Buy Mike Recommended
edit systems & gear
from Silverado Systems
Buy Books, Software, & More
at HD for Indies Amazon Store
Buy New Movies from
HD for Indies Amazon Store
Or, you can also support
HD4NDs by contributing
to the tip jar...
Help Support HD for Indies
Great HD Links
- HD For Indies Home Page
- HD For Indies FAQ
- HD 24
- Bare Feats
- 24p Entertainment
- Light Illusion (was Digital Praxis)
- OneRiver Codec Resource
- HighDef.org Info
- Understanding RAID
- Video Systems (Reviews)
- DV Film (DV=>Film)
- Plus 8 Digital (vendor)
- Digital Cinema Society
- Texas High Def (local F900 guy)
- Creative Cow (news & forums)
- Philadelphia FCP User Group
- Los Angeles FCP User Group
- Cinema Tech
- DV Info's forums
- HVX User
- Pro App Tips
- Bluesky Media - Instruction
- little frog in high def
- VideoMaker Learning Section
- Stu Maschwitz's ProLost
- March 2004
- April 2004
- May 2004
- June 2004
- July 2004
- August 2004
- September 2004
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- March 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- June 2009
- July 2009
- August 2009
- September 2009
- October 2009
- November 2009
- December 2009
- January 2010
- February 2010
- March 2010
- April 2010
High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
HD & Online Content Roundup - new movie download services, books, HD-DVD & Blu-ray both losers, more
More players are coming to market, slooooooowly:
Ultimate AV: Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc Player: Sneak Peek: "$1,300 Digital Video Output: HDMI Video Upconversion: 720p, 1080i/p Feature Highlights: Blu-ray Disc Player, upconversion of standard-def DVDs to 720p or 1080i/p via HDMI"
Toshiba second gen HD DVD players delayed worldwide - Engadget HD: "Toshiba just couldn't let Sony hog all the high-def DVD spotlight with its delays, so it has pushed back its second generation HD DVD players in the US and abroad."
Sound And Vision Magazine - Shootout: 3 Blu-ray Disc Players
Xbox Live Video is um.. Live - DV Guru
In the "state of the format wars," HD movie downloads are now officially on the map. Slow, currently a bit buggy, large downloads (6.1 GB for V for Vendetta, which is admittedly a long movie), but in the marketplace.
I would guess that the image quality isn't as good as HD-DVD or Blu-ray, since MS is probably using Windows Media, of which VC-1 is a variant (which is 1 or 3 compression options for HD-DVD and Blu-ray). But it is THERE.
And considering that you don't need the $200 HD-DVD add-on, and you don't need a standalone player that costs MANY hundreds more than a Xbox360 that oh yeah also plays killer games...it continues to chip away at the viability of EITHER shiny plastic disc standard as the way to watch high def movies.
YouTube Effect: CBS Gets Massive Boost - DV Guru: "In one of those 'I told you so' moments, CBS recently announced that their TV shows have received a major boost after they released some of their content on YouTube."
CinemaTech: `The Future of Web Video': Now in Paperback Scott Kirsner's incredibly up to date book is now available in paperback for offline viewing.
globeandmail.com: No business model for HDTV, CBC tells CRTC: "As television shifts towards high-definition channels and programs, broadcasters are finding no business model for HDTV and are instead being forced to foot the massive bill, the head of CBC warned Monday."
The Coporation: full doc made available online - DV Guru
This is the second "known" doc that is being posted online in full. Emailed a buddy of mine about this, he said he had the DVD in his player from Netflix, wonders how cool they are with this. My guess - content distributors like Amazon (for sales) and Netflix (for rentals) will likely over-react to the reality of the situation - how many people are going to download a movie over BitTorrent and watch on their computer rather than Netflix/Amazon it? Not too many. But as a content distributor, finding out that your content is available out there for free must be upsetting.
I'd meant to see it, I think I'll download it now (take THAT, Netflix queue!)
glib PS - so does my public statement that I'm going to download something for free that Netflix has probably violate something in the birdseed text of my agreement with Netflix such that I'll have to pay them some rental fee on it or it "counts" as a DVD at my house until I present signed affidavit that I've deleted it from hard drive? Not yet, but maybe one day...
Why HD-DVD and Blu-ray are dead on arrival. - By Sean Cooper - Slate Magazine Nice one, sums up a lot of my feelings....durn it. I WANT a plastic shiny disc to work since that bodes well for indies, but it isn't getting there very fast. And shiny plastic discs are the easiest way for indies to compete - the Internet and pay-per-view and other options mentioned here are not as likely accessible for indies - you can't get in on that game as a niche or micro play the way you can with a DVD on Amazon and/or Netflix.
World first: download-to-own movie service | APC Magazine: "Online movie service Reeltime has announced what it claims to be the world's first 'download to own' movie service, in partnership with Universal Pictures.
The concept is unique %u2013 purchasing a title from ReelTime gives the user access to three digital files. The first two are WMV %u2013 one for playback on a PC or laptop, and the other is suitable for playback on a Windows Plays4Sure-compatible portable device. The third file is used to burn the movie securely and legally to DVD (up to three times), which you then own."
iPod DVD ripping request rejected News - PC Advisor: "The US Library of Congress has rejected a petition that would allow US iPod users to copy their movies to iPods and other devices." - poop on them, durnit! How exactly is this different from xeroxing some pages of a book you own to take with you? Ummm....
And lastly, Machinima.com: "Make Love, Not Warcraft" - this is just fun, and kinda online stuff, but a neat thing to get in here. Didja see the South Park with the Worlds of Warcraft story? Here's how they did it, with the game maker's active assistance. Also includes some video snippets from the show. If you didn't see it, you should - it is GREAT. Typical nasty South Park, but GREAT. MMMMmmm....naaaaaasty....
What make this fit in this section? Let's see...oh yeah! You can download the episode on iTunes for $2.
My own experiences: many years ago, Ford was going to introduce their own eco-friendly line of transportation products. I was working at frodesign and was the VFX supervisor and compositor on the project.
Lesson 1: Setting up motion control moves takes MUCH longer than you'd expect. Talk to you vendor, describe EXACTLY what you want to do (don't waffle and "forget to mention") - then BELIEVE THEM when they give you a time estimate
-even on tracks, the system will jiggle or move a bit, it doesn't EXACTLY repeat the moves you want. Third party stabilization tools, like those in Shake or iStabilize, can help (but if you're going to the budget level of moco, use Shake level tools!)
-we shot greenscreen of a car - ugh, ugh, ugh - now I know better and why so many car commercials are all CG - greenscren of shiny things, even with a zillion white bounce cards, is YUCKY and a pain and required a lot of rotoscope.
-plus, the particular system we were using had "out of bounds" ranges - if you swung it too far, or swing it so fast it can't come to rest before the Magic End of World value, the control values went "off the end of the universe" as somebody put it, and the system spazzes out trying to find itself. This means the 12 foot long arm starts swingly violently around - with a $100+K film camera on the end of it, about to swing into the actors or beauty camera car. Ooooooops. Would be bad. Happened once, the moco guys frantically dove for the power plugs to kill power, nobody and nothing got hurt. Of course, not all moco systems have this problem, but sheesh...
It also turned out to be a cursed project in other ways - the king of Norway's schedule interfered with our shoot, and Ford ALMOST sent us a lime green car to use in the greenscreen shoot. Two guys got food poisioning late on deadline that were doing the 3D and motion graphics on part of the project. After I mentioned on set that maybe the person on electrical assist bicycle should have a helmet, and was told it'd be OK, of course Ford legal pitched a fit and a reshoot was demanded....ultra late in the process of course. Then they asked if we could just CG a photorealistic helmet on the guy riding a bike swooping full frame through the greenscreen shot...right...and so forth...
Adam Wilt, whom I have tremendous respect for, takes his typically thorough in-depth look at a pre-production Sony HVR-V1 camcorder, Sony's first HDV to do a "real" 24p.
-is very like a 24p, HDV PD170
-best control layout Sony's done, and that's saying something GOOD
-"The V1 uses three 1/4-inch CMOS sensors in place of the more-common 1/3-inch CCDs. The CMOS sensors are completely free from vertical smear and draw less power than CCDs, and their architecture allows for some interesting tricks"
-pixels arrayed diagonally in a 960x1080 grid, it mixes the sampling from the diagonal grid with sub-samples averaged from the grid, creating some interesting resolution characteristics
-can also shoot a burst high speed mode, which uses fewer pixels are higher frame rates (CMOS allows this, is what the SI-2K and Red One will do when those ship)
-true progressive scan
-informally, seems sharper than Z1
-"overall, the V1 looks like a worthy addition to the choices available to HDV shooters."
As usual, Adam gets deep into the nitty gritty - so go read it all, I didn't mention lots of good stuff. While I tend to focus on the specifications and capabilities more exclusively, Adam covers that stuff PLUS the shootability of the camera - the way it feels to hold, the way the buttons fall to hand, etc. - I mostly care about what to do with the images after shooting (Hey, I'm a post guy!), Adam is concerned also with how you get good images and what it is like to work with - vital info.
This sounds like it'll be a worthy camera to consider in the future for low budget indie/doc prodution.
For this example we assume you know how to create and edit in basic multiclip mode. It's in the manual and well explained.
You should also know that it's easier to pull footage into sync by audio than it is by video unless you have a clapboard or other clear visual indicator.
Assume your cams have no interlocked time code.
Assume some cams have been turned off and on while others have run the length of the shoot.
Know also that where you set the in-point as the sync point has no bearing on the start of the multicam, i.e. if you had three full length cams running and the only audio or visual sync point was half way through, if you set that point as your sync point you can still multiclip edit from the beginning of the shoot (set the multiclip viewer's in-point to your first required frame before pulling it onto the timeline)
Assume for this example a multicam music shoot.
Typical good detailed Ken Stone level stuff.
(found via DVguru.com)
Some edited excerpts:
Asked about the Red camera:
Q: Do you have any plans to use the new Red Digital Cinema 4k camera when it's available?
A: ...I'm currently doing testing with Jim Jannard's new Red 4k camera. I see the Red camera as a very solid, viable tool for the film industry. Not many people have seen the images - raw or on the color corrector. I have, and this is about to become a really good camera.
He said later:
I expect the clarity and resolution of the Red 4k camera to be just as good. The results are so striking that studios will now be willing to take the risks to achieve more resolution, more color space.
Q: What do you like about 4k?
A: One word: clarity. It harkens back to the beauty you -------saw achieved in the first print from 65mm or Vista Vision - strikingly crisp and clear.
Q: Do you think digital film will become the mainstream medium for feature films and TV productions in the future?
A: Absolutely. It's an economical means to get a high quality movie on the big screen...
Q: How will digital film affect the larger movie studios and the independent film makers?
A: Economics drives the film industry. And every market adapts to, and gains from, advances in technology. In this case, it's the filmmakers that gain from advances in hybrid, digital-film workflow tools. Digital film is moving the industry into bigger possibilities and different kinds of projects. With lower production costs, more of the budget can go into the content. We'll see different kinds of projects from both studios and indies.
I've edited this down, read the whole thing for all the details. He also speaks highly of the coming Olympus 4K camera (but as usual, I'm more interested in the Red camera due to price point - HD for INDIES, ya know.)
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Is a link on the above page, here's a direct link to the PDF.
Discusses closed loop calibration, the different types of LUTs and what they are for, matching to film, defining a standard to stick to, etc.
Thanks Mark for sending in the link!
The EDL, or Edit Decision List, is the most basic and simple way to translate an offline edit sequence to an online system. Most all systems generate them (maybe not iMovie), and most all systems will read them. They only transfer a limited amount of information so it would be preferable to use XML, OMF, AAF, AFE, Automatic Duck %u2026 but sometimes you don%u2019t have a choice. Here's a basic on how to read one.
(found via DVguru.com)
Good article with good tips, LOTS of details on proper camera settings (that is EXACTLY what you want from this kind of article) with a lot of examples and sample images and stuff. Good reading if you're thinking of using the JVC or a film-bound project.
(found via the ever-useful FresHDV.com.)
It's a OpenGL accelerated plugin (FxPlug), so instead of the historically ultra-slow performance one gets from volumetric lighting plugins, this is REALLY fast.
There is a 15 day free trial and a watchable demo, and is only $49. For titling, if you want the look, totally worth it.
It was created using FXfactory - a set of tools from Noise Industries to make your own plugins. This whole concept is very cool.
So this plugin was made from the tech from Noise Industries, by somebody else using their tools. Noise Industries - FxFactory is an OpenGL accelerated set of plugins for Final Cut Pro, including the ability to create your OWN plugins pretty easily. I met them at IBC, and regretfully haven't done a full write-up as yet (which is soooooo overdue, they make cool stuff).
The tech from both is good - this FXplug stuff is nifty
UPDATE - I had it wrong twice, now I've got it right.
Here's the press release from Noise Industries to set it all straight:
Noise Industries and Idustrial Revolution release Volumetrix for Final Cut Studio
Boston, MA (November 27, 2006) – Noise Industries, developer of visual effects technology for the broadcast and film industry, today announced the release of Volumetrix, a new visual effects package for Apple’s Final Cut Studio. Volumetrix was developed in collaboration with Idustrial Revolution and offers stunning light effects and transitions.
"Creating an effect similar to Volumetrix would take a lot of tedious keyframing and then rendering using conventional methods. Volumetrix creates results within seconds in both Final Cut Pro and Motion. The power of Volumetrix is not just limited to making boring text look like a Hollywood trailer, any image with an alpha channel can be transformed using a couple of mouse clicks. Forget old style lighting filters, because as this plugin uses FxPlug, its very fast" said Volumetrix creator Peter Wiggins from Idustrial Revolution.
Peter Wiggins, an early adopter of FCP & Motion, is credited on many high profile TV shows and broadcasts. He applied his many years of experience in the post-production industry to bring his first effects package to FCS editors.
Volumetrix was created using Noise Industries FxFactory Plug-in creation capabilities. FxFactory is the first expandable effects package for Final Cut Studio, thanks to a plug-in management system that lets users download new visual effects, try them out in projects, and only pay for the plug-ins as needed. For professional users, FxFactory offers new ways to improve their toolset. FxFactory Pro is the only software that allows users to create and modify their own visual effects plug-ins for Final Cut Pro and Motion, without writing a single line of code.
“Volumetrix is a brilliant demonstration of the power of our software, and we are excited to be working with Idustrial Revolution.” added Noise Industries founder Gabriele de Simone. “Here we have a talented digital compositor who created native, real-time plug-ins without writing a single line of code. This is unprecedented in the integrated effects industry.”
More FxPacks can be found at the Noise Industries FxMarket, an online repository of visual effects for Final Cut Studio, open to all FxFactory users. As Noise Industries and other third-parties develop new plug-ins using FxFactory, users will enjoy a growing number of visual effects which can be used on a trial basis, and bought as needed.
Pricing and Availability
Volumetrix is available immediately for $49 directly from Noise Industries.
I'm usually not one to advocate stacking more drives in a case (the G5 mods, for instance - the G5 wasn't designed for that kind of thermal/electrical load and config). But this looks promising - add 2, 3, or 4 more drives in your Mac Pro, using the optical bay area.
The 8 drive config I don't like - it requires pulling out your optical drive and requires a SATA card with internal connections - if you're going to go to all that trouble, just get an external array.
But the 6 drive config is intriguing - it leaves the original (if you have only one) optical drive alone, and adds two more in the empty optical bay below that. Since there ARE two more internal SATA connectors inside the Mac Pro, and the power supply is beefy, you have everything you'd need then to connect power and data for this.
And since 5 drives (if fast enough) is just about the magic number threshold to do uncompressed HD work, you'd have 1 drive for boot, and a 5 drive array. If you INSIST on doing an internal array (I'm against it for a variety of reasons), I like this implementation based on what I've seen so far. Finances and space are the only reasons I'd advocate going this way. Since the kit is only $130 for adding the two more drives, that isn't too bad, esp. since you don't need to buy a SATA card.
My one concern is that I'm not 100% sure that the original/single optical drive is completely left alone in the 6 drive config. I'm pretty damn sure there are two available SATA ports on the motherboard, and that there is power enough for two more drives, even if you have to use a Y-splitter to snag power from what was intended for the secondary optical drive.
UPDATE - email exchange with those folks, I asked:
Can the optical drive still be connected as well as the 2 extra drives WITHOUT requiring another SATA port from a PCIe card?
They said: Correct....that was the main reason for the design.....also very important....on a Mac Pro ........a drive connected to PCI card or any other way other than built in ports is TREATED AS NON NATIVE DRIVE....................unike older G5's
As for what meant by non-native:
maxPro Drive 2 is native....!
maxPro Drive 1 is on PCI Express SATA Controller.
Macintosh HD is on FireWire.
For the web-heads - Squeeze is a media encoding solution, esp. useful for Windows Media encoding, is 3x faster than previous version.
Yeah, a lot of little news bits today.
It's been problematic for a LOT of people, so here's this guy's way. Of course, YMMV.
PS - on a similar note, GridIron Nucleo Pro updated, price reduced - DV Guru
ATA over GigE - and it'll do RAID 0/1/5/10.
OK, but how fast is it? It is cheap, but they seem to charge a beefy premium for Mac support, moreso than Linux.
Anybody work with this yet? Any field reports appreciated.
Supposedly up to 110MB/sec - good enough for compressed work, not enough for 1080 uncompressed work. Would work for 720p24, though.
All that assuming it can sustain rates consistently.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Q: So Redcode - tell the uninitiated what it is:
A: Redcode is a compression scheme designed especially for the RED camera. It's a wavelet based compression that works in 10bit or 12bit (the camera is 12bit natively) and with RGB or RAW data. When you're using 10bit mode, you have the choice of either a standard Log curve, or a REC 709 gamma curve, so that you're immediately compatible with whatever NLE or DI program you're using.
Q: ...and now that Redcode has recently been announced to be 12 bit capable, what can that do for us as users?
A: Well, it means less processing has happened to the RAW data - it's as RAW as we can make it, and hence all of it is preserved with no loss of highlight or shadow detail. That means, you can push and pull the image more freely in post without worrying about loosing quality. With 12bit, each RAW pixel uses a range of 0-4095 to represent it's value. (Mike note - most HD tape formats are 8 bit, using a range of only 0-255, or the highest end/most expensive tape formats 10 bit, using a range of 0-1023.) That makes for finer graduations, less possibility of banding, and as it's linear, is already in the best form for compositing.
(Mike addition - I'd previously challenged whether this was of any use in a non-VFX environment - while tools like After Effects 7, Combustion, Shake, fusion, etc. can work with source material with more than 10 bits of precision, most NLEs are limited to either 8 or 10 bits of precision at best. Jim pointed out to me that when you're doing your basic color balancing/correction in REDCINE, it is processed in 32 bit float on the GPU in REDCINE - so you WOULD gain the benefit of that greater precision at this earliest stage when you're making what is most likely your most aggressive color decisions. So 10 or 12 bit source, manipulate in 32 bit float, then deliver the best possible results to generate your working copy for offline or online. As a bonus, if you decide you need to push it in a dramatically different direction later, you can go back to the source and reprocess it again, from source, to get different yet still optimal results - the cleanest possible workflow, starting from the RAW source data)
While proofing the article, Graeme schools me further:
Tape formats use only the 16-235 range for legal values, allowing up to 254 for super white. In 10bit, it's 64 - 960 + superwhite up to 1022.
Q: I noticed that when the announcement was made that Redcode was now 12 bit capable, the target data rates weren't changed. Is that affecting the image quality? Or are you just tweaking the compression figures?
A: We're improving the compression in other areas to compensate. That's working very well, and that, combined with the efficiencies of RAW, and that when there's less processing applied to data, there's less extra noise introduced, it is compressing great. One of the things that people forget, is that all the traditional image processing that gets applied to video detracts from it's ability to be easily compressed. Adding sharpness or edge enhancement, colour processing, or gamma all add noise or make the image harder to compress. By leaving the RAW data in as RAW a state as possible, we can achieve the our quality and compression ratio goals.
4.) Originally, 720p, 1080p, 1080i, 2K, 4K, 4.5K were discussed as camera possibilities - which of these can Redcode record on the Red Flash or Red Drive?
2K, 1-60fps (windowed or scaled, as I understand it - mike)
REDCODE RAW Does:
2k RAW 1-60fps (windowed as I understand it - mike)
4k RAW 1-30fps
FYI - REDCODE is the RGB codec - it isn't RAW, it has been demosaiced/deBayered. But what about 1080i? Did it go away? This broadcast standard will be important to support.
I got suspicious when I didn't see 1080i60 listed as supported in Graeme's answer, so I followed up with Stuart English, who as always Knows All:
Q: Ah - so using REDCODE RGB or 1080p60 (windowed or downsampled), in Redcine you could be kicking out a very nice 1080i, right?
But it sounds like there won't be a 1080i60 codec for direct recording, correct?
A: There really is no point, compression is easier and has less artifacts using 1080p as its source v's 1080i. At the end of the day, interlace is a transmission path compression, so long as we can create it for a deliverable (including HD-SDI outputs) that's all we should worry about.
Q: So if/when native NLE support comes along, in theory it could just be flagged to deliver its content in this fashion.
A: Yes, when 1080p / 60 NLE's are available, 1080i could be output on the fly - just as 3:2 is added to 24 fps material today. Again, when in a file based workflow, go the legacy tape / broadcast interlace format at the last stage possible, keep it in progressive format(s) as long as possible.
Q: Or, instead of dropping every other field, just super sample for ultra clean, correct?
A: Perhaps, but dropping odd then even fields in alternate frames easier to do for low power apps.
Q: And 1080i60 could be derived with a crop & process within REDCINE from a 2K 60p as well, correct?
A: Sure, it could be done there. 2K RGB or 1080p RGB to 1080i are both fairly straight forward
Q: Questions questions questions!
A: Think Digital Cinema (film) Negative and Telecine / Lab and most questions get answered !
End Stuart Interjection. Also, 1080i50 is easily derived from 50p recording, which of course Red One can do as well same way as 1080i60.
Q: So what is the plan for recording greater than 60fps 2K scaled or windowed?
A: 2K RAW at 120 fps and 4K RAW at 60 fps require external recording. That would be via the RAW Data Port (optical high speed port). Recording solutions for the Raw data port are under development, and there will more than likely be 3rd party partners that will have a number of different options on this front.
(Mike clarification - 2K RAW at >60-120fps and 4K RAW at >30-60fps is another way of thinking of those numbers)
One of the first goals of the 4k RAW compression goal was to be able to record 24p, which we believe is the right choice considering the RED ONE’s goal of becoming a true digital replacement for traditional 35mm film production. We also understand, especially from our friends in Europe, that 4k50p would be, for instance, very desirable. And 60fps 4k on board for slow motion would also have great benefit to our customer base. Although our current specs don't allow us to record higher than 4k30p at the moment, we're actively engaged in research to see how to make it possible. As you know, we're a small team, and have to prioritize our development efforts, and for 4k RAW that means 24fps, 25fps and 30fps, but we've certainly not forgotten about the higher frame rates for either superb slowmo, or for general ultra-high definition television use.
Q: I've heard that with wavelet, it is easy to extract lower resolution during decode, rather than decode whole thing then scale results - true?
A: Yes indeed. It's one of the key benefits of wavelets and how the wavelet transform works.
Q: Redcode on a computer - will it play back in real time?
A: Yes, if your computer is fast enough. How fast is fast enough? Well, we're still in development, and the computer industry just keeps improving things a lower and lower prices.
Q: OK then - Redcode on a computer - will it play back scaled down in real time?
A: Yes indeed. I've played 4k RAW 24p scaled down in real time on my laptop, and it looked great.
OK, switching gears, lets talk about
REDCINE: for the uninitiated, what is it?
A: REDCINE is a fully functioned software application to bring in your REDCODE footage, adjust raw conversion settings, and export to practically any format supported by your system.
(Mike addition - Graeme has previously also discussed how Redcine will have some basic, one-light style color correction tools - the website mentions white balance, gamma, gain, color, saturation, contrast, & curves. No heavy tools like vignettes or secondary color correction, just the kind of stuff you might do in a one light telecine session - but all done on GPU, in 32 bit float, starting from that 10 or 12 bit source.)
Q: What kinds of file formats will be supported?
A: On import, only RED formats, but export will be to Quicktime or DPX, Cineon, Tiff, BMP etc. for still formats. Additionally, we can take advantage of most extra codecs installed on your system to output to DV or DVCProHD for example.
(Mike addition here - compressed and uncompressed Red formats supported, and for export, if it is a codec that is installed on your system that is normally available for QT aware apps (in the Mac case) to write to, you can use it - that's the caveat. As for still file formats, the website lists TIFF, DPX, JPEG2000, CINEON, PSD, JPEG, and probably others as well to follow. It has been previously discussed, ad nauseum, that any bit depth you have a codec for can be supported - 10 bit 4:2:2, 10 bit 4:4:4, 16 bit 4:4:4, 8 bit 4:2:2, whatever - no artificial boundaries.)
Q: What frame sizes will be supported?
A: It works on all frame sizes supported by the RED camera, so from 720p up to 2540p (4.5k), and can export to whatever size you want, including SD resolutions for PAL and NTSC.
Q: Will it be possible to crop as well as scale?
Q: What kind of conversion times are we looking at?
A: Hard to tell. All depends on what you're doing. We're actively engaged in optimization to get users the best experience we can, and are making full use of GPU and multiple CPUs.
Q: You mentioned single core of a G5 for 1.7 sec 4.9K debayering - isn't Redcine going to be strictly Macintel and Wintel? Why, if you have a running build on a G5, not suppport that platform going forward?
A: Well, development work is on PPC as that's what I have for the most part, but REDCINE is a completely different beast, and people will only really understand when they see it. The costs involved in it's development are significant, and we just don't have the time or the money to develop for, an unfortunately dying platform. However, all the other tools we're developing, like the Quicktime REDCODE and REDCODE RAW codec are cross platform and PPC also.
Remember that demosaic time was only mentioned because people had heard it takes 4 or 8 seconds to demosaic a frame from the (other vendor name omitted - and these 4-8 sec demosaic times were from THEIR year old dev code anyway - mike). The (Red's) demosaic used was development code and will be running much faster by the time it makes it into REDCINE. Another important factor is that you don't want to sacrifice 4k quality by using a very quick and low quality demosaic.
And this brings me to one of the important advantages of using RAW as a digital negative: You can gain the benefit of better conversion algorithms and software developments in the future, and use it on footage you already have. Once the camera is out, it's not like we're going to stop working on improving the RAW conversion, and I expect to have a number of small R&D projects that will address various aspects of the RAW conversion process and bring either speed or quality enhancements to the pipeline
Q: Will conversions times vary based on desired size?
A: Yes indeed. Smaller frame sizes will go quicker.
Q: Will there be a "draft mode" for faster conversions?
A: Yes indeed.
Q: Random question - would there be any use to supporting the HDR OpenEXR format?
A: Perhaps as it might make it easier to handle the 12bit linear dynamic range. If I remember correctly, OpenEXR is supported as an output format from REDCINE.
Q: Will REDCINE be bundled with the cameras?
Q: Will it be available as a standalone application, and if so how much will that app cost?
A: Yes it will, but the precise details are still to be worked out.
Q: It has been said that with Redcine, you can convert to offline, edit, then come back and convert for online - but other than manually coming up with a list to re-convert (which could be ridiculously daunting on a feature), how will conform be more realistically doable? As in automated? I see this as a HUGE potential stumbling block to the proposed workflow.
A: We're looking to automate this with RED Pull List, which will take a NLE EDL or XML file, and create a new project in REDCINE with just the clips you need to tweak or re-render out to a higher resolution. RPL is still in early stages of development, but I think you can see how this will help enormously.
Q: Great, that's a huge missing piece I was worried about. As a follow up, is RPL a separate app or a function of Redcine? Or TBD?
A: RPL is a function of REDCINE, and the exact details of it's operation and interface are still being worked on.
Q: OK, moving on - you previously said, if I understood correctly, that the 4K RAW could be played in realtime at 1K resolution on a reasonable machine in realtime. Does that imply that a 1K extraction to file could be done in 2x or less realtime, depending on codec used? What guidelines can you give us about time here? It is a potentially large issue in terms of dailies, deadline driven environments, etc.
A: 1k extraction is indeed realtime on even my laptop, so conversion to another codec should be very quick. Remember 1k is 1024x576 which is the square pixel spec for wide PAL, which means it looks like superb SD.
Q: I noticed the sample REDCODE RAW stills posted over on CML are 1.5 MB, but multiplying that by 24 (for 24fps shooting) would generate a 36 MB/sec data rate, well in excess of the 27.5 MB/sec rate Red has quoted as a target in the past.
A: The 27.5 MB/sec number is for 4K, and these frames are 4.9K.
(4900 x 2580) / (4096 x 2304) = 1.333
1.5 / 1.333 = 1.125MB/frame, which is 27MB/sec for 24fps.
(As I understand it, the compression math is slightly fudgier than that - bigger images don't require quite proportionally greater datarates, but it is a pretty reasonable approximation considering it is still developmental code at this time.)
The following snippets I lifted from Stuart's comments on DVXUser.com's excellent and robust Red forums (with permission of Jarred Land, site owner):
DVXuser: Undercranking - slower than 1fps is possible, but needs to be tested to see what happens when the shutter is left open for long periods of time.
DVXuser: Framing, sampling, and aspect ratios:
4.5K is RAW, means sampling is RAW (not 4:4:4) and Super 35 framing
4K is RAW, means sampling is RAW (not 4:4:4) and Academy 35 framing
2K if RAW, means sampling is RAW (not 4:4:4) and Super 16 framing
2K if RGB, means sampling is 4:4:4 and Academy 35 or Super 16 framing
1080p if RGB, means sampling is 4:4:4 and Academy 35 or Super 16 framing
1080p if HD, means sampling is 4:2.2 and Academy 35 or Super 16 framing
720p if RGB, means sampling is 4:4:4 and Academy 35 or Super 16 framing
720p if HD, means sampling is 4:2.2 and Academy 35 or Super 16 framing
DVXuser: Primary recording options - (all specs subject to change):
4K RAW, compressed with REDCODE. Recorded to RED-DRIVE or REDFLASH. Frame rates - variable 1 - 30fps.
4.0/4.5K RAW, uncompressed. Recorded via high speed data port to external custom disk array or RAM disk. Frame rates - variable 1 - 60fps.
2K RAW, compressed with REDCODE. Recorded to RED-DRIVE or REDFLASH. Frame rates - variable 1 - 60fps.
2K RAW, uncompressed. Recorded via high speed data port to external custom disk array or RAM disk. Frame rates - variable 1 - 120fps.
2K RGB or 1080p compressed with REDCODE. Recorded to RED-DRIVE or REDFLASH. Frame rates - variable 1 - 60fps. From 4K RAW or 2K RAW original frame.
2K RGB or 1080p uncompressed. Recorded to external disk array over dual link HD-SDI. Frame rates 24 and / or 25fps. From 4K RAW or 2K RAW original frame.
720p compressed with REDCODE. Recorded to RED-DRIVE or REDFLASH. Frame rates - variable 1 - 60fps from 4K RAW original frame, 120fps from 2K RAW original frame.
DVXuser: 4K to 2K RAW in camera
The answer to the 4K to 2K in camera scaling question is 4K RAW to 2K RGB is possible, but that 4K RAW to 2K RAW is not. However we do understand why people are asking for this, and if it can be worked out how to do it, then we'll let everyone know.
....as an interesting sideline to that, there has been conjecture online about shooting compressed full sensor width, but not full height, in order to get a 'scope aspect ratio (2.35 or 2.40). Just based on the volume of pixels, in THEORY that sounds doable - instead of 4096x2304=9.32 megapixels (current 4K default), shooting 4520x1884=8.5 megapixels. I don't know what other limitations might get in the way, but just based on the number of pixel per second to process, shooting 24p with this size and aspect may be a possible option in the future. I think the team is just focused on fulfilling the existing stated specs right now, this is just conjecture for the moment. But perhaps in time this might be an added capability.
DVXuser: Format Choices
In all of these discussions also don't overlook the possibilities with our 2K RGB. As its scaled in-camera from 4K RAW, it has the same FOV and DOF with the advantage for s/n and dynamic range of being a 2:1 oversampled image. Its also recordable to a RED-DRIVE via internal REDCODE RGB compression at any frame rate between 1 - 60fps - including speed ramps.
Also note: The format options chart at http://red.com/formatoptions.htm has also been upadated today (written 11/7/06).
Graeme chipped in right after with this post on DVXuser: And with a high quality scaling algorithm, 2k RGB scaled to 4k should look good. It helps that scale is the only difference - FOV and colour being the same. And that you're progressive too - interlace is horrible for scaling.
As for Frame Ramping?: Stuart wrote on DVXuser: "Yes, RED can frame ramp - either in a smoth S-linear speed up / slow down fashion or via an instantaneous rate change every frame (where we follow an externally generated command set)." Mike notes: no details of what that system might be, where it might come from, how it may work, etc....but the camera will be capable of ramping. Can't help myself but to say it - COOL!
Somewhat off topic, while pulling notes, I stumbled across this one I'd missed on still lens mounts that Jarred Land wrote:
DVXuser: Red Camera.. first test with Still Lens ( Nikon )Me and Jim put the proto Red-Nikon mount on Franky, mounted a DSLR Nikon Prime, and took some test shots. We were very pleased with the results.
All of you praying that you could use Nikon Still lenses on Red, your day just got alot better.
Lens: Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 D Manual aperture at f4.0 ( Some Nikon glass, including new models, allow for manual aperture changes.)
here is a still.. 4.9k downrezed to 2k and turned into a medium quality 8 bit JPG - http://www.24puser.com/nikon.jpg
Thanks again to Jarred of DVXuser.com for letting me lift all this good info from his site. If you're interested in, or have a question about the Red, or the DVX100/A/B, or the HVX200, his site is an excellent place to go, if not THE place to go (here isn't bad either for the HD stuff I have to thow in ; ) )
As always, read the rest of those postings and the full threads to get a more comprehensive understanding of what's going on - these were just some nice highlights and summaries and pull quotes.
So this is all good news. 12 bit source material, best possible processing space, GPU and multiple CPU acceleration to minimize transcoding times, bundled with the camera, etc. All good stuff.
The matchback/conform issue was the one that had me most concerned - without it, they don't have a viable workflow for larger projects without creating a logistical nightmare.
With a tape based workflow, when it is time for your online, you refer back to the source tapes and just use the same tape names and timecode in/outs to acquire the high quality source material. It is just a matter of feeding in the right tapes when prompted, and waiting for the batch process to capture all the desired footage from each tape.
But in an all digital workflow...there's no batch capturing to be redone, there's only batch copying to be done. And no NLE I'm aware of really has a toolset to help you go find all that media. Let's say you went so far as to assign a removable drive name instead of a reel number in your NLE...the program STILL isn't going to wait for you to hook up drives and copy over the media - NLEs just aren't built to work this way (nor if you'd archived to data tape and wanted to retrieve directly from there, a more convenient yet less likely possibility to work smoothly with current toolsets).
An RPL (Red Pull List) would help this process along. I've shared my own thoughts with the Red team on the nitty gritty of how I'd like this functionality work, starting with an EDL or XML file from your offline edit that is ready to go online, all the way through to an online project with media all linked up. But if it is doing what he says, creating a new Redcine session with your EDL/XML derived selects - then if you're using FCP, it'll be cake to Create Offline using Media Manager and relink to the high res footage that the RPL sets you up to render out.
If you have thoughts on it, or concerns you'd like to see addressed, feel free to use the Comments link at the bottom of this article - the Red guys will read it, trust me.
Next up - analysis of the images posted on CML - 74 MB 16 bit TIFF images right off the Mysterium sensor (after debayering/demosaicing and some minor gamma adjustments), with and without Redcode compression, with and without a matrix applied, etc.
UPDATE: One significant note in that updated chart - clearly, that while the sensor is Super35mm sized, the ONLY way to record using that full size is with the RAW data port...for which Red has no solution that'll ship when the camera does - and it sounds like the REDRAID might be sliding downwards in priority (see Saturday's Ted Schilowitz interview & analysis). In any case, double check the chart before assuming the camera does something you thing it might. The chart is a bit complicated, but study to let it all sink in.
UPDATE: Oops, I wasn't "teh phreshest" after all - I wrote this over several days and awaited some feedback from the Red team before posting, looks like I wasn't first out of the gate on the Red Pull List after all - after writing the article but not posting it yet, Stuart posted yesterday (Saturday):
A few comments about workflow using REDCINE. - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
...and discusses "pull list" in context of Red. Drat, not first at it after all.
He talks about:
-generating pull list from EDL/XML/AAF after editorial complete
-pull list is just the final list of selects for re-export at final online res
-cropping, scaling, changing color values can be done (original color values saved)
-other clever nifty uses of the "look" metadata up and down the production chain
-ongoing discussions with other vendors to use this metadata - sounds promising
Read on, this is only from the first post in the thread which I'm sure will grow.
Other posters immediately pick up on the obvious need for subclips - what if you had an hour long take (interview, doc, etc.) and only need 5 seconds of it? You wouldn't want to reconvert the whole shot, just the selection you used in your timeline.
Ideally, you could generate a new EDL/XML/AAF that would help you rebuild your online file. REALLY ideally, since this is all file based, it could be done via distributed rendering and would create the online file automatically via script assist to control the NLE once all the files were cooked to online res.
I'm posting/commenting/discussing over there as well.
Gratuitous Plug - I've already started doing some consulting for folks interested in small and large scale, Red based workflows - what equipment necessary, what storage and workflow options at different price, speed, and resolution points, etc. based on the preliminary info available and the specific needs of their proposed projects. If you'd like help in these or other high definition related areas, I am indeed available for consulting - mike at hdforindies d0t com.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
This is a monstrously long article, so if in a hurry you might just want to skip down to the Wrap Up/Bullet Points and/or my Conclusions/Analysis/Takeaway. (This also includes my own "state of Red" analysis, similar to what I did back in May after NAB.)
In any case, here we go, starting with my conversation with Ted:
Q: So Ted - how big is the team getting now that you guys are up to full steam?
A: We are definitely ramping up and continuing to do so....body count is not nearly as relevant as expertise count, The key team members count for a lot of bodies and keep us lean and super responsive to changing things for the better. We continue to morph and warp the team to their best ends, and that's why you're seeing the kind of progress you're seeing so quickly, and we still have these targets for end of the year builds.
(Ted also kept taking phone calls all through lunch - clearly a busy guy)
Q: Are end of year builds still as predicted?
A: Still looks like it is going to happen...that's week to week basically...we're continually charging ahead and working towards that, we have about a month/month and a half until Christmas break drops in on us
Q: End of year build plans: how many, how fast out?
A: Wait until mid-December and I'll have a much better feeling on how we're gonna do...it's a little too early on to say yet.
There's so much speculation about what we're doing...it's best for me to not add details until I'm ready to give you that...right now it would be speculation.
Q: My understanding is that you'll seed them out of house after you get comfortable inhouse - is this correct?
A: We'll be testing inhouse, the next step will be to increase the circle and the scope of the circle as to who gets to play. We've already started that with our test camera "Frankie" and David Stump. That was our first foray into letting some external trusted resources have a good sense of the ability of the sensor, and to cut through the speculation and just look at the actual facts and data, and get David to work his theory on what he sees and likes, and so far he's liking a lot.
A LOT of CML/ASC folks were at the screening yesterday, and as I understand it some pretty big names with some pretty big credits were there and watching, and gave some very favorable reviews to what we're up to...we're just going to continue down that path to try to make things better.
Q: Who are some of those brand name people?
A: Other than Dave (Stump), who is now public because we stuck his quote on our website and some files up on CML, and that's an active sub-community that is doing its own thing as we develop, positive/negative/whatever, it is good that people are talking and wanting to see what we are up to. Anybody else would be premature to say, in order to respect their anonymity until they are ready to talk publicly.
Q: Optical port - you've been talking about it, first time we've seen anything - is the plan to include the flash recording module with the camera and the optical port has to be bolted in place of it?
A: It'll definitely be either/or at this point in the development - it could change at any moment as we look at the logic of this - but current thoughts would be to have the flash module for onboard recording, replace it with the RAW port for uncompressed recording.
Q: ...and it'll be a "Unscrew & remove Red Flash, slap on and screw on optical port unit," right?
A: Yeah - it's targeted to be field swappable. The logic of what's included or not is still part of the development...so we just don't know the answer yet...that's the only valid answer - we know we're gonna have and offer both options, don't know what price, what's bundled, who wants what for their work environments, etc.
Q: So this is the high speed serial port earlier mentioned - what bus?
A: Not yet determined - I was discussing that this morning, it is still very much under development.
Q: What buses are you looking at? Fiber? Infiniband? That type of thing?
A: There's those, there's the 10 GigE route, Infiniband, you have multiple strands of 4 gig fiber, all those routes..all of which are in the engineering running...no clear winners/losers yet....we like the idea of open standards, we like being able to connect to multiple devices easily, letting 3rd parties build things that configure as needed and don't have to configure to a proprietary standard, so that you can use this and plug this into a post environment, take it so it doesn't just live with our rig, so that's where we are right now.
Q: So your current thinking is: Evaluating options, pick 1, that flavor coming out of this add on device, leaving the door open for new tech or market demand, correct?
A: Yes - that's the idea of it being modular - if form factor/logic/whatever changes...all kinds of things coming down the pipe - vast new development coming - lower cost, much more robust...etc. - it's just data pipes - the idea of not building it directly onto and totally locked onto the camera proper so that it CAN upgrade - similar concept to things that you'd think would be tough to upgrade - you want to give the logic of saying those pieces that are integral to the camera CAN be updated - like the sensor, for instance - so if X months or X years down the road after geting the 12 megapixel sensor out, our plan all along should be able to upgrade, if we do a next generation sensor, our plan all along and it holds to this day - you should be able to send it back to the factory (not a field swap) and upgrade the sensor (at whatever cost they decide - mike). If stuff changes you want to be able to be to, within the camera concept, as modular and upgradeable as possible - so if the raw port changes, you'll be able to upgrade it. You're just seeing where we are now - in a month it could look fundamentally different.
Q: So cost on it?
A: Everybody knows the price of the camera - the price has held. The logic is that everything is in line with that type of price structure - it won't be like "The camera is seventeen five, the RAW port is also seventeen five!" - we're NOT going to do that - that would be bad strategy! We are working hard to keep everything in line with a pricing model that makes the product accessible to lots of folks all over the world.
Q: REDRAIL & REDCAGE have changed - I noticed they look streamlined as compared to before, not quite so super-industrial and beefy looking. Have you set a price?
A: No price established as yet, just that it'll be in line with the pricing of the other accessories.
Q: I asked a question about how they were showing the rail and cage systems (REDRAIL and REDCAGE) as an all-in-one, and it looked like with both mounted the cage handles could get in the way (a new feature is that the cage arms can either be rubberized hand grips or the screw-in hole laden three sided angled pieces seen on red.com). It seemed to stick out pretty far towards your head when all kitted up - the new rubberized handles - what about flatter ones on the "your head" side when shoulder mount/hand held?
A: The cage theoretically is not really fundamentally designed for handheld shooting. You can use it for that, you can see we opened up a lot of that space - but ultimately if you're going to shoot handheld for long periods of time, you really wouldn't want the cage, just the rail.
There will be times you'd want to shoot handled with the cage - features, with fairly large crews that need lots of accessories. But shooting docs or something where you need to shoot all day handheld - sports or the like - you're likely not going to use the cage. There is still more work to be done on this front, for example on how you will mount accessories topside without the cage assembly... The bigger top plate with rails, depending on it's final design may or may not be able to go on without the cage, we'll see, and The I.D. team is working on small accessory plates that will do just that, (mount viewfinder, lcd, etc. without the cage) with minimal footprint requirements. We know how important it is to keep the camera profile as small as possible for certain shooting environments.
Q: That seems to presume the camera body is robust enough to handle those stresses.
A: Metal body is what we are working towards, final compositions of the types are being worked on as we speak so yes, it's designed to handle it. The camera body will be something designed for the rigors of shooting.
Q: All that new footage we saw yesterday - are you going to put new images up online?
A: Yes, that's the next step - not sure exactly when yet, but we will in a few days. It's coming - a lot of folks are already asking I'd imagine.
Q: New videos - put'em online?
A: Good question. Hmm.
Q: Sounds like that's an unknown.
A: Well, we just got through the presentation yesterday, so...now we've gotta start thinking about things after the fact that everyone wants to see...right now we've got the Juliet shot up and the girl blowing the bubble shot up - so we'll probably post one of those new ones up (as of Tuesday afternoon, those are down and two shots of new stuff ar up - mike).
Q: So just to ask it as it has been asked a zillion times since the presentation - why no outdoor, sunny with clouds, waving trees in broad daylight type of footage?
A: That's the next step in the process. From my perspective - loud and clear - I've heard it from so many sources - 'Stuff's looking awesome...the resolution is amazing, the range that we can see so far from what you've shown is amazing...but when do we get to see other stuff?' We're a small operation, working as hard as we can, working towards our engineering targets takes priority over everything else. That being said I clearly understand the desire to see the sensor doing it's thing with as many types of shooting as possible. It's all coming.
Q: What's the next public screening type event?
A: We don't have anything scheduled as of now. We've been pretty busy from September through...which is another reason why we don't have everything under the sun to show you guys yet. So we did IBC in September, then we did New York in October, then we did LA in November...so that's a pretty full plate considering we've still got to build the camera and get everything done. Screened the 4K stuff in New York to rave reviews, created another spike of interest. So I don't have another one scheduled officially yet.
Q: So is NAB the Next Big Thing for you guys?
A: Of course at NAB, definitely going to be at NAB. Other than that we don't know.
Q: ...or haven't decided it sounds like. Timeline - December assembly, start seeding to those to others in the January timeframe - is that right?
A: We want to hand it off to trained professionals...we're trained professionals on how to put it together...we want to put it in the hands of trained professional shooters. We'll shoot some stuff, and we are, and it looks pretty good, but getting guys like Dave Stump and some of the other guys from the ASC, there's been tons of people that have reached out to us from every scheme and every strata of production and post production, (I've gotten zillions of emails asking to hook folks up with Red as well to test shoot - mike) from the biggest biggest names in the industry, to the young up and comers who really embrace this revolution as we like to call it, the young guns that are going to take cinema to the next generation of people, and we think we are the tool to get them there. So you've got both sides of the coin - those guys that you definitely KNOW, reaching out to us - "We think what you're doing is great, we'd love to be a part of it, we'd love to help you test it, we'd love to help you prove it out." That's great. Adn then you've got the total underbelly guerilla next-gen guys, who'd love to be a part of it, who've got some cool projects, thoughts and ideas and want to prove all this stuff. So hopefully that's what'll happen - it'll cultivate all that, all kinds of unique things proving out all the things people want to see in the month or so (after they start seeding units - mike)
Q: On the one hand - it's nice to have surprised everyone with Redcode, to have said "By the way, that thing you just saw? That was Redcode." So that if you didn't notice the difference then, at 4K in a theater on a 30ish foot screen, when are you going to notice/see/care about the difference...
A: Right, that was exactly the point...
Q: ...BUT it would have been nice to follow that up with another viewing once folks knew, or have done split screen or butterfly splits or something...
A: ...next steps in the process. Right. Exactly.
Q: That is one of the most common complaints I heard, that people felt you were being sneaky with it.
A: That's just Ted, I'm not being sneaky on purpose. We really don't think you can tell the difference, that's the amazing thing. But...it is interesting to a point, that maybe the next step in the process is not so much doing big public screening. This was the LA launch - didn't want it to get technical, I'll be talking about some of that in the Final Cut forum, plus the place was packed, we needed to get everybody out and get the next round of folks in, wasn't the place to do a 45 minute Q&A. But there are definitely places to discuss - the forums, your site, Jarred's site are all great places for that. And again, as we evolve as a company, from our development lab to an organization that has the resources to do some of this stuff - technical seminars, technical demonstrations, discussions of things like what you're saying - let's do a whole half day invitation to reservation holders - and other people that may want to come - on Redcode as it develops. Now what you saw is still very early on in the curve, and it is already looking pretty remarkable, so when we are ready to really sit down, and say "Let's look at what we're up to." we'll do it.
(I think showing something now as a "here's your first taste" was good - not bad for their first publicly shown dev code - in retrospect, if they WERE showing butterfly splits etc., that would make folks tend to think that would be indicative of final quality - that's what would stick in their minds, however good it looked at that point.
...but I did feel a little "Hey, wait a minute, go back!" at the time. -mike)
What I can say is that we've done that internally with some people that I would consider very influential within the industry, that pay a lot of attention to compression, and understand what it is and what it means because, they're trying to figure out archiving strategies and they're trying to figure out a lot of stuff on a very very large scale. They've seen it, and they couldn't tell the difference, and this was is a very high end screening and grading environment with a properly set up and calibrated 4k projector, and full black in the room....and that's amazing. We all did some serious poking and prodding on those images and at some point you really reach to see if you can see differences, and start thinking... "maybe a very slight difference here, or there" but the fact that thats the level you have to dive into when you compare uncompressed to REDCODE at this early stage of it's development... well you get the point.
Q: So in terms of testing volunteers, I'd imagine you're list is all full, right?
A: Well, not to say we don't want people to reach out to us, we've been as open as I believe we can be, while still pushing down our path and making sure we get things done on time and on target to be very communicative to people that reach out to us and talk to us, and say "We're interested in this, we want to be a part of your various beta programs, we want to be a part of what you're doing." I don't want to limit that in any way shape or form. I certainly can't get back to everybody personally - I do my best! I already spend about 18 hours a day sitting on my email client along with all the other engineering tasks. It's important for people to know that we're listening, and we're doing our best to pay attention, and you can't respond to everybody and everything, but everything has merit, and everything is at least attempted to be read through and listened to.
Q: REDRAM: updates?
A: There actually haven't been a lot of updates on it other than that we've been focused on the digital magazine and the flash, because those are the primary recording concepts and where we think most of are efforts should be applied. So you may not need 80 or 90 MB/sec which would be a whole bunch of RAM inside that magazine enclosure, and because the cost of that would be so much more than a spinning drive by a factor of 6:1, 7:1, 8 to who knows...it could be quite a bit more, that could be part of the "subject to change" - it could be "You know what, we don't think we need this anymore, or if we do its down in the priority list now." so it won't not ship when the camera ships, it might ship 6 months after the camera ships, if we discover a need for it...a lot of this is going to have to do with an active feedback loop from people using the camera - "Thing worked great, it did what it needed to do, it works the way it needs to work." and then you make enhancements. That's part of being a development company, you don't just stop developing once you start shipping the camera, you continue to enhance and tweak and change and work everything out.
Q: (I interject - I've seen cage go through three major shifts)
A: ...yeah - and we ain't done yet!
Q: REDRAID? What's going on with that?
A: Let's talk about what people think REDRAID is, there's a bit of confusion there. There is development discussions on two drive configuration onboard, so it is the digital magazine times two - double thickness, there's power draw, weight, size and other things to be concerned about, , but it does seem logical and valuable if we end up seeing value in going to a lower compression ratio, and of course for higher frame rates. That's the RAID configuration of the digital magazine, designed for mounting on the REDRAIL system or directly on camera with an adaptor plate.
Then there is the offboard REDRAID, the large array of hard drives to record the uncompressed RAW. That's a little further out - it's in the concept stages - we're also going to be relying on third parties and other things that fit into that smaller part of the market. We're focusing on where we think the largest part of the market wants to use our product, we think that'll be REDCODE onboard. There's some good products out there that are uncompressed 4k capable data recorders that'll want to link up and record and capture the ultra high end of the market that wants uncompressed to an external device.
Q: As for the camera itself, it looks like you're doing mini-HD-SDIs onboard?
A: Actually, there's a specific name for those connectors - they are the same as Kona3 - what a shock there! They are "one point oh slash two point three" (1.0/2.3) connectors, not to be confused with mini-BNC connectors although many do confuse them. It is the smallest physical connector that is robust enough that has a positive locking mechanism. If you have a Kona3, you know exactly why it is cool - it is small, no twist lock to struggle with, and it is starting to become an industry standard. There's some big routers being used in sports trucks that are now able to get a much larger foot print of cable I/O by using these connectors. We see this as the future. (As to why) - size and trying to break free of legacies that have been in there for long periods of time and no one's been bold enough to take a stand - if you want to push forward, there are so many advantages to going to a smaller connector. Of course you'll have pigtails and dongles and whatnot to go to existing cables. We're doing the same thing with audio with mini-XLR - not the big fat XLR connectors. Size and modern product consideration rules the day in our world.
(There's always a line there in terms of needing an adaptor I have to keep track of, not standardized cables. I hate that my Quad G5 has a special power cord, and ONLY that cord works with that computer, for example - mike) There's definitely a trade-off - the idea is to keep the camera as small and robust and light as possible, so if you just had a couple of those connectors, there may not be much impact - but there's the inside impact - the internal plate to mount those connectors, there's a logic beyond the front face of what you're seeing as to why we made those choices.
Q: User Interface on camera - when might we see something? We've heard about focus assist, exposure goodies etc.
A: You'll hopefully see the first view of that Dec/Jan as we get the first cameras built, that'll be some of the first things we show - "Here's our camera, here's how it stands now, here's how it works."
Q: I'd heard some talk on the boards about user interface options - how big/deep/priority is it?
A: It is in continual discussion on our end, it is a big priority, I would say we want to go as deep as the user community wants, but we don't want to make it so convoluted and complex that people get frightened off. One of the things we're continually working on is the metaphors of what our camera is, and who is going to use it and why, and not get bogged down in "Now I have to read this 72 page white paper to figure out what to do here." This camera is designed for shooters. It's designed for people to go work with. If you look at everything we're doing and how we're building it, the logic is simplicity and then drill down. As opposed to the flip side of "let me drill down for 2 1/2 weeks to figure out what you really wanted to tell me in the first place which was push push these two buttons and this is what you get out of it." There's obviously going to be reasons for both. We want things to be simple and exposed to as many users as possible to get the functionality they need out of it, and then obviously for the post production professionals, or the people looking at how they take all this material shot on Red and push it through a post production workflow, that's where things like Redcine workflow comes in, the stuff that Graeme and Rob and that team are working on.
Q: Price - you talk about how proud you are that the price is still holding...
A: I am happy it is still holding...
Q: ...would it be fair to presume that it is not guaranteed to hold when orders re-open at whatever point in the future when they do?
A: It'd be fair to presume that, like it is fair to presume that anything can change at a moment's notice with the project. As we get closer to the finish line, we're continually learning about what it is going to take to deliver this product at a certain price point. We have a certain level of commitment to the reservation holders. Without putting a hard iron clad guarantee - because that's what we've always set out not to do so that people aren't dissapointed - we're going to work very hard for those close to 1100 reservation holders all over the world that are locked into this then, to hold to that price point, and keep the accessories at a price point where they can afford them, that it makes logical sense for them to own them - we want them to have a full featured system. We don't want them to feel that they could only afford half of it, or only afford just this piece and that piece but not a full kit. As we move through the next couple months of our existence, we decide what our next strategy is.
After the October 31st deadline, when we took a lot of last minute reservations, It was a bit of a perfect storm - we showed at IBC, then in New York, then it was time to close the reservations. We did it (took reseravations for $1000) to gauge interest, there was no pre-thoughtout marketing angle to it - "Are we on the right track? Are we building the right thing at the right price point? Are we doing the right stuff? Who really wants in?" that's what we wanted to see. We saw a huge range - people from all over the map - in the kind of customers that want this camera. It proved our point - now we can stop the reservations. Since that date a lot of peoople are calling and emailing and fighting me, they saw it in LA and a whole new rash of people that wish they had a reservation. All I can say is "things change around here, so keep a close eye."
Q: I heard on forums about march or april that it would open up again...
A: That's just forum talk - we don't have a strategy yet, and that's just completely honest about where we are. We just got done with showing the stuff in LA, we got done with the reservations a week and a half ago, we don't have a strategy in place. As we get closer to a ship date and start getting a feel "Yes, we're going to hit this target, or be ahead or behind." At that point we'll start taking pre-orders for after the reservations holders. Now a different strategy for once we have a targeted ship date. If folks are comfortable to pre-order at that point, we'll have a strategy for that. I'm telling you as it's coming out of my head. Whether it is going to actually happen that way is yet to be determined, but I think that's a pretty sound strategy. We want people that are as interested but may have missed the reservation deadline but want to get in on the action to be able to get in another, secondary queue.
Q: So, when you're ready, you might say "Starting in two weeks we'll begin taking pre-orders" or something like that to give folks a head's up?
A: Yeah, maybe. And of course all the accessories or any new pieces that we create, existing reservation holders always get first dibs. That's what we want to adhere to as best we can, to reward those guys and gals and companies who are taking the ride and got on early.
Q: Once you do start shipping - you've got a good idea of what the demand is, your 1100 plus other interest - now that you've got some idea of volume expectations, how fast are you going to be making these?
A: I think we're going to build and ship a lot of cameras is what I think!
Q: Any idea how long to catch up on the 1100?
A: I have an idea, but I don't want to raise expectations higher or lower than they should be other than as we get closer, we'll have better estimates, and we'll do our best to update people. But we're planning on producing lots of these things - in one of our letters I sent out to the group we want these cameras in customers hands as much as you (the reservation holders). We want that as much as you do. Our goal is not to just ramp up and trickle these out, our goal is to GET THESE THINGS OUT TO THE WORLD. And we'll do our best. These are all hard questions to answer.
Q: Expecting hundreds of units a month once you get going?
A: I would hope so.
Q: Optical port - since you can't do flash/optical simultaneously, will you be able to (maybe that'll change Ted says!). At present level of development it is one or the other. Would it still be hot on all the other ports?
A: HD-SDI and the others? Yeah, that's the idea. They will be hot for monitoring while in RAW or RGB mode or capture to single link or dual link HD-SDI recorders when the camera is in RGB mode.
Q: Run to Red Drive and optical port simultaneously?
A: Yes (got confirmation after the interview).
Q: I think I'm behind the curve on this: what's the deal on putting still lenses on the Red camera? Mounts etc.? I see lots of forum talk about this as a fair accompli, but no hard data from Red on it.
A: Well, that's about all we know too - there will be an adaptor to go from 35 still to 35 PL mount lenses.
Q: I don't see the big bolt circle on the front anymore...
A: There's a standard PL mount locking ring...yes, designed for 35mm PL mount lenses, the bolt circle in front has changed, it is most likely an adaptor for use with 35mm still lenses. We are in the midst of the optical front end design right now, so we're at the figuring out stage on that front.
Q: So there'll be some kind of a still lens mount adaptor, but what form factors?
A: There's the Nikon, Canon, and others, they have their own pin-out configuration which at this point in time, although we see a future pathway for electronic PL, those 35 still lenses won't have any way to talk to the camera yet. So the older Canon lenses are what you're going to want to use - manual aperture and focus because the newer ones are designed for electronic operation.
(interruption - waiter stuff)
Q: You said Nikon, Canon, and will have an adaptor...I'm guessing you'll say it'll be the popular options.
A: The newer generation of Canon are all automatic which are controlled by the camera electronics - there's no way to manually control on the lens itself, so you'd have to use older generation lenses that have a manual iris.
Q: ...and you'll have some kind of mount adaptor in the future...schedule and price TBD.
Q: Random techie question I heard from an experienced shooter - backfocus stuff and complementary metals for thermal adaptation issues?
A: Yes, that issue is addressed.
Q: But with an adaptor, you're not doing the whole front plate removal...
A: I don't know the answer to that, it is changing day to day
Q: Redcode - changes?
A: Yes as it stands after recent development we've gone from 10 bit to 12 bit linear, which buys us a lot, you should have Graeme give you the details of the advantages having over 4000 color steps instead of 1024.
(I did - that's a separate interview)
Q: Data rate targets - with the move to 12 bit, the data rates are holding?
A: Yes, and we're ecstatic with the results.
Q: How do you feel Red One will compare with the exisitng D-cinema options presently on the market?
A: This isn't so much me speaking as the community speaking through me - what people have told me, and why I've reguritated in the presentations, what they're looking at is a whole new breed of animal. It doesn't look like anything they've ever seen before. The closest thing is if they took the best high end digital SLR on the market and it could shoot motion pictures, and gets that creamy, milky, very cinematography like look...it doesn't look like video. As we continue to move forward, we are building each day less and less of a "video camera" and more and more of a next generation digital imaging system that looks, as I've heard it described, as film without grain. If you were shooting very low ASA film properly exposed, and it kept beautiful colorimetry and depth of field and all the characteristics, has this creamy, rich, beautiful filmic look without the film grain. So nothing I've seen (and I've spent a lot of time looking at digital projection around town looking at the other cameras in action shooting big budget movies and indie films and whatnot, and they look nothing like what we're doing from my perspective. They don't have the resolution number one, they don't have the sense of tonality, the sense of characteristics that we're seeing in these early tests. I think that is just going to increase and get better and better over time. I'm super excited every time we look at this stuff, and one of the nice perks of the job is that I get to hang out in 4K theaters and 4K screening rooms to see what we're shooting and experimenting with, and I get charged up every single time, I'm not jaded at all to this, to my eyes, to Jim's eyes, and others on the team are doing it a lot these days, we love every minute of it, we wanna see more, we wanna shoot more, we're lining up resources to do that. You're seeing the first glimpses of that with Dave Stump and the charts and greenscreen stuff, we can't wait ot get to the next stage of our development, shooting all the time. Not quite there yet, but we're getting there.
Q: Flash ingest?
A: there will be some kind of card reader, or the slot will go directly into an Express34 slot on your Mac or PC laptop.
Q: If you have some incompatible hardware, or need realtime, you can use that realtime industry standard bus to use the camera as a deck - I need 9 pin control to use the camera as a deck.
A: Would it be better not to tie up the camera? (and then my recorder ran out of space and stopped) His answer boiled down to they don't have that port on the camera, and aren't likely to add it for such an edge case. However, he was open to the possibility of making a piece of hardware that might fulfill that need, but the pricing would be indicative of the size of the market for it...thus likely pricey.
WRAP UP/BULLET POINTS
Price - still holding, but no promises - reservation holders get first dibs on new accessories
Ship date - no new info
Optical port - the bus topology is as yet undetermined, but presently they think it'll be a field swappable module - replace the Flash memory recording unit with the high speed port unit
-footage - looking good so far, have some new stills up on red.com, full size, uncompressed test frames up on cinematography.net
-Redcode & Redcine - see the workflow article
-still lens mounts - no hard data, but there will be a solution, likely an adaptor for manual control lenses (no pinout support for newer electronically controlled lenses). No specifics on brands/types supported as yet, but it seems like older, manual (non-electronically controlled) Canons will be a safe bet, that's what he talked about most
-REDRAIL/REDCAGE evolving, getting lighter and more modular/flexibly configurable, ENG/field shooting config shown in LA
-plan is to get prototypes into hands of real shooters to evaluate and shoot with the camera in the January timeframe
-for future purchasers - will come a time they'll take pre-orders, TBD
-unclear how long it'll take'em to fullfill reservation holders' orders
-Redcode - showed it in LA, didn't mean to be sneaky, just wanted to give a preview of what it looked like so far while under development
-Red will definitely will be attending NAB, but don't know what their next public event will be between now and then
-Redflash - sounds like there will be a card reader for it
-Ted's very optimistic about how Red One will compare with the other d-cinema cameras out there
-no firm estimte at this time as to shipping date, nor how long from that date until reservation pre-orders are filled and new orders could be filled
-new videos & CAD renders (stills are up from the latest new footage) are coming to the website
-they are still open to new folks expressing interest for testing (but I would say you should probably have a good reason to stand out from the crowd, since there is a crowd expressing interest - mike)
-mini-connectors to standard buses - it'll be XLR and HD-SDI, but with mini-connectors to them - pigtails/adaptors will be required to interface with industry standard cabling
The maximum flexibility modular idea is still holding - from the upgradeable sensor, to the field swappable high speed port, etc. - it is still a modular, upgradeable camera....and that is extremely good news. One of the things I was worried about was whether the modular, upgradeable, expandable nature of the camera would get hemmed in by time or engineering constraints.
So far, there are only a few areas where I feel Red could be dinged for fudging. While they've always said, loud and clear, no promised ship dates, all specs subject to change, their announced intent has drifted a bit.
One is the ship date - as I understand it, they made it sound like they camera would be shipping by year's end, now they are putting first units together for internal then external testing, and the last guesstimate Jim gave for shipping to reservation holders was a March/April timeframe.
The second is the recording modality, specifically frame rates - they were very big and clear on the capability of the camera to record 60fps full aperture (4 or 4.5K), and up to 120fps windowed down (16mm sized aperture). While the SENSOR and the CAMERA are still capable of that, it now appears that those speeds will only be capable of being recorded offboard - the onboard processing can only handle up to 4K RAW @30p or 2K RGB @ 60fps. In a forum discussion, Stuart laid out the full list of what will be possible with the compressed Redcode stuff:
Internal / Local : (REDCODE to RED-FLASH or RED-DRIVE etc)
4K RAW @ 1 - 30fps
2K RAW @ 1 - 60fps
2K RGB @ 1 - 60fps
1080p @ 1 - 60fps (Generate 1080i if desired from a 1080p recording)
720p @ 1 - 120fps
(There's Redcode RAW compressed, or, um, just raw RAW uncompressed. This is for compressed)
...so that the only way to shoot the maximum frame rate (120fps) at the maximum quality onboard will limit you to 720p resolution (not 2K), most likely derived from the windowed sensor at 16mm aperture (or will it have to window down even further to get that 120 fps? Not clear as of this writing, will update when I get a confirm).
To get the maximum frame rate, you'd need to use the high speed optical port, which they haven't settled on a bus topology for as yet. Ted mentioned 10 gigabit Ethernet was in the running, I certainly like that idea - it is a single bus (not multiple bundled connections, like twin 4 gig fiber would have to be) that is fast enough, and while it isn't mainstream yet, it clearly is going to be moreso in the future, promising decreasing costs. I could envision it on the motherboard of Mac Pros and high end PCs in a few years, and the cost of the add-in cards is sure to drop, as whatever the next flavor of ethernet always has. If the port is that, then the recording devices obviously have to have that, and then opens the door to things like making the external recorders interface back in editorial/post via ethernet of any flavor - perhaps as an FTP server or somesuch? That would certainly simplify things in post if you could connect at whatever Ethernet speed you could support. Ted mentioned nothing along those lines, this is my own conjecture, but I sure like the thought of it.
The CAMERA can still shoot 120 fps 2K, but you can't record it onboard with the accessories they are discussing openly at this time. And since there hasn't been a clear answer as to timetable on REDRAID & REDRAM, that means it is sounding likely that the camera may ship in a way that there aren't recording options for 4K+ @ 60fps nor 2K @ 120fps. Speaking of which...
REDRAM and REDRAID seem to be slipping off the roadmap (or at least further down) - it would appear they are thinking maybe they aren't needed, and if they are, they'll ship well after the camera does. A new product seems to be sneaking in here - the REDRAID may be morphed from a big box of hard drives for uncompressed (clearly their stated intent at NAB & IBC, trust me on that one) into a small RAID for compressed recording on camera. But in any case, don't look to RED to make an uncompressed recorder right away - they'll be looking to third parties to do that up front, with theirs as a follow-on product well after Red One ships....if they do produce it at all. I do trust that they'll make sure there are options available eventually for high speed recording - it just may not be theirs at first, with their kind of pricing structure (other options are over $60K).
A multi-drive recorder for onboard, however, makes a LOT of sense - it buys us those high frame rates back potentially, albeit compressed. However, based on the quality of the frames that I've analyzed (yet another upcoming article), I think that is going to be OK. If REDRAID becomes a multi-drive unit for onboard 60/120 fps compressed recording, and a third party (maybe Codex? S.two?) becomes the field acquisition tool for uncompressed recording, and later Red comes out with their own, I'd be OK with that.
Red contines to eek out new imagery online, definitely managing their marketing throttle to keep the mix lean - folks are always hungry for more. From a marketing perspective, it is working for them. Folks always hungry for more, but are getting a little frustrated trying to see exactly what they want (sky/clouds shots, latest footage/body renders online), but then again...the camera is still 4/5 months MINIMUM from ship date - what other vendor gives this kind of access and details this early in the development? It is kind of funny how some folks are accusing Red of being opaque and withholding, yet they are more open and transparent than a lot of other vendors have been at equivalent stages of development.
But as of this writing (Saturday, Nov. 25th) they still haven't posted any new videos from the latest shoot stuff shown in LA, nor new renderings, and it has been 11 days (10 days since my interview with Ted). (Update - Jarred points out the Dave Stump/CML stuff...yeah yeah that's good, the techie half of the equation.) We wait, we wait...perhaps they are busy, perhaps it is still so in flux they want to wait and post finals, perhaps they want to wait until it is DONE and have a better surprise/splash (from a marketing perspective) when we see the final units perhaps in January publicly revealed? I don't know. Or maybe they are just busy and not thinking about it nearly that hard - Ted gives the impression on a lot of things that they are just head down trying to get the camera done, not thinking about these non-fundamental issues right now.
The decision to go with mini connectors for audio and video (and perhaps other) interconnects - it is definitely a tradeoff. By making the connectors smaller, it keeps the body size smaller, both internally and externally. The trade-off is that you'll need adaptors or pigtails for all your gear, and that isn't what is out in the field at present. In general/in theory I'd much rather go with standardized connectors - it is like my Quad G5 power cable - it is special, unique only to that box. I have 6 other computers in the house that can use any of the (literally) bucket full of standard plugs...but I have to keep track of that ONE special one for that particular piece of gear. Now imagine being on set and not having that one cable, or not enough of them for the task at hand. Same thing for the adaptors - my laptops have a mini-DVI connector - it is great that they CAN connect to a DVI monitor, but I have to keep track of that adaptor and always travel with it. I've saved some other people's butts at tradeshows when I had mine and they'd forgotten theirs. Perhaps in 5-10 years, the mini-connectors will be standard all over and Red will have been prescient, but for now it is a hassle to be dealt with, even though it has the benefits of keeping the camera small. A benefit we all like, but a "Yeah yeah that's great, but it is still a hassle." So I can agree with the decision, but I'm not thrilled with it.
Then there is still the risk of slipping ship date - as I said in May, any project this large and complex starts becoming prey to being victimized by the sheer scale of it - there are inherent linearities and dependencies in some aspects of the design & engineering and manufacturing processes. There is risk of delay in every component of the camera in each of these three categories. Multiply all the parts by all the risks, and as ANY product from ANY manufacturer faces increasing risk of delays as the product gets more complex. Fold in all of the new technology, the never been done, the never been done all together in one product aspects, and the risks increase even further. While the Red team has a lot of experience at prior companies, and has excellent resources and CAD driven, fast turnaround dev processes, there are risks of delays. So while I will be first to hoist a glass and cheer them if they ship as they hope in the March/April timeframe, if it is delayed until June or July I won't be surprised. I won't be happy about it (as I have an order in myself for one), but I won't be surprised. If it gets to be fall and they haven't shipped, I'll be getting cranky, for sure.
The risks beyond that would be in the area of QC - is it buggy? Is it robust for field usage? Does it crash, lock up, or drop frames? Those are unknown at this time as they have yet to put their first units together. But I can say I know these guys well enough, I've had enough long conversations with them, that they are extremely concerned about field operability and reliability - they'll be paying attention to those issues.
I'd MUCH rather they take their time to track down the last bugs rather than get it out to market with some problems - others with impending shooting dates might disagree, but I'd MUCH rather see them "sell no wine before its time" rather than appease some folks by kicking it out the door not quite done. First impressions on the market are not replaceable. Knowing Jim, they won't do that. No way. He's got a lot personally invested in it (and I don't mean money), and there are no outside investors (AFAIK) pushing this to market (always a risk in a regular startup). Here, he only has market demand to satisfy (a lesser demon). Since they've made no promises, they aren't beholden to any artificial schedules. I'm sure they'd like to say they are shipping by NAB, but at worst I could see them shipping a low number of hand built units to claim that feat - I don't picture them firing up full production with known significant hardware issues - that would be out of character for this team. Might they ship it with lingering software issues for those screaming to get their hands on it? I hope not..or if they did, the caveats would be loud and clear. But I still hope not, for first impression's sake.
The good news since that May write-up, however, is that a lot of risks have been taken off the table:
Image Quality - is simply stunning - smooth, creamy, rich, UN-videolike (no artificial sharpening or sweeteners, thank-you-very-much), amazing resolution, excellent dynamic range. There were a few complaints online that it didn't look quite as sharp as the Mysterious India 4K footage shown at NAB, IBC, and elsewhere, but keep in mind, that was shot 65mm, scanned at 8K, downsampled to 4K, and THEN projected on a 4K projector. Red is generating a 4K image from their Bayer pattern, CFA single sensor - one can argue it is more akin to 3-ish K after/due to the deBayering process. But in any case, it looks GOOD. And it really does look like a good, solid, high res, really nice DSLR shot...except at 24fps, with the capability to go up to 60 or even 120 fps. Take a look at the stills gallery and judge for yourself - while these were shot in controlled, optimized conditions, they are still stunning. Compare that to similar shots from other d-cinema cameras and judge for yourself. For the techies out there, go see the CML Comparative Tests - lattitude charts and greenscreen sample frames, uncompressed 74MB 16 bit TIFF frames for you to play with. There's even Redcode samples there. Which leads me to....
Compression with Redcode - we're seeing results of it now - they showed it at IBC, the showed it in LA, they have samples up on the web - simply put, it WORKS. And works REALLY well, especially compared to other options. I've opened up these 74MB still frames myself and crawled all over them, compressed vs. same frame uncompressed. You have to get in at 200% or better and start to look in very particular kinds of detailed areas to tell a difference between the two. I'm talking about in the shadow details of fine hair all going in different directions, or a very very fine pattern in clothing, or very very subtle texture to skin - and it isn't that you'd see artifacts in those areas, it merely is a touch softer than the uncompressed source, or there isn't as much detail in the compressed areas. Mostly I see it in differences in midtones, one midtone on another - a blonder hair crossing against the grain of browner hair, an extremely fine, subtle texture on a cheek, the slightest, subtlest texture of fabric nubble on a shirt. And only if I am doing A/B comparisons in Photoshop, turning layers on and off.
Interesting to note - these are also the kinds of details I can say definitively that are unlikely to survive a transfer to the 4K DCI digital projection specification - they'd be compressed out at the 4K JPEG2000 datarates in the spec. I've seen enough test results, up close and personal, and talked to enough other people involved in the process to say that with confidence (unless/until JP2K encoding tech improves dramatically).
It took me some digging around to even find these areas of difference - the usual suspects for compression artifacts - a single hair sticking out against the greenscreen or flat color, fine dark eyelashes against lighter skin - I saw no difference - Redcode, even at this developmental stage, doesn't introduce even visible differences at 200-300% zoom, let alone artifacts in the areas where DCT based systems introduce mosquito noise.
More on this later, but you get the idea - Redcode is going to work, and work incredibly well, for most situations and shooting conditions based on what I've seen so far. And again, we're only seeing developmental code - it isn't done yet. I'll have more to say in an upcoming article.
Physical Shooting Configurations - there have been complaints in the past when the Red One was shown fully kitted up with all available options, that it was too big and gangly to work with like that every day. To those folks, I say "No duh." - they were absolutely right, kitted out as shown it wasn't going to be something you'd want to hoist on your shoulder all day. They were showing the maximum amount of stuff you could build it out as.
What has been shown since that time, are other configurations - Red got the message loud and clear from IBC, so in LA they showed some new renderings (unfortunately not up on the website yet) that show a more condensed Red Rail configuration, with just the stuff one would need for ENG and EFP type environments. The key thing is this - Red One is a small camera that can be kitted out as big as you need it. Imagine a Red One with viewfinder, battery, lens, and internal Red Flash - maybe 15 or so pounds? You're ready to record at least 18 minutes of 4K 24p before changing the mag, which is as simple as swapping out a Flash card on your DSLR is - or changing a tape, for that matter. Need something to hang a ton of gear and accessories on? Red Cage. Need shoulder mount with or without accessories? Red Rail. As big or as small as you need it - that is the Red way. And it is good.
Post Workflow: I think they have some good answers for this too. I have a whole other 5000+ word article on that, will post tomorrow. Read that once it is up.
In general, things are looking extremely good - the form factor looks like it is going to work fine, the image quality is great, the compression tech looks excellent, and the overall philosophy of a modular, flexible, scaleable, upgradeable camera has survived the developmental process so far - and frankly, that is the one of the under-heralded benefits of this camera, above and beyond the image quality.
OK, that's enough for now, Stay Tuned for the Graeme Nattress/Stuart English interview on workflow, probably up tomorrow (its up now(. After than, my analysis on the sample frames posted up on CML.
Gratuitous Plug - I've already started doing some consulting for folks interested in small and large scale, Red based workflows - what equipment necessary, what storage and workflow options at different price, speed, and resolution points, etc. based on the preliminary info available and the specific needs of their proposed projects. If you'd like help in these or other high definition related areas, I am indeed available for consulting - mike at hdforindies d0t com.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Scroll down the page to find the graphic that looks like the one at the start o this article.
From their page:
Everyone needs a back focus chart
...so if the budget doesn't allow a DSC "FiddleHeads" or "Bowtie", click this pattern to download a PDF backfocus.
The image you print will be as high resolution and acutance as your system supports.
***Warning - Do NOT use the chart you print for white balancing.***
Typical media, pigments, inks and dyes are not spectrophotometrically neutral and you could induce color shifts into your images.
Found via Chris Hurd's excellent DVInfo.net.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Completely Off Topic: just got back with Thanksgiving dinner with just my Dad (Mom, sister, brother-in-law and their kids all out of town). Good to spend quality focused time with the family (see article just posted about depth and focus in life). Good dinner out (The Men in my family don't Do big dinner cooking), came back and sat with Mom's new puppy on my lap for an hour while we talked.
Life is good, be thankful. Strive to make your own better, as well as make your world you live in every day better for those around you as well.
Namaste, my friends...and I give thanks for you too.
This article started with this - I mentioned that a pre-orged movie as an FCP project on a hard drive was available - you'd be all set to edit. I certainly wouldn't describe this as film school in a box, but I would say it could be a good way to practice editing if you set aside a week or two or nine to get into this. Then I got of on a tangent that I thought was more interesting.
The theory on this is interesting, but in practice I think it would be of little value unless you seriously committed significant chunks of time to it to get meaningful value out of it.
For instance, one of the best things I ever did in my early career was to take a digital sabbatical - I drove up to the mountains of Colorado for a month with a Mac IIci, a big monitor, a stereo and tons of CDs. (this was summer 1991), and the Photoshop and other software manuals. I would go hike, bike, whatever during the day, then come back to the condo and dink around on the computer - half working through the manual to actually LEARN all the features, and half to free form doodle to apply what I'd learned.
It was incredibly useful and productive. In theory you can do this at home every night, but it requires a greater level of commitment, discipline, and focus. Somehow getting out of my usual context was key to this (for me). Getting away from friends, family, phones, email, TV, etc. and staying focused made it better. And spending a goodly chunk of time outdoors made sitting indoors for long periods all the better. Some nights I'd just stay into the groove until 4am, getting "goggled in" as we called it, to get super deep into what I was doing. Some things can only be profoundly grokked and understood by spend huge, contiguous, non-interrupted periods of time at it. Staying in the groove until 4am, sleeping until noon, and either going for a hike or diving back in let me get a deep, profound understanding of the tools I was working with, and when I came back I was seriously ahead of my peers that just doodled around a bit every night after work...at best.
Having a freeform enough schedule to be able to strike when the iron is hot and keep rolling with it was essential. Yeah, I was 23 at the time and that certainly helped too - no family or girlfriend around, full time job (I'd just been laid off), or other distractions - just a passion to LEARN, and figure out all this cool new stuff. From a technical chops perspective, you'd be surprised how far that can take you beyond your peers, who often only flip open the book to figure out the one new thing they need to do at that moment. Which from a practical business perspective makes sense day to day...but long term drops you behind. If you want to go beyond, and find out what CAN be done rather than just emulating that look you saw somebody else do, you need to know more, and allow for some freeform time to experiment, to get into that fugue state where the creativity really flows. I miss that - I haven't had the fugue state creativity in quite some time - the blog, client work, 100+ emails a day, etc. - my time is so fractured I feel I don't have time to sink deep into anything these days, it all feels shallow.
And it shows - I was talking to a vendor the other week and they mentioned a new feature they were introducing. I questioned how useful that would really be, and they came back and pointed out why, and it seemed immediately obvious - I felt embarassed, that I should have figured that out on my own right away when they said it. And I realized that was due in part to the fact that this vendor lived with their head in that game every day...and I did not. I was just a dabbler in that space, I didn't always dwell deeply in that space, in all of the concepts they were working on (this was really next gen stuff we were talking about). I was a tourist, not a native. When I'm in the groove, I'm a native, and even a native guide at times, to carry the metaphor further. And I want to dwell in that level of experience more often - but a busy, fractured schedule makes that incredibly difficult if not impossible.
Besides opening possible new creative doors, diving deep also makes you more efficient if you know your tools better. The creative process is both an iterative and time limited one - so the more rounds of revisions you can get through on your always limited timeline, the better the final results will be. Being able to, and building a reputation for, cranking out high quality work, quickly, that is built such that changes are easy and not back-up-to-step-one disastrous, can be tremendously helpful in your career - it was for mine.
The monk-like zen abstinence from distraction was key to the process - intentionally putting myself in a place where there really wasnt anything else to do at night, or at least it wasn't easy to get distracted (had to drive to town for that, an active act, not a casual distraction like TV, internet, DVDs, etc.) On top of that, getting your head in there, DEEP, and STAYING THERE, for loooooong periods of time (3+ hours) helps you sink into the depths of what you're doing, get accustomed to all the nuances, learning the concepts and getting to the point of deeply, profoundly understanding them - all these things are extremely helpful later on. That way, when someone asks you a question about it, if you know the fundamentals at a hindbrain level, it is cake to figure out something new, or a twist, or troubleshoot a problem. Having lived at those depths, you are comfortable swimming around in there, you know all the details....you are an experienced native, not a tourist fumbling around just trying to survive in that environment. And something else - beyond that practical experience, there is a mental space that gets achieved at that depth - in your mind, everything flows smoothly, you get super efficient, your mind gets calm and sort of steps sideways away from the tasks conciously - it is like another part of your brain is taking over, and a calm, fugue-like state is achieved. You are In The Zone. And you don't get there in the first five minutes, or first hour, maybe not the first two. And if the phone rings, or you're watching TV, or you stop to answer emails in the middle of it, it breaks that trance. There's stuff you find out while in the zone you'd never figure out in a twenty minute doodle during lunch on a busy day. Never.
So if you're self employed and feeling in a funk and have some time, get outta town with some tools if you want to push your skillz.
I also realize the last three years has been this to a lesser extent - nobody anywhere knew or cared who/what I was in the business a few years ago, and now I go to IBC in Amsterdam and a surprising (to me, >0 is surprising) number of folks know who I am. Because of the research and work I've done and shared on here, and it has opened some wonderful doors to me so far.
They'd shoot and record data, copy the data to a SAN, verify it was good, make two copies to LTO3 tape, use Shake to process the footage to DVCPRO HD for editorial, then later conform back to the original high resolution footage.
More details here:
Zodiac Director David Fincher adapts a tapeless workflow for the big screen
Interesting how he talks about one of the big struggles was getting the studio to "get it" in terms of how it would all work:
“It's about getting people to wrap their minds around change,” he says. “The studios, for instance, often had what, for me, was a surreal response early on. They were trying to understand who, exactly, would take the digital media from the set and get it cloned and archived safely for them. I said, ‘The same, totally underpaid PAs who normally take your film from the set, in the middle of the night, to the lab. Now, instead, they will be taking an anvil case with a D.Mag in it back to the editing room.’
There is TONS of good info in there on workflow, so dig in.
There's also this article by Andreas Wacker, going into more detail on the workflow.
...and then there's this mp3 interview and this page I'd previously linked to, which includes two detailed charts, one on on set acquisition and monitoring workflow, as well as editorial workflow. Bonus round: nice long podcast on the workflow as well.
SF Gate article about shooting on location in SF:
CHASING ZODIAC / Film crew has San Francisco time-traveling to '70s
UPDATE: Geoff Boyle mailed in to let me know about the article he wrote on Zodiac from last December's Showreel magazine - shooting started September 2005, and Geoff was promptly on the case:
Showreel article : David Fincher's Zodiac A change in the stars
At present, this is about as slick as you can get with tapeless workflow on set that is battle proven and feature film robust.
UPDATE: Along those lines, there are some excellent products lurking out there, like the Codex system for HD/2K/4K recording. It is BIG, but has all kinds of excellent functionality - it is what Origin has been promoting for recording from their camera, and has all kinds of nice features, like digital slating, near instant proxy generation after a shot is completed, and a very nice user interface. Here's an article from when it was announced. Not just a recorder:
...can form the core component of a complete workflow system. It can be configured in a number of different ways, providing location digital media recording and shot-logging, or acting as a dedicated 2K 'screening system' and production server on-set. It can also be used as a fast, efficient media/metadata transfer and management system in a post-production environment.
I saw it at NAB while it was under development, it is very slick and well thought out.
But it is a brand new system, and not proven to be field robust yet to my knowledge. But I like their approach - the theory is all excellent. Somebody needs to shoot some commercials on it and write about the experience.
I also had an interesting conversation with someone from S.two at the LA Red screening last week - he mentioned that they could record 4K RAW on their system as well - I didn't know that. He made the excellent point that tapeless acquisition isn't really going to get going until there is A STANDARD for all this stuff. Right now, if you look across the range of d-cinema cameras, they record to a wide variety of different formats - Origin recommends Codex, Panavision is using the SRW-1, Viper is often paired with S.two, F950 to HDCAM SR SRW-5000 or SRW-5500 decks, the future Sony F23 camera will dock to an SRW-1 as well. So the S.two and various HDCAM SR seem to be the market leaders of the moment. But the high cost of these units (I think I recall that the S.two is in the $60-$80K range, and last I heard the SRW-1 was around $85K, and the 5500 decks were over $100K with the RGB boards installed) none of them are inexpensive - what post house wants to keep more than one $80K+ solution sitting around? Plus there are also DVCPRO HD, D-5, and HDCAM tape formats around for high (ish) end work that have been used for feature production - yet more options that may need to be dealt with.
Ideally there would be a compact, field viable, not too big, not too expensive, flexible recording format around. S.two for data and SRW-1 seem to be the closest we have to those, but they aren't what I would I would think of if I were inventing an idealized solution.
The lack of a standard creates a drag on progress - without a standardized solution every can use, trust, rely on, and know how to use, that works with the widest possible range of gear, rental houses will be less likely to stock solutions, therefore they won't be as accessible in the market to rent, therefore folks won't be inclined to go that way, therefore the whole process may stall was the S.two guy's point. Sounds like a valid theory. Of course, it is good to have options in terms of what you use - horses for courses as they say - but if the solutions are too expensive, it retards the industry and progress.
Some head to head tests with the three options available for the Mac Pros. ATI Radeon X1900XT shows why it is worth the extra $250.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This is a bit off target, but I got an email from somebody on the team at one point since I'd written an article about stop motion and they pretty much did what I'd been thinking about, but with some extra goodies, such as how to remove flicker from still camera images and things like that. If you're thinking of shooting some stop motion or time lapse, this is an EXCELLENT read that includes a lot of the steps I'd want if I were doing it.
It IS HD in the sense that they were acquiring 3K x 2K frames to work with - PLENTY of image resolution to work with there for an HD deliverable, and still have room to push in/crop if they needed to.
• What is a Pixel?
• What is a K?
• DPX File Format
• Film Camera Apertures
• Projectable Image Area
• SDI -Serial Digital Interface
• Motion Picture Camera Imaging Sensors
Very good stuff, also including a bunch of filmout info that is harder to find with a casual web search.
And now available for download!
Available as a download at the bottom of this page.
Or direct PDF link
For those not up on the camera, think of it as a baby Varicam lacking the "Vari" - it can't shoot variable frame rates, the matrix choices aren't as deep, same 2/3" imagers but different DSPs, records to same DVCPRO HD tapes, 4 channels of audio (not 2 like Varicam), A FIREWIRE PORT (output only, no recording back to camera), FS-100 support (DVCPRO HD to hard drive, gives workflow options but no quality improvement), 14 bit processing, 720p & 1080i at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps (with fractional rates of course, 23.976 and 29.97), and some Film Like modes.
My read on it: it isn't really designed as a filmmaker's camera, but it does have some definite improvements over the Varicam - new/better DSPs, better low light performance (if I'm reading this right), 6-pin FireWire on camera for capture from camera (or direct to disk compressed recording), 4 channel audio, and some other goodies.
But certain functionalities were withheld in order to protect current and future (next version or replacement) Varicam sales - no variable frame rates, less control over the color matrix, not the same cinema modes, and lacks that crucial FilmRec mode.
Again, it was designed as more of a broadcast camera, not a cinematography camera. But it is an interesting possible choice at the $30K-ish price point.
If one needed to shoot now or soon, definitely a worthy camera to consider. If you were looking at a shoot next summer or fall, however, there will definitely be other entrants worth comparing to for indie productions. I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about.
Secret Notes - Blu-ray-equipped Macs currently tracking for February - my guess - 8 core Mac Pro desktops with optional Blu-ray to be announced at MWSF, to ship in February, Mortal Man may lay hands on in March.
Discussion of the ASC/SMPTE meeting where they showed footage shot about a year ago with the Viper, F950 (to be replaced with F23), D20, Dalsa Origin, and film, screened on film and at 2K.
In particular, I like David Stump's three posts (here, here, and here) responding to an earlier poster's comments. Dave is a sharp guy with a good eye, a tremendous technical background and balanced feedback. (Which is why Red chose to ask him to evaluate some of their stuff).
IMPORTANT: Free membership required - if you aren't a member, feel free to sign up, but READ THE REQUIREMENTS! This is a professional forum, no noob questions, don't flame, tread respectfully.
File the above advice under "See this scar here? That's why I don't do that anymore."
Studio Daily | Red Camera Gets (More) Real - Studio Daily goes for a beefy update on the Red camera, including the LA screening, CML discussions, Dave Stump's testing. I'd quibble with a few things said - the film Mystic India projected at 4K (shown at other venues, I've seen it and it is jaw droppingly impressive) was indeed sharper than what Red showed of their 4K footage. But Mystic India was shot 65mm film, scanned at 8K, and downsampled to 4K for projection- so not quite an apples to apples comparison. Comparing 4K originated footage between, say, the presently available to rent Dalsa Origin camera and the not shipping until next year Red One would be a more equivalent comparison. The article talks about David Stump's testing, and talks about 4:2:2 color space (they should be saying color sampling I think) - but that may have been in reference to his comments on the Olympus 4K camera, not the Red. The article mentions the possibility of a spinning mirror for a reflex viewfinder - that has been CML speculation, that has never been mentioned by Red as a possible Red accessory. Some third party may do it, and Jim has said they are welcome to give it a shot, but Red isn't doing it for this camera.
sample HDR-FX7 footage
Digital Film Tools 55mm 7.0 released - DV Guru
Digital Film Tools has released 55mm version 7.0. 55mm is a set of digital optical filters for After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Avid and Photoshop. New plug-ins include:
Trailer for Silent City - from the guy that did the award winning "50 Percent Grey" animated film a few years ago, here's a new one that is a mix of live action and 3D - with Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, 28 Days Later) no less! Trailer in 480p/720p/1080p.
Killer technical VFX shot breakdown of it here - this is REALLY good, AMAZING what he does in CG that looks photoreal.
Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #58 - don't forget to turn on your FXPlugs in Final Cut Pro 5.1.2
How to shoot video! | Tina Wood | Microsoft 10
- total noob tips. Yes, I think it is funny to include this here, down to the brokedness of their link spacing here.
Macworld: Review: 15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.16GHz and 2.33GHz - do I really need to say more? OK, it kicks the snot out of my 2 GHz first gen Macbook in Compressor 2.3 MPEG-2 encoding. UPDATE: see here for same tests now including PPC based laptops...except they didn't test Compressor 2.3 on the one I wanted to see, durn it. But for the G4/1.67 GHz Powerbook, the newest fastest Core 2 Duo laptops are about three times faster at MPEG-2 encoding. WOW.
the all cell phone camera music video - certainly not HD, but entertaining
Time lapse techniques for beginners - DV Guru - mentions iStopMotion application, and this reminds me of this post I wrote in 2004 (back in the day...sniff) on shooting stop motion with DSLR as The Way To Go for high res high quality results. There's loooooooots of updating that could be done on that article - shoot RAW, use lossless codecs, etc. If you want to shoot a high quality stop motion or timelapse piece, drop me an email and we can discuss workflows on a consulting basis - I had a paying client that needed a very granular and detailed workflow in the past year, I have much specific info to disgorge...for a price (bwa ha ha ha haaaa....yes it is late as I write this).
Iconix HD-RH1 ships - Sigh. I had all kinds of notes on this back in August that I never published, I was going to be so ahead of the curve...and never got around to writing it up from my notes. In any case, Matthew has the pertinent stats on it.
Dynamic range off the new Sony HVR-V1 cameraSteve Mullen takes a close look at the new Sony HVR-V1 CMOS camcorder, concluding that it offers significant improvements in latitude and highlight handling over the current crop of small-imager cameras. That is very good to hear. - this is Matthew's page linking to it. (Matthew is FresHDV.com, BTW). I don't always agree with Steve's analyses and haven't read this article yet, so consider it not HD4NDs stamp of approvaled....yet.
The Great (video game) Format War Continues - DV Guru Xbox 360 vs PS3 for high def disc playback. I think he's got some technicalities off or wrong (VGA standard def?), but the general tone is correct AFAIK. Hey, he's read or played with the units more than I have, and I think it valid to consider the game boxes as influencers on the high def disc format war.
Along those lines, in conversation today I was realizing what a crappy pitch the Apple iTV is sounding like - for $300 I get a box that only has a library of 100 or less movies, that don't look as good as a DVD (which plays back fine off a $50 player), only works when connected to a computer, etc. The fact that I can view photos and stream all my music to my home theater/stereo on it is definitely nice...but not $100-$200 nice for a lot of consumers I'd bet.
Until Apple can do downloadable high def movies to iTV from all the studios, iTV is a suck play.
MySpace gets sued by Universal Music Group - DV Guru - insert trombone music "wah wah wah waaaaaaahhhhhhh......"
Combine Knoll and Trapcode for a cool effect - DV Guru - wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!!
Formats, Color Bit-Depths, Data Rates and Storage Requirements - cheat sheet. Handy.
exposure lattitude - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking - interesting thread - starts off with a link to an article, an ILM guy talks about how much harder it is to light for HD than it is to light for film, since HD has such a more limited amount of dynamic range. Graeme or Red then chips in with what he'd do to fix the problem.
Study finds iPod users rarely play video - DV Guru - if you're curious about mobile video adoption, this is good to read. Hey - if Google bought YouTube (which uses Flash video format), and Google guy is on Apple board now, any chance there will be a conduit to convert YouTube stuff to be iPod playable (would require transcoding to H.264 or MPEG-4)?
Faking It : Making 4:3 footage work in 16:9 projects - DV Guru - because you will have to do this someday...
Mac OS X: Firmware Updates for Intel-based Macs
DVD Studio Pro: Authoring a DVD that plays automatically without a menu - official Apple tech document
CatDV 5.1 released - DV Guru
Open source video editing on Linux - DV Guru
Avid vs. FCP: nesting - DV Guru - trying to pick an editing app? Want more fodder for the Holy NLE Wars? Read on.
Camcorderinfo reviews Canon XH-A1 - DV Guru - which is a valid and interesting low budget indie camera, capable of shooting 24F mode HDV footage.
Studio Monthly | Red Eye Wide Angle Adapters - Steve Gibby reviews Red Eye Wide Angle Adaptors (not Red One related), recommends them for some shooting situations as a wise bit of flexibility in the field.
And lastly, just for fun - 5 Great Fight Scenes - DV Guru - just because it is cool, and Old Boy and Matrix are mentioned.
Woo hoo! No more open browser windows! I'm free! And then I launch NetNewsWire - 7043 new unread articles, 40 on my HD List - gah! If I don't see you....OK, I never see 99.99 percent of you....if you don't check back before the long (American) holiday weekend is over, have a good Thanksgiving!
And for the rest of you (around half, could be a majority) of you worldwide who read the site (and I thank YOU for reading it!), we're going to be visiting relatives and wallowing in wretched overconsumption for a few days, don't expect us to like, function or anything till next week.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
8 1/2 STOPS of Red- latitude color grading chart - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
Starts with a techie post analyzing some of the Dave Stump images up on CML, and goes on and on and on from there. But the very first post, with the linked and annotated graphic, is informative.
But Jim Jannard said on the 4th page of comments:
Greame has made an important discovery today that is yielding much improved results. We will do a re-shoot soon.
...so it is ongoing.
I've been digging into a bunch of the images as well, in particular getting way up in the grill of the Redcode vs. uncompressed frames.
I'm slow reporting this one - Sony has announced the successor to the F950, this is currently codenamed the F23. Think of it as 4:4:4 capable F900 with HDCAM SR instead of HDCAM. Or as an F950 with a SRW-1 docked to it. Or, more simply, as a baby Genesis camera, since Sony did the electronics for the Genesis.
-3 2/3" CCD sensors - classic Sony CineAlta style
-HDCAM SR format
-on sale May 2007 in Japan
Reading the hilariously translated Japanese annoucement, it would appear
-SRW-1 docks to it
-1080p60 capable, but I'll betcha that's only in 4:2:2 mode
-bonus round: "The design design which pursues the operativity use of film camera style" from the translation
-reduced back focus drift
-can use some ARRI accessories
-adjustable frame rates, 1-60 4:2:2, 1-30 4:4:4
-3 2/3" CCD design
-dual link HD-SDI
-Sony bayonet lens mount
-no official price as yet, but for some reason I think I heard something like $150K for the camera, something like $200K for the camera with recorder...but based on known price of SRW-1 with SRPC, it probably was $115K (current 950 price, thank you commenter) + $85K for SRW-1 still landing around that $200K mark.
A-ha! But I found this PDF from NAB, written by Michael Bravin (super nice, super knowledgeable guy from Band Pro) with more details and even a picture. Yes Michael works at a Sony house selling Sony gear, but is the nicest possible, most straightforward guy when I met him this summer. Struck me as very even keeled.
Had some stuff wrong:
-is NOT the F950 successor
-not really a mini-Genesis, since is three 2/3" not single 35mm and doesn't use Panavision mount lenses
-Michael Bravin of Band Pro has seen footage and is impressed
And he's really, really good at it. My first draft until I accidentally deleted it for this post was entitled "God Damn, So Much Good Stuff At CinemaTech", so that should give you an idea of what I think of it.
First off, if you hadn't noticed, he's written a book entitled "The Future of Web Video." Scott was kind enough to send me a copy, and if you noticed my blogwad the other day, you'll note I have a lot of potential reading material. I started reading Scott's e-book on my laptop, then went ahead and printed out all 90 pages of it and read the entire thing on the flight out to LA last week - it's that good.
If you're thinking about trying to distribute some video based content online, especially if you're trying to make money at it, this is the best $15 you'll spend all year.
Scott's done his homework - over 100 interviews over the last year, and it is completely razor sharp up to date - a conference in late October 2006 is mentioned, as are the pros and cons of the upcoming Apple iTV box - he's right on top of all the trends, sites, services and gadgets out there right now.
Follow the above link to see his page describing the book, with the table of contents and a link to a free up to date listing of online video distribution sites, with their pros, cons, and potential profitability for content producers. Oh - and a paperback version will be available starting later this week.
Other articles of interest on CinemaTech of late:
CinemaTech: Is the pendulum starting to swing back? CBS shares its YouTube stats
CinemaTech: Video: Eisner and Diller Chat About Media and Tech ... Study Finds Video iPod Usage Hasn't Yet Taken Off
CinemaTech: Disney and Target Reach DVD Truce ... Downloadable DVD Commentary ... Ballantyne Goes Digital ... `For Your Consideration'
CinemaTech: `Don't call us, we'll call YouTube, agents say'
CinemaTech: Orb Tries Bringing Video to Cell Phones ... Ex Rocketboom Host to ABC ... An Obit for VHS
CinemaTech: YouTube Copyright War Chest ... Motionbox's `Deep Tagging' ... Metacafe and Bochco Collaborate
CinemaTech: `Digital do-it-yourself': From The Hollywood Reporter's Leadership Issue
CinemaTech: Disney & Movie Downloads ... Liberty Media to Start Making Movies ... HD Projectors for the Home ... And More
CinemaTech: The Workbook Project: Add to a Library of Information about DIY Filmmaking
CinemaTech: Breaking the One-Minute Barrier
CinemaTech: From Web 2.0: Mary Meeker on the Growth of Web Video
CinemaTech: Red Herring: `User-Generated Video v. Hollywood'
CinemaTech: Google CEO Eric Schmidt on the YouTube purchase and online video
CinemaTech: From Web 2.0: Advertising panel
CinemaTech: More Digital Video for TV, Cell Phones, and Xboxes ... Future of Television Forum ... `Domino Effect' ... Net Neutrality
If you're intersted in this kind of stuff, this site should be on your daily reading list. Having a hard time keeping up? Better get up to speed on RSS technology and get yourself a copy of NetNewsWire.
And another random tidbit/reward for reading this far - ever since I realized that Amazon's S3 hosting service is only 20 cents per gigabyte downloaded off their super high speed servers, I'm getting ready to change my tune about the viability of advertising supported online content. If you assume a 1 MB download file size, that's 1/50th of a cent per download...that sounds like enough room to hunt for profit to me...
In the "The World is Too Big To Blog" category this week, I'm linking to Matthew Jeppson's summary with excerpts of an article in Millimeter about Eastwood's experiences on Flags of Our Fathers. If you're in a hurry, read Matthew's synopsis, if you have time, read the whole thing.. I have not. Comment if there's anything exceptionally brilliant Matthew missed.
Adobe has released a free web app called Kuler, a Flash-based color palette generator and explorer. A color palette generator is very helpful in coming with the right color scheme when you are working with graphics or titles.
Christopher Stack is a blogger in LA who attended the AFM Seminars and took notes (the way I do). If you're trying to find money to back your indie project, this looks like an EXTREMELY useful read.
Favorite snippet - the panel of film investors was asked by the moderator what they are looking for - one panelists response:
to make money; stuff they won’t be embarrassed by – prestigious material; business that attracts business; e.g. 'bobby'
Keep in mind, your low budget, stalk-'n-slash-in-the-woods wouldn't necessarily meet all of those criteria.
And while I'm feeling like pointing things out, I take "Turista" as one of the first larger releases of what I'm fearing will be a wave of Saw & Hostel knockoffs - at FantasticFest there was an ENTIRE CATEGORY they called "Survival Horror" which was basically people running around alone and afraid in the woods, getting reduced in number, limbs, internal organs and blood content. Crazy people chasing, catching, torturing them horribly, slowly, closely, minutely, in detail, up close, on camera.
An intense experience, but not a FUN one.
May that trend die a quick, dry, painless, quiet little gaspy death.
As long as I'm talking drivers, BMD updated theirs as well, the big deal (other than an audio fix) was support for more than 4GB of RAM - turns out having a lot of RAM (esp. in a MacIntel box) can be a tricky thing - if you have an HD card an an HBA (host bus adaptor) for fiber or eSATA, having too much RAM can be a real problem.
Also, had a friend update the firmware in their brand new Mac Pro and suddenly if the Kona LHe card was installed, it wouldn't boot. AJA is promptly shipping them a new card, but let these things be a lesson:
1.) If its working OK and you're on deadline, don't change NUTHIN'.
2.) Only update between projects - NEVER update in the middle of a project, esp. if close to deadline, because while 90% of the time it'll be fine, on YOUR project it may stop you dead in the water until the issue gets fixed.
Barefeats runs a few tests (not FCP unfortunately) on the new MacBook with Core 2 Duo vs older MacBook, and old/new MacBook Pros. Photoshop gets a significant boost, but since the onboard graphics accelerator is the same (Intel GMA950), gaming performance and OpenGL stuff is unchanged.
This version adds Automator plug-ins for OS X 10.4 for batch DPX-to-QT AND QT-to-DPX translation, Rosetta applications like Adobe After Effects can now display their output thru KONA, pulldown is properly inserted now when converting from 1080psf23.98 to 525i29.97 —plus other improvements and bug fixes. Note: this release requires Final Cut Pro 5.1 (minimum).
The ability to convert in batch rather than onesy-twosey is a BIG improvement for those wanting to do film style workflows and use DPX files.
Monday, November 20, 2006
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Ben for linkifying all these:
LaCie announces two new RAID solutions
Making a CG Rainstorm with After Effects Plug-ins and Automated Rotoscoping
System hang (crash) — Sonnet Temp at fault?
CCD vs. CMOS
NYT Magazine on Online Auteurs
FiOS TV Comes to Tyngsborough, Mass. (and several other places)
Martin Scorsese on The Departed's DI and HD Dailies workflow
Exclusive: Scorsese: Gangster Style
DIY films: year in review
PS3 media roundup
RE:Vision Effects updates FieldsKit 2.0
Xbox 360's HD-DVD Addon Opened and tested on XP, Vista, Mac OSX
Draganflyer SAVS: Aerial Video System
hree-Way Color Corrector for After Effects 7
David Stump ASC RED Color Chart Over Under Frames
Orb Tries Bringing Video to Cell Phones ... Ex Rocketboom Host to ABC ... An Obit for VHS
Write Your Own Plugin, The Way It Should Be
DMI Camera Capture and Online JPEG Codec for HD Resolution
The Future of Web Video
Holiday special effects
Interview with MTVN's Salmi
Cineon DPX Pro QuickTime Component - 2.0.4
8 Ways to Shoot Video Like a Pro
Compressor: Cannot submit job from Batch Window
New DV keyboard from Bella
Intel introduces Mac Pro-bound quad-core chips
Nate Weaver's Red Screening Comments
WiebeTech adds multi-bay RAID solutions
Wipe it. Wipe it good. (Use of the natural wipe in shooting and editing)
Colorspace Crew to show New Products at NAB 2007
Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 released
CONFESSIONS OF A GENIUS SCRIPT READER
JVC HD-200U HDV camcorder
CalDigit releases FireWireVR RAID
JVC GY-HD200U 24p/60p camcorder officially released, ships this month
Why HD-DVD and Blu-ray Are DOA
JVC GY-HD200U 24p/60p camcorder officially released, ships this month
HVX200 with 2/3" Lens Mount...Available "soon"!
Translated - AG-HPX500
Why HD-DVD and Blu-ray are dead on arrival.
Translated - Digital cinema camera 'F23'
Sony reveals a new lineup for accelerating HD World
...I HOPE to be able to sift through and linkify, summarize, and extract the particularly good bits, but between travel, paying work, getting sick, getting better, and attempting to do everything else in my world, this is all you get for now...
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I'm working on some other articles - an interview with Ted, an interview with Graeme, and a summary of all the new info we've learned.
So below are my raw notes, with some added stuff tossed in (italics):
If you want the "Just the facts ma'am" version, skip to the bottom, I have a summary there.
So I'm sitting here in the NuArt Theater in West LA at 1:28pm. Folks are still streaming in (parking is tough in this neighborhood), so they are waiting for folks to keep coming in.
I've been up to the projection booth, they have the Sony 4K projector crammed in there, I'm sitting in the theater looking at the giant Red logo.
Ted's up: (Ted Schilowitz)
-Red's a tag team of gunslingers
-wants to shoot big images
-less than 10 months ago the commitment was made to build it - no sensor, no camera design existed then
-in Sept. showed 4K images at IBC
-many saw/heard about the ripple effect of "they're going to do it"
-(insert hyperbole) ; )
-everything shown done in the last 10 months
-at NAB goal was to show footage by fall
-showed in September on 60 foot screen
-showed it in NYC a coupla weeks ago
-now are showing some more
-it's all a work in progress
-shot first tests in warehouse
-no dead pixel correction, 1st footage shown had 1 day spent on color profile
-now showing stuff shot in the parking lot
footage begins -
the watch shot
"oh my god" my DP friend says sitting next to me about the depth of field
-"that's f****g insane"
my friend says, unprompted
-during the Joanne blowing bubble - "oh my god" from the audeince elsewhere
-cigar guy -
girl blowing gum
-other girl (this is all same as IBC)
-car shot -
"How can it do that? That's insame" says my DP friend
outdoor stuff -
new shot of the two girls and the bus outside
-"looks like film" and "whoa" from crowd
laughter from crowd - turning fake socket blt
-MWS eating sandwich, drinking milk
-"Oh Jesus" from crowd for the 300m prime dpeth of field shot that you can see here
close up girl extrme depth of field drinking milk
-close up - every hair, deatil in eyelashes
-medium shot with girl and tool good dynamic range
-wide shot w/bus & gas pump
-motion seems a little stuttery oddly (somebody else mentioned this online - I particularly noticed this in the wide shot with the woman in blue walking across frame - seemed stuttery - was this a cinematography issue, or a sensor issue? I don't know)
Ted again - 24fps nearly 5K images (4900x???) in the earliest stages of its dvelopment curve
all the specs about to be seen are subject to change
recap: Mysterium sensor
49xx X 2580 pixels
roughly similar to 3 perf super 35mm
>66db Dynamic Range
-variable frame rates - 1-60fps 2540p
1-120fps 2K on down
NEW INDUSTRIAL DESIGN (this is a mix of Ted's speech and my commentary):
SLIMMER/tighter overall design
-I notice interesting releases around the front - change in the lens mount clearly
-operational controls and status display are now at rear of camera
all the ports on the right side - mini-HD-SDI looking things like the Kona3 uses
(then a slide comes up that shows the same camera with two different things bolted on the side
on the right a config w/onboard flash
other config is for the optical RAW port
Flash config is designed for onboard recording for 720p up to 4K
-optical RAW port config - if for full, uncompressed 4.5K up to 60fps to an external data recorder
-haivng a flexible, portable well thought out system is the goal
REDRAIL - modular rods, grips, digital media and battery mounts for shoulder shooting and any combo of lens and accessories
top plate is for top mounted accessories
REDCAGE - is the pieces that connect bottom to top, the d sides are swappable between rubber grips or threaeded all mounting holes
(clearly they've been busy - the REDCAGE and REDRAIL stuff looks thinner, lighter, not so military/industrial...doesn't look like it HAS to support 300 pounds anymore)
the grips on the Red Rail have mount holes on top/bottom - now are optional - can be either mounting plates or rubbering hand grips
-CAGE is to get rid of velcro and crap and make it a thing of the past - al all the things you need for your "big" shots - give a proper, secure, threaded screw mount to mount stuff
-the camera body go go in the middle o the RAIL system - in the middle - can slide out
-have a handle can put on...anywhere for balance
-the battery/d-mag mount has changed - (doesn't look like an iPod holder anymore, lolks to be more open ended and extensible than before)
-the viewfinder look has changed too - more metal, now with buttons
-you can slide the body and battery/d-mag around as you need it on the rail for balance
-for max flexibility, can have battery, mag, viewfinder, rail and shoulder mount and that's it
-so there IS an ENG viable config
--balance as you need it as your conditions change
--viewfinder - high res, 1280x720 focus worthy designed and integrated for the Red camera
-EVF is as rugged and hardcore as the rest - not plastic and rinky dink - has good eye coverage and for the eye
-3 user assignable buttons, a push & turn button to control stuff fom the EVF
single cable to the body it looks like
(so seems that you can assign functions to the three buttons, and call up some controls in the EVF)
for 4K @ 24p, 323MB/sec to 27.5 MB/sec
-file is considered your Digital Cinema Negative
REDCODE is wavelet based, 12 bit full raster codec
-RAW 4096x2304 uncopmressed RAW Bayer image is 323 MB/sec @ 24fps
-"we strongly recomend shooting RAW for max dynamic range and flexibility in post"
-gets pulled down to about 27 MB/sec to record to the onboard digital magazine or the onboard flash
-also handles 2K, 1080p, 720p to flash or magazine
Shoot 4K as compressed or uncompressed
REDCINE reads it in, demosaics, apply a Mysterium Profile, color balance, resize them, encode to any industry standard format to finish etc.
-the benefit of doing white balance, gamma, gain, color, saturation, contrast, curves etc.
- this is all done from 12 BIT SOURCE in a high bit depth (probably 32 float I'd guess, will ask Graeme)
-still $17,500 for the camera body
-300mm prime $4995
-zoom, 18-85mm f2.8 (both are 2.8) under $10K ($9500)
-Red closed reservations on the 31st - ended up with well over 1000 reservations (I know #1073)
-THEN they showed two of the new shots again...but they were REDCODE compressed 10:1, which will be recordable to the onboard flash or the digital magazine, both onboard....looked good to me.
-how many stops of lattitude
SECOND TIME THROUGH:
I'm a little dissapointed that we didn't have more or more variety shown today - really just a series of shots of same subjects in different framings - same scene, push in/pull out. Ted keeps saying this is all a work in progress, this is the best they can do with where they are - given that they are still roughly 4-5 months out from shipping (based on last stated estimate from Jim), that starts to be more understandable
-LENS MOUNT - THERE'S A SNAP DOWN RING AT THE FRONT NOW
so in those two configs - optical and redflash - do you have to order it that way? Do you buy one or the other? Or get the Flash model and pay exra for the optical port thingy?
on the back is HDMI and some other round plug I don't recognize -the viewfinder?
there's a push an twisty nob on the back - no longer loks like iPod scroll wheel
-looks like a snapdown lock for the RAIL stuff to move it around
-cage has clearly evolved - so has the RAIL system - it is thinner, lighter - the IBC was prototype, looked ready to hold 300 pounds - is lighter/thinner more realistic now
-high res LCD panel can go wherever want it, too - bolt it on wherever
-looks like 3 mini-BNCs on the side, 4 or mini-XLR looking plugs, USB, HDMI, and something else
-the digital mag has a red light on it, and holes on the front, very G5/G-speed drive loooking thing
-full color viewfinder designed for the Red One
-good eye coverage, good ergonomics for the EVF
-3 assigneable function buttons, push 'n turn setup button - can control critical functionality on the EVF
can shoot RAW or RGB, but RAW is recommended for best quality and otions in post
RAW at 4K 24p, 323 uncompressed won to 27 MB/sec for 24fps 4K
he mentions 2K, 1080p, and 720p - what about 1080i onboard?
the standard schpiel on Redcine that I've covered before - nothing new here (except as we learned the other week that the compressed is ALSO 12 bit)
-that optical RAW port goes on the left side of the camera (looking at it from the back) that is where your optical cable will go to....what exactly? We know that REDRAID is on the roadmap, but no idea when it'll show up aor any specs on it.
-the pinky highlights in one bus wide shot were a color anomaly - looks to be post not endemic to the nature of the sensor comparing to other shots with hot highlights
-metalic highlights, or off the milk bottle smooth and blast free
300mm prime shot - detail and depth of field
-new shots were shown - shot outdoors on an overcast day with 65mm Cooke S4 and the prototype 300mm prime
-nice depth of field, nice skin tones, really good detail was shown (could read the type on a ratchet in a wide shot)
-all in all, a couple of minutes of new footage - if the before stuff was "in the garage", now this is "outside the garage" - still no big, wide, sky & leaves type wide shots
-industrial design has changed a bit - slimmer, tighter package
-controls & status now on back of camera, with a push/twist knob and lots of buttons
-I noticed small connectors - the tiny HD-SDI like on Kona3, and mini-BNCs for audio
-significant hardware twist - you either have the Flash RAM recorder installed, OR the high speed optical port - can't do both. Both are field-swappable modules, current incarnation (surely subject to change) looks like a few screws to be undone to pop off one module and replace with the other.
-REDRAIL has continued to evolve - looks capable of being smaller/tighter, not so massive
-REDCAGE has evolved as well - besides the 3 flat sided "leg" cage we've seen, can also be rubberized handles - all modular, swap out as you see fit
-battery/d-mag has changed - the digital magazine holder no longer looks like an iPod cage/holder - so no longer locked into that particular form factor, either - allows for bigger digital magazines
-Redcode is 10 bit lin, 10 bit log, or 12 bit lin now
-lenses - no new news
-Viewfinder - still 1280x720, 3 assignable buttons, push/twist controller will let you control (some, undefined as yet) functions from the viewfinder
OK, that's it for now, but more new info coming - gotta keep editing...after I go see Casino Royale.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Been busy - got back into Austin around midnight, today catching up witch clients and email and whatnot.
My plan is to go through all these myself and do some analysis - you folks do the same.
David Stump is a consummate professional - everything is thoroughly documented in the way people wished the Red screening in LA had been - so for those of you who wants stats, charts, and hard numbers, this is some good data to work with.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I'd love to hear more feedback from those of you who were at the Red screening and/or the ASC/SMPTE meeting last night and got to see the latest from all these d-cinema cameras.
I'd especially like to hear from those who attended BOTH.
Feel free to post as Comments here (use the link below) or email me directly at mike at hdforindies d0t com.
I took a bunch of raw notes in the dark (screen turned all the way down to not tick off the name brand DPs sitting next to me), so I need to go back and parse out my crazy typing.
In the meantime, here's some forum discussions:
RED L.A. photos/what have you's - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
Red Screening Comments - The Digital Video Information Network
...from those who attended.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I'm getting on a plane in the early morning to go see the Red screening, I'll have plenty to say about it I'm sure. So watch for a posting later today on that. There's also the ASC/SMPTE event later that night too.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Big biz customers get Nov. 30th, general public gets Jan 30 '07.
-3D accelerated windowing (akin to Quartz Extreme in OS X)
-system wide live search (akin to Spotlight)
There have been concerns voiced about how stable the software has been in late beta, remains to be seen how many of these got quashed.
Got an Intel Mac? There's a firmware update for you. New RAW update supports more cameras.
A guide for figuring out how to preview graphics & text in SD/HD productions, following screen height to viewing ratio guidelines. A promised follow-up on SD/HD differences has yet to appear.
(found via DVguru.com)
Nice chunk on info - links, article, on set and editorial workflow charts as well as a podcast.
Definitely worthy reading for those considering an all digital workflow.
Nice space saving option in the studio. This is a thorough review from One Of Us on this $200 product that lets you hook computer audio, video, & USB from two computers into this one device to share a monitor/keyboard/speakers between two devices. I think they even make a 4x (allows up to 4) instead of just the 2X reviewed here.
Barefeats did some testing with the new, aftermarket ATI Radeon X1900 card for G5 Macs with PCIe. They tested it against Mac Pros with X1900 cards (different, incompatible with G5s), Mac Pros with GeForce 7300 cards, Quad G5 wi/GeForce 7800 GT cards, Quad G5 with this new ATI X1900 card, and Quad G5 with the stock GeForce 6600 card.
-wow, the 6600 card is laaaaaaame compared to all the 1900 and 7800 cards.
-the 1900 cards for Mac Pros is MUCH faster than the one for G5s - they are incompatible, and there are probably architectural reasons on the Macs for the speed differences as well
-only games were tested here, so the differences may not be as great for the professional apps you might be interested in that can benefit from OpenGL acceleration, like Motion, After Effects, Maya, Cinema4D, etc.
So if you have a G5 and suspect the graphics card is holding it back, this $350ish card may be worth the upgrade.
Read the article for all the juicy stats.
UPDATE: ....although hang on a minute, graphics card doesn't always make a difference - see this article:
Apple's Aperture on various Macs
On a Mac Pro with a Radeon 1900 (best performing Mac & card combo according to above tests), and on the same Mac with the lesser GeForce 7300 card (which got dogged in the above gaming tests)...the times in Aperture were EXACTLY THE SAME for Lift & Stamp, Remove Adjustments, and only slightly faster (10-15%) for Export Web Log.
So maybe don't rush out to buy one until we see some stats showing provable benefit somewhere...unless of course you want killer game performance, in which git'er dunn.
Friend of mine did a shoot over the weekend with an HVX200 and a FireStore. The shoot went fine, the transfer went fine, but was slow - took about an hour to copy off the data into his Mac Pro (so no slow machine excuses there). While the FireStore may still INTERNALLY break up shots at the 2GB file size threshold, you don't have to worry about it in FCP - it pulls in the multiple chunks and assembles them into a single shot in your FCP bin. He said he has a shot over 5 minutes long that works just fine.
The 5.1.2 improvements on P2 import are very useful, allowing you to set ins and outs and other useful stuff.
The one drag was that at least on the model my friend had, the FireWire port is still very frail - even while protecting it against yanks in the field (zip ties anchors etc.), they had to bend it at just the right angle to get it to work. I've heard of this complaint numerous times.
I had, in the past, suggested to clients that the 2GB max would be a pain in post a zillion little cut up shots - I don't known when/if/how that was changed, I apologize if I gave anyone incorrect advice.
When capturing DVCPRO HD footage over FireWire in Final Cut Pro, avoid enabling the Preview checkbox for audio. If you select this checkbox, audio artifacting may occur or Final Cut Pro may unexpectedly quit. As a workaround, monitor audio directly from your video deck during capture.
Update to Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 or later.
Some FCP related Xsan stuff as well:
Don't set root level of Xsan as Scratch Disk, & don't share same Scratch Disk between multiple users
If you're Pro Apps are being weird after upgrading to 10.4.x, here's a possible reason
What to do if adding LUNs to Xsan Volumes Fails - there's background info and a lengthy procedure
How to repair the Xsan filesystem - another for the geeky set
Sunday, November 12, 2006
For those not keeping track, Redcine is the software that will read the Red One's proprietary codec and convert it to...anything you have installed on your system, as well as DPX/Cineon/JP2K/TIFF/etc. sequences. The question of speed has been raised - another RAW processing camera was said to take 8 seconds per frame at one point in its development, and folks were concerned about.
Graeme Nattress, Voodoo High Priest of Red's software/codec effort answers. Graeme's statements in italics, my comments interspersed in plaintext:
1) you can play your REDCODE files in real time - at what resolution depends on your processor specs.
(sounds to me like you can play the files and it'll do a realtime extraction of lower resolutions - so your slower machine may play high res files only at 1K, for instance)
2) colour transforms are GPU based, and hence very fast indeed. I'd expect realtime performance for a lot of configurations, but again, more details as we get nearer release.
(...so think of it like Aperture for video processing- it is GPU based, it demosaics RAW imagery, then it kicks out in a variety of file formats and sizes. Except instead of just stills (or still seqences), it can write to QT/AVI formats as well)
3) full quality demosaic of the full 4k will be a touch slower. It's got to be as we're using a complex / nice demosaic. However, hardware is getting rapidly faster and we'll be looking into how to best optimize the demosaic algorithm.
Presuming you've got a hoss system...which is why I'm waiting for 8 processor Intel Macs before buying a new desktop)
More details, such as questions about Avid & FCP specific workflows (I chime in on the latter) are in the thread, and it's growing quickly.
Graeme wrote in to add:
I should add, that 1) and 2) and 3) above go together, so that you shouldn't expect to see 4k being demosaiced and colour corrected and played back in real time.
RE: 2) GPU is not used for demosaicing. CPU is. It's hard to get the complexity of demosaic we need running on a GPU.
RE: 3) As posted earlier, current time for just the demosaic of 4.9k raw frame is 1.7 seconds (single core of quad G5, totally un-optimized development code). That's todays "touch slower" we hope to get that time down, but until we've got into the optimisation, I don't know how far down it will go. (People were worried when they'd heard that Dalsa was taking 8 or 4 seconds per frame.)
I don't want people to think either of two things:
a) it will be dog slow
b) it will be realtime everything
As we all know, in the real world, 4 processors doesn't make code 4 times as fast, as there overheads and other things at work.
The above is of today. Things can and will change.
This isn't exactly HD for Indies material, but the pixel pushing techie geeks out there will groove on the tech - take a random pile of photos shot willy nilly of something, feed'em through this software, and it'll generate a 3D environment from them.
Insert Keanu "Woah."
Microsoft deals a little voodoo on the world..rockin'.
There's also a nice chart showing Production Scheduling, and other posts showing earlier steps of the production:
...and then the Final Piece.
If you've wondered what the steps are in making an animated piece, well go read it.
As a non-shooter, this kind of thing is helpful for me, since I don't know too much in this area. Hey, I just realized - my very first ever video camera (other than my cheapie pocket camera that has movie mode) will be a Red One! That'll be tough to top...where do I go from there?
Anyway, this is all about sticks - tripod heads and legs compared. Useful overview if you're not an experienced shooter.
I'm lying here on the couch like an inert piece of Spam dropped from a great height, and that's how I feel - 'cuz that's what I get for running a half marathon without proper training & prep, dolt that I am. Owie. May you never have to do a production the way I just ran - always behind the pace you wanted and in pain.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Turns out running After Effects 7 on Mac Pros under Rosetta is a finicky beast. Links to an article that helps it run faster and more stably for some folks, but definitely sounds like YMMV.
Friday, November 10, 2006
My notes on that conversation:
UPDATED SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED - David was kind enough to correct & augment my flubbed notes, so a few things have changed since originally posted, his valuable time much appreciated. (end update)
-he said he'll post some frames and maybe a clip on CML once he's had a chance to review and analyze the footage - but that'll take some time.
-he shot a series of brackets of charts & scales, to get down to the sensitivity of the sensor
-he lit the greyscale and color charts for T16, then shot in 1/2 stop increments from T2 to T90 lit for T16, an eleven stop range
-used a 65mm Cooke S4 (detailed notes to follow in his CML posts - that's Cinematography.net, and it'll probably be in the CML "Future Cameras" discussion thread I'm guessing)
-greenscreen stuff - he shot a coupla kids in front of greenscreen, frizzy hair and all that stuff, at a 4 stops down so as to be on MTF of the lens, but still be with somewhat shallow depth of field so screen got a little fuzzy, a very narrow plane of focus there, a fair amount but not excessive depth of field at the plane of focus
-I asked what is was like shooting with "Frankie" (as the Red test camera has been dubbed) - he said he's shot with testbeds before, about the same as other testbed cameras, wasn't all that bad, pretty well organized and in a frame, can muscle it around move it from one spot to another, move up/down, pan around, etc. - it's just big.
-I asked how he was monitoring if it is capturing RAW - he said they have a computer monitor w/proxy picture to work with for framing & focus etc. - it is a full color low res proxy picture, just not at full res or speed.
-so the day went like this - he got there at 11:00 am after the drive to OC, left at 5 pm, had lunch in the middle, spent 1.5 hours lighting and setting up before talent arrived. Got about an hour's worth of footage probably, but then had to leave at 5 (to get from Orange County back up to LA for a dinner engagement, no easy task for the traffic in that time and place).
-since then he's been busy, and the Red team have been processing that footage - converting the RAW imagery into 16 bit TIFF sequences as well running it through Redcode compression so both uncompressed and compressed can be evaluated.
-they'll put that on a hard drive, courier/FedEx it to him (if they haven't already), then he can take a look at it
-I asked how he was going to evaluate it, asking if he'd be firing it up on his own home workstation, he said he could do that but he also has places he can take it to project at 4K for evaluation
So, depending on Dave's time availability and facility access (for that 4K projection), sometime next week there will be a bunch of useful information as it all gets posted and shared.
Things we might be able to learn from this:
-finally some hard numbers on what the dynamic range/exposure lattitude of this Mysterium sensor is like
-some more solid, quantitative data on how colors are reproduced with this sensor as well
-how well the Mysterium works for greenscreen, now that a proper, professional test has been done
-in talking to Jim Jannard the other day, he was impressed with how detail oriented David was, feels comfortable/confident this was well done and an accurate reflection of how Mysterium footage can look when done right - they pulled an earlier greenscreen image they'd made on their own, because they felt it wasn't done as well as they'd like
-just how efficient the Redcode codec really is - will be able to compare the uncompressed vs Redcode compressed imagery
-some sample stills & footage that is posted by/from a 3rd party, unfiltered by Red
-there will be some uncompressed TIFF (or similar high quality format) files posted online on CML, so folks will finally be able to do their own analysis on actual footage, perhaps a clip as well
Since the 4K screening is Tuesday at lunchtime, and it is now Friday and Dave doesn't have the footage yet, beyond the PR reasons I'm betting that samples etc. won't be available online until after the screening - just not enough time to get it done by then.
So those fortunate enough to attend (it's full according to the website) will get to see footage from the Mysterium sensor in LA next week, then at some point thereafter there will be stills and perhaps a clip available online as well from David's shoot (I'm inclined to guess David's stuff won't be included in the LA screening, not enough time).
PS - OK readers - who among you is going to the LA screening? Who among you are also going to the ASC/SMPTE film/Viper/Dalsa/F950/D20 thing later that same night? Please drop me an email at mike at hdforindies d0t com, I want to get a list of who is seeing both for post-showing comparative purposes to get feedback.
2.16 GHz Core Duo vs 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo in a variety of apps, but unfortunately Compressor and Final Cut not included.
Motion showed a decent improvement, but Aperture (about 1/3 faster) and Photoshop (nearly 1/2 the time) showed significant gains.
Looks like it is worth the bump.
-XDCAM HD import,edit/export
-background import of P2 content
-Grass Valley K2 GXF export
-packaged version ships later this month
Some sample shots, including charts, from Sony's HDR-FX7 HDV camcorder, which is NOT 24p capable.
(found via DVguru)
This is a nice little graphical diagram of a film style workflow, kinda fun to see how it all goes 'n flows.
Kudos for good information design - left to right is departments (effects, film lab, editorial, music, sound), top to bottom is time flow). Description from the site:
The double lines represent image data, solid lines; audio, and the dotted lines are timecode, shotlists, or EDLs. Assuming that we shoot on 35mm film, the camera and audio recorder are timecode-synced, and the film can be developed and telecine’d to get our dailies throughout production. As soon as post-production begins, we begin our first off-line edit using the dailies (with timecode embedded).
An all digital (as in digital origination not film) workflow wouldn't be hugely different from this.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
YEAH, YET AGAIN UPDATED, AS OF 6:30PM CST Thursday
One of these days I'll put this down...
OK, so we all know I'm a big fan of what Red is up to, and while I feel qualified to evaluate an image, I'm no shooter nor DP, so I try to avoid passing judgements on shooting issues - I don't feel qualified to dive very deep in those areas. That is not the case, however, with David Stump (IMDB profile), who is a member of the ASC, and is also the chair of the Digital Camera subcommittee for the ASC.
After a day spent with the Red One camera shooting greenscreen tests:
"The RED Mysterium sensor has finally pushed digital acquisition past the timeless 35mm film barrier in resolution and clean color fidelity."
Now, that's a carefully phrased sentence, specifically talking about "resolution and clean color fidelity." He was doing greenscreen tests, and those are critical attributes to pulling a good key. This particular statement does not address dynamic range nor other vital imaging characteristics.
But it's a helluva pat on the back for the Red team.
There's lengthy threads on DVInfo.net and dvxuser.com, the latter has lots more technical discussion and the Red team chimes in on some issues as well.
I'm sure David will have more to say in the next few days, I'll be watching out and will report it here.
Wow! Nice little cache I've found here on Cinematography.net I hadn't noticed before.
Here's the list of what they've got:
Silicon Imaging 2K Mini Latitude tests
Silicon Imaging frames from Mutant Chronicles
Digital Latitude in F950-Viper-D20 & Dalsa
Idiff Viper Images
Scott Billups - F900- XLH1 - Viper comparisons
Joseph T McDonnell III Diffusion Filter Tests with F900
Joseph T McDonnell III Matrix & Knee Tests with F900
Time-Lapse with Digital Stills (Geoff Boyle)
Time-Lapse with Digital Stills (Duraid Munajim)
Time-Lapse with Digital Stills (Stuart Brereton)
Time-Lapse with Digital Stills (John Babl)
F900 Gamma Curve variations
TK direct to Disk
Film-F900-Viper to flim out comparison
DigiCon filters from Schneider
HDCam V D6 Voodoo
Blue/Green Test Shots
...and it's all uncompressed TIFF files and the like as far as I can see. This is exactly what you'd want for comparitive purposes - high quality material prepared by professionals.
-Don't designate the root level of the Xsan as a Scratch Disk.
-Don't share the same Scratch Disk location between two or more users.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
OK, I didn't realize these were going to be out so soon.
Yo Steve! Steve J! Yeah you! When do we get these bad boys to play with? And if you say wait till WWDC with a February rollout, you're gonna get smacked in the mouth!
These guys think it could happen this month.
It's illegal to bodily threaten the president of the Unite States, but Steve is still fair game to tease.
Suddenly, it's all about these RAW cameras - there's been tons of new news about Red & SI in the last week, here's some more: there's an EXCELLENT thread/debate/discussion going on over on the always useful DVXuser.com talking about what platforms Redcine will and won't run on, Redcode's bit depths, etc. Some choice excerpts among the many posts:
Jim Jannard of Red kicked it off, saying in part:
One thing of note- IMPORTANT! REDCINE will translate REDCODE to just about anything you want. BUT. It will ONLY work with Intel Mac and Windows XP. It will NOT work with Mac PPC.
Stuart English of Red chimed in with some other tidbits:
REDCODE supports 10 bit linear and log plus 12 bit linear. Which is the best choice depends on your application.
Sounds like Jim is saying Redcine will be included at no charge:
One of the major considerations was to be able to include the REDCINE software with a camera purchase at N/C. Porting the software to PPC forced us to consider charging for it... which our whole team was opposed to.
Graeme Nattress of Red clarifies:
It's only REDCINE that needs the intel chip to run. There will also be some GPU requirements too, but we'll need to do more testing there.
REDCODE the codec will run on ppc, intel or windows.
So THAT'S good news. In a pinch, with the gear I already have, I could run Redcine on my Macbook to convert (slower than on a Mac Pro, obviously), and then could edit with Redcode (or whatever) on one of the 3 G5's I presently have (I have too much gear).
There's also some discussion about whether Redcine will run under Vista (almost certainly) and whether 10 bit log or 12 bit linear encoding is preferable (based on teasing posts smells like it won't be a straight up 12 bit linear, or there's some other "Graeme magic" at play).
Go read, ye obsessive compulsives!
Graeme posted on a board today about hardware compression in camera limiting frame rates for Redcode RAW:
REDCODE frame / sizes are constrained by the max bandwidth through the compression chips. Once we know how they behave in practice, we can re-evaluate those limits, but for now, the maximums are 4k 30p and 2k RGB 60p.
Well, durnit, I was afraid it might be something like that. Wanna shoot high speed? Either drop to 2K RGB and lose the RAW benefit, or you're stuck at 30p. Want to exceed that? It is going to take some money for some kind of an accessory - REDRAID, REDRAM, or some other option. Drat, Drat, DRAT! (Trying to keep this a G-rated post).
So now that we know that limitation, Red Folk, how are we going to record high speed? We've not seen anything other than general statements about REDRAM and REDRAID, with this significant limitation on one of the touted features of the camera, how are we going to use it? Without it costing an arm and a leg?
OK, after a complete, total, utter communications blackout from these guys after their "All Your (IP) Base Belong to Us (Apple)" announcement, Silicon Color posted the first beta of a Universal Binary, 2.7 beta 1. A couple of users are reporting responses to tech support requests for the first time in weeks (since the info blackout after the Apple acquisition), so it looks like the product is still under development, the dev group still functional, and my earlier pessimism was unwarranted.
If they are bothering to post a UB beta 1 after the acquisition, I see no reason why there won't be a shipping, final, hopefully useful Universal Binary in the next month or two, depending on how the beta dev process goes.
And now I go download.
UDPATE ....but I heard from a customer who said their reseller got "de-authorized" to sell Final Touch - POSSIBLY implying that the product may not be purchaseable until an Apple branded version comes out (if ever). It COULD be that Apple wants to strip mine the technology and is letting the dev team get a UB version out and that's it, or it could be that development will continue on Final Touch and Apple branded versions will ship in the future, while Apple incorporates some of their realtime goodness into other Pro Apps.
Again, this is only supposition based on the info above.
Your thoughts? Comment away.
Webcast on HD covering:
-What different HD formats exist, and what factors to consider when choosing one
-How the editing process differs from SD to HD, and what tools are available in Avid Media Composer and Avid Xpress Pro to simplify HD production
-HD output options, from outputting HD projects to SD tape or DVD, to a broadcast master, or to Blu-ray disc
-Avid DNxHD Encoding -- what is it, and what purpose does it serve?
-Using HD in film based workflows
Follow link to register for the "webinar"
Just found this one from a link from DVguru - all about editing stuff.
This post on Avid vs FCP log & capture tools was what caught my eye, it is the fifth in a series about FCP vs. Avid. A quick skim and these look valid/interesting/professional.
Considering which to get? This could be useful information.
Studio Daily | IRIDAS Launches SpeedGrade OnSet 2006
SpeedGrade OnSet 2006, a filmmakers' application for creating and communicating creative looks. The new version introduces a more streamlined grading workflow and a function for exporting Look-Up Tables (LUTs) for use in other display and DI systems.
SpeedGrade OnSet 2006 works on still-frame images and runs on off-the-shelf Mac and Windows laptops. The application does not alter the original images and saves gradings as .Look files which can be copied, edited, and re-used. The .Look file format is standard across all SpeedGrade applications providing a complete color workflow from cinematographer to colorist. SpeedGrade .Looks can also be loaded in FrameCycler applications for color graded rushes and digital dailies.
Can use Cine-Tal monitors, LUTher boxes with it, loading looks (.look LUT files) into them to change the display to preview a look.
VERY interesting product for the indie set wanting to know what final will look like. For directors that can't visualize, or confidence on set, this is helpful. But can also be a time eater on set - don't get too enamored with it.
Cars is the first major new movie released on iTunes, it is $12.99 for the first week, then goes up in price to $14.99 (?). Be interesting to see how this plays. Walmart and Target have complained about Apple's lower retail pricing on movies.
Gee, lower quality, no extras, no physical product, no manufacturing costs,no shipping costs...and they complain. Whatevah.
I recently heard that Amazon's S3 service charges 20 cents per gigabyte transferred from their servers. WOW, that is cheap. That changes the economics of downloads (or at least what I thought of it). At 1.4 GB, that means (if using S3) it would cost 28 cents to host that download per copy.
Hmm. That would make sense that it could cost less to me...
The MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo's advantage over the Core Duo version ranged from 9% to 75% depending on what app we ran. The faster core clock speed should provide an 8% advantage, so everything beyond that is "gravy." Most surprising were the significant gains with Aperture 1.5 and Photoshop CS2.
New MacBooks should benefit as well similarly in the non-GPU accelerated categories.
If you have a G5 and want a faster graphics card (Motion or Aperture not snappy enough for you?) then here's an excellent option, list price $350. It is a FAST card. Should give the 7800GT a run for its money. You can run two 30" Apple LCDs off o this monster.
Apple finally has a repair program for failing G5 power supplies. See this page for details if your system doesn't start up.
Apple claims they are up to 25% faster. Which is nice, but not earth shattering. The move from G4 to Core Duo was huge, this is not. But faster is always better. These new machines are pretty much the same as the last round with a few tweaks:
1.83 GHz/512 MB RAM, 60 GB HD
2.0 GHz/1.0 GB RAM, 80/120 GB HD
In the models with DVD burner, it is now dual layer (nice), and gigabit ethernet (did we have that before?). The graphics chipset is exactly the same as before.
Pricing are the same as before, starting at $1099 for white 1.83 GHz, and $1499 for 2.0 GHz black, but Apple's store site is down so I cannot check at the moment.
The middle and high end MacBooks get the stock RAM doubled to 1GB, and hard drive sizes bumped to 80 & 120 GB. GOOD, that was necessary for serious work.
While still not officially supported for Final Cut Studio (not all of Motion's bit depth modes will work right due to the limited built in graphics), Final Cut Studio installs and appears to work OK for editing so far in my own tests, and aside from the frustrating experience of having to send it back twice for repairs, having Apple incorrectly tell me it is because of my 3rd party RAM (got an extra pointless 1GB stick now), I'm happy with mine (finally now that it doesn't spontaneously shut down without warning).
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
MS first out of the gate, beats Apple even if they're gonna do it later.
Finally! Been waitin' on this one forever! And the latest update makes it 1080p capable, but it lacks HDMI, only component analog.
But it'll be rentals, not download to own. Pricing not set yet.
Jim Jannard posted about half an hour ago on DVXuser.com about some good new tidbits:
1.) Redcode (not just the compressed, but the wavelet compressed as well) is 12 bit, NOT just 10 bit (Jim makes a point of comparing this to the 10 bit Cineform RAW).
2.) Redcine will run on both Mac OS X on WinXP (and Vista as well I'd presume down the road), but it will NOT run on PPC based Macs.
12 bits per channel is great...the catch is going to be how we can utilize that advantage. Final Cut Pro can't even handle 10 bit RGB - it can do 8 bit RGB (4:4:4 by default) or 10 bit Y'CbCr (aka YUV) at present.
If you are using tools that can take advantage of greater bit depths (After Effects, Shake, combustion, etc.), it is great - that allows you to push and bend curves in color correction much more aggressively without banding or quantization errors. But no NLE can handle it as yet. There's also diminishing returns - each additional bit is a finer increment than the last. 12 bits is great, but we need to be able to use'em!
AH! But after a phone conversation, I realized - Redcine is not just your conversion utility to transcode to size & codec you want, but also it does a first light color correction - and at THAT point in time, you WANT every last bit of detail that you can. Say you shot something dark - boost it up - with 12 bits of data in a 32 bit float space (I'm guessing that's what it'll be), your curves and gain stuff will have the best possible chance of getting clean, non-blocky results.
Also, it helps you future proof - with a 12 bit digital negative, you're covered for whatever may come out in the future...like an NLE that handles greater bit depth source footage, etc. If you made a quickie DVD screener of your work in progress, you can go back to the source if you ever need a filmout without major hassles. This also points out that it'd be really nice if Redcine handled some conform, not just convert issues - ideally, feed it an XML or EDL and it knows which files to grab, where to trim them, and re-converts to your new target format with the same color tweaks as used originally (or let you play with'em some more). If you were using Final Cut Pro, Create Offline with Media Manager would make a timeline ready and waiting to relink the higher res/higher bit depth/less compressed version.
Rumors have been circulating that Final Cut will jump to heavy GPU acceleration, and will be able to operate at greater bit depths and no longer have those constraints and be MUCH faster via GPU acceleration. This opens the door to possibilities like GPU accelerated color correction, scaling, compositing, and maybe even de-Bayering (how about all of those in 2K in realtime?).
So my Quad G5 will be useless for working with Red footage - doh! My MacBook will be of greater benefit to run Redcine.
Their rationale is that Apple has moved to Intel this year, and by the time Red ships it'll have been many months since Apple shipped any PPC based Macs (Mac Pros came out when, September on the street?). While I'd love for my Quad G5 to be useful in this context, I can understand why they are going this way - Adobe is doing the same with their new audio app, and rumors that Premiere Pro is Mac bound are also floating about. While it is possible to develop in Apple's Cocoa dev tools and hit a checkbox to make a universal binary, if you have code that needs to do realtime execution and/or requires serious platform specific optimization, that's not a checkbox, that's serious dev work. And why, if developing for something that requires lots of hardware, for an obsolete platform, that will only shrink in user base and never get faster? If you have tons of cash and want to reach the widest possible audience, sure, do it. But few developers do - not even Adobe.
So if you want to use a Red, there's probably a Mac Pro and an AJA card in your future (Red has announced they'll be working closely with AJA, and Ted, "Leader of the Revolution" at Red was last at AJA). Kona3 is a very nice card, but what if they come out with something else? I'm waiting for the 8 processor Mac Pros next year before I buy an Intel Mac tower - if you're buying for Red...wait is my advice.
...so I've just written two articles after being offline under the weather for several days, and it just cries out to do a little pros & cons, A vs B kind of a thing here. So let's do it:
UPDATE: scroll to bottom for latest updates, there's some significant new info
Silicon Imaging's SI-2K camera vs. the Red One camera
I've talked extensively with both teams, but if you're a regular reader you're obviously aware that I've spent significantly more time with the Red team, even working two tradeshows with them. If anybody has a valid counterpoint on anything, comment away and I'll incorporate the good ones. Now, keep in mind, that both of these systems are not shipping yet, and I'm basing my commentary and analysis on what I've seen and been told by both developers. So this is a preliminary analysis based on statements to date, the situation and analysis may change over time.
I'm going to take a look at a variety of issues:
On Camera User Interface
Workflow in Field
Workflow in Post
Financial Backing & Partnerships
This is my sit-down-and-type-nonstop draft, let's start with the basics:
SI-2K: they say they're going to ship the MINI head in December, and the MINI + DVR (essentially the whole camera) in January. They've been showing a working prototype since NAB, and the first feature is already in post, and they seem pretty confident and firm about ship dates.
Red One: we've seen footage, we've seen non-functional prototypes, they say they'll have working prototypes by the end of this year, but don't expect to start shipping for real to paying customers until something like the March/April timeframe...with the usual "all subject to change, no promises" caveat. Although Jim Jannard, founder of Red, is not one to claim a date if he isn't pretty confident about it. So their intent is solid, we'll have to wait and see if they are capable of shipping in that time frame.
WINNER: SI-2K - they're clearly further along in their development arc of their camera as compared to Red - unless something significant happens for either team (which I doubt at this point), they'll ship first by months. Long term, this isn't hugely significant, short term, it matters if the camera is available for your project or not.
SI-2K: final form factor has yet to be seen - they're still working on it, and I'm expecting something different to pop up from what we've seen.
But in terms of approach, they've got the equivalent of the Star Trek Next Generation's saucer section - they can break their camera into two parts and send each one where they want it (yeah, first of many geeky analogies). The SI-2K has two parts - the MINI head is just a 65mm wide, palm sized block with a B4 mount on the front, power and GigE connectors on the back. It is TINY. Tiny can be a beautiful thing - it can essentially just be a small appendage on a lens. I have pocket sized converter boxes bigger than that. Just like in Star Trek, the saucer section (MINI head) can run off into battle, leaving the bulkier, heavier main section behind to not get shot at. Except that here you'd need a gigabit ethernet cable running back to the computer, and battery power for the MINI head. But GigE is lighter, more flexible, and cheaper than HD-SDI grade coaxial cable, so that's a total win. It is the uncompressed RAW signal running through that cable back to the computer, which can either compress it with Cineform RAW or just record it uncompressed. Schweet.
Meanwhile, the DVR (digital video recorder) can either be attached or up to 100 meters away (or further with a fiber converter and rig) - so somebody can be sitting comfortably at a desk and monitoring it from there, controlling recorder functions, etc. But if you want to do that, you'll want the touchscreen up by the camera head, so a second ethernet cable can be run (with a VGA to Cat5 adaptor, such as those made by Gefen) to bring the touchscreen back up to the operator. Two ethernet cables aren't much to wrangle and can take a good deal of abuse, and are readily available as well.
In "normal" mode I expect it will be a somewhat large camera since it has to incorporate an Intel motherboard (I'm guessing laptop based?) and a graphics card - we have to wait and see what they come out with for their next and presumably final rev.
So...I don't know how small or what shape the DVR is going to be, but we know it has to include an Intel motherboard and some cards, so it can't be too small. That's the trade-off with the camera - to get all the benefits of running a straight-up WinXP app with the slick UI and features, it is stuck with that beefier form factor. Dunno on the weight either, gotta wait and see.
So - for remote head operations it'll be great, but for steadicam or run 'n gun, not so great I'd guess, but we won't know until we see the final form factor.
From a market positioning standpoint, splitting the product into two clear, distinct parts was genius to differentiate themselves from Red in a way Red can't respond to in kind.
UPDATE Ari Pressler of Silicon Imaging wrote in to point out an oversight on my part:
I think one very powerful configuration is missing in your analysis: The Core 2 Notebook + MINI.
Core 2 Notebook ($2K) + MINI ($12.5K + Accessories) = 2K Recording, look editing station and HD monitoring in Component and DVI for direct projection. If you have a fast enough disk system or enough RAM buffer you can even record 12-bit content, export to DNG (or DPX sequences) and use a fully uncompressed workflow that you already own (no additional cost)! Plug in USB drives for additional mags for the local computer retailer on the corner.
I can shoot on the laptop, edit and transmit/network all from the same device!!
Wireless access to the recorder allows remote desktop operation or exchange of .look file information which can be generated on another station. Wireless connectivity enables adding of Metadata to shot log files and finally instant access to the footage for instant editing.
Yes, that is DEFINITELY a cool and useful option, and brings the overall package price down considerably as well.
Red One: the form factor isn't finalized, but if you've been keeping track you can see the evolution of the design is stabilizing into something fairly predictable at this point. They've said all along that the camera body weight would be under seven pounds without lens, battery, or recording media. Not too shabby for a 4K capable system.
It is small, kind of barrel shaped. I've yet to see a grip to try to hand hold it, and the shoulder mounting rig, the Red Rail, while expected to be of lightweight, strong, high tech materials, is kind of bulky (I've doodled with the earlier prototypes). Ah, I'll hold off on all that until accessories.
The main gist of the form factor here is that it is modular and flexible in intent - it is a fairly small camera, and you can remove EVERYTHING - even the battery, viewfinder and LCD flipout - to keep it ultra compact and portable. For the steadicam operators I've talked to at NAB & IBC, they really liked the idea of having just the camera, a lens, a battery, and the onboard RedFlash to record up to 18 minutes of 24p footage (at 4K RAW no less) on a 32GB solid state recording media (no dropped frames due to jostling of media...so does that mean when the drunken sod/cyclist/race car hits the poor cameraman, we won't see that jarring lost frame and static? Somebody go test with an HVX200...)
Need a big camera to load up? The Red Cage will give a solid foundation to mount whatever you need onto...provided those accessories have the right screw-on threads to be compatible.
WINNER: Not entirely clear. Neither form factor is finalized, and the Red One's accessories will be vital to how well it configures for particular tasks. If you need a tiny head with remote recording, to shoot in tight spaces, SI-2K has a definite advantage. If you need fully self contained recording in the smallest/lightest possible form factor, I'm betting Red One will have the edge. If you need to rig up for "heavy" shooting, Red Rail and Red Cage suggest more flexibility than SI-2K. So a nod in the direction of Red One, but this is getting into a Horses for Courses kind of a thing, without definitive overall winners unless you get into the specifics of what you want to shoot. Neither of these cameras are going to be palm cameras, that's for sure. Sticks or shoulder mount or an awkward hand carry I'd guess (until we see finalized stuff from both).
RESOLUTION & RESOLUTION OPTIONS (click on links for manufacturer's pages on these details)
SI-2K: 720p, 1080p or 2048x1152
Red One: 720p, 1080p, 1080i, 2K (windowed or scaled), 4K, 4.5K
WINNER: Strictly in terms of OPTIONS OFFERED, Red One, no arguing there. They are both single sensor CMOS CFA cameras and generate their pixels in similar fashions. So unlike pixelshift arguments, or 3 CCD vs CMOS CFA, or CCD arrays, this is a fairly apples to apples comparison.
UPDATE: Mitch Gross duly busted me on CML on this one - well yeah, there is wiggle room the way I had it phrased before. What is the quality of pixels and resolution? What is the underlying CMOS technology in each? Valid questions all, so I'm rephrasing this section. But look at the sample footage, and draw your own conclusions. Raw pixel counts do not guarantee a winner. Based on that kind of analysis, one could claim a sub-$5,000 HDV camcorder was "better" than a $65,000 Varicam, since it has more pixels on the sensor - not the case.
In terms of the actual, delivered resolution, test charts will be the ultimate answer on that. Based on published images, however, I'm leaning in Red's direction, but that is opinion, not backed up with hard data at this time. But I suspect Red's 4520x2540 will generate a sharper image than SI's 2048x1152.
Both use a single sensor CMOS with a Bayer pattern. Kudos to both for using larger sensors, means better depth of field (freed from the curse of 1/3" sensors, which means the glass has to be massively better to resolve to those tiny sensors). In this price range, you get 1/2" HD sensors (Sony XDCAM HD) or 2/3" SD sensors (Panasonic's SDX900) at best. Here we start at 2/3"...and keep going up. Bigger=better in this context.
SI-2K: If I recall correctly, the SI-2K is using an off-the-shelf Altasens sensor. Ari tells me it will do a native 2048x1152 resolution. It is a 2/3" inch 16:9 sensor. It is the Altasens HD4562.
Red One: Red's Mysterium Sensor: I don't even know who makes it, and I've worked their tradeshows, twice. They are very secretive about its origination. But Jim has tauntingly named it the Mysterium, and it is a Super35mm, 24.4x13.7mm sensor. BIG. Actual usable pixels will be 4520x2540, but with 4K, 2K windowed (uses a smaller, inset area of sensor, cropping the active area down), 2K scaled (shoot 4K, scale to 2K), 1080p, 1080i, and 720p options.
WINNER: Red's Mysterium - bigger is better in this case - gives the option of matching Super 35's depth of field, which the smaller SI-2K's cannot. Note this category is merely sensor SIZE, not sensor quality.
Since neither system uses* tape, both are freed from the tyranny of the need to maintain a constant tape velocity, so both are freed from that onerous constraint when it comes to recording varying (and perhaps variable) frame rates. So both can record whatever the REST of the system allows - compression speed, data throughputs, sensor sensitivity and recharge/recycle time, etc. Since they are both digital systems, frame rates are tunable as finely as you'd like, and I'd imagine both will allow for shooting things like pi frames per second, etc. Of course, both support the fractional rates like 23.976 and 29.97.
Bravo to both for freeing themselves up to record data at whatever rate they wish, without flagged/duped frames and other cumbersome technological hacks.
*(I'm going with the present tense out of convenience, although I'm well aware neither is shipping yet)
Both also appear to be using sensor windowing tricks (using less area on the sensor, a "windowed" or cropped portion of it) to boost frame rates:
SI-2K: at 1080p and 2K resolutions, up to 30 fps. At 720p, up to 72fps....but strictly progressive in all modes. Since capped at 30fps for 1080, can't derive a 60i from a 60p.
Mid edit update: Oops, not quite right, here it is from their website:
-2K Formats: 2K/23.976p, 2K/24p 2K/25p
-HD Formats: 1080/23.976, 1080/24p, 1080/25p, 1080/29.97, 1080/30p, 720p (variable)
-72fps/720P for slow-Motion Special effects
-Overcranking and undercranking for special effects (12~72fps)
...and I'm guessing 12-30 fps for 1080/2K res, 720p only for 30-72 fps based on the above
Red One: a little more complicated - if using the full sensor area, up to 60 fps (can generate 720p, 1080p, 1080i, 2K, 4K & 4.5K with this)...but only on certain recording media. If using the windowed (cropped center section of sensor, applicable for using Super16 & B4 mount lenses), can go up to 120 fps....but only up to 2K resolution, and only on the RED-RAID. Onboard recording capped at...ah, hell, I dunno, they've been talking about 4K REDCODE compressed recording onboard, and clearly this chart isn't updated. But while the CAMERA is capable of up to 60fps at 2540p and 120 fps at 2K (windowed/cropped), it doesn't appear that the onboard recording devices will necessarily be able to record those frame rates. All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, YMMV, so I'll keep up on this and you folks pay attention when you plan your shots once these come out.
UPDATE: Graeme posted on a board today about hardware compression in camera limiting frame rates for Redcode RAW:
REDCODE frame / sizes are constrained by the max bandwidth through the compression chips. Once we know how they behave in practice, we can re-evaluate those limits, but for now, the maximums are 4k 30p and 2k RGB 60p.
WINNER: Red One - higher frame rates at higher resolutions consistently, even if the limitations are squirellier/more complex. As the SI-2K is focused on being strictly a d-cinema camera, they didn't include 1080i. Again, the Red offers the same but more, including the broadcast necessary 1080i formats.
UPDATE: Actually, not quite as clean cut after all - the Red camera is capable of 60 fps in 4K mode, and 120 fps in windowed 2K, but to record that fast, you'll need REDRAID or REDRAM or something as yet undiscussed. 30fps max onboard for 4K RAW. Want 60fps? You can shoot full aperture with your Super35mm lens, but you'll have to record at 60fps 2K RGB - it will be downsampled, but still full range - you've only converted RAW to RGB and scaled it down. For 120 FPS with the windowed 2K, again you'll need something more than the REDFLASH or REDRIVE - 60fps seems to be the max. So onboard with the everyday recording media it looks like the SI-2K will go faster (72 vs 60 fps), but the resolution will be lower (720p vs. 2K derived from 4K).
This can encompass several things, so I'll touch on them one at a time, some of which we've already covered:
-physical configuration modes - covered above in form factor - a bit fuzzy, but seems to be a nod towards Red more often than not, but YMMV depending on your shoot's needs.
-Frame size/frame rate modes - covered above in Frame Rates, Red One gets the nod.
Recording modes: both record to 10 bit, full raster, proprietary wavelet based RAW codecs recorded onto a 2.5" SATA drive with standard computer connections. UPDATE: Redcode is 12 bit I've just learned, go read this and this
SI-2K: But when it comes to recording modes, now we're into new territory, where the nature of the two cameras starts to come out. The magic deal with the SI-2K is that it is a computer made into a camera. This has many advantages - coolio UI, ease of adding new features, ease of upgradeability for certain things, etc. But...since it is a small form factor computer, it lacks some things you'd otherwise expect on a video camera, such as traditional video, rather than just computer outputs. This all leads me to say that there are really just a few possible ways to record the output of this camera, and all are data centric:
1.) Most folks, most of the time, will probably record 2K or 1080p as Cineform RAW onto the intended USB 2.0 2.5" hard drive as Cineform RAW. From there it can be directly and natively edited in Premiere Pro with Prospect 2K (or Prospect HD for some). This can occur whether the MINI head is directly attached to the DVR as a camcorder unit, or whether the head is removed and the DVR remoted via GigE cable. Easy as pie to transfer to your system, no fancy card required, just plug into USB 2.0 port and copy over data - pretty much any vaguely modern laptop will work just fine for transfer. And you can hold up to about 4 hours of 1080p footage on a 160 GB drive. Wow.
2.) Some will want maximum quality, such as perhaps for best possible green/bluescreen shots for compositing. Then they'll just record the uncompressed RAW to a file (I'm presuming there's an uncompressed RAW codec option as well). And is that uncompressed RAW editable on the Premiere Pro/Prospect HD timeline?
UPDATE Ari Pressler of SI:
UNCOMPRESSED = 12-BIT LINEAR! We record each clip into a single RAW file, which anyone can read and access the data or segment into a sequence of DNG frames. (Mike note: After Effects can read these in now)
3.) If you really, really wanted to, you could convert the DVI output from the DVR to HD-SDI with an external converter box, BUT you'd be limited to 8 bits/channel. Anyway, with that HD-SDI you could go to a traditional deck, DDR, broadcast truck, whatevah...but what a sucky option compared to the price/performance/quality you'd get with native RAW recording.
The saving grace here is that SI is going for the modern take on imagery - the first thing you're going to want to do once you have an image, especially if for anything other than live coverage, is put it on a computer and edit it. You're getting it there immediately. The plus is great quality recording, immediacy and access without an expensive deck, but the downside is data is awkward and expensive and time consuming to archive, rather than "I dunno, throw that used tape up on the shelf there."
(Red is in the same boat too - data acquired to be backed up).
Ari of SI wrote in to point out:
SI-MAG - The removable mag for the SI-2K will ship with 160GB. Additional empty mags will be less than $100 and you can put in your own 2.5" HDD for about $40/Hr of material (80GB hdd are now only $70!!). Why not put these on the shelves just like tape?
Anyway, those are your options as far as I see it.
Red One: Again, the computer w/lens vs. flexible camera pops out as we compare the two.
Recording options on Red One:
-it has single and dual link HD-SDI connections for those that want to hook into existing broadcast infrastructure. That right there may be a make or break for many potential purchasers. And yes, those outputs can be "normalized" and not look RAW. You can do 4:2:2, 4:4:4, or 4:4:4 log (think Panalog or Viper Filmstream) modes. These only work up to 2Kx1080 (I think, based on this chart), however - beyond that, there IS no single/double cable standard (Sony's 4K projector uses a fistfull of HD-SDI connections...who wants that coming off a camera?). From there you can run to any HD-SDI equipped deck, DDR, whatevah - you're covered. Dual link HD-SDI to HDCAM SR or S.two or Codex box? Yep, all options.
-RED-RAID - for the full-on, maximum, no compromises quality, there will be a product called RED-RAID. Size, capacity, recording duration, price, ship date, all unknown. But it will record ANY output the camera is capable of, up to and including 60fps 4520x2540 uncompressed 12 bits/channel. This is pretty much spec-ware as far as I can tell - they haven't announced/said peep about it publicly, and the ship date is sure to be after the camera....how far after is the potentially ominous question. But the max datarate the camera could generate is over 900 MB/sec - which would require no less than about 15 fast SATA hard drives, more like 25-30+. So yeah, you're not running around with that many drives, plus RAID controllers and batteries for the whole gob on your back. Think mini-fridge. Smallest unit I've seen capable of that was based on 40 (yes four zero) 2.5" hard drives, was about the size of a G5/Mac Pro tower.
RED-RAM - again, no price/size/capacity/ship date/etc. info, the idea on this one is it is a high speed, uncompressed, small-enough-to-carry, solid state recording module so that you could record uncompresssed and be self contained. If you've heard of the Venom recorder for the Viper, same concept, but hopefully substantially less pricey - I think that thing is north of $50K, and records about 8 minutes or so if my dim recollections are correct.
RED-FLASH - for compressed recording only, up to 4K (not 4.5K), using REDCODE RAW or REDCODE RGB. Solid state, so no risk of dropped frames due to g-shocks throwing off the heads in a drive. Dunno if the rest of the camera could hold up to the abuse (or if I'd want to test this theory on a camera I owned), but you could record to this kind of media on a paint shaker and not drop a frame in theory - so feel free to run around and not worry about dropped frames, just dropped cameras. Higher cost/GB, so lower capacity per dollar. They've stated they'll start at 32 GB, adding 64 and 128 GB capacity as well over time, starting around $1000. At the data rates for 4K @ 24fps discussed at IBC, that's about 18 minutes of 4K RAW 4:4:4 10 bit log REDCODE RAW per 32GB cartridge that fits inside the camera body.
RED-DRIVE, aka Digital Magazine - OK, this is what 90+% of the folks will use 90+% of the time I'll bet in "normal" shooting situations - based on a 2.5" SATA hard drive, with eSATA, USB 2.0, FireWire 400 & 800 connectors. If you don't have one of those connectors, time for a new computer. Anyway, they've talked about these being based on current 2.5" hard drives of 40-160 GB capacity (and since IBC there are now 4200rpm 200 GB models). They've publicly stated (with usual "all specs subject to change" caveat) that these will start BELOW $1000. So worst case scenario, for $1000 you'd get 22 or so minutes of 4K, 24p footage. Copy it off to laptop or external drive connected to laptop, then keep shooting.
This is the same basic principle as the SI-2K.
WINNER: While they have their commonalities (10 or 12 bit, wavelet based, proprietary codecs to 2.5" drives onboard, or 12 bit uncompressed recording), Red offers further options beyond that, so I've got to give it the nod there. EDIT: Plus Redcode is 12 bit, an edge there as well.
UPDATE: Ari of SI pointed out:
SI-MAG - The removable mag for the SI-2K will ship with 160GB. Additional empty mags will be less than $100 and you can put in your own 2.5" HDD for about $40/Hr of material (80GB hdd are now only $70!!). Why not put these on the shelves just like tape?
That's a very interesting question. The fact that SI is selling empty mags for you to put your own drive into is a definitely cool thing. At $70 for 2 hours of footage at best quality, think of it as the equivalent of a $35/hr tape. Red, from what I can tell, is going to sell their digital magazines as fully self contained things, not an empty shell to pop a drive into. I've heard them discuss at trade shows concerns about G-shock tolerances, and drive speeds, and other factors that will make some drives suitable and others not - so I'd guess they aren't going to have an open architecture in that sense - there won't be "empty" cases for $100. Part of this is blunt necessity - the data rate is about twice as high as the SI-2K's, and that gets into "yes it can or no it won't" territory on these smaller drives. Redcode at 4K doesn't have the safety buffer (due to higher data rate) that Cineform RAW does at ~15MB/sec. So shelving digital magazines won't be cost practical for Red. For SI, what if you pull the drive from a mag and shelve it? It's $35/hr then. Leave it in the shell? $100 shell plus $70 drive-$170 that holds two hours, so $85/hr. Would you put $35 to $85/hr tapes on the shelf, or back'em up? For ENG and some docs, that's too expensive. For a feature, maybe that's fine. So it is a possibility for SI, not really one for Red to just shelve the "shot on" disks. Shelving disks is decently stable, but with moving delicate parts, not nearly as stable an archival medium as video or data tape. But either could be copied onto cheap 3.5" drives, that's another pseudo decent backup strategy. More some other article.
SI-2K: only temp audio using the built-in stuff. There is lots of discussion about doing things like using USB based audio devices, but it isn't there yet, and I"m not exactly sure that they plan on it - it is a bit of a philosophy thing - they see this as a digital cinema camera, and cinema (film) cameras don't record audio onbaord, do they? I just don't like the thought of having to sync in post - whadda pain. But this may change before it ships, or even after it ships.
Red One: 4 channel uncompressed, 16 / 24 bit, 48KHz, with some kind of inputs/outputs onboard (dunno if XLR (likely mini), AES/EBU, or what at this point), with embedded audio on the HD-SDI's outbound. Rumors and hints on the boards it MIGHT be better quality than stated specs as well.
WINNER: Red One as it looks now - a different philosophy, they planned on this to act as a video as well as d-cinema camera/camcorder, so audio was planned from the beginning. Lots of high quality channels, in and out, can do outboard sound and bring it in or sync in post. Again, Red's thing about "the power of AND, not the tyranny of OR" pays off in my opinion.
Both offer at least a digital out for at least computer screens - a great way to have inexpensive (if not entirely accurate) monitoring, but is a GREAT solution for determining proper focus - a 23" 1920x1200 inexpensive LCD doesn't give a false sense of security, it lets you see pixel for pixel of a 1080p signal.
SI-2K: On camera, you've got the touchscreen viewfinder and a DVI output. That DVI can drive a 1920x1200 pixel monitor (at least). These are, essentially, the VGA (touchscreen) and DVI outputs of a twin-head computer display. No electronic viewfinder offered - you're using the touchscreen to frame when portable.
The good thing about the DVI out is that pretty much ANY "normal and reasonable" computer LCD panel will work, since it IS being connected to a WinXP computer. The catch might be how to get it to drive at the resolution and refresh rate of your choice...what's the UI for that? Can it sufficiently auto-detect? I'm not saying it is a problem, I just don't know.
Red One: On camera, you've got:
-a probably (no specs yet) non-touchscreen LCD panel, about 3.5" it would appear
-a (currently slated to be) optional electronic viewfinder that will be 720p, price and availability TBD
-single and dual link HD-SDI - 4:2:2, 4:4:4 linear (vid gamma in Stu-speak), 4:4:4 log (again think Panalog or Viper Filmstream if you're familiar with those)
-HDMI output - can plug into a consumer HDTV for inexpensive monitoring of audio and video...but since HDMI is a superset of DVI, you can also connect it to a computer LCD flat panel as well, although the exact limitations on pixel dimensions and refresh rates supported might get tricky.
-some kind of audio I/O, unknown what exactly (see above)
-unknown whether they'll have a 9-pin deck control cable for using the camera as a virtual deck, I highly, Highly, HIGHLY encourage them to do so (Ted/Jim/Stuart, you reading this?). This will make it possible to use the camera as a deck for any setup that isn't otherwise compatible for ingest with the camera, or for realtime ingest when in a hurry (dailies, news, etc.)
...so that ought to take care of ALMOST any need for connectivity
Neither have high definition analog component outputs, which is what many would like to use to connect to color accurate CRTs. While you can get HD-SDI boards to connect to color accurate CRTS, those boards are usually in the $3000-$4000 dollar range...ouch. You can convert HD-SDI pretty readily (and probably DVI to component if you had to, but that's a funky trick and probably not cheap)
Now, I'm really a post guy - my knowledge/understanding of cameras starts at the optical block and goes back from there into the camera. Lenses - I have merely a basic understanding of day to day lens stuff. I know shallow depth of field is considered preferable; I know bigger sensors mean lower tolerances for the glass to achieve a given level of quality (therefore big sensor=good, small sensor=not as good, since requires MUCH tighter/more accurate tolerances to achieve the same resolved image quality) - stuff like that.
As for mount technology, I don't know a lot. I know PL mount is what is used for traditional film cameras, so interoperability there is a big plus. Both of these cameras can take a PL mount camera, but since the SI-2K has a roughly Super16 sized sensor, 35mm lenses will fit but have a roughly 1/2.5 magnification effect. Less than optimal, since the optical functionality isn't as expected. But it will also take F & C mount lenses, good for the low budget set.
The Red One will take Super35, 35, and Super16 PL mount lenses by as shipped/by default, and there will be an optional B4 mount (the bolt circle on the front of the camera actually does something - take off the mount, bolt on another for a different lens format). There has been discussion on the boards about using SLR still camera lenses, but I don't know what mounts they have or haven't committed to yet. Since I feel ill equipped to properly judge and weigh all these factors, I'll just say this is the information I have at this time, judge for yourself. As both get closer to shipping and All Is Made Clear, this'll be easier to pick.
UPDATE: Ari Pressler gave me some more details on the SI-2K lens options:
We have C-mount and PL-Mount options (no B4 mount yet due to the fact most B4 lenses were designed for prisms not single sensor planes). For fixed mount POV shots or a low cost 2K solution you can get a complete set of Fujinon c-mount lenses (12.5mm, 16mm, 25mm, 50mm) for under $2000. These small form factors are great for fixed position shots or POV shots where the camera may even be in the scene . The format is almost identical to 16mm, so everyone that has an investment in these optics will be quite happy. 35mm can be used but you get a 2.5x or more multiplier in magnification.
I've heard discussion on the boards from Red team members about still lens mounts, so there is some commitment there, but I don't know exactly how that is going to play out. You don't get follow focus gearing, those lenses aren't set up to focus the way you'd want a video/film lens to focus, so it is a hassle, but it CAN be done with varying levels of efficacy, YMMV. UPDATE: Jarred Land wrote in to point out you can get follow focus gearing for still lenses as an after market thing.
So both will have PL and still camera lens options, Red will also offer a B4 mount, but the SI camera's smaller chip will mean Super and regular 35mm lenses will have a magnification effect. Sounds like Red has matching and/or superior options here, but SI-2K still has good options.
Both are 10 bit, variable bitrate, full raster, RGB, 4:4:4 wavelet based proprietary codecs. UPDATE: Redcode was just announced to be 12 bit, with 10 bit linear, 10 bit log, and 12 bit linear options I don't have enough information to say which is "better" at this point in time in terms of quality. As a practical matter, there will be other codec factors, tying into workflow (more on that in a minute). Both get high, HIGH praise for Doing It Right in terms of very efficient RAW codecs using wavelet technology. I know that the Red codec is definitely log encoded, I don't know whether the Cineform RAW codec is or not. Somebody clue me in. Red is going to also offer RGB codecs with 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, dunno the matching details on Cineform's codec stuff.
More Update: Ari Pressler of Silicon Imaging wrote me to say:
CineForm visually perfect codec generates ~15MB/sec for 2K. That is what gets us the 4-hours on 160GB-HDD.
WINNER: too early to say - Cineform is out and working, Redcode is still under wraps - we've seen some demos, but not worked with it. Final image quality is the ultimate decider and Redcode isn't finalized to say. Redcode is capable of greater bit depth, which is preferable, but the final, ultimate answer is in the compressed images, and we haven't seen enough of Red to say. Visually lossless (no visible artifacts) is great, and both are claiming that, but the REAL test will be how well they hold up to aggressive color correction. Compressing for optimal human perception is not the same thing as compressing for optimal post manipulability. So even if "visually lossless" is achieved, that doesn't yield the same results in post as mathematically lossless (where every pixel exactly matches the uncompressed source).
ON CAMERA USER INTERFACE
SI-2K: I've seen it and played with it, and it is pretty damned slick, all touchscreen driven, deep menus to do things like change the name/file directory your shots will be written as/to, still store with 50% overlay for reframing shots to match (MAN THAT IS NIIIIIIIIIIIICE!), touch center of screen to zoom in for focus assist, an exposure assist mode that uses false colors to warn when clipping or almost clipping, etc. When I saw it six months ago at NAB it suffered "Designed by Windoze Programmer" syndrome, but I'm betting/hoping it has evolved since then - that was the first public demo...plus I'm a UI snob (used to work at frogdesign, a UI house, and have lots of ex-coworker friends who still do that for a living). But the functionality rocks, and the fact that it is just an application they can always add to means new features in the UI or a snap to implement.
Overall, with the touchscreen and the more computer-like interface, MUCH easier to navigate and use. A HUGE step forward for camera controllability as I see it. No more pushing little buttons 37 times to get to the menu you want at the bottom of the list (HATE that).
UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive - Ari sent this over, since he's sent a picture, you'll be spared my 1000 (more) words:
click to jump directly to a larger view, Control click to select to open in new window
Red One: we've seen a few slides in presentations that haven't been made public. They are promising all kinds of coolness, but we haven't seen it. Also, as an embedded UI, it is inherently more difficult to update or especially augment than a Windows app. We have seen a dial on the back of the camera, somewhat enigmatically iPod scroll-wheel like, we'll have to see how that ends up being implemented. There's a small screen on the back of the camera (last I saw) for strictly UI stuff I'd guess, but we have yet to see a "real" screen on it, for it, or from it.
WINNER: For now, the SI-2K...because
a.) they have one, and
b.) the easier future upgradeability
Of course, we'll have to see what Red does. No telling when we'll see anything of the UI. I've heartily encouraged them to break free of the 1980s DOS design ethos that most camera menus work with, we'll see what they come up with.
This is where things can get mightily subjective, and so I'm going to simply direct you to the resources, and you folks tell me what you think. Objectively, the Red can achieve a shallower depth of field, and that is considered good, and should be able to generate a sharper image with the higher resolution sensor. But, again, since SI is further along in their development, they have a MUCH better range of test footage that they are showing off - outdoor shots as well as indoors, and most importantly, stuff shot in the field by non-vendor operators. Both manufacturers have stills and videos posted, but SI has more of them in a greater variety, if only because they are closer to done.
SI-2K video footage gallery - 20 shots, in up to 1080p resolution, Windows Media 9 and MPEG-2 encoded, also includes some Cineon/DNG stills at full res.
Silicon Imaging Stills Gallery - unfortunately 1/2 res only JPEGs - a decent general overview but the over link gives better footage for evaluation. 5 shots with a variety of scenes - closeups, indoors, outdoors, people, landscapes, etc.
RED / Gallery - of stills. JPEGs from uncompressed and REDCODE RAW encoded source, at 4K, 2K, and 1K resolutions (unfortunately not all images at all resolutions, it is a mix, one size per image). At present, only four images, but others have been posted in the forums on DVXuser.com and DVInfo.net in the past...just dig around and search for posts from Jim Jannard with attachments.
RED / Gallery - two Quicktime movies to download as .torrent (BitTorrent) files. Indoors, controlled lighting, not full res (not like anybody can monitor a 4K movie 1:1, anyway). As Red isn't as far along in development, they've been slow and cautious about what they show publicly, revealing images and footage that is nice, but doesn't REALLY test the sensor - no publicly shown/posted outdoors footage, for instance. I'd hope/expect this to change after the November 14th public screening - maybe they'll post some of that footage on the web.
The optimists say it is a marketing thing to keep interest up, tease/trickle out new footage, the pessimists say they are hiding their flaws by not showing footage that truly tests the dynamic range of the camera.
WINNER: Well, no official winner here. SI has a very wide range of sample footage, some of which shot in challenging situations (outdoors, for instance, which Red hasn't shared yet), while I've personally seen 4K Red footage projected (of all controlled indoor studio stuff) and it was VERY sharp and impressive, and a few stills that haven't been publicly shown yet.
Unofficially, my may-well-be-too-biased opinion is that I expect the Red One to be a more capable camera when it ships, in terms of dynamic range, resolution, and favorable color reproduction, but there is not publicly posted footage to back up that supposition, so we'll call it my I've-spent-lotsa-time-with-Red-and-not-Silicon-Imaging hunch for now. If I'd spent more time with SI, I'd probably want to lean more in that direction.
So officially, no declared winner. But SI gets the prize for putting forth the better range of sample footage as of this week, and gets the "money where your mouth is" nod...as of now.
Of course, the truer test will be to get these out in public and let us play with them, or better yet compare them side by side.
UPDATE: Just talking of Red (by itself, no comparison/mention of SI-2K), David Stump (ASC) likes what he sees of the Red One when he shot with it for a day doing greenscreen tests.
WORKFLOW IN THE FIELD
While the Red One has more options (see Recording Modes above), I think the majority of users of BOTH cameras will record their data in the same way - to the 2.5" drive modules using the respective native, proprietary codecs, 10 (or 12 with Red) bit wavelet compressed or 12 bit uncompressed, full raster, etc.
SI-2K: As I mentioned in the form factor section at the beginning of this beast of an article, the SI-2K can operate as a camcorder or as a split shooting head/DVR setup. Another big, BIG thing they've announced is support for non-destructive LUTs, including 3D LUTs, that can be associated with the footage on a shot by shot basis. Go read the big long post I did the other day on this, specifically the Iridas .look file stuff, It Is Important. The ability to assign different non-destructive LUTs for previewing and recording is SERIOUSLY nice, and a HUGE step forward.
UPDATE Ari Pressler of Silicon Imaging wrote in to point out an oversight on my part:
I think one very powerful configuration is missing in your analysis: The Core 2 Notebook + MINI.
Core 2 Notebook ($2K) + MINI ($12.5K + Accessories) = 2K Recording, look editing station and HD monitoring in Component and DVI for direct projection. If you have a fast enough disk system or enough RAM buffer you can even record 12-bit content, export to DNG (or DPX sequences) and use a fully uncompressed workflow that you already own (no additional cost)! Plug in USB drives for additional mags for the local computer retailer on the corner.
I can shoot on the laptop, edit and transmit/network all from the same device!!
Wireless access to the recorder allows remote desktop operation or exchange of .look file information which can be generated on another station. Wireless connectivity enables adding of Metadata to shot log files and finally instant access to the footage for instant editing.
Yes, that is DEFINITELY a cool and useful option.
Red One: The Red will have a lot of configurations - either gussied up big with all kinds of options hung off the Red Cage or Red Rail systems, or stripped down for Steadicam or handheld work. I haven't heard anything publicly said about LUTs, but it is a known industry issue, and they still have months before they ship.
WINNER: Now, here's where it gets dicey and verrrrrry subjective. There will be those for whom the MINI head configuration is a huge deal - Geoff Boyle is shooting a feature called the Mutant Chronicles and used the MINI head at 72fps to shoot some high speed stuff and in-the-crowd stuff. For some this will be the mission critical factor that makes it a no brainer. On the other side of the fence, the Red One doesn't get THAT small/light/portable, BUT it can be configured at around 15 pounds or less (we've guesstimated) for a self contained, battery powered, 4K Steadicam package with camera, lens, battery, RED-FLASH module, and not be tethered at all. It can also be built up big to handle all kinds of bolt-on accessories, and work with all kinds of fooferall hung off of it - because it is built for that.
You decide for your own projects.
My thought is that more often, most of the time, the overall flexibility of the Red One will get the nod for the greater variety of projects and shooting situations, disregarding the image quality of either camera. But for others, that saucer section separation will be VITAL, or the use of the head with a laptop as well.
When shooting in field to the compressed hard drive recorders, the challenges of in-field backup will almost certainly be identical - you'll need a way to verifiably copy off the data, make sure your copy is good, and ONLY THEN wipe it to return it to use. OR you'll need enough to shoot all day, then it is someone's job to take care of that task before you start shooting again, likely the next day. And if a small crew, someone who has been working all day is probably THE LAST person who should be in charge of deleting all the shoot info off the portable drives.
Suffice it to say, it's an issue of importance, and a new one in this post-tape world.
Blah - I could go on for paragraphs on all this, I'm not going to now. There's lots more to field workflow to be analyzed and discussed though.
UPDATE: OK, it's the next day, and reviewing all this I have some new thoughts at a broader level:
SI-2K: it blurs the line between production and post. With the nondestructive LUT embedding, the ability to record one and preview another, the still store with overlay capabilities of the DVR, the playback and review capabilities of the DVR, and the split head/DVR functionality. It is novel, original, and useful. They've placed their emphasis on this functionality. And since it is just an application running on upgradeable hardware, I see Silicon Imaging continuing to extend the capabilities of the DVR quickly and inexpensively. Ramped frame rate shooting with curves and graphs and triggers? Time lapse? Live grading on set? All doable stuff, they just have to write a Windows app, which is trivial in comparison to pulling that off in dedicated embedded hardware. This will be the area in which SI can potentially shine in the future - high level functionality at a relatively low cost onboard their fairly small system, leveraging that cheap, powerful commodity hardware and the underpinnings of a modern OS. It seems they've focused on building a camera for the post centric pixel crowd like me.
Red One: the Mysterium sensor is really the secret sauce here - the images so far look really good, the resolution and frame rate stuff is amazing. Without it, this would be a much simpler comparison. The real strength of the Red One, beyond that, is flexibility and integration. More emphasis has been placed on interoperability with existing infrastructure, and the shootability of this camera - the Red Rail and Red Cage show this thinking, as does the complete Lego-like modularity of everything. Plus, we don't even know all the capabilities yet - they are further from completion, and haven't revealed all the details yet on their camera. With their clearly larger development budget, they are managing to pull off a lot of things in compact, low power custom silicon that Silicon Imaging is doing on bulkier commodity hardware. Overall, it is a better integrated camera for shooting, and acts more like a camera is traditionally expected to, just with more and better specs than existing cameras have had, with new goodies like tapeless data centric workflow, etc.
WINNER: Will depend on your needs. Personally I like what Red is doing and I'm thinking it will appeal to a broader range of users, but your own needs will vary - what is popular doesn't matter; what works best for you does.
WORKFLOW IN POST
OK, you've shot your footage - now what?
Keeping it simple for the moment, let's pretend you recorded to the 2.5" hard drive solution for either camera.
SI-2K: you copy of the data to your work disk, and if you're running Premiere Pro with Prospect 2K or Prospect HD, you're golden. If you've embedded LUTs, those come along for the ride as well, although exactly how all that works hasn't been revealed or demo'd yet. You can play back, edit, cross dissolve, color correct, etc. in REAL TIME on a sufficiently pimped, up to spec system. It will also graceful degrade under pressure - if it can't pull off the effect in full res & full speed, it'll drop res and/or frame rate to achieve realtime playback. Very nice.
At PRESENT, they have a working, shipping editing solution for HD - Cineform provides that as an add-on to Premiere Pro.
BUT...if you're wanting to edit in Final Cut Pro of Avid...you have to transcode. A time consuming pain. (Redcine, same boat.)
Their plan is to have a QuickTime codec, and it sounds like the goal is to have realtime performance, at least for playback if not effects, within Final Cut Pro.
It is also unclear what the exact workflow will be to get from Cineform RAW compressed into Iridas' Speedgrade. Time will tell.
The plan has long been to get a Mac QuickTime codec implemented, but even if they do that, it isn't a complete solution, or it is at least a limited one.
Even with a Mac QuickTime codec, there will still be issues:
-Cineform RAW decodes to an RGB 10 bit 4:4:4 codec. At present, only Apple generated, 8 bit, 4:2:2 Y'CbCr (aka YUV) support RT Extreme to do things like realtime cross dissolves and color correction. Even if this third party, 10 bit, 4:4:4 codec WERE supported by RT Extreme, FCP at present can only do 8 bit RGB or 10 bit 4:2:2, but not 10 bit 4:4:4 RGB. All barriers to smooth integration, until/unless the major rewrite of FCP I've been hoping for is underway...and since Cineform has been talking about slim resources to help them port even the codec to Mac OS X, I think odds at this time are slim they will get prioritized to get native support in FCP.
By the way, Redcode faces the exact same challenges as well.
So therefore, for efficient editing, some kind of offline may well be required. Especially since the hardware requirements are HIGH for 1080p Cineform RAW editing. And that'll require an offline/online workflow, and conversion...hence transcoding. I asked how this might work, and they suggested After Effects to convert the shots. Which works, up to a point (you lose your timecode, and possibly your metadata, either ditching it undersirably, or baking it in, potentially undersirably). See the above workflow linked article for a link on bludgeoning After Effects to work in batch convert mode.
BUT...I'm talking about the negatives here - if you have or can live with Premiere Pro, with Prospect 2K/HD, on a hoss enough system, and want to grade with Iridas, you're in a great shape, ready to cut native with realtime support. But as soon as you stray from that golden path...
I'm crawling up SI's shorts on this one because they've given a lot of details to critique...which Red does not.
Red One: Now, over on the other side of the fence, Red at this time has zero public commitment from ANY vendor for native support. I know they've been talking to the Three A's from early on, but dunno how far they've gotten. Personally I did see high level Apple folks checking out the booth at NAB and IBC, so that was encouraging (I don't know the "big" Avid folks well enough to pick out their faces, nor the equivalent Adobe folks).
But what they have committed to is a lovely punt play - if you aren't going to have native editing (yet), and/or don't have the recent enough hardware or software to do it even if it were available...you've got Redcine. Redcine is an app to take in your native footage, convert it to any size you want, to any codec you have installed on your machine you could "normally" write to from any QT/WM aware app (or standard still image sequence format), and even do some simple (curves, white point, gamma, etc.) color correction on it, and save THAT metadata to be associated with the "session" if not the file.
Redcine is a Mac/PC app under development and I've just seen bits and pieces of it a month ago, and I've no idea how fast or slow it'll be to convert the footage (EDIT - yes I do - read this, it'll definitely be GPU accelerated and probably multi-processor as well), but the idea is a solid one - if you have that codec installed, or you need a DPX/Cineon/JP2K/TIFF/PSD sequence, you can get it there in a timely but not instantaneous fashion.
Redcine will work on either compressed or uncompressed footage from the Red camera.
In theory, you could also play live out of the camera over the HD-SDI into your system to capture, but that only works for HD & possibly 2Kx1080 modes at best, with some trickiness about maintaining timecode, etc.
OK, enough on this, moving on.
WINNER: assuming both were shipping and working the way they say they will...something of a muddled tie with no clear winner. Cineform already has a working solution deployed, but is limited to the #3 NLE at this time. Exactly how a future Mac codec will work in FCP is TBD, and Avid will definitely require transcoding. Red has zero committed native NLE support at this time, will also have a codec for Macs that will face the exact same challenges as Cineform in terms of the 10 bit RGB/YUV/RT muddle, but they do have the Redcine software to convert to any codec on any system. Really great functionality on a less preferred system, or guaranteed (but time consuming) conversion for everybody on everything...no clear winner there. Depends on your individual needs, and one could reasonably score it either way I think.
SI-2K: MINI head alone, $12,500. Requires a computer to record onto, useless by itself. Want the DVR too? Then the DVR+MINI combo is $20,000. Want Prospect HD to edit with in Premiere Pro? Then it is $22,000. (And no, you can't run Prospect HD on the DVR.) The good news is that if you have an existing computer that can run the software and you can live tethered, $12,500 gets you in the door. Then you need lenses. But with lenses, you're ready to go, and prepared to edit (still need that computer & Premiere Pro) for $22K. But don't forget just buying the head and recording to your own laptop/desktop as well.
Red One: Just the body and a battery or two (and as of info I've got from IBC, no viewfinder, just LCD), that comes with no recording media or lens, $17,500. Recording media starts at or under $1000 a pop, for 32 GB solid state or 40+ GB of hard drive based storage. Want to shoulder mount? Pony up for the Red Rail system, price unknown, but in line with the rest of the accessories.
The only other prices known are for the lenses - $4995 for the f.28 300mm prime (roughly concurrent ship date with the Red One), or $9500 for the f2.8 18-85mm zoom (expected end of 2007).
So really, NOT including lenses, the SI-2K is around $22K plus "some more" for additional storage, price unknown, capacity unknown.
A similarly "ready" Red One would be $17,500 for the body, plus $1000ish for one RED-DRIVE.
Both need lenses and further accessories from there, you're dreaming of Pegahorns (horse+wings+unihorn) if you think you're done at that point. What accessories will you need? At least one lens, probably more. More recording media, amount varies. A good set of sticks. Beyond that, depends on you and your needs. Matte boxes? Follow focus? Shoulder mount? Stack of batteries? It depends.
This leads me into thoughts on all this - having spent at least a decent amount of time talking to both teams, it is clear that they both want to utilize the latest recording possibilities (RAW, data-centric, wavelet, 10+ bits, etc.), with the best large sensor they could reasonably find, and make a good camera to shoot movies with. Both teams realized that a camera was nothing without a post workflow, and so they set out to partner up with the vendors and/or make software solutions to ensure the footage could be ingested, edited, and output.
And that, very roughly speaking, based on what I know, is what SI focused on - to make the camera, using the insight of basing it on existing high powered, inexpensive commodity hardware as a quick way to get a lot of power in a short amount of time and have great flexibility to implement new capabilities.
Over in the Red camp, however, the ambitions seemed to be a little broader - Red is going to also have their own lenses and accessories, and invite others to come and make compatible accessories as well. Everywhere there was an existing standard that worked for their needs, they hewed to it. Everywhere there wasn't something good enough to meet their goals, they invented it. So the camera is pretty backwards compatible - the HD-SDIs, the audio interfaces, etc. But it also reaches forward with new capabilities as well. And to interact with more of the shooting world, they focused beyond just the camera to work in a wide range of shooting situations (little camera for minimum size/weight or big camera for a stable mounting platform?).
WINNER: the prices are close once storage is factored in (esp. with the ambiguous pricing/bundling of Redcine), the feature sets are different, but I personally feel the Red offers better bang for the probably lesser buck. The split head functionality, the added functionality of the DVR (which is great) I feel is outweighed by the superior shooting/working feature set of the Red One. Feel free to disagree with me on this, but that's how I see it.
Financial Backing & Partnerships
There's also some other factors - both cameras are from startups (EDIT: not true, Red is a startup from a billionaire, Silicon Imaging has been in business for 5 years - so both new ENTRANTS, but neither really a startup in the traditional, from-the-garage sense), but Red is clearly the better funded and backed entity. The market will have to prove whether customers are comfortable with either new startup to trust their money with. Red started taking pre-orders at NAB, and closed pre-orders at the end of October with over 1000 pre-orders for the Red One camera. Silicon Imaging is taking a more conservative approach and has not taken pre-orders as yet. Red's management and backing clearly gives them substantial lead here. While the SI-2K is a great idea, the team behind Red is more experienced, better connected, and better funded, and there were LOTS of meetings at NAB with vendors wanting to get into the Red accessories market. I don't have similar information about Silicon Imaging's backing.
Red has assembled an impressive team of industry veterans to run their program; I don't know enough about SI's team to compare so I'll leave it at that.
Both companies have established partnerships with other vendors - Silicon Imaging is further along with working software, and partners with Adobe very tightly through Cineform (another partner of SI), and Iridas recently got on board as well.
Red has announced they'll be developing products with AJA, and seems to have a close relationship with Assimilate, maker of SCRATCH (they were in the Red booth at NAB and were credited for color correcting the 4K footage at IBC), but no formal announcement has been made.
But the money question - clearly Red is massively better backed financially than Silicon Imaging...and that matters in business. Red is being taken more seriously from what I can tell, and will likely outsell SI by a significant margin. Again, this doesn't matter as much if you want one for your project, but does matter in terms of whether people will trust their money to a company for a product - will they be around to support it in a few years? Knowing more about the Red team, I have greater confidence in them, but I don't know as much about Silicon Imaging so that isn't an entirely fair comparison.
Now, I'm open to being off base here, but based on my exposure/experience I think the Red guys have it here. Superior specifications (if they can deliver, looks good so far), a broader reach & concept of execution, small enough to be nimble, ambitious of scope, great team, and enough money to get done in custom hardware development what they needed, and especially find (wherever they did) that Mysterium sensor (the true secret sauce of the Red One, without it it'd be a much closer comparison to the SI-2K).
I think Silicon Imaging has a great concept and was well timed in their goal to be a revolutionary new camera and disrupt the existing players...until Red got in the game.
SI's advantage (or niche) will be:
-first to market advantage by a few months, lets them build traction
-ready to roll with realtime support for Premiere Pro editors with a Prospect 2K/HD capable system
-available, known, and working while Red isn't
-and the biggie - that detachable head functionality - for some this will be The New Way - to let an operator work up front, but to be able to instantly and nonlinearly play back on set, test grade, etc. right there on set, practically live (or literally so). For certain shoots, this'll be great.
-the tiny head functionality - will let that setup go places a Red won't/can't fit, and will be a deciding factor for some projects and/or shots
Red's advantages, if they meet their stated goals and the specs don't change, will be:
-I think and expect better image quality, but I'm open to being reasonably disagreed with - need to see more outdoor footage of similar nature and compare/contrast between the two. People see color/contrast first, THEN resolution. I hate to pick favorites when I'm involved in the race, but that's how I think it is going to go down - the 4K stuff was sooo clean, I think dynamic range is the last area not ably proven - show us some bright daylight shots please
-more acceptance from higher end shooters with the readiness for accessories
-more frame rate options
-more recording/shooting options & modes
-better depth of field capabilities
-easier integration into a wider range of systems - while PPro/ProspectHD is great, that's a smallllll subset of the market. If you're a shooter, not likely to be able to hand over a FireWire drive and say "Here you go, you're ready." to a client. With Redcine (admittedly, price unknown, don't even know if bundled with camera), there's a provable solution, even if you have to convert it for your clients yourself (yeah could AE convert, but again, a known expense and a production in and of itself).
-overall, just MORE, and more flexible choices, based on a broader vision of capabilities. That quote about "the power of AND, the tyranny of OR" says a lot
It is just a better thought out solution from what I can tell and have experienced. The SI is a glorious "Hey, what if!?" - well executed, but the enabling thought - "Build it around a computer, use off the shelf high powered commodity tech" is also a limitation that holds it back in some ways (while gloriously enabling it in others). The sensor is also a limitation - it is good...but not great. It is great for the price point...but may not be good enough as compared to the new competition on its heels.
Red has, however, been riding the ragged edge of "Hey, lookit me!" and it has garnered them some ill will from those too often burned by claims of Sliced Bread 2.0. If they should fail to deliver, or be noticeably late, or back off substantially or crucially on any of their specs, there will be a mighty hue and cry raised from the industry. A dangerous game. But...they've been delivering so far and it is looking good.
OK, it's after 1am, I've been writing for over 5 hours I think on this one (7806 words so far).
UPDATE WRITTEN NEXT MORNING: In the end, I'm starting to see these two cameras as reflecting very different philosophies, that will appeal to different users.
SI-2K: for those working on a set, that want to potentially split the DVR & head to have instant live playback from a desk on set, or need to get the shooting head in truly tiny spaces, and are happy with the image quality, this will have a lot of appeal, probably to folks more used to computers and post workflows. It is a modular form factor, with the ability to split in two as the major feature in that area. The touchscreen can be removed and relocated, but there does not appear to be much thought (as yet in last design I saw) given to mounting other accessories on the camera body. But we'll have to wait and see the final design to judge that.
Red One: for more traditional shooters, out in the field, that are more focused in shooting requirements - resolution, frame rates, dynamic range, and especially interoperability with accessories, and just a general flexibility due to the kind of modularity they've decided to go with - instead of the main body split, the smallest "atom" of the camera is the body itself, with viewfinder, LCD panel, handles, shoulder mount kit, etc. all removable and optional. The 5 different recording options, etc...it appears at present to be a better thought out whole, more of a system instead of just a camcorder. (Not that touchscreen etc. can't be removed from SI-2K either).
Overall, there's still tons I haven't addressed here yet. Check out the:
-tech specs:Silicon Imaging SI-2K and Red One
-workflow: SI-2K and Red One
-image galleries: SI-2K and Red One
Again, this is all just my opinion, and a 5 hour non-stop first draft at that with some touchups the next day. I'd like to have a balanced piece out there, so chime in with your own thoughts. I'm friendly with both teams, but obviously have a closer connection with the Red folks, so I know their DNA better. Chime in in the comments section and I'll integrate the valid points over time as I can into the text.
The good news is that these two new cameras will be coming to market next year if all goes as planned. In the end, it is surprising how much they do have in common:
-modular/configurable form factor, moreso than regular camcorders
-data centric, tapeless recording
-full raster, 10 (now Redcode is 10 or 12) bit wavelet based proprietary RAW codecs to 2.5" hard drives
-12 bit RAW uncompressed recording as well
-record to small form factor disks, then copy to a computer/other hard drive
-emphasis on the post solution with a desire for widespread native NLE support
-variable frame rates
-720, 1080, & 2K resolutions all from same camera
-windowed/cropped sensor mode for lower resolution, smaller lens coverage, but higher frame rates
-higher than video frame rates
-multiple lens mounts available
...and that means as filmmakers, we'll all benefit, not just from the particulars of these two cameras - and if they are successful, what it will force the majors to respond with?
OK, just so everybody's clear - I've worked two tradeshows with Red, I've been in meetings with them, under NDA etc.. I'm trying to be as fair as possible to both parties - am I missing any points, any categories? Chime away with the Comments link below if you think I'm off base or missing anything here.
UPDATES, ROUND 1:
-I compare the non-shipping Redcine to the currently shipping Cineform 2K, and make comments about no Final Cut support - this is temporal imbalance! Cineform is working on a Mac codec, will be able to edit in FCP, but FCP has problems/limits with 10b444 footage - Redcode will have exact same issues.
-I failed to mention the wireless capabilities of the SI-2K - I don't understand how exactly it is used, but will incorporate once I do
-BOTH cameras have upgradeable sensors - the SI-2K is an external unit and hence has more flexibility in its upgradeability - it can be whatever shape will still attach. The Red Mysterium sensor, if they come out with an upgrade for it, will have to fit the size/shape/power/thermal constraints of the inside of the current camera - a tougher engineering challenge. But both are, in theory, quite upgradeable, SI just seems like it would be easier. If they got a new sensor on par with the Mysterium, it would be a much more interesting comparison.
Links to products mentioned:
Red / RED ONE
Silicon Imaging Products
CineForm RAW Technology
Apple - Final Cut Studio
UPDATE ROUND 2
Ari Pressler of Silicon Imaging took the time to read through this beast, and I've folded his comments into the text of the article. Significant areas of change:
1.) the ability to use the MINI head with your own laptop (not just the DVR) for capture, control, playback, look editing, monitoring, etc.
2.) more info on lens mounts
3.) Recording modes and digital magazines
4.) Data rate info on codecs
5.) screenshot of the UI
also, graphic at top of article - I coulda built it, but I'm lazy, I blatantly lifted it from DVguru.com, so thanks and apologies to those guys (but Teh Luv for the link guys, thanks!)
Also, there's been some new developments concerning Redcine, Redcode, Cineform vs Redcode, etc., in two articles here and here
DV Expo is a prosumer grade show - not really geared for feature production, but video production, but lots of good stuff to get you started if you're a beginner. They have classes running Nov. 12-17, Conference tracks running 14-17, and an expo the 15-17th. The only drag is that the expo doesn't open until noon the first two days, so I will have to rearrange my travel to see any of it. Some of the exhibitors of interest showing will be:
AJA, 16x9, ARRI, Automatic Duck, Bogen, CalDigit, Canon, Avid, Canopus, Digital Anarchy, Digital Cinematography, Flip4Mac, GenArts, Gridiron, JVC, Kon Flo, LaCie, NewTek, Panasonic, ProMax, Re:Vision Effects, Serious Magic, Sony, Sorenson, Telestream, VASST, and others.
Yeah, I should stay an extra day in LA and check this out (I'm flying out for the Red 4K screening on the 14th). As usual, I'm available for consulting while I'm out there, if you'd like to meet to discuss projects or studio setups or how to set up for a Red One workflow, email me at mike at hdforindies d0t com.
ALSO there will be a meeting of the LA Final Cut Pro User Group at 7pm on the 15th. Ted Schilowitz from Red, Steve Bayes (product manager of Final Cut Pro), Ben Aein from Red Lightning Software will demo the brand new “DV Monitor,” and filmmaker Mike Goubeaux who will show his award winning music video, "Trains."
A raffle with prizes totaling over $10,000 will wrap up the evening.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sorry for delay, I'm back, wasn't feeling well for several days and was bed/couch bound.
So first up - Silicon Imaging came out with a press release last week, changing a lot of details about their camera.
The biggest news is that it will do a true, native 2K - 2048x1152; the other is that they are changing the way they present the two pieces of the camera - it used to be presented as "the camera" where the head could be removed; now they are pitching it as a DVR and a MINI head, that it just so happens you can put together to have a freestanding, battery powered camera.
For those unfamiliar with the camera, the way I see it there are four Big Deals about this camera:
1.) It is basically a battery powered (if you wish) computer with a sensor/lens on it, which allows for all kinds of quick clever low cost feature development and implementation.
2.) It records in a compressed RAW format, which keeps datarate low and tweakability high in post (wavelet based Cineform RAW codec). If you're not aware of the benefits of RAW, they are huge - it is the same thing as shooting RAW on your digital still camera - you get ALL the info off the sensor.
3.) It can be split into two sections - a recording head and a DVR, and be connected soley via a gigabit ethernet cable between them, allowing for long cables runs and putting the sensor/lens package in tight spaces.
4.) And oh yeah, it'll shoot full progressive HD or 2K, at user selectable frame rates up to 72 fps. You can shoot compressed or uncompressed RAW (assuming you have the storage system that is fast enough).
New stuff from press release:
-NEW NAME: It is now called the Silicon Imaging SI-2K. Thank god, I the old name was too much of a mouthfull. Simple, clean, good.
-NEW MODES: You can shoot 1920x1080 progressive or 2048x1152
-RECORDING STYLES: (not new but worthy of clarification) - if you just by the mini head (the sensor package), you can record onto a sufficiently hoss (Core 2 Duo recommended) laptop - you don't have to by the DVR unless you want to.
You can then edit the footage using Cineform's Prospect 2K (which also handles HD resolutions) software that is an add-on to Adobe's Premiere Pro application.
-native 2048x1152 maximum recording resolution
-10 bit, full raster (no horizontal shrinking like HDV and DVCPRO HD) Cineform RAW codec recording (wavelet based, very efficient)
-claimed dynamic range of over 10 f-stops
-touch screen interface (pretty nifty, I've seen it/played with it at NAB)
-IT friendly connectivity
-if recording to the onboard storage, it is just a USB 2.0 drive - simple and easy to transfer data off of
-be sure to see last week's article about their Iridas partnership
-a full workflow, albeit limited to certain tools at this point in time (see above linked article for Q&A on that subject)
-non-destructive LUTs that can be affiliated with footage on a shot by shot basis (VERY nice)
The SI-2K MINI is just the sensor and some circuitry in a palm sized block, with a GigE port on the back (power too? Can't recall). Geoff Boyle has been using one on the set of a movie he's the DoP on:
"The Silicon Imaging camera is truly amazing," states Cinematographer Geoff Boyle. "The SI-2K MINI is small enough to be placed directly in a scene for point-of-view shots, used on robotic arms for model photography or incorporate two side-by-side for stereo 3-D. We used it on 'Mutant Chronicles,' a Sci-Fi feature with over 1500 visual effect shots. We shot flames and explosions using the 72fps slow motion mode and the recordings display smooth tonal gradations and natural colors. Finally, the director can immediately see full-resolution instant replays, without having to wait for film dailies or color correction."
Cineform's Prospect 2K software, which is an optional add-on when purchasing (or available separately), lets you edit and color correct the Cineform RAW footage directly with no conversion - this is a SIGNIFICANT feature and capability, a big time saver on set.
One of my few complaints with this camera is that it is at present only compatible with Adobe's Premiere Pro, and then only with Prospect 2K/HD. That is however a temporary situation - they already have QuickTime working with their codec under Windows, and are working on a Mac OS X implementation as well. More workflow info coming over the next few weeks they say.
OK, all this is great, but what's it cost?
The SI-2K DVR with a hot-swap drive cartridge system and the MINI camera head (all you need to shoot with) is going to be $20K, and a bundle that also includes Prospect 2K is $22K (extra two grand). Estimated ship date in January '07. If you just want the SI-2K MINI (the sensor head), that will be available starting sometime in December and cost $12,500. Combine that with a sufficiently powerful laptop or desktop unit and you can record in the field/studio with the tiny sensor package and a lens, tethered to the computer by a simple, cheap gigabit ethernet cable.
For more info, see Silicon Imaging's or Cineform's websites.
At first I didn't quite get what they were changing, so I emailed Ari Pressler of Silicon Imaging and he was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions and walk me through it. There's some golden goody info in here, worth reading. Here's how our email exchange went:
Q (from Mike): I see 2K listed now - is it a natively 2K camera? As in does the chip have 2048x1152 pixels, or is it stretching up from 1920x1080 to get there?
A: Native 2048x1152. You can use the extra res for supersampled HD or overscan to pan/scan. I would think most will "shoot on silicon" at 2K even if distribution format is HD.
Q: I see 10 bit Cineform and 12 bit uncompressed listed - is it possible to use either of those modes at either HD or 2K res? Is there any limitation on mix & match of res & compressed/uncompressed?
A: You can mix and match. The only restriction is in the DVR, the data rate for 12-bit uncompressed to disk is faster than internal USB rates. Therefore, you may need to use external SATA or Notebook with dual-drives if doing long shots.
Q: I see talk on the mini-head and the DVR - what of the main camera? Is this the new product, or is there still going to be a camcorder offered as we've expected? Sorry if I'm just being dense here.
A: The DVR is the full Camcorder with Mini which can either be attached to the front of camera or tethered up to 300ft away over GigE.
Q: Any changes on the form factor from last I saw at IBC? Is that still going to happen going forward - a smaller form factor, or is the switch to mini-head and DVR the new, only modality?
A: The form factors have changed. The MINI is smaller than SI-1920 camera head before (65mm wide) and there will be a new design for the DVR which we have not yet released.
Still with the questions, I came back for more, asking about the difference between the old & new offerings, etc.
Q: So, it is as much a repositioning (marketing-speak-wise) as well as a physical reconfiguration - there will still be an all-in-one, it is just the DVR attached to the head, or the head its removable.
Other than the size discrepancies, is this akin to the Genesis in that you can run it in camera remote connected as well as all-in-one self contained, battery powered camcorder mode?
I'm just trying to understand the overall theme here.
BTW, this is clever as all hell.
A:You dont need to buy a separate MINI it is part of the DVR package. Like a 2-for-1 deal!
When you buy the Battery-Powered DVR (MINI + embedded core 2 duo processing system + GPU + USB HDD cartridge + DC/DC Power Supplies) you can remove the MINI head (optical block) from the front of the DVR body and extend the Ethernet cable to 100m or convert to fiber for longer distances....Batteries not included :-).
We often see VGA to CAT-5 extenders used for moving the viewfinder to the
location of the Mini, as well. Then you use 2 CAT-5 cables.
Had some more operational questions for Jason over there, he answered the following:
Q: Does the head need it's own power or does it derive it from the GigE?
If the head does need power, how much? Could you have a "local" battery up by the head and just run one or two GigE's back to the video village setup?
A: It needs it's own power, but it's only 5-6W, nothing really. Small batteries can do the trick. We use small Anton Bauers (Dionic 90's) to keep the head and LCD screen running all day.
Q: And HEY, has anybody gotten this to work on a Mac Pro under Boot Camp? THAT would be a trip....or one of the new servers, if/when they ever ship.
A: Yep, already done that :)
Q: ....and at $2000 bundled, does Prospect 2K INCLUDE Premiere Pro, or is PPro required as well? Is Prospect 2K/HD an add-on to PPro, or a full solution including it? And for 2Kx1152, do the Kona3 or BlackMagic display that and play it in realtime out the HD-SDI or component outputs?
A: As far as monitoring 2K, you'll need an AJA Xena (or I guess Kona on the Mac when the QT versions come out) card for Prospect, not Blackmagic. Has to-do with the on-board frame-buffering on the AJA cards that the Blackmagic cards don't have.
AJA cards do a real-time crop to 1080P for monitoring from the 2K signal.
I (Mike) got clarification from Cineform last night - the $2000 Prospect HD DOES include Premiere Pro, so you DO have a complete editing software solution included in that $22K bundle. At $2000, that's a $1300 savings over buying Prospect HD and Premiere Pro separately.
Q: Output from DVR for monitoring etc.:
any plans for HD-SDI integration? Does your mobo have PCI-X or PCIe slots?
A: Monitoring is via DVI, which can be converted to both HDMI or HD-SDI.
There is a PCIe x16 slot, but that has the video card in it.
(Mike's comment - but that also means that it is limited to 8 bit, as DVI is strictly 8 bit...but for field monitoring, this is probably acceptable most of the time)
So this means that you can shoot 2K, uncompressed, on an itty bitty remote head, with one or two gigabit ethernet cables (quite small) running back to a laptop or desktop unit, with live monitoring. Pretty rockin'.
They also gave a presentation last Friday at Abel Cine, and Paul Nordin attended and posted his comments in a thread over at DVInfo.net. His major takeaway:
-not all of the pieces discussed are working/demonstrable yet (notably the Iridas Look file integration)
-no fully CC'd footage shown as yet
-mention of a second generation chip, sounds like sensor chip
-LOTS of cool, only-because-it-is-a-computer UI functionality, like a still store 50% transparency overlay (NICE!)
-still no sync sound or sync'd timecode if I'm understanding correctly
There's LOTS of discussion about audio recording in the rest of that thread here.
Mike's takeaway as of now:
Considering how close they are to their claimed ship date (January '07, and I'm writing this Nov. 6, '06) and their price point, this is one of the most interesting cameras to watch at this time. As their feature set and form factor start to nail down (we haven't seen final form factor yet), the character of this camera, if not the image quality, it starting to come into focus. The main benefits as I see it are:
-the advantages of shooting RAW as opposed to highly processed Y'CbCr
-native compressed editing in a major NLE (albeit Adobe, top of the heap of "everybody else" in feature editing after Avid & FCP)
-REALLY high quality for that compressed footage - it is 10 bits/channel, full raster - you'd have to go to the $100,000 decks to get that kind or recording quality, such as D-5 or HDCAM SR...and that's essentially a $9500 option. Within this price range, either DVCPRO HD (8 bit, 1280x1080, 100 mbit) or HDV (8 bit, 1440x1080 but heavily compressed 25mbit)
-flexible shooting modes - either the all-in-one package of DVR+MINI head, or the remote head with the remote DVR.
-up to 72 fps, but I think that is if you drop the res to 720p - is this right? Somebody bust me if I'm wrong on this one.
-but timecode sync, sync sound, and onboard sound are still unincluded, unresolved issues...but addressable ones over time.
-stuck with Premiere Pro ONLY right now for native editing. While it is possible to transcode with tools like After Effects, it is a bit of a task...which I discussed among other things in this article.
-no Mac solution....today
-no 1080i native acquisition...but that really isn't the market these folks are going after, anyway.
UPDATE - YES CAN DO TIMECODE - Jason emailed to correct me: "BTW, quick clarification . . . we DO have timecode, it's just time-of-day free-run right now . . . we'll be adding record run and LTC-syncing soon." ...which is one of the nice things about being software based - just update the app and BOOM! New features via software patch! Love it!
I just can't say enough about how important the RAW workflow is. The fact that you'll have the choice to do as "little" as Cineform compressed 1080p (something in the ballpark of 100 megabits), up to 12 bit uncompressed RAW is GREAT. The primary benefit of RAW, esp. uncompressed, is that you're getting ALL of the data the sensor is capturing, so that there are a minimum of destructive choices made at the point of acquisition (although you can still under/overexpose, be out of focus, etc.). But in terms of image processing, very little is done that will degrade the image, destructively change the image, etc. And with non-destructive embedded metadata for LUTs, you can make creative decisions that you can undo later in post - which is a HUGE consideration when working with a medium like digital where once a highlight clips, it is GONE, whereas with film it is often recoverable. I'll soon write about this at length, but it is a big, big deal.
It looks like these guys will ship 2-4 months ahead of the Red One, the other HD+ resolution, any frame rate, large sensor, IT centric based camera due out early next year. They are different animals, and I'll have more to say comparing and contrasting them in the future.
They have some news as well, workin' on that article next.
First off, Red has added a PUBLIC SCREENING of 4K footage on November the 14th at 2:30 pm, you just have to go register on their site. It'll be at the Nuart Theater, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles, map here. Now ANYBODY can go, not just VIPs & press. Just gotta sign up first, and be aware parking's a pain in that vicinity, leave some time to hunt & hike.
They've also updated their stills gallery with two new images, both of which are 4K:
This one is "4K MYSTERIUM® Frame Capture, Shot with the RED 300mm f2.8 lens, 24fps at 1/48 sec. 4.9k 12 bit, down-converted to 4k, down-converted to 8 bit jpeg. No noise reduction, No sharpening." It is a closeup of a woman's face outdoors on an overcast day. Previous versions of this image had been posted online at 2K, and I thought I was seeing clumpy de-Bayering - nope, you can actually make out the clumpiness of her eyelash makeup. Yeah, 4K will require some rethinking of makeup and filtering, that's for damn sure.
This other one is from the same shoot, but is a wide shot with two women in frame. According to the site, "This frame grab was shot 4.9K REDCODE RAW 12 bit, downrezzed to 4k and converted to 8 bit jpeg. Cooke 65mm lens, 24fps at 1/48th sec. Original REDCODE RAW frame is 2.5MB" which would lead me to think they shot it, compressed with Redcode, decoded it, then re-encoded to make a JPEG of it. Not bad for a twice compressed image! Still LOTS of detail in there.
Also turns out I was wrong about the 100:1 compression thing - it WAS 100:1. Got an email pointing out " that wasnt bad math, that was a comparison of a 50mb 4k debayered RGB 16bit Tif frame vs a 500kb 4k R4K frame.. it actually does work out to 100:1." So fair enough - original image was about 12 bits of info, but no 12 bit format so 16 bit TIFFs used, by the time all crunched down was 100:1. Graeme (guy responsible for that code) ROCKS LIKE SLAYER.
So, the math breakdown on that one: 12 bit Bayer image converted to 16 bit/channel TIFF, a 50 MB file. Conversion to Redcode RAW codec, 556 kb, so roughly 100:1 compression...he had it right after all! Apologies Jim.
I'll be attending that Nov. 14th screening, and if at all possible will taser Ted and tie him down and get some answers from him on a variety of fronts, and try to hit up Jim and Graeme as well for answers from their departments as well.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Here's a bunch of stuff of recent interest, this is all I can do about it.
There's also a bunch of Silicon Imaging news I'm digesting that's worthy of taking the time for its own entry, will get to when I can.
So here's some stuff:
The Prolific Alan Smithee - DV Guru
Apple - Boot Camp
new version 1.1.2, with new features:
* Support for the latest Intel-based Macintosh computers
* Easier partitioning using presets for popular sizes
* Ability to install Windows XP on any internal disk
* Support for built-in iSight cameras
* Support for built-in microphones
* Support for the Apple USB Modem
* Trackpad scrolling and right-click support on Apple Laptops
* Improved Apple keyboard support including Delete, PrintScreen, NumLock, and ScrollLock keys
* Improved International Apple keyboard support
LG unveils specs of Flatron M4200D 2D/3D display - Engadget
Reel Pop: Metacafe's Pay Scheme Goes Live
Wired News: Runner-Up Takes on YouTube
Is the Internet A Long Tail Ghetto ? - Blog Maverick
This one is goooooooood. It is all about the vert ramp.
CinemaTech: Monday news: HD `cascading effect,' Cuban, Digital Cinematography Tiff in the Phillipines, Brightcove, and Metacafe
CinemaTech: From CNET: Among Tech Enthusiasts, Skepticism on Next-Gen DVD Formats
GridIron Nucleo Pro
GridIron Nucleo Pro for Adobe After Effects 7.0
How Final Cut Pro calculates Broadcast Wave File Time at a Video Rate of 29.97 frames per second
Niche geeky, but for those using audio recorders that generate BWF files, this is damn good to know. Covers how audio samples are mapped to video frames, including drop frame timecode.
TrekToday - Original Series Remastered in HD, Widescreen May Be Next
CinemaTech: More ShowEast News ... WSJ on `The Onyx Project' ... YouTube pulls Comedy Central Clips
My Rant on Adobe and Soundbooth - DV Guru
don't forget my rebuttal
Studio Daily | Focus Enhancements Releases New Line of HD FS-4 Portable DTE Recorders
Brightcove wants to make you rich - DV Guru
Studio Daily | Red Giant Partners with Trapcode: "Red Giant Software Is Now Exclusive Publisher of Trapcode Products Worldwide"
Final Cut Pro: Multiclips may lose sync if "Remove Subclip Limits" is used: "Issue
If you have a multiclip that has unexpectedly lost sync between its constituent clips, check to see if any of those clips are subclips.
It's perfectly fine to create multiclips comprised of subclips, but there's an important caveat to keep in mind:
Avoid using the Remove Subclip Limits command on any subclips which are included as parts of multiclips. If you do so, the timing of that subclip within the multiclip may fall out of sync with the other parts of the multiclip.
This document will be updated as more information becomes available."
Cineon DPX Pro QuickTime Component 2.0.2 - VersionTracker
What's new in this version:
Several Bugfixes addressing export panel, Certain DPX frames not loading, and speed improvements
New Import FrameRate AND Timecode controls.
Timecode In & Out
Spotlight Plugin for searching keycodes and timecodes
Improved file handling and movie loading.
View Header information about image file. Items such as colorimetric information, byte packing info, image depth, image size, transfer method, project name, slate info, etc.
User editable Project or Image description fields are now accessible in the Cineon or DPX headers.
YCbCr coefficients can be selected when loading YUV encoded DPX frames
Override header information, so that you can choose which colorspace to open an image in.
For FCP, you can specify the "Reel" name, or use a header field from the DPX file header.
MotionDSP announces first product, The Ikena System - DV Guru
Software uses iMovie to break iTunes DRM - DV Guru
$1000 Speilberg - DV Guru
Making a space scene without CGI - DV Guru
CinemaTech: Videos from Digimart, `The International Digital Cinema Market'
CinemaTech: Is Barry Diller edging back into the entertainment world?
CinemaTech: Comedy Central clips (but not whole episodes) are back on YouTube
MAKE: Blog: DIY Halloween - amazing costumes, scary tech, pumpkins and gross food - officially awesome
Fortune's scariest tech of 2006: Unbox, HD-DVD/Blu-Ray - DV Guru
Wired News: Technology of the Beast
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Bad blogger Mike! I shoulda posted this one earlier - HD Expo is tomorrow (1 day event):
November 2, 2006
Universal City, CA
Hilton Hotel Universal City
1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Read the above link for more info, online registration closed, $45 at the door to attend.
Ooops oops oops, bad math. I didn't double check, and Jim (or somebody at Red) ran the math down wrong - this image was compressed at 25 to 1, NOT 100:1 as previously stated. I'll cut him some slack for inadvertent bad math since the email came in after 1AM on Halloween night, and it's not in his nature to BS stuff.
So it is a bit less than HALF, NOT 1/10th, of the datarate expected to be used on the Red camera. Double checking the math: 556KB*24fps=13.34 MB/sec, which is 48% of the datarate of 27.5 MB/sec quoted at IBC for 4K @ 24fps. So this looks pretty good, imagine if it had twice the bandwidth. For comparison's sake, this is slightly below DVCPRO HD 1080i60 datarates, which only does 1280x1080, not 2048x1152 as exampled here...and this sample was then compressed to a JPEG, so it was been through the ringer twice.
(Oops, Blogger resized that image - click here for full size, courtesy DVInfo.net) Things are clearly moving along at Red - got another email from Jim last night, this time with a 1 MB 2Kx1152 JPEG that Jim says came from a 25:1 compression ratio pass through their REDCODE codec. A single 4K frame at that compression takes up 556 kilobytes. Take a look and see for yourself how that compression holds up. Then keep in mind that shipping Redcode will be about 10 or 12 to 1 compression - about twice the data rate of this sample REDCODE RAW image, hence less compression than this. While all that background blur is cheap/easy to compress, the detail in her skin and hair is not.
As usual, best viewed under Adobe RGB 1998 color profile in Photoshop, and click on the image for the full 2K size view.
This makes me feel better about how the REDCODE codec is going to hold up in production.
UPDATE: ...and this was shot with their Red 300mm prime prototype. They must have been pretty far back from the subject. You can tell which eyelash is in the focal plane and which is not.
ALSO - the included JPEG I'm linking to is only 1K wide, it's a Blogger limitation or something, so this image has been THRICE compressed. To see the REAL 2K image, go here