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$7K RED Scarlet Dead

January 4, 2011 by Gear, News

It looks like the long delayed RED Scarlet is never going to be, at least in the prosumer chassis at the $7K price point. RED’s Jim Jannard made the announcement New Years day on the REDUSER.net forums.

1. We have moved from the less robust Scarlet S35 chassis to the EPIC S35 chassis (like going from the economy car frame to the truck frame). Pro, not prosumer.

2. We are trying to maximize the performance specs given the cost cutting from the hardware, including board reductions. This is no small task but is a primary focus within engineering.

3. Frame rates and data rates in combination with project sizes will be the primary compromises in comparison with the big brothers (EPIC-X and EPIC-M). You can anticipate about 1/2 the overall data throughput. As soon as the engineers finalize the list… I will post it.

4. HDRx™ will be included, but with limited frame rate options as is anticipated in #3 above.

5. Price has risen due to the chassis and HDRx™ change/additions. Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $12K. Package prices will be posted as soon as we are sure what they will be. We will not post another “interim” price structure in the meantime. Next price posting will be final. – Read the full post here

The Scarlet was supposed to be RED’s answer to the DSLR video revolution and a direct competitor to Canon. In theory, a modular $7K camera that uses standard RED accessories and allows you to easily migrate up the RED chain is a great idea. But competing with established DSLR companies in this lucrative $2K-$7K camera market while maintaining your lead in digital motion picture cameras is obviously very difficult. I actually think that the Scarlet Epic S is going to be competing more with medium format digital cameras. Along with consolidation and attrition causing a dearth of competition, we’ve seen very little innovation from medium format digital camera manufacturers. The sales are pretty flat as most professional photographers realize that they have to ad motion to their tool kit if they want to stay afloat in this economy. If RED launches the Epic S by mid 2011 in that $12K price range, I predict that they will own the medium format market by this time next year.

Given the competitive landscape, we think that the EPIC-S will have no price/performance competition. Think 5K, REDCODE RAW, HDRx™, record to SSD, modular system, size of a Hasselblad with many mature professional workflow options – Jim Jannard

RED tends to get a lot of flack for making pre-announcements and setting deadlines that they can’t meet which isn’t helped by the outsider rhetoric and extreme fanboyism encouraged by the RED elite. That being said, they are an interesting company that single handedly pushed the movie business into going digital while forcing motion picture camera manufacturers to innovate or die. I admire them for a really good product and an ambitious roadmap to where they want to go.

It makes sense to me for RED to streamline their product line as they experience growing pains. Changing the Scarlet to an Epic chassis will probably free up engineering and manufacturing resources which could help get their products to market sooner. They definitely have their work cut out for them now that some of the established players in the motion picture camera business have digital products hitting the market. I would also bet that Canon is going to continue breathing down their neck while eyeing the indie filmmaker market.

For some more insights, check out NoFilmSchools take on the announcement.

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