The good and bad thing about RED cameras is, more so than most, they're always getting better. RED fanboys espouse the free updates as "getting a new camera in a software update" whereas RED haters call the cameras "always in beta." The truth is somewhere in the middle, but even taking into account the usual hype on REDUSER, it's worth noting a few things coming down the line from Jim Jannard, et al. The first is a $10K home/grading suite projector that is 4K and 3D (one or the other, or both at the same time?), and the other is REDgamma3 and REDcolor3, which will be a color science update for both the cameras and REDCINE-X.
The flattest gamma curve, REDlogfilm, looks flat during monitoring, and so when trying to get your different levels/ratios correct, it can be helpful to have a more contrasty gamma curve for monitoring (while still maintaining the flat image in terms of what's actually being recorded). REDgamma3 is the solution for monitoring and some grading, though many will still prefer REDlogfilm for grading. REDcolor3 is a new color science that can be used in conjunction with either gamma curve (logfilm or gamma3). About the new color science, Jim had this to say:
Sorry for the delay... lots of testing and tweaking before we release it. This is worth waiting for. The improvement is incredible. I am opening footage from 4 years ago and it looks spectacular! No curves or WB tweaks. Graeme's miracle. The monitoring path looks much better. The files open looking so good. Skin is much improved. Overall... this is why you shoot REDCODE RAW. Just a bit more time. We really want to get this right before release. Bare with us...
At 1st blush, you may just see subtle differences in REDcolor3 but it is a complete remapping of the color space and REDgamma3 makes a much better image on your monitor. It also makes a better dailies starting point... but I'm quite sure trained professionals will do a DI in REDcolor3 and REDlogFilm. REDcolor3 is probably the bigger update but REDgamma3 is a welcome improvement.
One of the reasons the ALEXA is so popular is it looks good coming out of the camera, and the workflow is perfect for projects with a fast turnaround time (just drop the ProRes or DNxHD files into your NLE). Presumably RED's new color science is their attempt to improve on how RED image look without tweaking... while still giving you the option of grading in log space.
As for the upcoming open house, if you're in Los Angeles and you're interested in RED products or workflow, this free event may be of interest. Because they don't sell through third party stores, it can be difficult to get face time with RED gear. The details:
RED OPEN HOUSE is a rare and not to be missed event hosted by RED Digital Cinema at RED Studios Hollywood .The night will be filled with opportunities for attendees to view new RED centric products, learn RED best practices, hear latest buzz in filmmaking and hang out with other industry professionals. Special presentations to the community will be made by insiders at RED, as well as a screening of new trailers and footage in 4K and 3D.
Wednesday February 29th, 5-10pm
RED Studios Hollywood
846 North Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
While most of the REDUSER threads linked below contain Jim's own hyperbolic statements, for a more balanced look at the SCARLET check out DP Timur Civan (who I shot this with), who recently posted about his experience shooting on the SCARLET so far. There's also a 4K portrait competition to check out if you're a RED shooter.