When I see the kind of adulation production people have for the Red camera, I'm reminded of the reception the Linux operating system got a few years ago in the IT world.
I see the same look of glee on the faces of Red users today that I saw several years ago on the faces of Linux users.
Linus Torvalds, the brain behind Linux, had started a revolution a decade ago by making available the Linux code to the entire programming community so that they could also tinker with it and contribute to it.
Torvalds, of course, would manage the whole thing, take the best from the geeks and add it to the OS. End users were welcome to download an OS that rarely crashed and use it free-of-charge. The birth of Linux doused Microsoft's monopoly in the OS world, and the open source concept triumphed.
In the world of production, it had become a given that any new digital camcorder -- whether entry level or high end -- would become outdated in a couple of years' time because new models were rarely backward compatible and brought something slightly new to production. One man -- Jim Jannard, the founder of the Oakley sunglasses and an avid cinematographer - decided to do something about this, and thus, the Red was born.
For the first time ever, a company decided to build a camera that would take the technology forward by leaps and bounds, produce an image quality that was as close as they could get to film while also selling it at a price that was attractive and affordable, and making it backward compatible.
With the Red, users can still use the same camera and would only be charged for parts inside if they wanted to upgrade to newer models. By doing this, Red rendered obsolescence obsolete.
This is why this camera has endeared itself to the filmmaking community, despite the many bugs that need fixing. Filmmakers today see in this company the potential to produce a product that could one day go beyond film. I hope the birth of the Red will take camera technology to new heights and change the face of production forever!
Vijaya Cherian is the editor of Digital Studio.
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