We don't often cover rumors here at NoFilmSchool. Nonetheless, here it is: we've discovered a little post on the popular RedUser forum announcing a livestream on July 6th. The post has managed to kick off some fascinating speculation in the filmmaking world as to what, precisely, RED is going to announce. One small line hints at what it won't be: "This is a new product category. It does not impact your RED camera."
Is this just a RED herring?
For those who don't remember the original announcement of the RED Epic and RED Scarlett cameras, it caused a tremendous hubbub, since it contradicted the announcements surrounding the release of the original RED ONE. A large part of the original marketing was the line Making obsolescence obsolete, which left many who invested large sums of money in the original RED ONE platform disappointed that their cameras were, in fact, going to become obsolete with the release of more compact, sophisticated camera bodies.
B&H has gone live with a series of new item links, but it is just a RED herring. It is, of course, news that RED products are now being carried by B&H online, which will make purchasing easier for those working at institutions who need to go through preferred vendors. But the products are all the same price as they would be on the RED store, even the pricy Carbon Fiber Weapon is $49,500, identically priced to the RED site. Further, as far as we can tell, there aren't actually any new products in the links. While it will help with convenience for some to be able to order these items at B&H online, it seems unlikely that this is what Jim Jannard was teasing.
Credit: Red Digital Cinema
Newshooter has done a great deep dive into recently published patents attached to Jannard's name, and the site is speculating that RED will announce a product that involves some sort of cell phone functionality. This is based on a patent for a modular device that has cellular connectivity and a variety of resolutions. It's common knowledge that cell phone cameras are getting insanely good, from shooting everything we see on Instagram to Sundance feature films, but other attempts to dive into the phone space with an amazing camera, like the Lumia 1020, have flopped. This cell phone approach seems possible, but unlikely, though we do appreciate the insight and research into the patents brought by the Newshooter team.
Here at No Film School, our guess is VR. A VR camera could be modular and needs a variety of resolutions, fitting with the patent applications. Enabling cellular functionality with VR would help with livestreaming or perhaps AR applications—and it doesn't threaten existing camera bodies the way an amazing camera phone might. Plus, in 2017, if a tech company says it has a big announcement coming, VR is always a safe bet.
NFS reached out to Jeff Flynn at RED to find out more, but he's being cagey, too. You can be sure we'll be back on July 6th to report the verdict.