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Allen Achterberg
04-03-2008, 06:24 PM
RED ONE DIGITAL CAMERA vs 1st Assistant Camera

I recently worked as a 1st Assistant Camera with the Red One camera. I wanted to share my feedback and describe my observations.

I signed onto the project, having no real background knowledge of the camera, and I do not follow the camera's development and future plans. I'm sure some if not all what I say about the camera has already been discussed. The camera itself takes a nice picture. I was impressed with the images that came from the camera. The weight of the package was comfortable for me. Our package came from a private owner, not a company. Our Package consisted of the following:

Red One Digital Camera body
Red One Base Production Pack
Red One LCD Monitor
Red Power Pack
Red Drive
Red Baseplate 15mm Rods
Red One Handheld plate

Zeis T1.3 Superspeeds Mk III lenses
18mm
25mm
35mm
50mm
65mm
85mm

and a 14mm T2.3 in it's own case.

Arri FF
Arri 6x6 swing away matte box 3 stage

Sachtler 7+7 Studio head Mitchel Mount
Ronford Sticks, tall and baby legs
High and Low Hats

Day one with the camera went pretty well, the camera held up fairly well, we were handheld, the red one handgrip (we only had one) was pretty useless since it did not fit our 15mm rods. Don't know why the owner has it this way, didn't make much sense to me. I made it workable for our DP, and made it as light as possible taking off the matte box and follow focus, and ofcourse we needed an ND .9 for the shot so I had to tape the 6x6 ND9 onto the lens (used gaffers tape (cloth not paper) around the rim of the lens so the glass never touches metal!) and we did the shot like that on the 18mm lens. Worked fine.

Throughout the next couple of days, I collected a number of things that I don't agree with:

The Top handle on the Camera- Decent placement of the handle, however the material used as the hand-grip is no good, Slippery. Had to make sure I wore a glove when grabbing the camera there if my hands were a little sweaty. It's pretty fat, and the material does not condence well while I grip it. The material should be changed, or use gaffers tape around the handle, makes it easier and safer to grab.

The Arm for the Red one Monitor- The arm is really short, we had a hard time getting the monitor into a good position for handheld, there are some place toward the front and near the bottom of the camera that you could mount the arm, but it wasn't far enough for our DP. Too Close to his face. I ended up using a monfrotto gator grip to mount the arm and monitor on the rods so our DP could see what he was shooting more comfortably than before. This ofcourse took up the space for the follow focus, which was needed to compensate for actors moving inches against the focus plane(tighter shots). I'll show a picture later, but I side mounted the FF, one end on the 15mm rod, the other end Bongo Tied to the 19mm rod. It worked fine. Skip on the Red One Arm, buy a longer one.

The PL Mount (Supposedly the revised mount)-Supposedly we had the Revised PL mount on the camera. I Sure hope not! It was at times extremely sticky, requiring unnecessary force to unlock for lens changes. Sometimes it wasn't so bad, but mostly it was extremely tough to change the lenses, I was very uncomfortable about changing lenses with the mount being so sticky, sometimes asking my 2nd AC to hold the lens while I used two hands (while wearing gloves so the mount finger grips didn't dig into my skin!) to unlock the mount. This ofcourse I believe caused the real problem with our shoot. We noticed that our witness marks on the 18mm lens were not not matching up (matched up correctly during prep) and I believe that fighting with the mount is the cause. On the mount, there are two Allen screws that i believe allow for swapping lens mounts in the field, which is neat but if that's the case a new system must be deseigned even if the mount is not faulty. The mount even being locked down with those screws, can easily be offset with the force needed to do lens changes. Day 4 the problem became worse, I wanted to reset the mount myself, but did not because permission was not granted by my superior. I noticed that the camera on the red.com
site do not show the screws...

HDMI output- The slot needs to be deeper set into the camera, since there is no real support for the cable, it does not lock in. I had the HDMI cable tied to the camera to avoid stress on the connection but somehow the cable still seemed to slouch at the connection. If the HDMI connection was deeper set into the body and the end of the cable could set securely partially inside the body this might save what i believe to be the first thing to crap out on the camera. The deeper set connection was a good suggestion by our 2nd AC BO. the HDMI system on the camera is a guarenteed failure down the road after likely a few uses.

The Red Cradle-It looks cool, but is built like someone just needed a quick solution to mount the red drive and battery. The screws that lock the red drive in are Small, black, and fall out pretty easily on their own. The screws should definately be a different color. I used a wax pencil to color them white so they are visible in the dark, and if dropped easier to find. The rails the guide the drive into a secure locking position are cheap. Jim, Don't be afraid to use some color on the camera's, the camera does not HAVE to be black everywhere becide the LOGO and the 2 red record buttons. Don't be afraid to add some glow in the dark labels to the back of the camera below the buttons.

The Red one Charger-We had some issues with the Battery charger not charging. I do not know why. We wanted to use AC power on a shot, and we could hear the fans from the charger. Make it a little quieter.

CF Module-We did not use CF cards, and we had nothing to put in the slot on the body, so I had to tape it in order to feel okay about it. Did not want dust getting in there. I don't know if RED has something to put in there, such as a Dummi CF card or a blastic cover to seal the slot, but I would recommend it.

I was not a fan of the camera boot time, but we did get some amazing footage, our DP was able to do well with the camera, and the camera did well with him. in time I am sure it will be a bit more user friendly and less faulty. We had some monitor flickers and the body didn't want to boot sometimes after a battery change etc but I'd say for the dollar it's worth the kinks for the time being. In time however, things need to be worked out if you expect this camera to take over like you expect it to.

May be forgetting things, but these were the main things that come to mind.


--------------------
Allen Achterberg
1st Assistant Camera
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2282395/

Barry_Green
04-03-2008, 09:11 PM
Hey Allen, have you thought of posting your experiences over on reduser.net? I'm sure the guys there either a) would know the answers and workarounds to the issues you ran into, or b) would very much want to hear what you ran into, so they could correct it in future builds.

Thanks for the report.

PerroneFord
04-03-2008, 10:37 PM
I may NEVER work with a RED camera, but I sure love hearing about people who do. It's folks like you who will make this camera what it should be.

Terrific report.

Are you at liberty to say what the project was?

jimhare
12-07-2008, 11:06 PM
Good report, but things have improved dramatically since then. The great thing about RED is things are always getting better.

LittleBlackBird
12-18-2008, 10:22 PM
I think people are closer to working with Red than they might think . . . well, maybe Scarlet as opposed to a Red One, which, by the footage we've seen so far from Red One, Scarlet will probably be just as amazing.

brianluce
12-25-2008, 12:08 AM
Anyone know the boot time on the latest build?

Abu Reno
12-25-2008, 02:12 AM
Good points! I'd also like to see this post on reduser.net I'm sure you'll get lots of feedbacks with most of your issues. I can tell right off hand that a company makes a small rubber piece that snugs into the CF slot when not in use. You also need to make sure you power on the charger 1st and then place the batteries to charge. Don't ask me why...

Emanuel
12-25-2008, 06:24 PM
:dankk2: for posting.

E. :-)