Updated 12/23: Looking to go Red on your next project? We’re in business. Updated 8/13: You can watch the finished music video at pleasejustsaymyname.com.
I just finished directing and shooting the music video for Negative Blue’s “Crash”, which used the new Red camera. Here is what I learned:
- Do the right thing (on set)
- Hire an owner/operator, like C.J. Roy, at least as your DIT: tips and tricks will spread through the crew all shoot long
- Shoot 4K at the sure-thing aspect ratio of 2:1, instead of 16:9, but dial in your gridlines to operate
- Learn what doesn’t work: there’s no viewfinder (yet), the product design is a lot of form and only a little function, and the film plane’s hook for measuring focus is right by the big red record button; expect to discover you’re own behind-the-scenes footage burning to disk
- Suck it up and shoot at half the size — 2K at 120fps … or at the technology-limited 113fps if all you’ve got is CompactFlash cards and not hard drives
- Know your place: you’re on the bleeding-edge
- Use double redundancy backups with FW800 and/or eSATA from Fantom Drives; they’re handy to give one to an editor, too
- Think of yourself in the same boat at Peter Jackson, Doug Liman, and Steven Soderbergh — their latest projects were shot with this camera — and then get over it
- If you’re an owner/soon-to-be-owner, the camera really costs much more than the pricetag ($17,500)
- Figure out your post production workflow, even though the Red post production workflow isn’t all that figured all out yet; support is mostly crowdsourced
- Upgrade (or downgrade) the camera’s operating system: development (and bug-squashing) is fast
- Everything you set, short of the focus and aperature, is metadata; the inside joke of “fix it in post” is no longer a joke
- Familiarize yourself with the community
- Be prepared to share footage with RedUser.net, forum of the camera’s passionate early-adopters
- Additional professional film forums about RED: Cinematography.com > RED, CreativeCow.net > RED, DVinfo.net > RED
- Apps — RedAlert and RedCine — and the soon-to-be-apps (Crimson).
- Technical reviews: ProVideoCoalition.com on .R3D footage, Colorment.com on 10 Bit Color Workflow in FCP 6.0.2
- Videos, both overly promotional (Apple.com) and overly detailed (WonderHowTo.com / IndieRentals.com)
- Work samples include Peter Jackson’s “Crossing” demo (large QuickTime) and camera tests hosted at RedRelay.net
- Be prepared to give up shooting film
- Director/DP Steven Soderburg notes on the company’s web site, “I should call up Film on the phone and say, ‘I’ve met someone.'”
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