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Red Scarlet – 3K for $3K…at up to 120fps

Again, I’m on the show floor and working fast, so here’s the scoop on Red’s new professional camera that is high end consumer priced:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: 3K for $3K, 2/3″ Mysterium X Sensor, 1-120 fps (180 fps burst mode), up to 100 MB/sec Redcode RAW & RGB recording to dual compact flash, 4.8″ LCD, 8x T2.8 Red Zoom lens (fixed lens), full auto or manual shooting modes, HDMI, HD-SDI (4:2:2 likely), FW800, Still mode, WiFi control, compatible with many Red One accessories (as shown on show floor).

RED / SCARLET

Here’s some of my own pictures of the prototype.

Read on the all the gory details:

BODY:

Small. Not exactly handheld the way Sony means with a handycam, but you could fit it in your big cold weather outdoor pocket. Looks to be dealt with the way Red One is, by attaching accessories. Those will substantially affect the weight and form factor. Does not appear to be a grab ‘n shoot camera without some other “stuff” involved.

The pictures in brochure and online? This may not be 100% what it’ll look like – remember the first Red One renderings? But they are showing this one further along the development cycle than they did with the Red One.

SENSOR: 3K Mysterium X sensor, 2/3″, Bayer pattern CMOS, 2K mode is windowed, so coverage closer to 1/2″ (somebody run the math, OK?). I asked, and got confirmation, that Scarlet WILL do 120 fps at 3K. Burst mode up to 180 fps. Burst mode? There are issues having to do with how long the sensor can sustain it (I’m guessing what – power? heat?) Windowed 2K mode…not sure why you’d want it, but it is there, gives you something more like 1/2″ sensor coverage.

OUTPUTS AND PORTS:

HD-SDI (I asked about 3Gbit for dual link, Ted said likely 4:2:2 single link)
FW800
HDMI
– a LEMO with a pigtail, to break out to GPIO, timecode, genlock
-HDMI & HD-SDI – both hot simultaneously? “How we did it on the Red One.” is what Stuart said.
-resolution of the HDMI/HD-SDI outputs? “At least 720p.”
-CAN do 3K @ 120fps, verified
-up to 180 fps, but not sustainable, thus “burst mode” – heat/power issues? Not sure, but limited burst mode up to 180 fps is all we know for now, don’t know how long it can sustain that.

RECORDING MEDIA:

There are two CF slots at the bottom back, and they will rollover record – meaning A fills up, camera auto flips to recording seamlessly on card B, can then switch out card A for card C in the same slot, and camera will roll over to that when card B gets full, then put in card D in slot where B was, ad infinitum to keep rolling. This will be necessary if you can shoot 100 MB/sec to a CF! No Red Drive announced for this product, so CF is IT (for now).

USER INTERFACE: Will reflect that it is a smaller camera, may not have as many things as the Red One. No on camera UI display like Red One, so the UI will be expressed through the LCD.

Similar UI to Red One, but different.

The control – if you look at it, it is an evolved version of the joystick on the Red One – spread out the controls, easier to work with.

LENS:

Red’s lens:
-8x zoom
-T2.8
-FIXED – you cannot take the lens off, this is THE lens for Scarlet
-but full auto or manual modes of operation
-I’d expect some Graeme Nattress & Matt Tremblay ju-jitsu on how auto focus, iris, etc. work, and how the manual modes work.

ACCESSORIES:

Shown with a matte box and filters (cute ones!). Appears to be built for 2 filters (three would be nice – polarizer and an ND, etc.).

-compatible with many Red One accessories, built that way on purpose. But that’ll add up on weight.

MIGHT have a flip-out LCD, too early to say. Note that the brochure shows an LCD mounted like the Red One’s, but there is no indicated EVF port on the camera – so I’m betting/guessing an LCD based on what they are showing today – but is still way too early to say, design is far from finalized.

Ships with a CF card? Dunno yet, too early to say.

Other features:

1-120 fps, at that 3K res. Wow. That exceeds what Red One does at that resolution. By twofold.

Still mode!

Ramping, timelapse, etc.? Yes, is on the roadmap according to Ted.

That FW800 port – what for? Offloading directly from the CFs in camera? I thought about it recording to an external drive, but then they’d use a LEMO again, not a flimsy FW800 port, so probably nix that idea right now. HD-SDI and HDMI monitoring options – what res, and both running simultaneously? Dunno.

AUDIO: Yes, it’ll have it, but no solid specs as yet. Expect at least 2 channels.

MISC:
-small matte box available
-is two stage
-flipout LCD will be standard
-currently non-standard sized filters, but all TBD
-battery and CF goes in back, similar to initial Red One design renderings from 2 years ago

Ted Schilowitz, Leader of the Revolution for Red:”Don’t take this as a stripped down Red One. It is a product with a price point and a feature set to match. It is three grand, but it is a Red three grand.” I’ll read that as a helluva bang for the buck, but be ready to buy a few more pieces to have a complete kit.

Stuart English, Workflow Wizard for Red: “We design around a deep pass, not a bunch of running plays.” Meaning they don’t make incremental improvements on current products, they take big steps and leaps. They design and aim for future tech, not present tech. For (my own) example, there may not be a CF card that does the data rates they need now, but looking at the rates of progress and the trend curve, by the time they need it, there should be. They aim for future tech, not current tech.

And as with all things Red, all specs, prices, etc. subject to change.

But I’m buying one. Period. 3K for $3K is tough to beat. I thought about bringing my own Red One to shoot interviews etc. – for about half a second. This camera I could carry in my shoulder sling bag no problem (but no weight stated yet, too early to say).

Already owning a Red One for a month or two, and having been shooting with’em since last September, and anticipating that this is essentially a cut down Mysterium with some extra frame rate juice, the only question in my mind is the glass – how nice a lens can you build on a $3000 camera? To me, in my mind, that is the gating factor of this camera. I’d expect that the CF cards might be a bit tight on capacity at first, but bigger ones will be coming out, so will be able to catch up on record times (much as P2 has).

-mike


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