Jim Jannard Says He’s Done As Public Face of Red
In Farewell Post, Company Founder Details Accomplishments, Snaps at Detractors
Red Digital Cinema founder Jim Jannard stepped out of the spotlight today with the kind of public flourish you'd expect — he posted what he said was one last message in the "Recon" section of the RedUser forum dedicated to his words. Titled "My Final Post….", the missive is a statement of principles that doubles as an attack on his detractors.
Jannard recounted the 2006 announcement of the Red One 4K camera, the company's NAB debut, and the release of the $17,500 camera in 2007. He says the company strove to make "obsolescence obsolete," releasing the Mysterium-X sensor as an upgrade option (not just part of an entirely new camera system) and offering a generous trade-in program for Red One customers who wanted to purchase the next-generation Red Epic.
"With the release of the Dragon sensor" last month, Jannard wrote, "I have finished my mission. I am done posting. I will no longer be the face of Red. Mercifully, Jarred [Land] will take my place and he is worthy times forever."
The posting was meant to argue for Red's strength in the camera market, but Jannard seemed a little wounded, as well, railing against "idiotic" Internet forums and "incredibly stupid posts" that he said described him unfairly as a "hypester" and "scam artist." He remembers an encounter at Red's first NAB show where he says he "almost got into a fist fight" with a skeptical cinematographer who, Jannard says, accused him of promising something that his company couldn't possibly deliver.
"This is the first time anyone had ever questioned my integrity," he writes. "Ever."
Word spread quickly today that Jannard had "stepped down" from Red, but it's not actually clear from the post that he has retirement on his mind. "I will now sink into the background, I hope with my reputation intact," Jannard wrote. "I will work on the future of digital cinema… behind the scenes."
Love him or hate him, one thing's true about Jannard — he's a galvanizing figure with prodigious ambition and an unshakeable confidence in his own vision. He's a fixture on the digital filmmaking scene and nobody, but nobody, has done as much to shake up the Hollywood production establishment during the digital transition. If he's serious about a new policy of silence, it's possible that even people who claim to hate his guts will miss having him around.
Certainly Red will be a somewhat different company without his very public presence at the helm. We'll all have to stay tuned to see exactly how that plays out.
UPDATE 08/20/2013: Land posted to RedUser.net yesterday to clarify one point: "There is no Red without Jim." So Jannard is not retiring, and his "behind-the-scenes" work will continue to take place at Red.