After years of development, and plenty of changes along the way, RED's first foray into the 4K display/distribution market is finally arriving. When it was announced (for real this time) back in November, it seemed like it would be shipping in just a matter of months, but like with anything RED -- as they themselves admit -- sometimes things can take a few detours along the way before finally getting into the hands of buyers. In the meantime, we've seen had announcements for 4K-capable consoles retailing for $500 and under, so where does this $1,750 hard drive and network-based device fit in?
Casey Green, who recently received his REDRAY, posted a video of an encoding playing in the new .RED format:
Having received what we believe is the first REDRAY 4K Player released in the wild from RED Digital Cinema, here we show some footage run through the RREncode plugin (using REDCINE-X PRO Build 19) and playing back from a 4K file.
The original clip was shot on RED EPIC 4KHD, 23.98fps@8:1 compression, and encoded using the RREncode Premium (18Mbps) option at 4K. Other settings available are Standard (9Mbps) and Cinema (36Mbps).
The panel used to test here is a Samsung 7500 Series 55" 1080p with future tests coming soon on Seiki and Sony 4K displays.
While the REDRAY player includes a controller, it will have a phone or tablet controller option -- as Jarred mentions in the forum:
Originally Posted by Chase M. Wrenn
Any chance of controlling RedRay with a phone or tablet? This is my first time seeing that remote.
Yup.. app is just sitting waiting to get approved by Apple in the apple store.
Where does this device fit in? We've got 4K acquisition -- in fact we've had it for years. What has lagged behind is the distribution and display of 4K and UHD. Those options are slowly starting to appear, with Sony now offering a special 4K distribution service and $700 player, and the PS4 and Xbox One being the first mass-market consumer-oriented standalone devices capable of 4K. The TVs and displays are also coming, but it will be at least another year until we see more affordable options -- with the sole exception being the 50" Seiki UHD TV, which has been on sale for as low as $1,000. With anything tech, it's a race to the bottom, so I actually think we'll see cheaper 4K TVs sooner than we saw cheaper 1080p TVs. By this time next year, it would not be surprising to have multiple options under $2,000 with good upscaling technology (something the Seiki TV lacks).
So the REDRAY player is in a bit of a strange position at the moment. I think it will be very useful connected to a display showing clients their work in glorious 4K (assuming you've shot it that way, of course). This could include anything from commercials, to music videos, to features, but I think for bigger-scale productions the box is cheap enough to just leave connected to a 4K TV when you want a separate and more comfortable client-viewing area -- and you can bring over high-quality and low bitrate .RED encodes at any point very easily.
Even with 4K distribution coming down the pipeline from ODEMAX tailor-made for the REDRAY Player, it's a bit obscure and high-priced for most consumers, but it could be an option for filmmakers who want to display their work in 4K on a TV or a 4K projector -- and they can just bring the REDRAY player along and do that. While a computer could certainly do all of those things (for probably the same money), REDRAY should make it much simpler and cleaner -- and nearly foolproof -- to play 4K footage on any 4K or UHD-capable screen.
We'll see how things shape up -- but if you've got one on order, you may get a surprise in the coming days and weeks.
call me a skeptic but....18Mbps?
June 19, 2013 at 10:48AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Apparently they've come up with some sort of super compression. People who have seen it screened have been very impressed. Can't wait to see it myself.
June 19, 2013 at 11:34AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
It looks rather amazing.....
June 19, 2013 at 1:05PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
You're not the only one with that reaction. If it holds up, that's insane.
Also, this is the first I hear that the PS4 and Xbox One will have 4K capabilities. I admittedly haven't kept up with each console announcement.
June 19, 2013 at 1:09PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Yes, it looks amazing. Watching it on a big screen is no joke, it holds up.
June 19, 2013 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I have to agree it was very impressive, they were showing it at the BSC Expo in London this year. One thing that was very noticeable for a few us however was some strange strobing affect with motion that made it seem ever-so-slightly jittery.
It didn't ruin the picture which was impressively clear, but was a bit of a distraction - I'm not sure if it was due to the footage shown (publicity footage shot on the Epic) or something with the player - either way hopefully its all resolved now.
June 20, 2013 at 9:52AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
The motion jitter was most likely typical 24fps strobe inherent to al 24fps playback. Especially noticeable on pans. The REDRAY, however, has the ability to playback at up to 60fps, which would eliminate this effect if the content is shot that way or that viewing style is desired.
June 23, 2013 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Yeah, the quality is fantastic. Was able to watch it at NAB and it looked stellar...on a multitude of different brand tv's. Each set had it's own look though, I'm sure there will be a lot of tweaking with settings.
June 19, 2013 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Will any of these new 4k televisions display higher frame rates like 60fps, or 48fps?
It would be interesting to see movies shot in these formats.
June 19, 2013 at 12:26PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
since any entity can stream 4K for download at virtually any (reasonable) bit rate, having a hard drive - either computer, set top, gaming console or a server - is a major plus ... a high end streaming company may chose the ultra high quality image at 10-36 MB/s; a mass streamer like Netflix or YouTube might be perfectly content with ~ 6-7 MB/s (double of the current 3.15 MB/s for 1080p with twice the compression of the HEVC/H.265) ... it looks like Red and ODEMAX are aiming at the early adopters, which can literally enjoy their 4K pretty much out of the box ...
June 19, 2013 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
By the way, let's not forget about the 4K projectors either. Sony's VPL VW 1000ES retails for $25K. Wolf Cinema's Graywolf SDC-12 is $12K. JVC had one recently but pulled it off the market. I assume they will have something out soon. And, while these are pricey, they're still way cheaper than something like Prima Cinema ($35K installation, then $500/per first run flicks).
June 19, 2013 at 4:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Gotta give them credit. They must spend tons on RD, there's some really smart people at Red who do amazing things. Never cease to impress.
June 19, 2013 at 4:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
The Seiki 50" 4k tv had dropped to $965.99 for a few days. It's back of to $1400.00.
June 19, 2013 at 5:49PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Lets just have a giant RED circle jerk. Honestly who cares. Everything they make is in beta. RED never makes a solid product. Save your money people.
June 19, 2013 at 8:09PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
comments like this make me stick around hahaha
June 19, 2013 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
nofilmschool seems pretty objective to me. People discussing different tools and how to get the best out of them where appropriate. It is you who seems to be motivated by some kind of bias. What nobody cares about is whatever circle jerk YOU are into.
June 19, 2013 at 10:54PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
"RED never makes a solid product". Yeah, I'm sure Peter Jackson and all the other big Hollywood director's and DP's thought the same thing when they chose Epic's for their production.
June 20, 2013 at 7:00AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
That is a fair point but its called good marketing. RED was pushing RED cameras into the hands of big name directors because they knows that indie filmmakers will follow suit with what big names will do. But over time people are transiting to Alexa and F65. They don't have as many software and hardware issues. More DPs I have worked with in digital always say they prefer to shoot Film first, then alexa. I would say 8 out 10 DPs I have worked with have stated they hate working with red cameras.
June 20, 2013 at 7:46PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I smell someone who doesn't own a RED...
June 20, 2013 at 1:26PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
You're right sir, I don't own a RED camera because I sold it a little over a year ago. I am not a fan of a products being sent out and having software issues and hardware issue. Cherry on top is RED Glass (never owned but I worked at abelcine). RED glass was the first lens set to ever have quality check before they were sent out. The paint they would use in the lens housing will chip off over a period time and stick to the lens. Now would you call RED solid product company. I would say No but hey that is one man opinion
June 20, 2013 at 7:33PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
hahahaha. good one.
June 20, 2013 at 2:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
From the looks of those sunglasses I thought he may be blind, then read his comment and realized he's just dumb.
June 20, 2013 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I was actually waiting for someone to saying about this. I laugh when I posted and that picture popped up.
June 20, 2013 at 7:48PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Haha. No offense. I was just joking about the "dumb" comment.
June 20, 2013 at 7:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
June 20, 2013 at 8:01PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Here's one of the problems. Okay... five actually.
1) ISP's in the U.S. inevitably have, in one form or another, monthly data usage caps and higher tier speed levels are prohibitive for many viewers. And the infrastructure is poor compared to some other advanced countries.
2) It's proprietary in a different sort of way (the codec), but still. At least it's not like Sony where their download service is tied to their UHD TV's and no other brand.
3) The player is being released before all the UHD standards are ironed out.
4) The last I read the audio was a few steps down from even Blu-ray. Where's the 24 bit, 8 channel lossless? And will it be upgradeable to object oriented audio like Dolby Atmos or DTS MDA?
And a fifth...
5) It's friggin' expensive.
Oh and a 6th for good measure...
6) Aside from a few Hollywood 4k 35mm film masters for archival purposes and a couple 100% 4k digital productions (from camera to final deliverable file), the majority of the workflow is still locked at 2k. Even major big budget movies. Are we spending all this money to watch a bunch of 2k upconverts???
June 20, 2013 at 3:04PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
35 mm film is close enough to 4K. The cable companies caps will probably go away altogether or be upped to the reasonable tiers once the new cable technology (DOCSIS 3.1, 10 Gbps download capable) is implemented. To put more pressure on cable, there's increasing competition from fiber-to-home and wireless internet companies. Hollywood, including 1 hr scripted TV, is largely going to 4K this season, with the gear/workflow being worked out (will probably be more reliant on Sony F5/F55/F65, however) over the last year. And, there are other major tech and broadcast players in the field (Intel, Apple, Microsoft, DirecTV, Netflix, Google/YouTube) who want 4K streaming to happen ASAP. That said, this could be just a high end niche service.
June 20, 2013 at 3:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
If it's a consumer device, slice the price in half... at least. If it's premium thing currently, then it's alright.
June 21, 2013 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Ha, I knew it. People (in a dimly lit room, likely with alcohol, poor mental and physical eyesight and enthusiastic) were telling us that 9mb/s Redray was visually lossless, perfect and other unobjective things. In effect, over the original conversations on redray, I said that visual quality was deceiving, they were unlikely to have archived it (in words to effect) and it was likely to need 36mb/s. Now, years after, and not a bit of information on how the compression works, no software decoder, and in this price bracket. The truth is, that a cinema viewing can already suffer loss in compression. A cinema level of quality only needs to match this, so the 36mb/s mode of compression then is not as remarkable.
If the codec can still do a cinema viewing level 4k at 9mb/s (with stereo of any quality) then hats off to them. But even then it is still a magnitude or two below what can be archived.
June 22, 2013 at 5:25AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
THE Novola is a 4k streaming and play device check it out!!! comes out july 15!
July 13, 2013 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
By the way, anyone who wishes to continue to check out our adventures with our REDRAY player, feel free to follow us on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo @RedCamCentral
June 23, 2013 at 3:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
At the moment redray is still in beta. Encoding part is also still under heavy development- many things are not supported yet. MP4 playback is not enabled, encoding is fixed to 4096x2160, fps is limited....It needs another few months of development. I'm not impressed with RED- to much beta as someone has already said.
September 3, 2013 at 12:49PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Forgotten to add- it's way not ready for the shipment to the "public" (that's probably why it's so hard to get one)
You can't even fast forward- just pause and play :) It does maybe 20% compared to what spec says (for now).
Quality is ok, but not really reference quality, eg relatively to DCP JPEG2000 encoding.
September 3, 2013 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Update: quality is no near at level of DCP. It's more like BD or maybe even worse.
September 6, 2013 at 12:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM