IBC2015 Q&A: RED Digital Cinema’s Michael Rintoul
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is among the hottest topics at IBC this year, and RED Digital Cinema is at the front of the conversation with the debut of its live HDR output solution, HDR-2084. Available exclusively via the REDCAST module and designed to meet the SMPTE 2084 HDR standard, HDR-2084 allows users to see real-time HDR images while they’re shooting. Additionally, productions will be able to monitor simultaneously both the standard dynamic range (SDR) and HDR images they are capturing in real time, empowering shooters to immediately compare the varyious output images.
RED is also highlighting its entire 6K RED DRAGON sensor family, with the SCARLET DRAGON, RED EPIC DRAGON, and the recently introduced WEAPON cameras at the booth. Announced during NAB 2015, the small, lightweight WEAPON is on display at IBC with an 8K sensor.
SVG sat down with RED Field Operative Michael Rintoul to discuss the HDR demo, how the market has reacted to the WEAPON’s release, and the company’s growing footprint in sports production.
How has the market reacted to the RED DRAGON WEAPON since it was launched at NAB 2015 and now in Europe?
The adoption’s been limited only because the camera just started shipping in the last few weeks, but we were really ramping up quickly. The excitement from NAB is still there, but especially now that the camera’s been through Europe. We’ve done a few different tours in the UK and some other places with it, and ,wherever we go, it’s been very well received.
And then we have some new accessories supporting WEAPON as well, like the 4.7-in. Touch LCD monitor, the pro expander, things like that to help support it.
With the WEAPON, we also have the 8K sensor now as well, which we have here in the show. That is pretty exciting for a lot of people. It gives a [higher-quality] image than our previous cameras even though we were still one of the highest-resolution cameras available. We’ve been very resolution-focused from the very beginning, and it was sort of the concept of the company: we wanted to create a camera that could mimic film cameras and create the highest-resolution image possible. As we’ve evolved further and further, it just made sense to go after more resolution. And with a higher resolution also comes higher dynamic range and all the other good aspects of it.
What else is on display at the booth this year?
We’ve got a new HDR display. We went in and put HDR within our camera. We can now push out REC 2020, so we can feed all the HDR panels live. We’ve got a comparison display between HDR and SDR.
Also, we have the [REDCAST] broadcast [modules] here that we’ve had now for about a year and half. We’re still pushing that into the various markets, for both 1080p and 4K.
RED tends to have a reputation as a cinema camera, but have you seen increasing interest from the live-broadcast and streaming market since you launched REDCAST in 2014?
RED is more of an open platform. People think that it’s a cinema camera, but that’s just one of the platforms we go into. Our cameras get used in a variety of ways: stills, broadcast, agriculture, space-agency stuff as well. Cinema was our initial target, but we’ve established ourselves there, and we are moving beyond that into various other markets.
What about interest in 4K cameras for use in broadcast?
I’ve seen a lot of interest. There’s not a lot of adoption in [the broadcast sector] because 4K as a whole hasn’t actually grabbed hold. But, as far as people being interested in it, we’ve done a lot of demos; we’ve done a lot of test-case things. They are finding avenues where our camera fits in. There’s been sort of a pushback from some people in the sports arena, especially, in that the ⅔-in. [sensor] is looking like the standard they want to go [with] rather than the [large-sensor] 4K. That isn’t true 4K, but it serves their purpose. But there are other avenues of broadcast where they’re looking for more of a large-sensor solution, things like shallow depth of field where they can really draw attention to people: awards shows, music shows, things like that where it makes complete sense to give that cinema look. [With] the average soccer game or football game, you don’t necessarily need that.
Also, our camera does fit into a lot of spaces because we offer multiple outputs. So we’re not only a 4K camera; we can do 4K and 1080 at the same time. In fact, we can push it down the same SMPTE line back to the truck. Some of our users will take that 1080 signal, cut it into their 1080 show that goes out live to broadcast. They will push the 4K through to a post truck, and they’ll cut packages and interstitial material from that. They’ll send that out via an encoder to audiences they could never reach with their standard broadcast.
UFC, for example, we’ve done some work with where they can now hit audiences in South America, Australia, Europe, and China, [which] they never hit before but with their Fox Sports broadcasts. It’s all from the same feed, but they get multiple outputs.
Any other major trends you are seeing at the show this year?
The other big thing is IP delivery. If we can do signal delivery where there’s a RAW file format or an SDI format by IP, there’s a lot of interest in that. We’re trying to stay forward-thinking on all of the new things that are coming down. HDR [is] a prime example, but anything else that we hear of, our engineers will be looking [to see] whether it’s a viable thing that we can add to our tool chest.