This is the first of several new things we’ll be doing on the site geared towards the craft itself, ranging from film school related articles, filmmaking workshops, and other fun stuff that gets into the nitty gritty of the business from ground zero. Have you wanted to play with a RED camera? Here’s your chance, West Coasters!




by Christian Meoli

It was merely three years ago that the
RED Camera was first released, driven by the maverick inventiveness
of Jim Jannard. Parallels to the iPhone can be easily made, as both
revolutionary products took the world by storm in 2007, changing the
landscape of their respective fields. Within a very short time,
both the RED and the iPhone have become leading brands, even more
so because they constantly strive for improvements and innovation to
remain ahead of the curve.

RED has continued to evolve with its
recent releases of the Epic X S-35 and the Scarlet, skewed towards
the ‘Prosumer’ market.

LightIRON Digital’s Michael Cioni is
a valuable resource in the arena of ultra high resolution and has
overseen post on hundreds of RED projects at his offices in Culver
City. He is aware that the ‘4K market place’ has fully arrived
on the landscape and foresees some steep competition by other major
players in the industry at NAB 2010. Still, Cioni recognizes “
what keeps the Red ahead is that it has over 200% more resolution
than any competition with five to six times higher res. Forward
thinking is future proof.”

Director of Photography Rick Robinson
starts his day ahead of most of the industry, at Bigfoot Studios and
its education-affiliate, the International Academy of Film and
Television (IAFT) in Cebu, Philippines. Robinson is a seasoned user
of the RED, shooting films for Bigfoot Entertainment, who were one of
the pioneers to integrate the camera system into their filmmaking
process. Like Steven Soderbergh did when shooting Che,
Robinson has taken the RED through its paces. In almost every
possible condition be it on land, air, sea and underwater on a
variety of Bigfoot projects shot in the US, China, Vietnam and
Philippines, RED has succeeded.

“Every cameraman has a different
approach to the RED. There are those who have worked primarily on
video, making the digital transformation easier, while there are
those who have worked on film and found the transition more
challenging.” says Robinson.

Cioni recognizes as well the importance
of the training aspects of high res storytelling, with each next
model an improvement from its predecessors. “One with a
‘screwdriver mentality’ will have a hard time adjusting. The
subject of continuing education can sometimes get confused with
issues of ageism, but the fact is that those people, whichever age,
who are computer tech savvy will be the ones managing the systems
down the line. “

“ What is now referred to as the new
technology will be the next normal. With anything new, there is a
learning curve and one must be willing or able to accept the new
challenge,“ says Robinson.

In the web filmmaker community, a
recent debate has been whether the next generation of Ultra-High
Resolution is advancing too fast for the creatives and the Internet
to keep up. Cioni states clearly what he observes from his popular
post facilities at LightIRON that, “ Shooting 4K for online is not
overkill!” He sees Wavelet flavors becoming the standard to view
files and web series’ within the next one to three years and
believes that those web filmmakers keeping tabs on the latest
editions will be in a good position for success. Web storytellers
are best served learning the pros and cons of the sharp Scarlet or
the new FLUT color science and MYSTERIUM-X 5K sensor that wraps the
eye on the EPIC X. “…we’re talking about no visible
artifacting… and no noticeable pixilation which offers better,
smoother values at a faster tradeoff. I’m looking forward to
seeing 2K, 3K and 4K online.” says Cioni.

Rick Robinson says, “The language of
film storytelling today is in binary code. No matter how you spin
it, understanding the production and post production workflow is
crucial to the success of the project.” He has found his best
success with RED in something he likes to call The Sweet Spot.
“The RED cam shines ‘the bright’ with low light means.
Shooting wide open, long lens texture is the sweet spot and you can
get amazing imagery. In exterior settings, the same rules apply,
however it is essential to gain total control over the bright light.
Generally, shooting in high contrast lighting environments with
shadows cast by the sun poses greater challenge because the video
does not have the dynamic range.”

Michael Cioni believes that although
luminaries will continue to improve as technology advances, skills
and the artistic creativity will remain an important experiential
trait. “Cameras are similar to a cat’s eye in the dark, it’s
largely a question of emphasis on ambient than sculpture lighting.
With the Epic X you will not require as much ambient light, enabling
you to focus on sculpting instead .”

Rick Robinson is on post production
with two upcoming Bigfoot films, Deep Gold and Love Stinks
while currently mentoring The Filmmaking Series at IAFT in Cebu,
Philippines. “ Shooting in Cebu is a great opportunity because it
is a great tropical setting with visual colors and texture that will
simply amaze you. One of the biggest advantages as a student at IAFT
is that the campus is shared with Bigfoot Studios, which is a fully
equipped state-of-the-art production facility. ”

Michael Cioni will be on the frontlines
of NAB 2010 and then returns to Los Angeles to facilitate a highly
anticipated RED CAM workshop on the latest advances and new editions,
held in Venice California at Bigfoot/IAFT on Saturday April 24th
from 1-5pm. (310) 593.4444. For more details visit:
http://filmschool.ph/LAworkshops

Christian Meoli is an actor, writer,
producer, director who will next be seen as one of the leads in
Victor Goss’ film The Apocalypse According to Doris. He is
the CEO of Cabaret Voltaire, an independent entertainment/media
services company based in Los Angeles, CA.