Future of R3D
We’ve been using Red cameras since the RED ONE, and they’ve been fantastic. There are few other options out there that have the same price/performance ratio.
Sony, Panasonic, etc. make cheaper cameras and ARRI makes more expensive ones, but Red’s cameras (historically at least) fell nicely in the middle. Pro tools but at a price point many production companies could afford.
That, however, is changing. Remember back when Red was offering 4k for $17.5k? Even if a shooting package cost closer to $30k, it was still much more affordable than the 1080p Sony F900.
Now red is offering the Monstro 8K VV brain for $80k. Then you need to add in at least $10k to get it to the point that the original RED ONE started off at. That’s a lot of rentals to make that worthwhile. Even the 6K Dragon is $50k for the brain. But with it being the only real option for Netflix shows, the rentals have been there to support the ecosystem.
Now, however, the ALEXA LF is here and is going to be $100k. It will be useable for all of the 4K streaming shows, it has the brand that a lot of people are looking for and it’s only $10k more (when you count in the extras the Red will need). After a couple years of sales, Arri will probably release a 4K Alexa Mini for $70k.
I know that Red especially would say that on a technical level the Alexa isn’t even close to the Monstro VV which is true. The reality, though, is that when it goes on the screen both cameras will look amazing and no one is going to care which camera the footage came from. What matters is what is going to get rented, and my guess is that Alexa is going to win that.
Until now the price point of Red meant that you needed fewer rentals to make the cameras worthwhile. With the price difference virtually gone now, however, it is going to be harder and harder to justify investing into Red cameras. Especially with Canon, Panasonic and Sony all making better and better affordable options.
What will really shake things up, though, is having a 4k ALEXA option. Until now Red cameras were the best option for 4k streaming. This has given a lot of rental revenue and prestige to Red. Time will tell if these shows will switch now that there is an ARRI option.
Red is going to have to figure out how to either get Hollywood more interested in their cameras, or find a price point that is indie friendly.
Although they probably won’t have a large presence at NAB this year again, everyone else will. It will be interesting to see how things compare.