The latest non-news on the Red Digital Cinema front is Jim Jannard’s coy announcement of yet another announcement date for their latest announcement. This one will be December 3rd. Predictably, the tagline reads “Everything has changed…”
Well at least they are honest about it. At least people know what they are getting into when they plunk down cash months (or arguably years) in advance of product delivery to finance a concept in development. At least Red admits they can and will change specifications and targets, based on their whims and sense of the market, and not necessarily what their customers have requested. At least Red One owners are aware of the fact that their camera system will be left unfinished, frequently buggy, and still a moving development target for years. It’s hard for me to be frustrated when I’ve poured my own tall glass of Red-flavored koolaid, and knew exactly what I was doing all along…
I get that Red is a “revolutionary” company. I get that Jannard likes to run things differently. I fully understand that it takes a man of singular vision and tremendous ego to launch a successful camera company that shakes up the stagnant market. For that, I commend Red. However, there is a balance to be had. There are reasons why in the traditional camera industry specs are locked and actual development occurs YEARS before a product is delivered.
People need some level of consistency. Users crave new features and announcements, but PLEASE make your shipping product work every day, all day, first. PLEASE deliver what you already promised. Where are the 4K projectors they talked about two years ago? Where is Red Ray? Why are some Red One camera accessories still backordered? Lately it seems that Red is mainly pre-occupied with one-upping their own announcements, and trading the buzz of an actual shipping product for the buzz of what is just around the corner. The Cibola Complex.
While Red continues making announcements and pushing back development deadlines to deliver the next perfect product, a pinnacle of technical engineering… Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon and others are quietly moving real product to videographers and filmmakers that require tools NOW to run their businesses and visualize their dreams. Yes, these tools may be imperfect. But then again, they actually exist outside of my dreams.
“Everything has changed…” Indeed. Red has changed. And barring the slim chance that this latest announcement will include locked specs, prices, and ship dates for previously announced products, I’m personally not convinced it’s been a change for the better.
Maybe I’m all wrong. Maybe December 3rd Jim and Co. will blow our collective minds with a product that is close to shipping and kicks all kinds of ass. I sincerely hope so. But Red’s track record of announcements and slipped ship dates suggests otherwise. Regardless, I look forward to the day that Jim Jannard’s forum signature reads “Everything in life changes… except our announced specs and delivery dates…”