Green screen problem: "You spend more time lighting a screen that won't exist than lighting the people that do!" - Dariusz Wolski
Red Digital Cinema Releases Scarlet-X
It's been a long wait for some.
In an announcement that nearly knocked the internet out (at least for those who are interested in these cameras), RED announced on November 3rd their latest camera: Scarlet-X.
OK, I come from a TV background starting in the early 80's. So 4x3 SD video, 16mm and 35mm film were pretty much your only choices (ok, I suppose VHS camcorders 'could' be considered an option-let's not got there-shudder). Life was simple. These days, not so much, there's a plethora of formats, delivery destinations, etc. So which camera works for you? Which camera works for the project you are working on? Future proof?
I have to say that I think no camera (or anything) is truly future proof, but how about 'long term' proof? Well, that's how I look at these newer cameras. When I look back at the 'production workhorse' Betacam of the 90's it was the 400a. These were ~$65k new without lens so add another minimum 10k on. They shot great looking video, beautiful color and pleasing 4x3 SD video. And I used it faithfully for many years and it paid for itself time and again.
A few years ago I sold mine (for a mere pittance, sadly) and bought the Panasonic HPX170 for $6k. And the image I purchased was in many ways better than the $65k 400a. For 10% the price. The HPX170 was always, for me anyway, an interim camera. I knew that the war over formats, etc. would change and will continue to change. I didn't want to invest heavily into a camera/format until the dust had settled a bit. When RED stormed onto the scene I was captivated and have followed the progress since day 1. And a few years back I just about bought a Red One. But when the announcements started to talk about the 3k for 3k I sat back & watched. I, like many here, waited patiently for the Scarlet to become a reality.
Now with the release of Scarlet-X, I can see that incredible quality video (for lack of a better word) can be had for $11k.
What? Yes, for ~$11k I can get a camera that can shoot incredible images, give me dynamic range that, when coupled with a RAW format, gives me options beyond my imagination. The options within this camera allow me to shoot however I need for almost any project I can think of. Whether it is my kids birthday party to a news/ENG shoot to a TV commercial to documentary to feature film, I can use this camera. I don't know about you, but I pre-build my rig to suit what I'm shooting prior to going out and shooting it. It's pretty similar most of the time but I always have on hand the other tools I may need in case I need them (handles, shoulder mounts, lenses, filters, matte box, etc.). My point is that I can use this camera and shoot for the next 10 years easily, comfortably and confidently because it has what I need, to shoot almost anything. Indeed it's not the camera that makes magic but its your skill set that creates magic. So, yes, one could make a multimillion dollar feature with an iPhone. I myself don't want to, but if you have the skill set you could.
Will I sell my HPX170? Maybe, maybe not, truthfully I think I will still use it in certain situations where I won't need high resolution, like a seminar or presser. I may even keep it nearby as a B camera. Or rent it out. If you are a stills guy and are starting to shoot video, your DSLR will work handily. I have a Nikon D7000 and love to shoot video with it. And of course the stills from it are fabulous. It doesn't a/b so well with the HPX170 but it does shoot very pleasing images. It'll be interesting to see how well the D7000 a/b's against the Scarlet-X, especially when using Nikon glass. I plan to do a comparison someday but my gut tells my I could use the D7000 as a decent b camera (obviously it doesn't shoot 3, 4 or 5k images but depending upon what you are trying to achieve/shoot it just may work).
Published Scarlet-X data rates:
So my point is this: Scarlet is one helluva camera for $11k! Shoot with an old Betacam then maybe you'll see why Scarlet-X, et al, are truly amazing & revolutionary cameras.
If only I could have a camera that captured what I see with my eyes and have it look exactly the same. I guess that's where everyone is ultimately heading towards.