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Big Red One

Sorry, no Sam Fuller here folks but, this time ’round, I’m talking about what Mr. Fuller called “pictures.” This past Saturday, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Northern California chapter of the Digital Cinema Society. The focus of the meeting was the RED ONE camera from the RED Digital Cinema Camera Corporation. :: For those who don’t know me, a bit of a digression. Early in my career, I worked for a really cool and interesting fellow, one Stuart R. Cody, a relative of Buffalo Bill and, in many ways, a wild guy himself. Anyway, I was the customer service manager for the only full service film production support company in the Boston area at the time. Not only did we rent and sell top of the line gear and maintained a re-recording suite, but we also did custom manufacturing. We made two popular items, a true tungsten balanced handheld, disposable light source and a wireless “clapper” for Nagras that allowed a cameraman to setup the recorder with a wireless mic receiver, park the rig somewhere, and go out and shoot picture with double system sound without employing a location recordist. These widgets were popular with documentarians like Jim Lipscomb, who work with Stuart on the 1971 shark picture Blue Water, White Death. During that time, I joined the SMPTE. Since then, I have always kept track of imaging technology as a complement to my audio geekery. :: So, on Saturday, a bunch of camera operators, cinematographers, editors and, ahem, Directors all got together at NetApp to oogle the relatively new ‘ware. Two REDs were available for scoping, along with portable storage subsystems and a plethora of MacBooks. A Barco HD projector provided the reproduction. It was, alas, un-calibrated, which made the presentation less that ideal. All in all, it was a great opportunity to actually see RED’s unobtainium in action, and to hear interesting war stories from some who have taken to this relatively portable and inexpensive camera. ::  As for the camera, the body accepts standard glass and accessories. Storage is to either a flash drive or triple interface hard disk. A quick Speeds & Feeds:

  •  10 pounds, body only
  •  Super35-sized imager, 24.4 mm x 13.7 mm
  • 12 bit RGB recorded RAW
  • 4520 x 2540 pixels
  • 66 dB dynamic range (no weighting given)
  • 4 channels of 48/24 audio

Basically a modern still camera that happens to take a sustained 30 frames per second at full rez. The resulting images are clean and sharp with low noise. :: It was an engaging and informative meeting, with raffle prizes and decent schwag from NetApp as topping on the cake. :: If you want to keep up with modern cinematography and get some nice discounts in the bargain, consider joining the DCS. By the way, I had lunch at my new fave Indian restaurant before hitting the meeting, but that’s for another post…TTFN


One Response to “Big Red One”

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