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Everything You Need to Know About Scarlet-X

In less than a week from today all the Scarlet models will ship, Red has created more assembly lines to meet demand. Its looking like everything will finally be out of backorder by Dec. 1st. Just in time for the Holidays and a great way to start the new year.

Where will Scarlet “fit” in the industry?

Scarlet falls into a great category which in many terms is being established, theres really nothing else like it on this planet. Years ago you would get an EX3 for the same price of a Scarlet Bundle, then you’d buy a Letus Adapter and Lens just to get a film look. Yes we were crazy!

It seems to me like it will replace the Red One. Now in days no one really wants to shoot on anything smaller than a S35mm Sensor. Camcorders are slowly becoming extinct, since they’re being replaced by Flip videos and iPhone 4S. All the “video” guys are getting access to Filmmakers tools (DSLR, AF100, F100, F3, C300) which is really strange.

What kind of image will a Scarlet give me and do I need it?

So 4K right….this is clearly gonna be the future. Is it accessible to everyone? No. These files require proprietary processors in order to view/render 4K in realtime.  You can use a standard PC/Mac but it will take ages to render. A great option would be to build a PC and run CS5.5. 4K my guess will become more present in the consumer world by the end of this decade (If lucky we can’t even get Full 1080p yet!). I care about my footage to the point that ten years from now I want to say damn that looks good! Rather than damn I can see the pixels. Gives you plenty of headroom for post, and R3D files are the best way to preserve your footage (Other than MPEG-2,AVCHD, .MOV).

Even though you can do “some” 5K, Scarlet is mainly designed to be a 4K camera which is great, 5K really demands a ton more hard drive space, SSD’s, RedRocket, DIT etc. 4K is still in reach for some indi-projects, not only that but we’ve been using 4K .R3D files since 2007 so pretty much everyone has dealt with these files/footage. If you mainly do Web content and small gigs this camera maybe overkill. Don’t get me wrong anytime I have a DSLR shoot I sigh and drag my feet, I feel ya. But for some gigs this camera may  put a production at risk. Especially if their post house has never dealt with RED files. You can open a can of worms and it usually delays the turnaround if they aren’t prepared. Main reason some will argue that 4K is not necessary which is true, all depends on what kinda show you run. On the other hand if you deal with experienced productions, heavy SFX, or make movies, this is the camera for you.

Phil Holland over on RedUser has put out this amazing Data Sheet with Resolution, Cropping, Bit-Rates, Lens Conversions, Record Times, Frame Rates. It’s all HERE. HDRx is not available for certain frame rates but RED is currently working on getting it for 4K 25fps (future firmwares) otherwise you have to bump down 3K to get 25fps HDRx.

How do I process .R3D files?

There’s a couple ways around this. RED provides an application which is free called Cine-X Pro. It’s designed to process, color correct, convert, edit sequences and allow playback. If you purchase a RedRocket Card which goes into a PCIe slot in a Desktop, it allows RealTime encoding and PlayBack.

Now in days most Red Users cut with a PC on Adobe CS5.5 . A set up can run you around $2500-$3500 w/software. You won’t be able to view footage in 4k but you can edit off .R3D files that are converted to your resolution of preference depending on your workstation (unless you have a RedRocket of course). If you know of any gamers, get them to build you a PC. Just be sure to get a CUDA Nvidia GPU, 580 or 590 would be best. These cards are designed to work with Adobe and they are a charm with R3D.

If you need some help with the Cine-X UI you can resort to this tutorial video or post your concerns on reduser.net.

How much will it cost?

$14,015_Al Canon Mount, Side Module, 5” Touch Screen, 2x RedVolts & Charger, SSD Reader & 64GB Mag

$15,515_Ti PL or Canon, , Side Module, 5” Touch Screen, 2x RedVolts & Charger, SSD Reader & 64GB Mag

This honestly doesn’t get you much, you could shoot your own little project or test but by no means can you get away with a 8hr-12hr day. More like 2hr worth of shooting. The Batteries last 36 Min. and take 60 Min. to charge. If you go the RedVolt route you’d want at least 6 Batteries and 2 Chargers. Media you can get away with two 64GB or one 128GB SSD. There’s nothing wrong with buying a brain for $9,750_Al Canon Mount_Side SSD and building up.

How should I build my kit?

You have many options to go with. You could get a Scarlet kit or get a Brain and customize certain parts. In the end you kinda spend about the same. Lets take a look at this list….

Total $18,460

If you get the Red Sacrlet Package from RED.COM then buy a 4-Pack of RedVolts, Extra Charger, one  64GB SSD Red Mag and you should be good to go!

Total $17,900

Both are great BASIC working kit, of course you can add and change whatever you want. Configurations are endless that’s the beauty. On this kit I try to steer away from RedVolt and rely on V-Lock batteries. Also there’s a huge lack of support, top plates, rigs, computers, drives, software etc. but I just want to show you how much a BASIC working kit would run ya.

Should I rent my Scarlet-X and how much does it run for?

Depends on what you have kit wise and location. For having any of the kits listed above, $795 a Day is fair game. Most owners I hope will rent their Kit for the same as price as a Red One. Those who can’t get work tend to low ball which in the end hurts the industry and themselves. Please don’t be that person, it’s a clear sign that you may want to re-consider your investment.

Being an owner you have to take responsibility of being a technician. That means anytime your camera goes out for a feature you send it back to RED for evaluation and service. If you decide to make this investment I expect people to follow through and be good owners. I only rent gear from guys I respect because they respect their gear. I’ve worked with a handful of Red Ones that have no business being rented out due to abuse. More than half the problems that occur with RED cameras is due to user error and irresponsible owners. If your camera rents out offer to be a Tech/DIT for the shoot or make sure you know someone in the camera department.

Insurance is also key you should definitely consider protecting your invest, on movie sets “anything” can happen.

What about the Dragon Sensor Upgrade?

Dragon sensor is on the Roadmap but we don’t really know much about it. The price will be more for Scarlet versus the Epic. Chances are it could meet Epic-S specs since it got ditched. Hopefully it’s a FF35 6K sensor. 2nd Half of 2012 is when it’s expected to roll out. Red mentions that the boards and sensors will be replced completely.

ORDER

Ordering can be made at RED.COM… All the Q&A about ordering is HERE. If you’re on the fence don’t hold your breathe for too long. At the end of the year Epic and Scarlet will both go up in price. Scarlet is estimated to go up another $3100. May not be a bad idea to get in the back of the line.

Conclusion

I hope this post can clear some of the cob-webs.  There’s tons of hype behind it, everyone wants one, and it’ll change the industry once again.

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