You make it sound like recognizing a void in the market and filling it with capable and affordable tools by leveraging the availability and nature of computer components and programming to become one of the most successful digital cinema camera manufacturers on the planet is some shit anybody can do. You should tell Aaton, Ikonoscop, Digital Bolex and BMD how easy it is because they obviously didn't get that memo either.

It's hard to know list price with some of these high end cameras but it seems like, before RED, each new model was getting more expensive, not less. I just don't see Sony slashing their prices to a fraction of what they were charging a few years ago, almost overnight, because they felt driven to deliver bang-for-the-buck. If RED had charged $150K for the R1, people wouldn't be talking about which digital cinema camera to buy today. At $17,500, it was less expensive than some Panasonic SD ENG cameras. RED bitch-slapped an entire industry. For that, they will always be reviled by some and praised by others. They did the equivalent of breaking the 4 minute mile barrier. After Roger Bannister proved it could be done, people started doing it on a regular basis. That's where your Canon C Series, BMD Cinema Cameras and Sony F3/5/55 come in.

And where is that affordable, mass market 4K camera you speak of? What you say isn't wrong, per se. I think your interpretation of how it relates to RED is, sorry to say, nonsense.

August 20, 2013

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Brian

"You make it sound like recognizing a void in the market and filling it with capable and affordable tools by leveraging the availability and nature of computer components and programming to become one of the most successful digital cinema camera manufacturers on the planet is some shit anybody can do. You should tell Aaton, Ikonoscop, Digital Bolex and BMD how easy it is because they obviously didn’t get that memo either." Bryan
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Actually, this is almost exactly what I am saying. One of the major differences between Aaton, Ikonoskop, etc. and Red was that Red had real money behind it and could ride out the slumps in the market and their own engineering difficulties. To me, of course, having a wealthy backer/investor is no shame. It's a part of the game.
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Second, of all, Red's success could be temporary. If the market is flooded with sub-$10K 4K cams, there's going to be very little reason to invest $50K in the Epic model. (and I'll say the same for F65, Arri Alexa, etc). Red picked its niche very well back in 2006-07, when the only available 4K model was Dalsa Origin. They conceivably played a role in the price collapse of the 4K cams. Having said that, there are a bunch of competitors in the same niche now and Red, not being an electronics giant, will have a very hard time competing against the Japanese and South Korean conglomerates that will try to undercut it - snd each other - on price points.
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Third, I don't begrudge their success. I just don't think the product was revolutionary as much as evolutionary. There were other 4K cameras available and, once Alexa appeared, most non-CGI laden films, went to the German manufacturer's product anyway. Had it not been for Red, more features and TV shows would have been shot on film, while the lower budget production would have been content with the 1080p quality of 5D MK II or 800E. At some point, the two markets will have merged regardless.

August 20, 2013

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DLD

A lot of TV went over to digital during a strike a few years back, iirc. The studios realized their agreements with the unions only covered *filmed* TV productions, so 3-perf was ditched and Arri filled the gap.

August 20, 2013

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Daniel

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