GeneralNovember 15, 2011

RED Epic Test 1

RED Epic Test 1

Firstly. NEVER judge a camera’s performance on a compressed video stream. And we’ve some tweaking to do to handle this stuff. We were going to call this post the good, the bad and the ugly. You can work out what’s what.

We also promised to publish our growing pains with RED. If we’re in the terrible 2’s stage, bring on puberty.

Seriously. PlatinumHD is a CREW which sets the benchmark in real estate and lifestyle shooting – and there ain’t no harder task in cinema land than mastering RED. For our first RED Epic test, we filmed our home city, Queensland’s Gold Coast, celebrating its winning bid for The 2018 Commonwealth Games – an event which will inject an estimated 2.1 billion into the local economy – and probably see a camera like the RED Epic come in pretty handy.

The first test. Can’t say its pretty, and the RED codec is certainly challenging our new transcoder, which we’re still tweaking for picture performance. We also shot another five Canon 5DMIIs for coverage plus two Panasonics for the live streams we hosted on behalf of The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

The RED is no free lunch. And the ‘M’ is very much a working prototype. There’s still no playback in camera (that’s coming) and our first big shoot challenged us.

Like anything, the best lessons are the hard ones that you can only learn from making mistakes. There’s a few more weeks of testing before we really roll.

The above clip was shot at 5k and resolved to 2k using the RedRocket card and then transcoded again by our own systems for streaming. Our first lesson; you have to run what’s called a Black Calibration prior to every shoot, when the camera reaches or changes operating temperatures, and even between major shutter/speed changes – otherwise, excessive grain (noise) enters the mix. You may be able to see this fine grain in the shadows. This resulted purely from our failure to Black Calibrate the camera.

The thing about RED noise is its more like film grain, as opposed to the harsh, blocky noise we’ve been used to. We shot this using a Cinemod Nikon mount to fix a Zeiss 2.8 25mm manual prime – which becomes about 33mm with the crop factor. Or thereabouts. We’re still waiting for our Canon mount so we can use all our glass! In terms of RED, we’re still at the foot of Everest in terms of shooting and work-flow.

That said, Head of Post Andrew Gibson has managed to build THE FASTEST EDIT suite on the Gold Coast and we can now assist other RED shooters in SE Queensland with real-time transcoding from 5k to 2k. If you need help on the post for a RED project, call Andrew on 5572 9395.

The turnout at Parklands on Saturday was truly awesome and we’d like to thank all the CREW who contributed their time and talent – and congratulate the Bid Committee and the community of the GC.

For the local real estate industry and the property market, it was a real shot of confidence after four years of doing it tough. Paint the town RED we reckon.