While there consumer market for high-definition product isn't huge yet--perhaps
1% of the home video market at this point--that's certain to change with time and
for some time now, the cost of high-def capable cameras has been low enough
that if you are shooting in digital video, there's really no reason *not* to shoot in
My first feature-film experience with high-def video was using the
only slightly-more-expensive-than-dirt Sony HVR-Z1u cameras on
The Shadow Walkers.
For what was essentially a decent pro-sumer camera, I was quite
pleasantly surprised with the quality of the results--and for all practical
purposes, those results are worlds better than what you would have gotten
from even substially more expensive standard definition video cameras.
Red Camera #232
And video quality that's worlds better than *that* is now a reality.
We got in our first Red camera from
RED Digital Cinema a few
weeks ago (number 232 in the series) and Jon Firestone has been working hard to
put it through its paces.
With true progressive video at 4,096 by 2,304 resolution, the Red camera is as much
a step above broadcast and consumer HD video as HD video is above standard definition video.
Most movies shot on film these days--the big budget ones, anyway--go through a 4K video
"digital intermediary" for editing, color correction, and digital effects, so this is a
lot like getting your movie shot on 35mm film without the "film" step.
There are still great things I can say about the way film captures light and I can't say that
the Red camera has truly equaled film, but it's a whole lot closer than what we've seen
It certainly doesn't hurt that it can use regular film camera lenses and accessories--though
that's another reason that the Red camera still isn't cheap; good movie camera lenses tend
to cost more than a lot of pretty good HD camcorders.
So it's going to take a little while for us to fill out our lens kit, but we're off to a good start.
We're still waiting on some of the lens adapters to be released and it's not such a bad thing
to have a little time to get used to the Red--one thing that jumped out at me right off is that
when looking at some of the footage shot with a fairly short depth-of-field, you could distinctly
tell the difference in sharpness of focus between the tip of my nose and areas of my nose
closer to the rest of my face.
Truthfully, I'm not sure that audiences are ready for *that* much detail, at least where the
pores on the skin of my nose are concerned--and I don't think I even have the deepest nose
in the industry. Imagine how challenging it could be to be pulling focus for Gerard Depardieu.
Testing some bluescreen shots for Gathering of Heroes
So it's taking a bit of getting used to--but even as new as it is, my impression so far is that the Red
and its supporting software, codecs, and drivers are a lot more ready for prime-time than the
corresponding elements were for the Panasonic HVX-200 had been last year. We haven't really
pushed beyond test footage yet, but stay tuned because it can't be all that long before we get
to try the Red out on a feature (um, *other* than my nose).