Welcome to the new Melbourne Geek website!close x
There are 9 comments about this article.Add yours +
14th February by Greg Blakey
Reviewed Set up:
RED Scarlet X with Ai Mount $9995
Top Handle $250
Bomb EVF $3200
19mm DSMC® Quick Release Platform Pack $1250
Powered by Red one red bricks on a battery belt clip
Arriving in a square box surrounded by dense foam is one RED Scarlet X Canon Ai. This camera is a little nugget and It feels great. It reminds me of a Hassleblad or other medium format type camera, it has the same charm and simplistic utilitarian beauty. The modular design leaves you with a 2.25 kg block of metal with a hole for a lens in it. I personally want my camera to weigh a bit. With the Canon 5D, you find yourself adding weight to it, just to make it feel legitimate and to get a little less jitter in your shots.
As you start to add accessories to the Scarlet the dynamics change. It begins to feel like a film camera again. Clip on the quick release platform, bolt on some military referenced rail systems, plug in your monitor or viewfinder, and BANG, you’re away.
Everything on the RED Scarlet X feels solid and the quality of manufacturing makes you realize why you just spent $250 dollars on a handle to carry the camera. Everything is small run and custom made. I have used cheap rigging parts in the past, they don’t last and you can’t rely on them at all. You’re always fiddling and fixing them at inappropriate moments.
Don’t get me wrong, If you cant afford it then you will just have to make do with what you can afford, however, sometimes it is just better to save a little longer to get parts that will last, and more importantly, be reliable when you’re using them on a shoot. Boot time is quick in comparison to a RED One at about 15 seconds.
There are options buried deep in clusters under strange names. But the focus, aperture, ISO, REDcode, etc are all right there. I found it much easier and quicker to navigate in comparison to the Red One. Menus feel like they were programmed 5 years ago and have a custom feel in line with the rest of the gear. Red have not ripped off a pre-existing system menu system and mashed it into the camera. They are functional and get the job done, with minimal fluff. However, it does lack that little bit of refinement in design and user experience that could make it a pleasure to use.
The 800 ISO Native 5120 (h) x 2700 (v) Mysteterium X Sensor (APS-C in4k) or (APS-H in 5k) outputs 4k images at 25fps and 5K images at 12fps without HDRx.
Quite frankly this image resolution is ridiculous in most instances, but so damn good. It is a ‘get out of jail free’ card when it comes to cropping or re framing a shot. I would not necessarily go to 1-to-1 pixel’s as you lose some of the clarity, but you do have a lot of room to move. Then once you go down to HD everything pulls together, it feels crisp and solid. I keep waiting for H264 artifacts and bad aliasing to appear everywhere, there is none, it’s not struggling. There is nothing to hide. and there is nowhere to hide.
All footage is Recorded on solid state drives in RED’s RAW RedCode.r3d proprietary format. It is reliable and very effective when it comes to file size. At 8:1 redcode produces 4k images at a data rate of around 2 Gigabytes a minute.
RED RAW gives the ability to alter your white balance, curves, red color and gamma modes, access film log settings and then export to your favorite editing codec for final color and grading.
After a day of actual shooting I found my self disappointed with some features.
The audio mini jack plugs on the front are strange and poorly positioned. I’m not sure what RED have done here. Another important note is that these plugs are mono. Facts like this are poorly documented so be prepared to do your research on www.reduser.net prior to purchasing equipment to check for compatibility.
Then there is a lot fan noise. It whirls away, which is fine when it is in stand by mode (although still quite distracting). Fans come on at 100% once the Scarlet hits 43 or 44 degrees, which takes around 15-20 minutes on a 25 degree day. This is not acceptable for audio recording. I do not see why the “safe mode” is set so low, my computer can run at 50+ degrees. I am hoping this will be addressed in a firmware upgrade at some stage.
Especially if you’re a 7D or 5D user and you have already invested in a lot of kit. This is a good way to see your dollars spent investing in Canon glass continue to provide good value. They act as a fantastic option for doco shooting or run-and-gun solo shooting.
No manual iris control, no colour matching across the set, breathing and lack some of the build and refined elements of a PL lens set.
I am what RED labels a “early adopter” which gives you the access to this equipment well before it should be released. Where issues are sorted for free with on going support and firmware upgrades. Consider these camera Beta versions. There are bugs, but usually the benefits far out way the set backs.
(as seen with the existing RED One to Epic program) and amazing products that are far beyond commercial quality, delivering cinema grade images at a reasonable price. RED are a small company with a small company honesty and communication. Jim (the founder and CEO) is regularly posting and communicating on www.reduser.net and when you do buy a product, you get your very own RED representative.
Timelines given to you on expected delivery is never accurate and can lead to a lot of frustration. If you go into this aware of these set backs, you can save your self from a lot of hair pulling.
Some DP’s (or producers) get frustrated in the debayer time of RED footage and are opting for Alexa over RED for this reason, preferring the straight to HD ProRes work flow.
All in all upgrading to this camera is like selling your 1990 Ford Falcon which has quirks that you only know and buying a brand new car where everything works. Would I buy one? I did. I have a RED One and now a Scarlet, I see them as a combination that could cover almost any filming scenario.
For more details and specs, check out Red.com
You can hire the Red Scarlet through Ben’s camera hire