O’Neal To Buy a Red One


JT O’Neal has put a down payment on the spectacular new 4K digital camera, Red One, and plans to use it to shoot eventually, someday his feature film Au Pair, Kansas.

Like I’m already tired of typing in the third person. I put a down payment on a Red One camera. Everyone I’ve talked to who has used this hyper cool machine loves it. The only people who are questioning it are people who have not used it. Of course, the 35 mm and high def camera people, that are used to selling their old cameras for big, big bucks, are the only people I’ve heard complaining about it. I’ve yet to read an article from someone who’s actually used it, that doesn’t think it ROCKS. I knew, going through film school only a couple years ago, that the possibility existed that I’d never shoot a movie on film, and looks like that’s going to come true.

In one blind experiment, viewers couldn’t tell the difference between a movie shot on 35 mm film or on the Red One (no, the viewers weren’t blind in their eyes, they were blind to what camera was used to shoot the footage.) Most experts in the field believe that common viewers can not tell the difference between 2K digital projection and most film projection in standard theaters. And now, with a “cheap” 4K digital camera, with like 4 times more image than 2K, you can shoot a feature film on digital, edit on Final Cut Pro, and then, if it gets picked up, create a beautiful 35 mm film print for distribution.

Yes, there are and will continue to be some post-production flow problems. But the latest version of Final Cut Pro (editing software) is Red One friendly, and over the next year hundreds of indie productions, as well as many studio feature films, will be using Red One footage. The strange thing for those of you that think film will always rock, is that almost all feature films released by the studios these days, almost all shot on film, are transferred to 4K digital for color correction then transferred back to film for printing and distribution. What a waste. Why bother with film if you’re going to edit, then correct the image and do special effects on digital, then transfer back to film (and it won’t be too long until 35mm projectors are dinosaurs, too.)

Simply put, the Red One camera will allow us to shoot Au Pair, Kansas as a SAG ultra-low budget feature, that will look spectacular and can be easily and beautifully transferred to film. You will not believe what the images of the plains of Kansas and Lindsborg will look like when shot on a Red One!

Note (per Wikipedia): The Red Digital Cinema Camera Company was founded in 2005 by Jim Jannard, founder of the Oakley company. The company’s main product is a digital cinematography camera called the ‘Red One’. The camera is capable of recording compressed image data at resolutions up to 4096×2304, directly to flash or hard disk based digital storage. It features a single Super 35-sized CMOS sensor and a PL mount, allowing compatibility with industry-standard cinematography lenses. The camera body is priced at $17,500, far below most comparable products, and as a result it may make high-resolution digital cinematography accessible to many more productions.

“Shooting with RED is like hearing The Beatles for the first time. RED sees the way I see. Someday I hope to find out exactly how Jim and his team made something so technologically advanced seem so organic, so beautifully attuned to that most natural of phenomena, light. But for now I’m just glad I’ve got my hands on the damn thing, because it’s actually making the film(s) better because of it emotionality. At the same time, I am still figuring it out, still trying to discover its secrets, still interacting with it. For me, this is Year Zero; I feel I should call up Film on the phone and say, “I’ve met someone.”

Academy Award winning
Director, Steven Soderbergh
Director and Cinematographer of Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic and Solaris

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