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By now I’m sure that some of you have heard of the new RED camera. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the RED camera is a 4k Ultra High Definition camera built with a modular design by Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, funded by Oakley sunglasses founder Jim Jannard.
What makes this camera unique is it’s 12 Megapixel CMOS sensor called Mysterium that has the same active image area as Super 35mm. This allows images shot with the RED camera to have the shallow depth of field for which 35mm cameras are known.
The RED camera has a modular design which allows you to upgrade the various parts of the camera with whatever the latest technology is. Combined with the Mysterium sensor, this has the effect of making the camera relevant for many years to come without having to worry about the camera becoming obsolete.
Another feature that has indie filmmakers excited is the size of the RED camera. The camera body has dimensions of 12.02″ long x 6.34″ tall x 5.2″ wide and weighs in around 10 lbs. That makes it light and portable enough for almost all your filmmaking needs.
But the real reason why so many independent filmmakers are buzzing about the RED camera is the price. The price for the RED camera body is a surprisingly low $17,500. Of course, this price doesn’t get you a complete working camera package as you would be missing both lenses and storage capacity as well as other necessary accessories. Still, the price is low and a basic functional camera package can be had for as low as $40,000.
Peter Jackson, of The Lord of the Rings fame, shot a ten minute short set in World War I with two of the prototype RED cameras with many of the features disabled. The resulting short Crossing The Line was shown at the 2007 NAB show and drew long lines of people anxious to catch a glimpse of the footage and capabilities of this new camera.
For those interested in catching what images shot using the RED camera looks like, you can download the Crossing The Line trailer here. Also, some of the second unit shots from the movie Jumper were shot with the RED camera. Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh of sex, lies, and videotape and the Ocean’s Trilogy enthused about the RED camera on the RED website and plans to shoot his upcoming films about the Cuban Revolution The Argentine and Guerilla on the RED camera.
So is the RED camera the future of independent film? It looks like it may well be if the camera holds up well to the demands of physical production. So far, initial reactions are good. The camera is relatively inexpensive and light enough to hold in one hand. With quality, budget and mobility being the primary concerns for independent filmmakers this camera looks to change the landscape of independent film. Only time will tell for sure. However, the Moose is about to work on a shoot with two RED cameras so stay tuned for a set report on how this new camera performs.Buy the Moose a cup of coffee.