There’s a lot of buzz being generated by the RED camera. That happens when a young (by billionaire standards) and charismatic entrepreneur enters a new field. This is an industry that more than occasionally needs shaking up, and Jim Jannard’s a lot more interesting than most most of the pocket protector crowd that usually delivers us innovation.
I’ve been publicly skeptical of the RED camera coming to market on time. I think a 4k camera at $35,000 would be pretty damn cool (that’s what a baseline functioning camera will cost), but not very useful.
It turns out that the December date was simply mentioned by the founder as a date he would hope to be in production, nothing more. It’s hard to fault a founder for optimism. It goes with the territory. Pessimists and cynics don’t launch companies with the stated goal of revolutionizing an industry.
So let’s say this work of stunning industrial design arrives for NAB. I still believe it won’t, but really smart people tell me the team is still on track. If it does show up, so what? It’s cool like having a car that can go 150 MPH is cool. What are most independents going to so with it that a Panasonic HVX-200 can’t do? Seriously. How many of your clients have been clamoring for 4k resolutions? The only venues that can show the RED image in all its glory are cinemas. Are cinemas clamoring for more independent fare? How many films do well at Sundance and never get into theatrical distribution?
At the end of the day this camera will have no significant effect on democratizing the industry. It won’t be because it’s not a technological marvel at an incredible price point. It’s that acquisition isn’t the bottleneck for distribution. IPTV is the revolution, and for the next decade at least there ain’t gonna be no one clogging those pipes with 4k independent films.
Buy an HVX-200. You can be shooting with it next week and have material ready for IP distribution shortly after.