No camera on the market today sparks as much
fan boy bullshit spirited debate as the RED line of digital cinema cameras. Now I present you latest dust-up between RED camera pioneer Jim Jannard and Zacuto’s Steve Weiss.
And, yes I realized the level of this discourse can get a little… well nauseating. So I’ve done my best to illustrate the argument in the popular art form of the day.
Jim Jannard, founder of the Red Camera Company fired off an angry post on REDUSER.net aimed at Steve Weiss of Zacuto and their latest “Great Camera Shootout” (previous versions can be seen here and here). Apparently Jim Jannard is pretty
butt hurt upset that tests will be shown in 2K and that he didn’t get to control the post processing.
Steve Weiss did respond with a pretty complete explanation as to why the tests were finished in 2k. Basically because the vast vast majority of theaters today present in 2k and they really didn’t have the resources to present these in 4K. And let’s face, most people are going to watch it on Vimeo.
But that wasn’t enough for Jim.
Ignoring Steve’s earlier message, Jim resurrected the ghost of Shakespeare for his next post:
Zacuto… Zacuto… where art thou?
And that’s when Steve had enough…
Thou are here Jim.
I’m not sure what you are asking of me? I really don’t want to embarrass anyone but I did invite every manufacturer, including you and Ted, I sent the email to you several times, … Where art thou Jim? Further, I sent you the same letter for the 2011 shootout, as well with no response. I “begged” you for the EPIC in 2011 which you started delivering 2 weeks after the shoot, so there were obviously cameras available. I caught a lot of flack about that from your fans/users as well because the EPIC was not included.
Frankly, I make documentaries, not propaganda films. For those that don’t understand the difference, I as the filmmaker have no idea what the outcome of my film is till it’s finished (unlike a Michael Moore film, where the end is determined first and the shoot is just there to prove its case). Wow, your fans/users are very beholden to you, it’s almost like they would join the EPIC military and fight to the death for its honor, that’s cool, no other camera company has that kind of support…. you have created a wonderful camera, congratulations but to me and many of the DP’s in my film and guest DP’s interviewed, it’s just a tool like lights and tripods. It all has to work together. I rely on my crew, much more then my gear. If I had your amazing camera and put it on a lousy tripod and all of my pans and tilts sucked, to me it wouldn’t matter, the overall film would suck.
Okay, now all that gossipy nonsense was just to get this part. This is the reason I even thought this was post-worthy (aside from the title).
Spoiler alert, these are the kinds of comments you will hear in my film: I asked 9 ASC cinematographers, if they had to pick between shitty picture or shitty sound what would they recommend to the director if in the situation you could only have one? Every single cinematographer said shitty picture. There reason: You can tolerate shitty picture but shitty sound is intolerable.
I asked a cinematographer if he would be willing to live with a take where the actor didn’t hit his mark and isn’t in their eye light but the performance was better then when they hit their mark and his answer was an astounding yes.
This is what DP’s in a collaborative effort do and I felt it was important for people to hear this as well as well as see what camera are capable of…. If all you want to see is a raw test, they are out there, although, I’m not sure how fair and accurate they are. My film is the hows and whys of how to make your camera look great, plus a lot more. Actually, to be honest, I’m not totally sure what my film is yet because I haven’t even really started it prior to getting the comments from the screenings.
So… even the best DPs around the world would sacrifice image quality for pretty much everything else that helps tell the story.
Steve sums it up nicely
We are talking about one camera vs. another. I hate to tell you that the differences are so slight at this point that all of this talk is kind of irrelevant. Yes, there are differences but it’s not huge and I think most of your won’t be able to guess which camera is which. That’s going to be the fun part. At a certain point, we are picking hairs, does it really matter at that point? The more interesting part is seeing how they went about shooting and lighting it and what the cheaper cameras need to do to try to catch up (I’m not saying they can) in this extremely challenging scene, even for film. At some points we are walking up to 2 feet from the screen to see the differences.
Jim and other manufactures have given you what you’ve been asking for. You got your tool and it rocks, your EPIC, Alexa, whatever. Sorry to say it’s all in your hands, lets see what you can do with it.
Frankly all this just made me more interested in Zacuto’s new shootout which will hit the interwebs on June 15th:
Apparently Jim has a change of heart.