Comments on watching and making films.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Wanted" RED footage pulled before release?

According to Jim Jannard, head of the Red camera project, in a post to -

"There seems to be some confusion about RED on "Wanted" even though I posted the following a couple of weeks ago.

During production, we were told that some RED footage (from pre-production prototypes) would be used in the movie so we added "Wanted" to "Shot on RED" on As soon as we heard that would not be the case, we pulled "Wanted" from our website. "

This is odd, considering that one user points out a comment by Jon Farhat, the film's VFX supervisor, that speaks highly of the Red footage -


1. The camera crew thought it would be telling to take the early RED prototype and point it directly into lights, bright windows behind our subjects, etc. Jim and Jarred, (and even myself then) were cringing. We were shocked when we analyzed the takes, (instantly I might add) and there was an amazing amount of detail in the windows and sky. More than the 5218. We had to clip the RED a bit to match.

2. The blue record on the RED images is quite amazing. Even a major improvement since we shot in Prague. The cameras we used later in Chicago sported a greater dynamic range and an even more improved blue record. In both cases, we needed to add some contrast and throw some data away to match the film response.

3. Pulling mattes from green screen using RED is much easier than film and frankly any other digital image and works much better than the Genesis system for instance. For a couple years people have been been saying that pulling keys from Genesis is easy. True, but only for the body of the key. The sharper edges means that when you do have a problem with an edge, it's real ugly. Instead, RED's 4k resolution defines the properties of an edge without the need of sharpening. The keys AND EDGES are stunning.

4. Ahhh. The grain. Do we add grain to RED images to be intercut? Or rely on the output stock? We did both. Pre-grain helped. However, I might add that if I were shooting a movie entirely RED, and the delivery was film, I would forget the idea of post grain and go straight to film.

Having said all that, film has been our standard. But now, we are seeing that we might actually be able to over-sample to achieve the 'film look'."

Sounds like everything was going pretty well, so, it makes me wonder why they would have, eventually, pulled the footage if it looked so good?


Eddie Offermann said...

Sounds like a consistency issue - while the quality of the Red images was excellent, it may have been a bit too clean.

A friend recently rented a Red kit for a project he was shooting - he had many of the same things to say that were listed in the text you quoted, especially as regards the dynamic range.

Stewart said...

Agreed. Consistency between 35mm and HD has always been an issue, especially in cameras that only shoot 1080p (wow, doesn't it feel weird to say "only 1080p?). While the RED has a lot of the resolution, and a lot of the depth of field going for it, ultimately, the image may just have not matched up, whether it be grain or color balance, or whatever.

I never saw "Jumper", so that would have been a chance to see some RED footage up on the big screen. Guess we'll have to wait for Soderbergh's upcoming films, since "Wanted" is out of the mix.

AL said...

I think it's red-iculous to think that the image quality was excellent, and then they didn't use it.

There are still serious problems with that camera, otherwise it would have been used.


Eddie Offermann said...


Oh, I agree there are unresolved issues with the RED platform that might never be straightened out because of decisions made in the technical implementation of the platform (the CMOS image sensor being my personal pet peeve because it severely limits its use in visual effects-oriented projects), it's hard for me to believe that you don't realize that a lot goes into selecting acquisition format besides whether a format is any good or not. Motion pictures shot on film, for instance, will generally be shot on the same film stock unless there are artistic reasons for shooting portions on a different stock. It's not always that one is "bad" and the other "good": intercutting from multiple sources is inherently problematic and is generally avoided.