What’s So Special About a RED Camera?

You’re in the process of deciding on a video production company to help tell your brand story, but there are many factors to consider in doing so. One of them is the camera equipment. Different video producers offer different equipment, and they all have varying benefits depending on what you need.  

You may or may not be aware of “RED cameras” in the film and video world. They are notorious for their hefty price tags but also for their high-resolution video capabilities.  

But nowadays, it seems like any camera (even the latest iPhone!) can produce high-quality video… 

So what exactly is the big deal about RED cameras?  

RED cameras, created by the company RED Digital Cinema, are modular, large format cinema cameras that capture ultra-high-resolution footage. When compared to traditional film cameras, they serve as a relatively lower cost, smaller and more portable replacement that still produces exceptional quality. RED cameras revolutionized the film and media industry, with the goal of creating a new generation of digital cameras capable of handling 4K resolution. 

Here’s Why You Should Use a RED Camera for Your Next Video: 

1) Many films, TV shows, music videos and commercials have been shot on a RED camera 

You can trust the ability of RED cameras to deliver a cinema-grade quality that you will love. In fact, even the most well-known studios trust RED cameras for their high-profile projects. Some examples include:  

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 
  • Gone Girl 
  • Bird Box  
  • The Amazing Spiderman 
  • The Hobbit  
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides  
  • The Great Gatsby  

For a full list, visit: https://www.red.com/shot-on-red

2) Editing Flexibility 

Why is editing so important to a video? Well, without it, you’re just left with a bunch of raw footage that doesn’t tell any real story. A well-made video tells a story effortlessly and draws viewers in with both sights and sounds. No matter what kind of video production you’re working on – corporate videos, commercials, documentaries, educational videos – effective editing is critical to telling your story visually and aurally. By changing and perfecting the colour, music, lighting and pacing of your video, you can create the right mood for the message you’re trying to communicate to your audience.  

A RED camera shoots RAW footage files, which are file formats for uncompressed images that are large in size with lossless quality. This file format stores the fullest details of images so that they can be edited to your taste and preference. In other words, RED camera footage can be pushed to its very best in post-production and provides more editing options for your project such as:  

  • Zoom: You’re able to zoom into footage without compromising video quality, allowing your editor to produce two pieces of footage from a single shot. This avoids extra shooting time and re-shoots, saving time and money for you as the client. Your editor can stabilize bumps and even create digital camera movements.  
  • Colour: Colour in film is very powerful – it can set the tone, theme, and/or mood of a scene or entire video, highlight a character’s personality, denote a setting, and more. Colours that create striking contrast next to each other, such as red and green, can signify conflict in a story. Analogous colours (next to each other on the colour wheel) such as red, orange and yellow can be used to create a pleasant, natural atmosphere.  Stand-alone colours, like red for example, can be used to represent anger, violence or passion. If you want to do some serious colour grading to help tell your story effectively, there aren’t many cameras being used for brand story telling that can deliver like a RED.  
Photo courtesy of red.com 

If you shoot video on a DSLR or another camera in a highly compressed format, you can still get beautiful images, but there isn’t much room for error. The image cannot be pushed very far in post-production; highly compressed images are limited in their editing flexibility. If you want a camera that can hold up in post-production and give you endless editing choices to help tell your story as clearly as possible, a RED is the way to go.  

3) High Resolution Quality

Photo courtesy of phfx.com  

RED cameras offer high-quality footage with sharp details, shooting from 4K up to 6K. But why should you care? Why is it so important for your video to be as high-resolution as possible?:  

  • Retain Audience Attention: For years, 4K video was reserved for cinema and Hollywood budgets. Nowadays, with so many cell phones, tablets and laptops offering high-resolution retina screens, it makes sense for your videos to be produced in 4K resolution. Why? Because with 4K video being a higher-quality picture, you can easily capture and retain your audience’s attention, so that they watch your video for longer and remember more of what they see. When you combine that with an inspiring message or captivating story, the possibilities are endless.  
  • Improve Brand Image: Your video quality can change the perception viewers have of your brand. Poor quality video can hurt your business, despite the quality of your product/service. It’s not about what you’re selling, but how you sell it. High-quality video can increase your brand’s trustworthiness, credibility, and authority.  
  • Reach more viewers online: As it did with HD video years ago, YouTube’s algorithm gives preference to higher resolution videos in the search results – having your video reach a wider audience.  
  • Increase Shareability: Lower-quality videos receive less engagement. A survey conducted on 1000 adult internet users found that the viewing time of a video fell by 77% when video quality dropped. More than 85% of respondents said they expect TV-like quality for every Internet video they see.  
  • Future-proof your videos: 4K video resolution is the future of video marketing, and by converting to 4K video now, you can prepare your current content for future advancements in the video and marketing industries.

4) Size and Portability  

RED cameras have a compact design, with the actual camera being a small box weighing in between 3.27 to 5 lbs (depending on the model). That’s significantly smaller than some competitor cameras such as the Arri Alexa at 17.2 lbs. 

On video shoots, especially those that take place in multiple locations, it’s crucial to have a camera that can be moved around quickly and efficiently. With a lighter camera, your video production team can set-up faster in multiple locations, saving shoot time and collecting more footage for your project. Your production schedule will most likely run on a tight timeline and budget, and you don’t want to waste any time, money or energy waiting around for the camera to be packed up and moved to the next location.  

5) Customizability  

Photo courtesy of Brock Smith  

One huge advantage that RED cameras have over others is the customizability of the camera. You can add as much or as little accessories and weight as you please, building the camera according to the needs of your project. First you choose the “brain”, followed by the lens mount, and then a package of accessories tailored to your shooting needs. 

Imagine yourself on-set of your video shoot, hoping to monitor the footage as it’s shot in real-time. The last thing you would want is to be hunched over the tiny screen of a DSLR camera, aching your back and neck, trying to get a glimpse at the footage over the shoulder of the camera operator. You or the Director wouldn’t be able to clearly see the footage and provide feedback (for a long period of time, anyway).  

With RED cameras, you can choose to add different monitors and displays to the camera as needed, so you (and even multiple others) can view the footage being shot in real-time. And when it’s time to pack everything up, you can easily remove all the extra parts to make it lighter and more portable for your crew – saving time and energy in the process.  

The RED camera brains currently available on the market include the Scarlet, Epic, Ranger, Dragon, and DSMC2, all of which vary in price and offering, depending on your budget and needs.  

RED cameras are also designed to be modular, accommodating most camera lenses using interchangeable lens mounts from brands like Canon and Nikon. Different lenses offer different story-telling features like zoom, quality, and wide angle, giving you a wide range of options when shooting and editing your video. Being able to switch out the lenses gives you extensive options for the type of videos you can make too—wildlife, portrait, sports, documentaries, and more.  

In Conclusion  

Here at Jillian Irene Lee & Associates, we use the RED Scarlet, RED Epic and the Blackmagic for our clients’ videos. The RED Scarlet offers an impressive 5K Capture and can shoot:  

  • 120 fps @ 2K 
  • 30 fps @ 4K 
  • 18 fps @ 5K 

RED cameras are not made for starter cinematography or event videography, but for professional cinematography. This is reflective of the high-quality work that Jillian Irene Lee & Associates prides itself in producing for clients. Higher quality videos, in turn, generate brand awareness with prospects while communicating your company’s values in a way that creates emotional connections with customers. For more on the benefits of video marketing, check out our blog post here.  

Have a story that needs to be told to the world? Let’s talk.  

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