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RED's New Digital Stills and Motion Camera Pushing the Limits 219

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the paint-it-red dept.
rallymatte writes to mention that camera maker RED has announced a new digital stills and motion camera system that includes one model that can shoot up to 28K at 25 fps. The new system will come in three tiers: Scarlet, Epic, and their top of line model which won't be out until possibly 2010. Still image capture will range anywhere from 4.9 megapixels to an insane 261 megapixels. In addition to some impressive 'traditional' hardware, RED also announced a 3D camera.
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RED's New Digital Stills and Motion Camera Pushing the Limits

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  • Actual Red URL (Score:5, Informative)

    by xmas2003 (739875) * on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:50AM (#25747391) Homepage
    Here's the actual info & specs from Red themselves [red.com] - be sure to scroll down to the bottom where they have the "Oh ... by the way - 3D" teaser. Crazy stuff (makes my Canon 40D [komar.org] look pokey) - we'll see if they deliver.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by duguk (589689)
      Amazingly, I was playing around with this yesterday after watching Quantum of Solace in Digital Cinema. Astounding quality.

      I found some example videos, here [redrelay.net] and especially on here [redrelay.net]. Amazing. My PC can barely play it in high quality, and my monitor can only do 2048 pixels across, but still it's impressive!
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Klaus_1250 (987230)

        Quantum of Solace in Digital Cinema. Astounding quality.

        Quantem of Solace, is that the new James-Bond-movie-that-again-fails-to-be-a-James-Bond movie?

        Digital Cinema is nice in the sense that it delivers a very crisp image without the normal signs of wear, but it is "only" 4096 x 2160px. That doesn't beat a good 35mm film, let alone 70mm.

        • by duguk (589689)

          Digital Cinema is nice in the sense that it delivers a very crisp image without the normal signs of wear, but it is "only" 4096 x 2160px. That doesn't beat a good 35mm film, let alone 70mm.

          Yeah it is that film. I enjoyed it though it isn't very Bond-like. Still an improvement over Casino Royale (which is even less an a Bond film, imho!)

          Sure Digital Cinema might not beat film in terms of resolution, but the clarity made it appear to be far more detailed; and certainly seem a lot higher definition. Especially without the distracting signs of wear that film has, I found it a lot easier to watch and a lot easier to see details of the astounding amount of product placements.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by X0563511 (793323)

            I don't think digital will ever "surpass" film, as with any analog->digital transformation you loose data. Not that it will practically matter soon.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lysergic.acid (845423)

          doesn't beat it for what? unless you're shooting a movie that's going to be displayed in an IMAX theater why would you need more than 8 Megapixel? pixel resolution means nothing unless you have something capable of displaying the pixel data. and there are few applications in which you would observe any noticeable benefit by going beyond 1080p.

          here [wikipedia.org] is a comparison of digital video formats. even if you have a 150" plasma screen TV capable of displaying 4096x2160 resolution, you're not going to notice any diff

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            doesn't beat it for what? unless you're shooting a movie that's going to be displayed in an IMAX theater why would you need more than 8 Megapixel?

            It's quite common for scenes to be zoomed in after they're cropped, especially with FX shots.

            sure, there are people out there that need a 36 Megapixel camera, but for 99.9% of the consumer market it'd be a monumental waste of money

            You should click the link and look at the NOT consumer camera.

    • What I want to know is what's the yield on the 617 sensor? 1 for every 100 wafers? It almost sounds like vaporware as even most incredibly expensive 6x6 backs actually use a 4x4 sensor.
  • Looks like they're pushing the financial limits too. Anyway that picture reminded me of Lego.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by m3rck (1110319)
      Actually cinema film cameras go for $65,000 and up. Add film and film editing to get that analog film into digital ($100K), Red looks pretty cheap.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Vancorps (746090)

        I was under the impression that film cameras cost upwards of 110k for HD with no analog conversion since all the HD transmission methods are digital.

        Of course the camera itself is about 65k, but then you need a lens for it which bumps it up especially if you need multiple different types of lenses since they all have to be custom made.

        • by forkazoo (138186)

          I was under the impression that film cameras cost upwards of 110k for HD with no analog conversion since all the HD transmission methods are digital.

          I find what you are saying confusing. Film isn't digital. HD is. (As far as broadcast, or BluRay, or Internet distribution, etc.) The two worlds (film and HD) don't really interact unless you scan the film and make it digital. There's no such thing as film sourced material distributed in HD, without some sort of analog digital conversion.

          Something like Red

          • by Vancorps (746090)

            It's a difference in use of vocabulary. You are correct in that there is no digital film. Film cameras refer to either a type of camera which you are using or a grade of camera which I am using. Something they use to film a blockbuster movie with would not be stored on film if it's in HD or higher resolution.

            The term is still called filming though. When you shoot a scene you usually say I am filming this 67 Shelby at sunrise even if you aren't using film in your camera. There's no real reason to change the

        • All film cameras must be converted to digital if you want digital. On account of.. you know.. the film: a plastic substrate (historically manufactured from plant tissue) impregnated with photosensitive chemical dyes. Which is inherently rather analog (grain-boundaries and such notwithstanding)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by blhack (921171)

          I could be misinformed about this, but from a little googling, it looks like the red will lenses that were intended for use on DSLR cameras.

          $1000 bucks and you've bought yourself some nice glass. Keep in mind that nikon has been making lenses with the same mount for the last ~50 years. Some of them can be had for CHEAP on ebay.

  • by Abreu (173023) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:55AM (#25747463)

    ...what would be the printed size of a 261 megapixels image, using current printers?

    The mind boggles

  • 28K what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:55AM (#25747469) Journal

    Shoot up to 28K whats at 25fps? 28 kilobytes? 28 kilopixels? Units, please!

    • Re:28K what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nattt (568106) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:58AM (#25747513)

      28,000 x 9,334 or 261mp.
      28k is the horizontal resolution, which is typically how frame sizes are measured in digital cinema.

    • In the motion picture industry "4K" means there are 4,000 pixels across the long edge of the frame. Consumer cameras are advertised by the total number of pixels in the frame. Typically measured in "mega pixels"

      But as it turns out resolution is proportional to the number of pixels across the long edge of the frame. Note that movie cameras are marketed to profesionals who understand this while consumer cameras are marketed to "the masses" who just want a big number of "whatevers"

      • by pipatron (966506)

        But as it turns out resolution is proportional to the number of pixels across the long edge of the frame. Note that movie cameras are marketed to profesionals who understand this

        Too bad that the "profesionals" don't understand that it depends on the ratio between the width and height of the sensor as well, thus "28K" doesn't mean a thing unless you know the aspect ratio.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)
          The horizontal resolution is the most important, because it is kept invariant among all the distribution channels. 16:9 and 4:3 teevee, 2.35 or 1.85 or 1.66 projection, they only cut off the top and bottom, never the sides. So the horizontal resolution becomes the best way to do an apples-to-apples comparison of an imager, since it's generally a given that what you're shooting is going to get cropped on the top and botto, but never on the sides.
    • It's a pretty good lens system. Hope they have good anti-shake processing.

  • Incredible. Imagine the possibilities.

    • Only 261Mpixel? That's not particularly impressive, compared to GAIA [newscientist.com] (1.5 Gpixel!)...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by niiler (716140)

      Am I missing something here? In my current lab, we're using 8 of MAC's Eagle cameras [motionanalysis.com] at the relatively low frame rate of 200 fps.

      The Eagle Digital Camera, with a resolution of 1.3 million pixels at 1280 x 1024 full resolution at up to 500 frames per second, 1280 x 512 at 1000 frames per second, 1280 x 256 at 2000 frames per second, and a processing rate of 600 million pixels per second, revolutionizes the motion capture industry with its extreme resolution, unprecedented high frame rate, upgradeable functio

      • The thing is, the other "digital film cameras" out there have, so far anyway, tended to cost a whole lot more than what RED offers. RED's equipment isn't necessarely strictly the best out there, nor does it try to be. It's affordable while still providing a very decent quality. A lot of their accessories seem to be aimed at the budget market, too. The thing is, the way RED has priced their offerings, especially with the newest line starting out at 2500 dollars, it's possible for even freelance cinematograph
  • can shoot up to 28K at 25 fps

    28K what? Does it mean 28000 somethings, or is K itself a unit?

  • "Specifications subject to drastic change"

    They've been promising this thing for what, 4 years now?

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:25PM (#25747839) Journal

      Actually they've been shipping cameras for a while, these are just the next in the range. The Red One was considered vapour for a while by some people - they started taking pre-orders in April 2006 and actually shipped the first 25 units in August 2007. There is apparently still some wait time between ordering and receiving the camera, but they definitely exist.

      They announced the Scarlet and the Epic in April this year, and announced today they they've somewhat revised the design of them.

      • by nattt (568106)

        I think there is now no waiting queue for the cameras.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by iluvcapra (782887)

        I have seen these rigs, and they're quite impressive. Soderberg shot "Che" with it, and though they've got some integration and workflow problems, it seems that they're on their way to demolishing the film industry as it is-- my GF is a DP and she and all her friends have been storming rental houses to get some time practicing with the gear so they can at least tell people they know how to use it. When everyone else is charging $70-$100K for something Red is selling for $15K, the writing is sorta on the w

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by g0at (135364)

        I've had my hands in two feature-length projects shot on the Red, and I can attest that not only is the camera real, but it can produce fantastic picture. :)

        -b

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Da_Biz (267075)

        Indeed -- I also shot a small film project with the Red One. All things considered, it's a user-friendly package (as far as professional-level cameras are concerned) with superb performance and a virtually unbeatable price.

        Ostensibly, as of last year, the only competitor to the Red One camera (package cost: around $50K) was an offering from Sony (cost: around $200K).

        When Soderbergh said that this camera was going to "revolutionize independent film," he wasn't joking.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by xmpcray (636203)

      Wired had posted a really detailed article on where Red is in its September issue. You can read it here - http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/magazine/16-09/ff_redcamera?currentPage=all [wired.com]

      Peter Jackson loved the camera so much that he suggested Steven Soderbergh to use it for his new movie on Che Guevara...which he has made now. So definitely it is not vaporware.

      Still, DSMC is a whole new ball game.

    • "Angels and Demons", along with other current & soon movies, was shot using a Red camera.

      They're in the process of fulfilling 4000 orders. Not promising to, actually building & shipping them.

  • Insane is the word (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:58AM (#25747519) Journal
    Quick glance through the article did not mention anything about dynamic range. These pixel counts mean nothing if the range is still the same old three orders of magnitude. At least if they come up with an image sensor with better range, we could upgrade to that. So the idea of modularized camera system makes sense. But it is high time sensor makers quit the stupid megapixel race and concentrate on things like color correctness, dynamic range etc.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the brochure it stated that the dynamic range would be approximately 13+ stops on the the 28k sensor.

      • What RED says and what it actually is are two different things. I'm told the RED One is supposed to have an 11-stop range, but in reality it seems to be more like 7 or 8.
    • dynamic range (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      on slide 3 they show the dynamic range. Depending on the sensor it can be 12 to 16 bits, which means 11+ to 13+ stops (estimated).

      • Re:dynamic range (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:46PM (#25748133) Journal
        The A/D converters full potential is never reached by most image sensors. They are limited by noise levels and such stuff. This just tells the maximum possible dynamic range, and it is not too different from the cameras already in the market.

        I think Olympus was trying to get extra dynamic range. Something like each pixel having two sensing elements, one saturating slowly and another saturating rapidly. Properly done, you are essentially getting one under exposed and one overexposed pictures taken simultaneously. By changing the weights of blending, you could get much better pictures. Exported in RAW file format, one could do this processing completely offline using more powerful computer, memory intensive operations taking more CPU time. The work is based on earlier Fuji camera film. They were trying to get two sets of grains in the same negative (one at ASA24 and another at ASA400).

        In chemical processing you can not really adjust the weights between under and over exposed pictures and the technology did not take off. But in digital cameras it should find more applications.

        I wonder if it is possible to read the charge in the CCD without really erasing it. Thus a still image exposed for, say, 1/100 sec we could save a picture after 1/1000 exposure, and a 1/500, 1/200, and then the 1/100. Now we have four pictures and we blend them with different weights off line using RAW images! Don't know if it is really possible.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Mozo (22007)

          The sensor that was designed with a "fast" and "slow" pixel, analogous to film designs (by FujiFilm, Kodak, Konica, Agfa, etc) is exclusively FujiFilm. They've recently updated the design:
          http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092210fujifilmexr.asp [dpreview.com]

          The concept works, but leads to very large raw files. The wedding market likes this technology (white dresses, black tuxes, unpredictable light), but often shoots in-camera JPEG for file size reasons.

          The FujiFilm concept in the link above is to take two photos simu

        • It's not possible. To read it out, you have to march the charges to the edge of the chip and then down the side (or onto a bank of A/D.)

          You might could march them back in on the other side but you're definitely going to lose some detail there. And you can't do it in the O(significantly less than 1/500s) that you'd need to for it to work.

          What you can do, though, is something astronomers have been doing for ages: take a series of pictures and combine them after-the-fact. Of course, in astronomy, the read-o

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:19PM (#25747759)

    Red makes a big splash here in the tech world, but I'm curious to know how their cameras stack up against anything from Arri or Panavision; they're theoretically the "big dogs" when it comes to filming motion pictures. Do they see an upstart like Red as a threat? Do they have similar products? Yes, Googling is my friend and I could find out models, prices, etc., but what I'm really trying to get at is whether or not these companies are feeling in any way threatened by this announcement, and whether filmmakers see Red's cameras as a way of making blockbuster-quality movies cheaper, better quality, etc.

    More precisely, why would anyone continue to shoot film in this day and age? Especially since programs like Avid and Final Cut are likely going to be the tools to edit the movie, regardless of origin. Seems a pure-digital workflow would be the way to go.

    • by Pope (17780)

      Because film can still do things digital can't. Digital still has a long way to go for low light shooting, though its dynamic range continues to improve.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zerth (26112)

      One plus of film is that you can carry an hour of film. You can't really carry the SAN you'd need to store an hour's worth of data from that enormous 261Mp camera. It sucks up around 6 TB/minute. You'd need a pallet jack just to move the finished 90 minute film, let alone all the takes.

      This is how you reduce film piracy, give the pirates a freaking hernia.

      • by raynet (51803)

        Umm.. An hour of 70mm film (which is smaller than the the 6x17cm sensor in this digital camera) weights about 200pounds, not something I would just carry around for fun. Assuming the RED camera uses JPEG compression, one frame is about 10-25MB, or 800-2100GB per hour, and a SAN of few terabytes should be less than 200pounds.

        Ofcourse I am just pulling these numbers from google, but film is probably less portable you think and digital film more portable, though you most likely don't wanna be running around wi

      • On the other hand - the captured images are already in a ready-to-edit format. With traditional film, it first needs to be sent out to be developed, then it needs to be run through a film scanner. Both are time-consuming operations; and both need experienced operators, especially if you are doing any form of color correction during the film scan.

        So that adds a day, if not more, between shooting and being able to see the raw footage. (Hence the tradition of "dailies", where you see what was shot yesterday).

    • by forkazoo (138186)

      Red makes a big splash here in the tech world, but I'm curious to know how their cameras stack up against anything from Arri or Panavision; they're theoretically the "big dogs" when it comes to filming motion pictures. Do they see an upstart like Red as a threat? Do they have similar products? Yes, Googling is my friend and I could find out models, prices, etc., but what I'm really trying to get at is whether or not these companies are feeling in any way threatened by this announcement, and whether filmmake

    • by nattt (568106)

      How do they stack up - from what I've heard from some top people in the industry, is that the RED One looks fantastic. There's a lot of FUD about RED though - understandably as some people don't seem to get what they're doing, and some just like to be critical. But from the images I've seen from the RED One, I can only imagine how amazing these new cameras will be.

    • by Franklin Brauner (1034220) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @09:24PM (#25755855)
      Steven Soderbergh's latest film, Ché, was shot on RED cameras. They regularly overheated on set, and the solution was to keep two cameras so that when one overheated they would pull the other one out. Issues like this will get ironed out, but for conditions of extreme heat and extreme cold these cameras simply don't cut it alongside robust 100 year old technology like celluloid. Which brings us to the second part of your question, why doesn't everyone switch to digital, and the answer is bandwidth. The pipeline for all of this deep-bit goodness simply ramps up the cost of posting a production to astronomical levels. Film is cheap, and you can run film in any cinema in the world. Digital still has a way to go. Don't get me started on the proprietary codecs involved. Film is the ultimate open source medium -- free as in free. Digital isn't. Period.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Here we go, my first Slashdot post...been reading forever, and now I am finally fool enough to open myself to the torrent of humiliation which accompanies any opinion stated here...oh well, here goes:

      Thought you all might like the opinion of a working 1st Assistant Cameraman (known as a Focus Puller in Britain) in Hollywood, which means I am effectively the guy in charge of the camera and its operation and maintenance on a film set. I work with all of the cameras out there today, from the top-tier film c
  • For a modular system, I would have expected support of open or, at least, industry standards such as TIFF/EP, Adobe DNG, Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds. These would not have covered all the system, but would have been steps on the correct direction. Instead they went for a proprietary raw file format and popular but proprietary lens mounts.

    • by Sinbios (852437)
      They're modular with themselves - that is, you can exchange modules for other bits made by RED. I don't see how this has anything to do with using open file formats, which makes it modular with other people. Why would you expect otherwise, anyway? Nearly all high-end camera makers use their own proprietary RAW formats.
      • by leandrod (17766)

        They're modular with themselves - that is, you can exchange modules for other bits made by RED. I don't see how this has anything to do with using open file formats, which makes it modular with other people. Why would you expect otherwise, anyway?

        Because I value liberty?

        It also makes sense because it makes the system more useful and, potentially, cheaper, for the user.

        Nearly all high-end camera makers use their own proprietary RAW formats.

        So what? The images are mine, I want them in an open format where I

        • by Sinbios (852437)

          Because I value liberty?

          Then surely you must also value the liberty of the company to use whatever format they damned well please :P

          It also makes sense because it makes the system more useful and, potentially, cheaper, for the user.

          Doubtful. Using an "open" format would mean that you don't get to keep much of the information specifically produced by that camera (histograms, exposure, white balance, etc.), which is the whole point of shooting in RAW. That is definitely not more useful for the user. You could always convert to a format without the benefits of the proprietary RAW format, like TIFF, later, but you can't add the extr

          • by leandrod (17766)

            Then surely you must also value the liberty of the company to use whatever format they damned well please

            And mine of not buying eir products, and criticising em. Granted ere is is ißue of price too.

            Using an "open" format would mean that you don't get to keep much of the information specifically produced by that camera (histograms, exposure, white balance, etc.), which is the whole point of shooting in RAW.

            Misinformation. TIFF/EP and, specially, Adobe DNG do all at.

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      For a modular system, I would have expected support of open or, at least, industry standards ... Instead they went for a proprietary raw file format and popular but proprietary lens mounts.

      Proprietary is the standard for the motion picture industry I'm afraid. Hell, Panavision invented their own lens mounts, and you can't even OWN a Panavision camera, they're rental only. Avid and Final Cut Pro continue their Kashmir-style range war over OMF/AAF/MXF with no end in sight, and don't even get me started on Pro Tools...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:28PM (#25747879)

    http://rcjohnso.com/REDFACTS.html

    • by nattt (568106)

      Sure, but the only bunk there is coming from Rian, who seems to swallow the Sony cool-aid quite happily.

  • There are a lot of really interesting developments in video these days, not the least of which is the increasing convergence of video and still cameras. We're not talking about crappy video on your cell phone - this is all about taking the unique properties of still cameras into the realm of full-motion video.

    Still cameras traditionally have better resolution, ISO sensitivity and dynamic range than their video counterparts. Furthermore, DSLRs have much better control over depth of field due to their sens
  • Here are two that I know about:

    This lets you see the possibilities of having an HD (or higher) resolution camera shooting at 120FPS.

    http://www.vimeo.com/1124192 [vimeo.com]

    http://www.vimeo.com/1124192 [vimeo.com]

  • Ok 261 megapixel, yeah, cool, but, since RED cameras use canon/nikon photo lenses how they suppose to obtain such a resolution? I mean, currently with new cameras (like 5dMkII) coming out we are allready speaking about lens limits (also for "top" lenses like L marked ones). So, how can they push this camera to that resolution without enlarging sensor size? For 261 megapixel you will need AT LEAST 6x6 sensor rather than normal 35mm. And 6x6 sensor requires really big lenses (like hasselblad) and probably won
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zerth (26112)

      You're completely right, you do need a bigger sensor size.

      That's why the sensor is over 7 inches wide.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by XeresRazor (142207)

      Read the article before you comment. The 261 mpixel model is a large format back which will use custom large format lenses, not plain 35MM SLR lenses. It's also 186mm x 56mm, RED has a nice comparison shot of the various sensor sizes at http://red.cachefly.net/13/page12.jpg [cachefly.net]

    • by nattt (568106)

      It's a big 617 sensor. Look at the picture. It's large format photography with a standard mount for existing large format lenses.

  • With all that resolution, you're going to need either a tripod, Steadicam gyros, or stabilization processing. Stabilization processing won't help if the "shutter time" (really integration time) is more than a millisecond or two; the individual frames will be blurred.

    High resolution with big enough collecting optics to get the shutter time down to 1ms or so, plus rate gyros to get info about camera movement, would be a useful option for news gathering. Just point in the direction of the action, take a

  • Sweet looking camera but I don't see any photos. Anyone have a link to the photos that show off the benefits of this camera?

  • I hope they make a real version of it soon ;) All of those shots are 3D rendered product shots.

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