NAB and Thoughts on RED

Ok, now that NAB is really underway, it’s high time I posted something about it. I’ve also gotten lots of emails asking my opinion of the RED camera, and so I’ll mention that first. As usual, Mike Curtis has the best in-depth info, and even worked at their booth for a while. He has posted details on the full specs, various shooting modes, and of course, the pricing. You can also check out Studio Daily’s interview with Jim Jannard, which has lots of interesting information about individual components and the pieces that they haven’t finalized yet.

The camera bodies on display at NAB are mockups, not even prototypes, so we’re still waiting on a few things, at least until the end of the year. However, we now have the initial specs, and this camera sounds fantastic. It will shoot 720-4k res, 1-120fps, has numerous lens and recording options, and comes in a small, customizable package for under $20,000. However, the lack of an optical viewfinder is quite disappointing, and the end of the year is a long way away. I predict that this camera will be to digital cinema what the original Video Toaster was to broadcast video: an inexpensive but powerful tool that was in many ways technically superior to most of its more professional counterparts.

Like the Toaster, RED One is highly advanced because it takes advantage of new technology that its larger competitors have been slower to adopt, but is an unproven device from a new company with no track record created by enthusiastic but eccentric inventors. In the Toaster’s case, by the time it had built its track record and overcome the startup stigma, it had lost much of its lead. Fortunately for RED, these are very different times. At the moment the indie film community is thriving, and enthusiastic eccentric rebels are canonized, and so all Mr. Jannard needs to do is maintain the hype, and deliver his camera on time.

As usual, more NAB coverage can be found in all the usual places, and Digital Content Producer gets special mention because of the many podcast interviews with exhibitors and attendees. Other announcements of note would include JVC’s two new cameras, Panasonic’s new cameras, Avid’s software-only Media Composer and other goodies, and in closing… I want really one of these.