Red's Jim Jannard Continues Feud With Cinematographer Geoff Boyle

When camera-maker Red’s high profile founder Jim Jannard revealed on Monday that he is stepping aside as the “face of Red” — Red president Jarred Land will take over that role — he also took a swipe at his critics, notably U.K.-based cinematographer Geoff Boyle.

In response, Boyle told The Hollywood Reporter that Jannard “seems to expect unconditional love at all times, not going to happen. Nor is it for any other camera company.”

Red was a disruptive company when it launched, and as such it was both idolized and harshly criticized. Early on, many skeptics argued that the Red One’s image processing was not creating 4K images; others were critical of its marketing methods. Still, it is undeniable that the company has made its mark in the business; its aggressive pricing put cameras in the hands of many filmmakers. And its cameras have been used on such high-profile productions as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit trilogy.

Jannard — who previously founded Oakley and according to Forbes report in March has accumulated an estimated $2.8 billion in wealth — announced his plans to step back as the “face” of his company in a post Monday on the Reduser forum.

In a portion of the post aimed at Boyle, he wrote: “In 2006, we announced the Red One. 4K for under $20K. That was quite shocking. Sony's digital cinema cameras were $200K-plus. Apparently shocking enough that I almost got into a fist fight with Geoff Boyle in the aisle of NAB where he questioned why we would ‘scam’ people into giving us $1000 deposits for a product that could never happen. Scam? This is the first time anyone had ever questioned my integrity. Ever. In hindsight, I wish I would have pulled the trigger. Maybe I'll get the chance one day. Actually... I look forward to it. (furrowed eyes here).”

Later in the post, he again mentions the cinematographer, citing the Boyle-led forum “Cinematography Mailing List.” Wrote Jannard: “I read on CML and other idiotic forums, that I am a hypester, a scam artist. I just have to wonder what these guys are smoking. But I have to say... they have gotten to me. I don't need this. I don't deserve this. Life is short and I am tired. I can only hope that the incredibly stupid posts from people like Geoff Boyle and Art Adams (many other CML posters) do not in any way taint the work we have actually done.”

“It's storm in a teacup,” Boyle told THR. “CML has been around for 17 years now and tests cameras, and film stock when that was relevant, in a simple and repeatable way. The original RAW files are published as well so that people can check the methodology if they disagree.

“This has caused problems over the years and has upset a number of companies from Kodak to Sony,” Boyle continued, adding that Jannard “gets upset and emails me.”

Boyle claimed, "Unlike Reduser, CML does not delete messages. It's easy to go on CML and find any reference to Jim as a scam artist. There are none. We are totally open about this.  Every message ever written on CML is available to look at."

On the 2006 incident cited in Jannard’s post, Boyle responded, “There was a misunderstanding in 2006 which I though was long behind us, [Jannard] was sweetness and light to me at NAB this year. Then he drags it up again. He also dragged [CML member] Art Adams into it in his ‘final’ post on Reduser, Art’s only offense has been to ask questions.

“It will die down,” Boyle concluded.

When Red entered the market with its Red One, then-contenders included the former Thomson Viper, earlier versions of Sony’s cameras, and the former Dalsa 4K. Today Red continues to compete in a  market that now includes 4K cameras (with varying capabilities) from manufacturers including Sony, Canon, and Blackmagic. Also in the mix is Arri, which doesn’t yet offer a 4K camera but has proven with the popularity of its Alexa that cinematographers pay attention to image characteristics in addition to pixel resolution.

Jannard’s post can be found here.