With NAB 2018 just around the corner, it’s only a matter of time before we get flooded with all the latest camera and gear announcements from the show floor. I’ll be at the show on day 1 to check out the latest announcements and will report about it all here on the blog, so be sure to stay tuned for that!
In the mean time, I want to speculate about an announcement that could potentially come from RED at the show: An affordable 8K cinema camera.
Back in February, news broke that Foxconn – the Chinese company best known for manufacturing iPhones and MacBooks – will be partnering with RED to create a cost-effective cinema camera, capable of capturing 8K footage in a body far smaller than any similar cinema camera available today.
Here’s a quote from Terry Gou, Foxconn’s Chairman –
“We will make cameras that will shoot professional-quality films in 8K resolution but at only a third of current prices and a third of current camera sizes.”
There’s not much else known about the camera at this time, but we can certainly make some educated guesses based on what we know about both Foxconn and RED.
What’s most interesting to me is the mention of the size of the camera. Current RED cameras are already quite small, especially when compared to more standard cinema cameras like the Arri Alexa. But a camera 1/3 the size of a RED? That would be tiny. Smaller than a DSLR…
This is telling to me, as RED has recently been trying to make moves into the prosumer world via their Hydrogen smartphone, which will likely be released this summer, and the Raven which is now being sold through Apple.
I can only assume this new camera product will aim to appeal to the same demographic: semi-professional or enthusiast filmmakers that can’t afford a full RED setup, but want RED quality in a smaller, more affordable package.
With regards to pricing, I am more optimistic about this camera than others have been since the rumors started swirling around. Understandably, many people who are used to RED’s pricing structure and modular systems, assume this camera might actually cost quite a bit once it’s fully rigged up. But personally, I wouldn’t rush to make that assumption.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. But if RED is going to the trouble of creating an “affordable” cinema camera, and teaming up with Foxconn who is known for their consumer products, why would they simply make a slightly cheaper RED camera? We already have the Scarlet and the Raven… And from the sounds of it this camera is going to do something entirely new.
What I believe – or at least hope – is that the new camera will be closer to RED’s smart phone (the Hydrogen) than to a Raven or Scarlet… At least with regards to where it’s positioned in the market.
If the aim is to create a cinema camera for the masses, something you could pick up off the shelf at Best Buy, this camera could be a massive hit. Nothing like that really exists, and the closest competitors would be DSLRs (especially with respect to cost and size), but of course no DSLR is going to shoot 8K any time soon.
On a side note – I couldn’t care less about 8K, but having RED quality in a camera the same size/high-end mirrorless camera? That would be amazing.
In an ideal world, I imagine the build of this camera to be somewhere in between a smart phone, DSLR, and pocket camera. Oh, and It would work right out of the box without peripherals.
This would mean it has a built in monitor, integrated battery solution, and would accept common media like CFast cards. It would not require a whole host of peripherals or accessories to get up and running, but would have all the right outputs/capabilities to play with with accessories should it be rigged up.
That’s my best guess as to where RED and Foxconn may be headed with this…
Obviously, this is all speculative. Maybe this camera will be something entirely different and I could be way off the mark. But based on the little we know about the camera so far (pricing and size), where RED has been headed lately (more consumer friendly products like the Hydrogen), and the partnership with Foxconn (who is known for making products for the masses), I think this is as good a guess as any.
Whether my assumptions are right or not, I hope we hear something about this at NAB 2018 next week. It’s impossible to know how far along this product is in RED’s development process, and maybe it’s so early that we won’t hear anything at all. But if we do, and if it breaks new ground in the prosumer market that is still largely dominated by DSLRs, this could be something to get excited about.
Stay tuned for more NAB announcements, news, and video content next week!
Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!