Scarlet the $3000 RED Camera

Jon Firestone

With all the excitement about the RED camera, it's still out of the reach of most independent and student film makers. A couple months ago RED released some information about a new RED camera named Scarlet that will be out sometime early in 2009. This is a completely different beast than the red camera, in that it is a small fixed lens camera rather than a large cinema camera with a PL mount for industry standard lenses. But it does share a lot of the RED camera's DNA, including it's codec, raw workflow and a similar sensor design, but much smaller. It will shoot at 3K and will cost around $3000. Realistically to get a working package might be significantly higher, but probably still less than a Sony EX1 package. It will be capable of shooting high speed in bursts of up to 180 frames per second, and continual at 120 fps. It will have a 2/3" sensor, which will give similar depth of field to high end HD cameras and 16mm film. All in all, it should be a cool camera, and will make a great companion camera or stepping stone to the full blown RED ONE camera, and the new 5K RED EPIC camera that will come out next year as well.


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Finally! Check out the new pics of Red Scarlet! Yey for Manual focus ring :D
....I was beginning to worry about that, a "pocket professional camera" with no manual focus? I believe that's the iris control in the back, along with the zoom rocker somewhere. Now my only regret is that I bought a new Sony 6 months ago :(

.....but to anyone who knows more about Red than I (which I'm sure there are many), I have a question:
I heard on the Red site that the RED Scarlet won't shoot full 3K. Instead, the final product will be around 2.1K (approx. 72% of 3K). I hear that's the case on the Red One too, which can only shoot 3.2K or so. Why is that?
Don't get me wrong. It's still an awesome camera (I'm getting one as soon as I have money), but I was wondering, is that the case on all cameras, or just Red cameras? For instance, what does that make a 1080p camera? Is 1080p not really 1080p? Same with 720, or SD? Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream? (sorry, had to say that..hehe)
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Jon Firestone

The image sensors on the RED One and Scarlet cameras are Bayer Pattern CMOS sensors. This is the same sort of sensor that you see on digital SLR cameras and in order to get color from a single chip they have red green and blue pixels. Half of the pixels are green while one quarter are blue and one quarter are red. Through a process of interpolation of the sensor data called de-bayering, a chrominance resolution of about 3.2K and a luminance resolution of about 3.7K can be achieved from a 4K image sensor. To complicate things further there is a OLPF or optical low pass filter placed over the sensor, which slightly diffuses the image softening it ever so slightly, but reduces aliasing. Needless to say that the image from the RED camera still makes a siginificantly higher resolution image than pretty much anything else out there. Also I should mention that the RED ONE's image sensor is actually a 4.5K image sensor, and they have plans to enable a 4.5K mode with an aspect ratio of 2.4 to 1 in the not so distant future.

Jon Firestone

Very few cameras support the full actual resolution of their format. The HVX200 for example has 3 sensors each having a resolution of 540 by 960. The HDV format itself only supports 1440 by 1080 instead of the true 1920 by 1080 of 1080p. The EX1 is one of the few cameras available that actually has true 1920 by 1080 image sensors and a recodring format that supports true 1920 by 1080. But even then most codecs don't support full color information for every pixel. 4:1:1 codecs only have color information for every 4th pixel, where 4:2:0 have color for only every other pixel and only every other line. 4:2:2 has color information for every other pixel, while 3:1:1 has it for every third pixel. Only 4:4:4 has color information for every pixel. The point here is that very few cameras truly support the full resolution of the format that they shoot.