BMC Cages are released for a Delayed Camera //

Everyday it seems like a new camera is released. Finally any camera you find on the street can promise a certain “Image Quality”.

BMCC ProRes

2012 we can say aside from 2008 is a landmark for digital cinema. The RAW push has begun, younger generations are born into a world with ease of accessibility to create content, Hollywoods 2D elite storytellers pursuit shooting in larger formats like 70mm IMAX Film (Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick “Knight of Cups”, JJ Abrams “Star Trek 2013”).  We’ve all had to learn a new set of digital skills, “film” is but memories and old set tales to the youth. Every camera company at NAB announced 4K output and every recorder company announced 4K Recorders.  Red and Black Magic are the few camera manufactures with on-board RAW recording thats accessible to the consumer. Everything for the most part is still 8-bit on board recording and RAW  4K output.

The camera of today…. the camera that’s on everyones mind is the Black Magic Cinema Camera, aside the Scarlet-X it’s the most anticipated camera of 2012. Black Magic proved that a RAW 12-bit 2K camera with SDI is available for $3k. It has its compromises smaller than Micro 4/3 Sensor (16mm size more or less), Funky Form Factor, Built-in-Battery….. I highly doubt it will stop it from being the next “Jesus Camera”.  You’ll never lose a job due to codec delivery, RAW DNx ProRes it does it all. Everyone is happy, Owner Operators never lose a job, Producers and Editors don’t need to sweat. In my view it’s the Scarlet 8x 2/3 reborn for 2012.

BMCC

Making cameras isn’t easy, Black Magic is working on the final touches, the release has been pushed to mid-August. The streets are calling it the “DSLR Killer” which could very well be true, I await industry reactions.

Until then gear up for when your sweet sweet BMC arrives…

Third party vendors are releasing accessories check out the links bellow.

SSD MEDIA 128GB at $100 – 240GB at $220 – 480GB at $380                          (5 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 minutes of 24p video on a 256 GB solid state disk. Compressed HD formats fit more than 5 times the amount of RAW video.)

ViewFactor Cage Starting at $299 and up

Wooden Camera Cage starts at $399

145900-CAMERA-CAGE-BMC-6

Black Magic’s President gives us a little History of  BMC.


Advertisements

“I Got What Ya Need” Scarlet-X > < Behind the scene

Intro:

Scarlet-X couldn’t have come at a better time, even though Canon and Arri will convince you 1080p will do, it’s a lie; rumors have it that both companies are working hard on a 4K camera. 4K represents a true Cinema grade image and it is the future of Digital Cinema. Red has done an amazing job of whipping the “industry” into shape by providing a cost effective solution for operators to own their personal gear. Having been a R1 DIT on a handful of Indi Features I can say that the Scarlet is the new MkII that does 4K and can handle abuse in a production enviroment. The amount of content that’s gonna be produced from these cameras will be revolutionary and set the new standard for tomorrow.

I have to thank everyone at Red for their support and hard efforts in designing cameras that we thought could never exist. It takes a great vision to picture a world where Ultra-Resolution is common in the entertainment industry and RED has helped us get there. Scarlets and Epics are assembled here in the Irvine CA with under 500 employees, cutting edge both in technology and manufacture techniques.

It’s been years of desire to own a Scarlet, at last that day has come…

 

Once my brain arrived I went on the hunt for a 5.0 Touch.  My buddy Paul was at Widespread Creative Studio in Downtown Austin, Kelly happened to have a Touch Screen but no brain. Together we merged powers like an 80’s saturday morning cartoon and had a working Scarlet-X for the weekend. The weather was much like LA and the light was soft through most the shoot giving us the prime conditions with a slight frosty breeze. While prepping the camera by the curb a car stops in the middle of the road to see what we where doing. A voice pokes out of the tinty windows, “Hey is that a Red camera?” We couldn’t believe ourselves, we haven’t even started shooting!

The Shoot:

Having the same build as it’s bigger brother Epic, it allows for a “DSLR” feel but can pack a 4K Cinematic image along with high fram-rates cropped at 3K 48fps and 2k 60fps. I wanted to experiment with the Variable Speed mode to see it’s limitations since there aren’t many videos that do so. 1/3 of our video is slo-mo, majority of the clips are at 60fps; very appropriate for when your subject is moving 50mph.

To match my mental storyboard to reality I needed to suspend the camera 6-inches above the ground safely. Using a wide Prime lens (ZE 21mm)  the riders needed to be 5-feet or less from the camera, as James would describe it “scary close” in order to feel like we’re riding next to Evan and Holt. Reminded me of WakeSurfing only on pavent at 40-50mph down a hill, on some runs they where so close we could carry a conversation with pointers to help improve the shot.

To keep the rig feather light we used the DC Power Adapter that was converted through the Cigarette Lighter. A GoboHead w/MafferClamp allowed us to strap the camera for ultimate protection.

UI is pretty straight forward, a whole bunch of tapping and swiping much like an iPhone. Fast and effective, the touchscreen can be locked/unlocked by leaving your finger in the top right corner until the “Lock” Icon is enabled to prevent accidental changes. I was amazed at how I could set Look presets in camera then further dial down the image in Cine-X; having RAW allows for the utmost creativity.

We finished the 2-Hour Shoot with one 64GB SSD, exposed 24 clips that summed up to 43GB of sweet sweet Scarlet footage. Chasing the light is never fun but the crew knew what we where up against so we shot non-stop. Everything happened so fast we where amazed at how many set-ups we where able to squeeze in. Feel free to click bellow at the screen shots to see them in full-res. The wide shot on the bottom is on the ZE 21mm wide open at 4K.

Lens where provided by On-Airstreaming.com and we used a set of ZE Primes, 21mm f2.8_35mm f1.4_50mm f1.4_85mm f1.4. As for filters HOYA ND 8 & CIR POLA except for 21mm (no mattebox or hood).

While Exposing I stayed between 320ASA and 640ASA. The high speed is done at F2.8_640ASA_225 Deg Shutter (60fps) & 180 Deg Shutter (48fps). All the 4K shots where at f3.2_90 Deg Shutter_320ASA. When shooting I enabled 2.39:1 Aspect Ratio frame guide which was then cropped in Cine-X along with first pass color then converted to ProRes 422. Final Color and Edit where cut on FCP 6 . I did it with a four year old laptop in two days of editing/transcoding. By only converting selective portions of a the clips it shaved loads of time rather than converting all the files.

More Pictures Here

Wrap-Up:

I couldn’t be more thankful, happy, privileged to be apart of a new movement.

Thank You Red Team!

Arri Alexa Plus First Impressions

A couple weeks ago I got a last minute call for a commercial gig which was gonna be my first time interacting with an Alexa. This camera has become more common in LA since everyone is beginning to make the transition to Digital. Mad Men has shot film up until season 5 which is now shooting Alexa. Legendary Roger Deakins has shot “In Time” and the new Bond film “Sky Fall” on Alexa. Arri has made a huge impact for Digital Cinema and has proved that a DP can live without RAW and 4K images in todays fast paced world. With out a doubt the Alexa is very dependable and durable, it can even take explosions and still function.

In 2010 at Cine Gear I heard one call the Alexa “It’s a Red One that works”, pretty bold statement if you ask me. There’s been some internet drama due to the “Phillip Bloom incident” about RED cameras not being reliable. Like everything you take it with a grain of salt, some people don’t and tend to over exaggerate. I’ve heard horror stories and I can understand why some producers prefer Alexa, it’s a “dumb proof” camera. Every show has specific camera needs and the Alexa has some bases covered. It’s mainly made recognition in the commercial and music video scene. But shortly after “In Time” and “Drive” there’s been a growing buzz about it’s cinematic images. Without a doubt I’ve watched Alexa films on 4K projectors and not once did I think I was looking at a video image.

At first I was a little concerned as anytime you work with something new you try to do as much research as possible. How does it work? What problems can I come across? Etc. Strangely enough I was actually mad that I didn’t learn anything new. It was so easy and intuitive that it’s very much like Apple but in the Camera Industry. It’s super simple and it works but has limitations (really wish ArriRAW was more common).

Hardware/Design: In my opinion it’s a little big but that’s cause I love my Epic/Scarlet form factor. So yes you do need a 1st AC with this camera, I’d hate to go out solo with this thing. SteadiCam operators love it due to fast balancing both in High or Low mode. The Menu is well designed with lock features so you don’t change the settings on accident, the Screen is BRIGHT and is very conveniently located.

The best part is if your prepping for a job and would like to learn the UI, Arri has an emulator which allows you to finess with Menu on a browser. The camera takes about 12-15 seconds to boot up which isn’t painful at all.

I wish I could go more into RAW and 3D details but this shoot was pretty basic so I can’t really fill you in with those features. Most productions are scared of ArriRAW since you need a Codex recorder and most Producers prefer ProRes workflow. I have yet to speak to someone who has used ArriRAW on a production. Hopefully for another post 🙂

Image: Arri uses a Logarithmic decoding process which does everything in it’s might to prevent the Whites from clipping which creates an exposure curve similar to celluloid. This allows for an amazing 13-to-14-Stop Latitude which is awesome! Loaded with a CEMOS 2880 x 2160 resolution Sensor with Bayer pattern, it’s 1.5x oversampling for a 1920 x 1080 output. The AlexaPlus can do 60fps and a license is required to unlock 120fps. The camera has an On-Board Recorder which writes Apple ProRes 444 or 422 files onto Sony SxS cards. We recorded using C-Log Color Matrix to preserve the WaveForm for maximum Latitude and Post-Color manipulation. C-Log resembles an Exposure Curve similar to a negative scan from an ArriScan. The 60fps sequences where truly amazing and the light sensitivity is unreal at 800ASA.

One note, after about a year of digesting this cameras footage, to now having work with it, I can say that the color pallet for this sensor is different to a RED. The Red and Green reproduction is more of a Magenta and Cyan. Where I notice it most is in the mids-blacks and skin tones. See for yourself in the videos below…

Post/WorkFlow: We used six Sony 32GB SxS cards which would take about 8-12 Minutes to dump onto a drive. I was using a MacBook pro w/PCIe slot and two G-Tech via FW800 (Diasy Chained).

If the cards where coming faster than I could turn them around I’d use a Sony USB SxS reader to allow two Dumps at a time to speed up the transfer process. Luckily I only had to do it once which is always a life saver. If you shoot DSLR or R3D there’s transcoding involved, shooting SxS eliminates thats process for fast turn around.

The On-board recorder on the Alexa only records to Apple Pro Res and now Avid DNxHD. I just spoke with my friend who’s an editor and mentioned that the new Avid and Adobe can support ProRes which is great.

Wrap-Up: The Alexa is still fairly new but has been making a huge impact with all the older DP’s who are use to film. It’s made the switch super simple and has established a standard for True 1080p accessibility. I feel like the ease of use, reliability, and fast workflow are what sells this camera. Alexa is here to stay with new models yet to come, Arri has done an excellent job in creating a digital line of cameras and setting a great standard for a new age in cinema.

Videos Shot on ALEXA:

Probably one of the first projects to be shot on an ALEXA. The 30-min Kanye video “Run away” really set the tone of how one can manipulate an image through the crisp color rendering from an Alexa. (All the high-speed shots where done on a Phantom Felx)

Red 2012 Price Changes

Jarred just announced the price changes that are being made for the new year. Scarlet/Epic will go up January 1st while all the DSMC Modules are pushed to March 1st.

  • SCARLET-X (Brain only) Jan 1: $9700
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Ti PL Mount is $11,250. Jan 1: $13,200
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Ti Canon Mount is $11,250. Jan 1: $13,200
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Al Canon Mount is $9750. Jan 1: $11,700
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Ti PL Mount package is $15,515. Jan 1: $17,465
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Ti Canon Mount package is $15,515. Jan 1: $17,465
  • SCARLET-X with Side SSD / Al Canon Mount package is $14,015. Jan 1: $15,965
  • EPIC-X (Brain only) is $27,500. Jan 1: $34,500
  • EPIC-X with Side SSD / Ti PL Mount is $31,000. Jan 1: $38,000

Accessories :

  • DSMC Side Handle is $950. March 1: $1200
  • RED Touch LCD 5″ is $1600. March 1: $1950
  • REDmote is $550. March 1: $750
  • Pro I/O Module is $2950. March 1: $3750
  • Pro Battery Module (Dual) is $1250. March 1: $1450

2011 has made a huge impact in the film world, 2012 will be the beginning of all the ripples. One thing we can say for sure, the Digital Revolution is still premature. The past four years have been amazing for us tech geeks and it only seems to get crazier (6K Dragon Sensor 2012?). I really don’t think people understand how fast Film will die. Just be sure to see Batman in IMAX 70mm ;)

Due to the C300 and Scarlet-X we aren’t anywhere near where we thought we’d be in 2008.  World issues have been the main factor so we have to consider the buffer.  The C300 came out rather late and at a high price point. Scarlet-X is a great deal but it really doesn’t do anything special frame rate wise. These moments are stepping stones for paths of newer possibilities. Just be sure to place your orders before it’s too late.

Wooden Camera Quick Back

Just received an emial that Wooden Cameras is now shipping their Quick Back System which is compatible with Epic/Scarlet. Its a very cost effective way to power your camera or protect/add mounting options. Get all the details below with the video and chart.

QB WC

Depending on the options you go with, you’ll pay around $600-$700 +Shipping

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.

RedUser News Mid-Nov

Today many questions have finally been answered! A few have speculated that RED wasn’t gonna meet Scarlet-X ship dates  Nov. 17 (PL Mount) and Dec. 1st (Canon mount). Tonaci is the first person to receive a Scarlet-X PL and many more have already shipped…

Aside of the Scarlet news this is also a big day for Epic owners. A few hours later Alpha Firmware was released enabling PLAYBACK!

RED has done an amazing job with meeting their dates, wrangling all these orders while growing it’s infrastructure.

It’ll be interesting to see where it’ll take the industry. Almost everyone in the film scene here in Austin knows of someone who placed a deposit. Theres a rough guess of 1,000 or more orders already placed. Once again we don’t really know but from the community this is what we have gathered. I spoke with a film festival coordinator and was told that they received over 3000 feature film submissions and expect it to be even larger by next year. Not really sure what that means other than the competition is higher than ever. Tools do make the job easier but they can’t write you a good story. Let the digital film renaissance begin!