Red Digital Cinema looks to have stolen the show at NAB once again with the launch of three new products including the much anticipated ‘pocket' pro-sumer digital cinema camera Scarlet.
Not much more than a year ago the digital camera world was turned on its head by Red Digital Cinema which brought out the Red One, a camera that achieves 4k pictures with an 11.4-megapixel sensor, captures 60 frames per second and costs just $17,500 (£9k).
At NAB it announced three new things, one of which looks like it is even more revolutionary than the Red One. But I'll start with the good, but not as exciting as Scarlett, stuff.
Epic and Red Ray
Epic is a 5k monster that is more expensive than the Red One but also delivers significantly better resolution. It uses a full-frame S35mm Mysterium X sensor that matches the quality of 35mm film and is a step-up from the sensor found in the original Red One. The EPIC can also shoot frame rates of up to 100 frames per second.
It won't be available until early next year and I have no idea how much it will cost yet. But, interestingly, if you buy a Red One today (at roughly£10k) you can exchange it and receive full credit towards the Epic when it comes out.
The other not-as-exciting new toy from Red is dubbed Red Ray. It's a playback unit for, well, playing back high resolution files created by the Red One, Epic or Scarlet. It will be available early next year.
Onto the really intriguing stuff. Scarlett is not the 2k camera that many were predicting. Instead it is capable of 3k resolution, has a 2/3-inch Mysterium X sensor and can shoot at anything from 1 to 120 frames per second (180 in burst mode).
It is a complete camcorder system with lens, processor and recording medium. It has a 4.8 inch LCD and a host of connectivity options including Firewire and USB. It records to twin CompactFlash cards, each of which can handle up to 100MB per second of Redcode RAW and RGB. For more capacity, shooters can even mount a hard disk drive or connect directly to a computer.
No one knows the exact price yet but experts - and online discussion forums - seem to think that below $3000 is about right. That's roughly 1500 quid. Which is peanuts in the grand camera scheme of things. Like the other new products, it will be out in early 2009.
Red's Ted Schilowitz, who has the ridiculous Star Wars-esque job title of ‘Leader of the Rebellion', says Scarlet will change the industry. He says there are no boundaries and that all markets will want it. And he says Red pictures are so good that, in comparison, using an HD camera instead of Red is like using the shooter on your mobile phone rather than an SLR. Ouch!
For some insight into the workflow options for 4k and the Red One try reading this article on the Guild of British Camera Technicians website written by Steve Shaw and James Eggleton from Axis Post. Useful stuff.
At the moment it's just a prototype but IF Red can actually deliver Scarlet at the price it is suggesting and in sufficient quantities the company will, in the vernacular of an American school kid, “totally own” the independent filmmaking market not just in American but probably here as well. You have been warned.
Got an opinion on Red, Scarlet or Epic? Have your say below.