The “Red” Camera

red camera

Many Film makers today are going from traditional film cameras to the new Red camera. Since most film makers ditched analog filming and embraced digital, the Red camera has always been a popular choice. The analog-to-digital transition that is occurring in industries around the world is largely responsible for the huge change. The Red Digital Cinema Camera Company located in Irvine, California, was founded in 1999 by Jim Jannard, who had no experience in the movie business. However, he’s an entrepreneur and he owns the famous Oakley glasses. Ted Schilowitz, who was Red’s first employee and serves as a spokesman for the 400-person company, says Jannard originally became intrigued by the idea of a digital camera that would be a no-compromise alternative for feature-movie makers.

“That interest in cameras, says Schilowitz, was a logical extension of Jannard’s Oakley business, which also sold prescription glasses and protective goggles for athletes. “Jim is obsessed with the way the world sees things,” Schilowitz says.”

The path Red took was slightly different. Digital movie cameras were already on the market when the Red team began their work, but Jannard wanted his first model to leapfrog past all current digital cameras and exceed the strictest performance specs, even for film. That required several years of engineering, and they really put all their efforts in making the best possible digital camera ever made, mostly related to the semiconductor chip that is the heart of any digital camera and converts photons into electrons. The Red team came up with a chip that was the same physical size as a frame of 35-mm film, the Hollywood standard, and produced an image that was virtually indistinguishable, albeit digital. When Jannard and his team noticed that digital cameras are now trending in the industry, they really worked hard in building this “new trend” into the filming business.

The first Red camera was introduced in 2007, and it attracted movie makers like Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh. Since then, other directors have also used Red cameras for their film work. Movies that were shot with the camera are The Soical Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hobbit, Pirates of the Caribbean and Spiderman. The Red camera boasts indeed of high quality, although it’s a bit pricey, the prices range from $45,000 and $60,000, perhaps a quarter as much as a new film camera, well, if anyone’s still making it. The body of the Red camera is not much bigger than a professional-sized still camera. A fully configured Red system, with lenses, dollies, and the rest, can be as imposing as a traditional film camera. Digital cameras can also capture more images per second than a standard film, enhancing the image quality. Peter Jackson, who is directing The Hobbit, has said the effect is “like the back of the cinema has had a hole cut out of it where the screen is, and you are actually looking into the real world.” This makes the Red camera a good choice for other film makers, due to its quality in imagery.

Red camera is truly a good camera for filming. This evolution will certainly expand more in the future. It’s really amazing that technology consistently evolves as time progresses. Many people will venture into science and technology, the Red camera is a perfect example of the evolution of the digital cameras.

“Schilowitz says, “It was never our goal to kill film. Instead, we wanted to evolve it.”