Big Red One is on the way


The next stage of Red Digital Cinema Camera Co.'s "Rebellion" began this week.

The company shipped the first batch of Red One digital-cinematography cameras, according to Ted Schilowitz, whose business card reads "Leader of the Rebellion."

In spring 2006, Red -- led by Jim Jannard, founder of sunglasses company Oakley -- unveiled a plan to develop a flexible camera system with 4K capabilities at $17,500 for the basic camera.

That combination generated a dizzying amount of attention in the production community, with proponents saying the camera could democratize filmmaking with its low price tag compared with other digital-cinematography cameras and skeptics doubting that the company can meet its stated goals. Thousands have placed $1,000 refundable reservations to get their hands on one.

Noting that development continues, Schilowitz said that this first batch of cameras -- a total of 25 -- are not full featured but offer such key tools as 4K capabilities and RedCode codec support. "You can go out and make a 4K movie with this camera," he said. Some of the planned lenses and accessories also will begin to roll out.

Director Steven Soderbergh intends to shoot "The Argentine" and "Guerrilla" using prototype Red cameras, which Schilowitz said are two generations newer than the ones used by director Peter Jackson to create his World War I short film "Crossing the Line."