Welcome to the world of public camera testing, Jim. The wild west camera shootout that Jim and Co. were planning to have at RED Studios Hollywood on June 4th has been cancelled. It seems all of the "grief" that he's been getting over the situation isn't worth the trouble, and he and RED "have better things to do." Surprisingly, Steve Weiss entered REDUser forum territory to explain the choices that had been made for the Zacuto camera test, and the fact that RED had been offered many times to come to the shootout, manage their own RED Epic, and control the post-production method used for that camera.
Here is the entire post from Jannard, just in case it gets deleted (like so many of his posts do):
This idea of a real test has gotten out of control apparently.
Several companies have refused to participate. I guess if I were them I might consider the same thing.
Resolution is not everything. But it is something.
Dynamic range matters. So does the "feel" of the image.
Frame rates matter.
We are going to take down our offer to do a comparison test at RSH. The grief and complication doesn't warrant the effort.
I hope that everyone can do some testing on their own that includes all aspects of image capture. We just aren't up for the grief. We have better things to do.
There are lots of options for you to consider. I hope that RED is one of them.
Shortly after he also posted this:
There are lots of good options for consumers.
We love that other companies are doing 4K.
We just hope that our customers realize that everything matters to us. Resolution, dynamic range, frame rates, size, price, REDCODE RAW, REDCINE-X Professional, our upgrade program, the Bomb Squad... etc. Obsolescence obsolete. Posts at 3am.
Trying to coordinate a camera test as large and complicated as those done by Zacuto is not easy. In fact, that's why they've been letting people like Bruce Logan, ASC, manage the test and they've simply been documenting the process and posting the results. You're never going to make everyone (or maybe anyone) happy with results from an objective test. I know this, and certainly Jim also now realizes this.
His choice of words is extremely interesting, as it seems very contradictory to the philosophy of RED and the cameras they create. Up to this point, Jim has tried convincing the world that 1080p is not enough, and resolution should be the deciding factor between his camera and something like the Arri Alexa, which shoots only around 3K in ArriRAW mode. His no comprises approach to building cameras is admirable, but the one major positive that RED has accomplished so far is changing the game to make cameras more affordable. It can be argued that 4K would still be out of reach for any independent films if it were not for a company like RED pushing itself into the industry.
It's no secret that the Alexa is becoming the camera of choice on many films and most major television shows (unless they're still shooting film). Why is this? Camera stability, faster workflow, better light sensitivity, more native dynamic range, and most importantly, a more natural filmic image right out of the box. That last one is purely subjective, of course, but it's a comment I've heard over and over again from many different sources. RAW is fantastic, and it's one of the strongest reasons to choose RED over another camera system, but it also means that you can have too much flexibility. Many DPs prefer the skin tones that Alexa creates. Is this because of the extra color sampling when the camera finally gets down to 1080p? It certainly has something to do with the way the color science of the camera has been engineered, and Jim and RED have claimed that Epic and Scarlet should be able to achieve results as good, if not better. This is one of the reasons for their new color science - to help colorists get to a more natural, filmic image.
But is Jim having a change of heart about resolution (and maybe his attitude about the industry in general)? Let's hope so, as more recorded resolution can only go so far. Oversampling is the best way to get these bayer pattern sensors to get good color reproduction, and that's obviously going to get better going from 6K to 4K. The ability to reframe in post can also not be overstated, and it's something that's been done in film forever - but is only now starting to be used in digital because of the extra resolution. It also allows for less destructive stabilization of the frame.
I think Mr. Jannard is finally talking some sense. Resolution is not everything - camera sensitivity and dynamic range are arguably more important. Maybe this will be a new RED going forward, where making the best camera possible includes every aspect of image creation, and not just how many pixels you're working with. It's refreshing to hear Jim backtrack a little from the opinion that RED is the only camera you should ever shoot with - and acknowledge that there are many viable options for cameras out there.
You should choose the camera the best possible camera that fits your aesthetic and your budget. Camera technology has improved dramatically over the last 3 years - to the point where you no longer can blame the camera for making a bad image. You only have have yourself to blame.