Red Scarlet X - First Review & Impressions Part I
I am currently a filmmaker and camera rental house co-owner (with my wife) of Tonaci Digital. To date, in the course of four years, Tonaci Digital has provided cameras and services for over 22 "Shot On Red" films. I personally have worked in the field on over 16 feature films in various capacities: as second Unit Director, Camera Operator, Digital Imaging Technician, and Red Camera Supervisor. Some notable projects for us this year include: "Big Sur
" (Polish Brothers shooting Red Epic), "The Banshee Chapter
" (our first 3d Epic project produced by Zachary Quinto), "Innocence Blood
" (Red Epic), and our first Red Epic feature overseas, "Blood Letter
." (if you haven't seen the Blood Letter trailer
, it will blow your tits off)
On 11/18/2011, I was very fortunate to be the first to take delivery of the Red Scarlet X
. 3 days later, I flew to Vietnam to begin prepping the Red Scarlet X for likely the first ever feature film in the world to begin principal photography with the Red Scarlet. On 11/30/2011, shooting began for "Cuoi Ngay Keo Lo aka Love Puzzle." By day 5 of the feature, I had to fly back to the US on December 4th to teach for Reducation, leaving our Red Scarlet X in the good hands of our camera team in Vietnam. As of this writing, they just finished Day 13 and I am happy to report that the Red Scarlet-X has been running non-stop flawlessly. You have to keep in mind that in Vietnam, the budgets are too low to afford backup cameras. Fortunately, "knock on wood," no Red camera has ever failed on us in the past 3 years working in Vietnam on 20 feature films (which btw were all theatrically released) and over one hundred commercials.
I saw the humorous C300 review by Jonathan Yi, and saw his response to someone in his comments section saying, "Enjoy your broken camera." Notably, Philip Bloom had problems with his Red Epic so the natural thought for some may be…are Red Cameras that bad? Here is my take on it. It is sorta like those social worker news stories (loose analogy I know, hehe..but my mom is a social worker so bear with me). When one social worker is involved in a case where the child dies, everyone hears about it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. We need to be aware of these things when they happen…but the other side to the story…the reality is that there are thousands of workers doing great service everyday that you don't hear about. Same goes for Red Cameras. There are literally thousands and thousands of Red Cameras working day in and day out without any problems. This is not to say there are never any problems with the cameras…sure there is. This is the nature of electronic devices. Canon 5ds go bad too, right? (My friend sent his in for repair last week.) What I can tell you is that Red staff have gone above and beyond to help me whenever I have questions or issues. I'm positive that thousands of owners will share similar experiences with me on that. As I mentioned above, a good bulk of my work is supporting feature films in Vietnam where there are very little resources. If Red cameras were unreliable, I would have zero chance of ever sustaining a rental business and shooting movies overseas. It's not like I can drive down to Hollywood to pickup a backup camera. If my Red Epics gave me grief, I definitely would not have ordered the Scarlets. As of this writing today, I am currently managing five Red Epics and two Red Scarlets on seven different jobs all happening at once. This would be hard to do if they were "broken" cameras.
I firmly believe in trying to always stay ahead. I have been shooting 4k for four years now with the Red One and 5k this year with the Epic. Sony is entering the 4k game and before you know it, so will Canon, Panasonic, Arri…you name it! Sony just announced their 4k consumer projector and now more and more theaters are being equipped with 4k digital projectors. I had the pleasure of seeing Barco's latest 4k projector and it is amazing. Youtube supports 4k and before you know it, the internet bandwidth and computers will be fast enough to handle it. As of right now, the 4k on Youtube chokes on my current browser and internet connection, but this will certainly change! Perhaps I am thinking too far ahead, but with Sony jumping into the game and heck, even Canon announcing a 4k camera… it is going to happen. I like the idea that my material will be up to spec for the next resolution standard. I can't stomach watching ANYTHING in standard def and I have a feeling I will probably feel the same way about 1080p HD being uprezzed on my future 4K display. One thing I have to wonder is how long the life will be on the C300 before Canon releases another model? With the Scarlet, I feel good knowing that there will be a Dragon sensor upgrade option down the road and anything I shoot today with Scarlet, will have longevity over the course of the next several years after 4k becomes mainstream.
Special thanks to Chanh Phuong Films for giving us permission to post some of the very first images and footage from "Cuoi Ngay Keo Lo aka Love Puzzle". Please stay tuned for PART II of my review which will cover menu navigation, accessory configuration and much more!
Red Scarlet X - Exterior Test Shot
Raw R3d file here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3236260/rawfile.zip
Red Scarlet X - Frame Grab 1 From Feature Film
Red Scarlet X - Frame Grab 2 From Feature Film
Red Scarlet X - Frame Grab 3 From Feature Film
Red Scarlet X - Frame Grab 4 From Feature Film
Red Scarlet X Feature Film Video Footage