My latest commercials were shot on the Red One and I thought I’d share my experiences of this revolutionary camera. Our Red One was supplied by Yohomedia in Bristol and performed flawlessly on the latest build. My DOP was Ed Mash who had used the system before, however the key reason we shot Red was cost and the ability to shoot PL mount on a 35mm sized sensor.
Things we loved about the Red One.
The look. With our Uncoated Superspeed Zeiss set we got great bokeh and the crazy lens flare we were after. The 4K image really helped.
No crashes or glitches. Always a bonus!
Instant file access and onset quick grading with Red Alert running on a MacBook.
Responds really well to post sharpening.
Red raw headroom and colour balance manipulation was fantastic. Being able to tweak the exposure and colour balance parameters pre-grading really helped get the best out of the rushes during our Lustre sessions.
Things we struggled with.
The EVF. Not great. DOP struggled and the user defined side buttons were easy to accidentally press causing problems.
Form factor. A metal brick basically. We had to work hard to make it ergonomically useable for handheld, badly balanced and heavy.
Red rushes file conversions. Pain in the arse post route that adds time, complexity and some conversion issues.
Shoot 4k. It gives you the proper sensor size field of view and gets the best out of the chip.
Log your rushes. Use a DIT or at least demand on set camera reports to keep things methodical in post.
The system works best when you’ve got a bit more time and crew on set. Unless you know the camera intimately, the extra time to review files or tweak settings is invaluable. This is a drama, feature or commercials camera that works best with a remote focus puller, assistant and DIT. If I was to shoot a documentary I’d insist on an experienced owner/operator.
I’m a Red One fan and together with the Canon 5D, are my current favourite systems for wringing every penny from a budget. Shot carefully by enthusiasts both cameras can deliver great results well above their respective price points.