the rc #99: Red Dog and #FTW Scarlet

We informally and non-scientifically polled fxguide readers and asked what would it take for you to buy a RED Scarlet camera the day it comes out, one hour exactly after the announcement when the online ordering begins November 3rd.

It is an important question you might ask yourself: just what would constitute a knock out win right now for the RED Camera Company with regards the Scarlet camera? It is interesting to consider this if you do or don’t already own an EPIC camera. With the Canon 1D-X announced this week, still apparently with only H.264 at 1920×1080 @ around $7,000, but with 7,000 a month estimated to be shipping come March, just what would be a knock out combination of features on the final version of RED’s Scarlet?

As we discussed last week in the RC, RED themselves have indicated it will be a significantly impressive camera, and one that may well have seriously modified specs from the last Scarlet that was officially spec-ed out by RED formally. Of course, the camera started as a 3K for $3K camera that would have both a fixed lens and a 2/3″ sensor, with a version supporting non-fixed lenses and other features. Last we heard on RED-USER it was also going to have HDRx included. You can listen to the RC guys offer their opinions in RC #98, but below are some results from our (very well informed and professional) readers like you.

In order (these things were mentioned as being central to a winning Scarlet camera):

  1. Under $10,000 – this was easily the most raised point
  2. A large sensor perhaps S35 but not 2/3″
  3. Closely followed by “having a Canon mount” for Canon (in addition to PL) lenses

Then there was a gap to the following set of requests, all mentioned about the same amount of frequency:

  • 4K or at least 4K resolution
  • Shipping now or certainly of delivery
  • RAW or .r3d format

But, interestingly, almost as many people requested the original 2/3″ sensor – for a different style of work. There are definitely people who think leaving 2/3″ would be a mistake, while others think any 2/3″ option would be very unattractive in today’s market.

Also mentioned was, ‘Playback on the camera’, ‘working out of the box’, ‘high frame rates’ and requests for the original ‘3K for $3K option’. Additionally, several people thought that this announcement would be paired with the end of life of the RED ONE camera, and that it will be discontinued as of November 3rd.

Now would someone buy this camera if it did not meet these specs – very likely, just look to the recent new Apple iPhone release. Everyone was betting on the iPhone 5 but still bought the iPhone 4S in staggering quantities.

Here are some random quotes from our polling:

“a small sensor would feel like a real step back. The camera they were running around with a few months back was not good enough”

“I would settle for 2-3 K and no HDRX for larger sensor and some sort of raw/red format”

“guaranteed availability, decent price, feature set. In that order”

Of course there will be people who would not buy a Scarlet no matter what. Perhaps because they don’t like the current cameras, or they just prefer a completely different approach and we both acknowledge and respect that opinion.

We offer this not so much as a commentary on what the Scarlet will be but what the expectations are going into the next two weeks before the shipping commences.

As one reader put it, “Yep, That’s what will make the announcement interesting. They’ve set expectations extremely high.” Speaking for ourselves, one comment really struck a chord, as after all, this is ideally all about the shots you will be able to now create: “I want to see footage shot. Not paying for anything sight unseen. Probably the most important thing.” In the end we’ll all just have to wait until the night of the 3rd. fxguide’s 100th RC show will cover this and the major Canon announcement earlier in the day. fxguide will be in LA for the announcements and reporting back immediately after we have processed and examined the news.

Watch out for the 100th ep in two weeks time. Thanks to everyone who contributed to our poll. Please post additional comments below – but remember this was not intended as a referendum on the company, just what would or should be defined as a winner camera combination in light of where the market is.

If you’d like the show notes from this week’s ep #99, please download the show notes.

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