9th May 2011
Our industry needed Red One, but does not need Scarlet. The Red revolution shocked the world. Some cynics dismissed it, some sat on the fence, and many jumped in scarcely believing that so much resolution could be bought for so little money. Then we had to get to grips with handling it. That took a while, but we got there. And the results are for all the world to see. Blockbuster movies, indie films, documentaries, dramas, low to no budget shorts, commercials galore and so on. Everybody loves it…now. So why I wonder are Red Digital Cinema trying to do much the same again with Scarlet. Smaller, lighter, cheaper – that’s good. Big sensor, shallow depth of field – that’s good too. But it’s already been done. Hasn’t it? The Canon 5D Mk II was also a revolution for moving image makers, though I think it took the manufacturer by surprise. Great image, shallow depth of field, and a price so low it is scarcely worth a second thought. Now Sony and Panasonic have caught up with choices to suit most budgets. These cameras, from Sony especially, come with that comfortable feeling you get from a name you already trust. There’s the F3 from Sony, looking quite Red One like with a super 35mm size sensor, PL lens mount, dual link HDSDI out and on-board SxS card recording. There’s the highly regarded Arri Alexa, Panasonic’s 4/3 type AVCHD camera, as well as Sony’s forthcoming 35mm. NXCAM camera.
The Red One was successfully sold on-line to people in an industry who can look after themselves. Scarlet too will probably only have an on-line community for support. I wonder if we really need to take this risk again? What do you think?