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Red Scarlet vs Sony FS700


jayrocko

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I'm finally at the crossroad where I can easily afford the FS700 but need a bit more for a Red Scarlet. So I've been going crazy on more research, trolling vimeo/forums/youtube. Is it me or are 95% of all the Scarlet clips out there are either blurry, super soft and generally un-impressive??

I really want to like this camera. It's like a massive wave of first time video users ran out and got the RED. Out of maybe 30 Scarlet clips I've watched, only 2 were great. It's hard to step up from my hacked (driftwood orion) GH2.
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The reasons why so many clips from the Scarlet don't look so good:

> the images need to be graded, and only few people [i]can[/i] grade.
> not the camera is responsible for a good film, it's the operator, a truism. The Scarlet probably has as many enthusiastic believers as the GH2s fan community, a company with solid financial background would rather choose the Epic.
> there are carefully composed images (as there had been for millenniums) and there are careless "test shots" ("Either you care - or you don't", Stanley Kubrick answered Nicole Kidman to the question, why some takes were repeated 50 times). You can get tired of the latter.

The reasons why a GH2 can win against (or at least measure up to) a big fat Epic:
https://vimeo.com/36254775

> the GH2's resolution at 720p (used for slomo) is asgoodasitgets. Downsampled higher resolutions (i.e. for the above vimeo comparison) result in lower resolutions, maths (resolution is NOT the amount of pixels!).
> the "eye" (the perception of images) forgives lack of detail. Before a difference in resolutions strucks the "eye", the difference needs to be big, a leap (i.e. 480i > 720p > 1080p > 4k, and those need to be real numbers!).
> the undeniable advantages of the Red don't show in common resolutions. Better color depth and -sampling apply to big spaces, big compared to the field of vision. You can't zoom a 720p film too much, and it's normal size won't show problems. If the competitors in the Zacuto revenge shootout for the GH2 were wise, they used the good spatial resolution to hide the bad color resolution. A lot of fine structures, no big and almost evenly colored spaces. A kind of dither-effect is probably also responsible for the better acceptance of Driftwood's hacks, since former comparisons already disproved that there is an increase of resolution.

As of now, the FS700 neither has 4k nor a better codec, and nobody knows when or if this will come or how good it will be. What we see now looks good because it's honest, and the FS700 is a top 1080p camera.

4k - if at all - is good for cinema.
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As far as I know you'll need an extra recorder to capture 4k on the FS700. Also I believe it's only 8bit (huge disadvantage). A RED Scarlet is more expensive, but if you put some effort into it, you can build a good usable system under $14k (using V-mount batteries, redmote and smallHD monitor instead of the touchscreen and so on).

But, as Axel wrote, you need to have some grading skills, especially if you want to get the most out of the cam (using red color 3 and red log film).

So I would go with the Scarlet (or wait and see how the Kineraw, DigitalBolex and the Blackmagic cam are working out). An Ikonoskop may be also an option.
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Jay,

Axel hit the nail on the head.  It takes time, skill, etc., for good images.  Tweaking images is an art and takes practice.
Taking correct camera shots takes skill.  There are correct ways and the unconventional - and the wrong ways.  Lighting is essential.  And so on.

Jay, there are "used Red MX" packages going at usually 25% to 40% of original cost (I have seen entire packages as low as $10K).  Some can be had with a warranty.  The only problem is the "used" aspect and the chance of getting the lemon from the bowl of strawberries.  That would be my luck.

Lot's of options coming up this year.  I'm looking to upgrade.  Here are possibles:

1.  Black Magic - still early - established company
2.  Kineraw - still early - footage now coming.
3.  FS700 - coming this month or early next - will cost for additionals
4.  Red Scarlet
5.  [b]Used [/b] Red MX package
6.  C300 - over priced imo - nice camera.
7.  1DC - October - possible $13K price???
8.  JVC interchangeable 4K - fall???or next year???  I inquired about their 4K fixed lens camera (thinking for run and gun shooting) and a senior company official stated a representative was to contact me - never did.    :P
9.  Leica surprise???  Maybe fall?
10.  Others
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Wow you guys are great, I love this community. So just to add to my initial post, here are a few example of what I saw which made me nervous about getting the RED Scarlet.

The ONLY two RED Scarlet clips that I like:
[url=https://vimeo.com/35818492]https://vimeo.com/35818492[/url]
[url=https://vimeo.com/32843511]https://vimeo.com/32843511[/url]

Un-impressive Scarlet clips (I can post tons of these, but will only pick top 5)
[url=https://vimeo.com/43123668]https://vimeo.com/43123668[/url]
[url=https://vimeo.com/43019990]https://vimeo.com/43019990[/url]
[url=https://vimeo.com/42953856]https://vimeo.com/42953856[/url]
[url=https://vimeo.com/42437778]https://vimeo.com/42437778[/url]
[url=https://vimeo.com/43151775]https://vimeo.com/43151775[/url]

My main dilemma is that I want to step up my production this summer, but it's hard to be 'wowed' since I'm coming from my current GH2 setup. I want to start reeling in more higher-end clients with a non-dslr camera. I would love to shoot 4k, but I think higher frame rates are more important to me. I shoot mainly music videos. Here are some example of my work: (more on my site / all these were GH2)
[url=http://www.earmilk.com/2012/05/27/skyway-fwtb-video/]http://www.earmilk.com/2012/05/27/skyway-fwtb-video/[/url]
[url=http://hypetrak.com/2012/03/hypetrak-premiere-aap-rocky-x-jim-e-stack-purple-swag-bootleg-directors-cut/]http://hypetrak.com/2012/03/hypetrak-premiere-aap-rocky-x-jim-e-stack-purple-swag-bootleg-directors-cut/[/url]
[url=http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/8731-the-top-music-videos-of-2011/]http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/8731-the-top-music-videos-of-2011/[/url]
[url=http://www.spin.com/articles/see-spooky-new-clip-dubstep-king-12th-planet]http://www.spin.com/articles/see-spooky-new-clip-dubstep-king-12th-planet[/url]

Color grading is big to me, so I understand that 8-bit is a huge disadvantage... but the GH2 is 8-bit as well. My top 3 on the list right now is
1. FS700 (love the high frame rate, low light capability is important to me, hate the 8bit codec, 4k is not an issue)
2. Scarlet (I want to love this camera, but have not seen any jaw dropping work from it, considering I'll be putting down a lot of $$$ for it)
3. BMCC (I love the RAW 12-bit, hate how I can't go to 60pfs at least, 2.5x crop isn't a deal breaker for me)

Dave, do you have any link to forum posts or resources on how I can build up a working RED Scarlet rig for cheap? I'm willing to rent extra batteries/SSDs if that means lowering the total cost.
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[quote author=jayrocko link=topic=804.msg5801#msg5801 date=1338659078]
Dave, do you have any link to forum posts or resources on how I can build up a working RED Scarlet rig for cheap? I'm willing to rent extra batteries/SSDs if that means lowering the total cost.
[/quote]
Get an Switronix batteryplate with a RED EPIC power cable: [url=http://www.abelcine.com/store/Switronix-GP-S-EPIC-V-mount-Plate-for-RED-Epic-Scarlet/]http://www.abelcine.com/store/Switronix-GP-S-EPIC-V-mount-Plate-for-RED-Epic-Scarlet/[/url]
Since RED Bricks have a V-mount, you'll be able to use all V-mount batteries with enough power. I would get some used RED Bricks from REDuser... even if they have lost some capacities, they are still a good deal (you can get 4 for $500).

Get a smallHD DP6 and a Redmote instead of the Touchscreen. If you want to have also a clear output, you can zoom into the frame with a second DP6, since the RED outputs 1080p over HDMI (see smallHD's Canon zoom-in feature on their website).

RED will soon sell cheaper 64GB SSDs especially for Scarlet.

The videos you posted have all the same problems:

missed focus
wrong exposure
bad grading (or no grading)

Scarlet is the same camera as an EPIC, just without the high data rate. If used well, the pictures can easily beat a FS700, F3 or ProRes Alexa. An used RED MX is also a good deal, depending if slow motion capabilities are more important to you than a small camera size.
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