Here we are on the eve of the RED announcements of November 13. What can we expect to see tomorrow? I don’t have a clue since I’m an editor and not a camera operator/owner/dp but one thing I expect that we WILL NOT see is any mention of the post-production side of things.
With a little luck they might update the information on the REDRAY drive but it is being billed as an Epic and Scarlet event. It seems that with the release of their software development kit RED has put the responsibility of post squarely on the shoulders of others. This is a good thing. With the first year of RED post-production development limited to Apple and Assimilate’s offerings we really didn’t see much development at all. Other than dropping the “proxies” into Final Cut Pro, the original offerings of RedCine and REDAlert made up the majority of RED post-production for many folks for a long time. Yes there was Scratch but it was an option many didn’t have and while REDrushes was a great addition it took awhile before it was released.Â It’s refreshing to finally see options coming along from all of the other players in the post-production arena. Easy and integrated solutions from companies like Avid, Quantel and Autodesk means that RED will be a viable option at all levels of the production spectrum. But one thing we NEED to see is a definitive recommendation from the RED gurus about proper preparation and handling of the .R3D files. Right now is the proper time to link to the ProLost post called What Should RED Do? and say amen! I would venture a guess that a large majority of RED projects are converted to Apple’s ProRes codec for edit and finishing and never again touch the native RED .R3D files. It seems to partially defeat the purpose of the whole RED revolution in the first place if that is how the footage is treated.
With these RED announcements tomorrow what we will probably see is a future with a lot more RED-camera-acquired footage coming in the door of editors and post-houses for years to come. We can be sure that after tomorrow’s announcements there will be a lot of speculation that these new offerings will be changing the film/video production landscape once again in a couple of different ways. It changes the entry point for filmmakers to get their hands on extremely high quality acquisition devices. And this isn’t just people shooting independent narrative feature films but commercial, music video and corporate production as well. It might also change the pricing/rental structure of a lot of the mid-range camera rentals with so many cameras in the market that can produce such a great image. This has already been speculated on with a plea to camera owners to not drop their prices too much for fear that it may devalue the RED market. There’s a quote in this post that says “People are starting to expect discounts on full packages because its â€œREDâ€, itâ€™s only an $18k camera.” This is exactly what happened when Final Cut Pro saturated the market. Everyone suddenly had the ability to edit so the availability of an editor with their own edit suite went way up and rates went down. People associated a “Final Cut Pro edit” with low-cost, low-quality jobs. It took some time to shake this stereotype and may not have been fully shaken off in all markets. Only time will tell if this happens in the world of cameras as well.
In the meantime, we are hours away from learning if any of the predictions will come true. This one is probably most likely. In any event, many of us will be glued to the Internet (just like we are when Apple has a keynote) to see what wonderful toys we can’t live without for fear of being antiquated or behind the technology-times. That and we just like really great technology that is put into cutting-edge form. That’s part of what we like about both Apple and RED. There’s no design by committee here, it’s a carasmatic skipper steering the ship to where he sees fit. And that’s exactly where a lot of customers want to go!
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