Posts Tagged ‘epic


I downgraded from Red Scarlet MX to Blackmagic Production Camera, but it feels like an upgrade!

Martin Beek I’ve thought long and hard about my next move, camera-wise. My Red Scarlet MX was eligible for upgrading to an Epic for 9000US$, or upgrading to a Scarlet Dragon for 9500US$. I paid a small fortune for my Scarlet and adding another 9 grand meant that i could’ve better bought an Epic in the first place. IMHO, not much of a deal or “gesture” to Scarlet owners.

I decided eventually to sell the Scarlet now it’s still worth a few bucks. Emphasizing on “a few”.
I had to let it go a few weeks ago for 7200 euros including a cage, Redmote, two 64gb SSDs, 5″ LCD, sideSSD, etc.; the complete scarlet package plus tophandle and cage. That amount of money is peanuts, but hey, you know that it devaluates starting day one.

I decided to “downgrade” to a 3000US$ Blackmagic production camera, forMartin Beek having a camera around the place and have something to play with during the fall and winter. Bought myself a great Sigma 18-35 1.8 zoom and a cage with handles plus three 500GB SSDs. Still had enough money left to buy some extra audio gear, Vmount batteries and pay a few months of mortgage for the house! 😉

I thought i’d bought Martin’s next plaything and considered it to be a downgrade just to please my desire to own a camera.
I was almost shocked to learn that the 3000$ silly looking package produced way sharper and detailed images that my Red scarlet ever did! It has roughly the same dynamic range and s/n ratio, but seems to reveal much more micro-detail instead of bags of noise when blowing images up to 200%. VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE! Martin Beek I shoot 24p exclusively in 4K on any camera – i rent highspeed cameras when i need them. So the Blackmagic production camera is a gift from heaven to indie filmmakers. For the price of renting a Red (don’t you ever think of buying one!) you can buy two or three BMPCs !!!  And, just to make this clear, i am not paid of sponsored by BM to tell you this! 😉

I’ll definitely shoot my next feature on multiple BMPCs, i swear!


  • It needs bags of light (so buy a speedbooster or <=1.8 lens)
  • 400 ASA natively: use a ND filter and don’t switch to 200ASA (limiting DR)
  • 800 ASA is too noisy, just stick with the 400 ASA and crank the exposure up in post; it’ll look great!
  • No white balance. Just a range of Kelvins to choose from. Shoot a color card or WB card and adjust in post.
  • Internal battery wears down just below one hour. Buy one medium sized Vmount battery and you’re good for hours.
  • The BM CINEMADNG Raw codec is HUGE and will slurp your precious SSD gigabytes before you know it.
    BM HAS to device a way to adjust the compression level of the codec or come-up with something new, because this data-rate is outrageous. Recording just 12 minutes on a 500GB ssd is something i can NOT live with. Imagine shooting a feature film with this… My storage and backup costs would go through the roof! The Red Scarlet recorded 34 minutes of full 4K with low compression (1:6) on a 64GB ssd !


  • Lightweight form factor, though very well build metal design – feels solid
  • Record prores and raw (Cinema DNG)
  • Super 35mm large sensor, great filmic shallow DOF with the right lenses
  • Comes with a fully licensed version of DaVinci Resolve (including dongle)!
  • Very nice skin color representation and silky smooth light transitions (just a personal / subjective opinion)
  • Low (audible) noise
  • full Canon EF lens communication and LANC (BeBop lanc controller will even control focus)
  • 4K SDI out
  • 12-35 volt input, so hookup any juice that doesn’t kill you 😉
  • Easy operation, easy menu’s


My next project… Taking a scene shot with my Scarlet, and repeating it with the same lens on the same location and under the same lighting conditions and show you the difference!
Shooting some hi-contrast winter footage with the BMPC!



Jim Jannard says… Red vs Film

 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was shot on film by Peter Jackson. He shot 7 million feet of film for all three features…

Peter has now shot The Hobbit on RED EPICs in 3D. It is the film equivalent to 27 million feet of film. And he is not done shooting. 27 million feet of film would weigh approximately 67,500 tons.

Some RED SSDs were used over 1000 times. We know because the production complained that our counters only went to 999. We fixed that. Interesting facts.

Who knows what this means. :-)

Further reading: Film vs. Red


Building a heavy slider for Red with “RigWheels” and “CamOnWheels” parts

Red Scarlet hihat slider using rigwheelsWhen looking for suitable skateboard wheels for a heavy duty slider for my Red Scarlet camera, i stumbled upon the website. They sell small wheel assemblies that can be mounted on (under) almost anything to get things moving… So, i was blinded by the great looking website and neatly produced demo videos and was lured into buying a set of Rigwheels for 130 dollars.

Rigwheels claims to specially manufacture these wheels (with high quality bearings), but alas…, the Rigwheels are nothing more than very cheap runners (with very cheap and noisy bearings) meant for sliding doors – your Ikea bedroom wardrobe is probably equipped with “Rigwheels”. They are not really wheels, but cheap plastic-coated ball bearings.

Never the less, i used the 5 times over-priced Rigwheels to construct a PVC pipe dolly by just putting them under a square piece of MDF furniture plank. I tried to run them on PVC pipes and on metal heating pipes as shown in the picture.


Conclusion: Rigwheels are not fit for slider use, and i feel ripped off!

  • They are extremely and unacceptably noisy on any surface
  • Bearings are of the cheapest chinese manufacture (not sealed, noisy, open for dust, plastic closures)
  • Website suggests that noise can be reduced by treating the rails, which is nonsense
  • The “wheels” do not run smoothly at all
  • Again -> the noise is unacceptable when recording live sound

Here is a little video my camera operator Roland Jacobs shot yesterday, with the Rigwheels rockin’ their socks of – AGAIN:  using pvc pipes or even wooden broom sticks do not change the loud noise (much).

After having recovered from the first shock, i replaced the Rigwheels with a frame with skateboard wheels, which is a little more work, cheaper, smoother and operates noiseless. There are many videos on YouTube that show you how to build something useful with skateboard wheels. Such as this classic one: 

But, for a slider, a frame with skateboard wheels is too bulky to my taste, so i didn’t despair and Googled for “diy camera slider wheels” searching for a better Rigwheels alternative, and found 

Cam On Wheels offers a Rigwheels alternative at half the price. For $50, they provide much better “runners” with better grade bearings (real Abec-grade bearings) with a softer rubber coating. These are far less noisy than the Rigwheels and look more professional too. The CamOnWheels CW2 wheels run smoothly on any surface, so your slider top can also be used as a tabletop dolly.

I used the Manfrotto HiHat to hold my fluid head, just screwed it on a piece of MDF board, screwed the CamOnWheels CW2 wheels on and rode them on the metal pipes. Far less noise than with the RigWheels and much smoother operation.

I’ll try to post a video of the final product soon.


Final conclusion: If you need to use small wheels for a slider or tabletop dolly, go for CamOnWheels. If you want to build a PVC pipe dolly that doesn’t need to be elegant, go for skateboard wheels. 




Free RedCine-X Film Look for Scarlet and Epic

I’ve finally decided on a look for our interior shots, for the feature i’m working on at the moment. A look for on-set preview and a good base for the style and look we’re after in post; inspired by the (in-)famous orange and teal look (Tony Scott and others). I hold back on the exaggerated orange skin look. Blacks are black, but low-midtones and shadows will appear teal. I personally don’t expose to the right (ETR) but expose skin @ around 50%, since we have controlled lighting on the set. If you shoot ETR or on maximum sensor exposure, adjust the Shadow and Mid Gamma Raise controls in RedCine-X, or adjust the FLUT value. The look uses three different curves for R,G and B. Touch the latter and you’re on your own… 😉

The pictures below are not the best demo, but apply it to your own footage, play with it and feel invited to discuss and/or upload your variation on this theme.

I show you before and after pictures, but don’t forget that the source is a 4K raw image that can look like anything “before”. Click on the images for the full 4K picture, although with 80% JPG compression. You can download the RedCine look file below.

Before… 4K@24fps 35mm@f4 Redcolor-3 Redgamma-3

After… Orange and Teal. Exposed skin @50% avg, 60% max peak

You can download this RMD file for free here:

You can use this file to import in RedCine-X Pro (download free from or put it on your SSD and import it into your Scarlet-X or Epic camera.

Martin Beek


What i love about my Red Scarlet-X

Wel… absolutely everything, but it’s ultra configurability for sure!
Take a box of old and new rig parts, a screwdriver and a hex key, and build a whole different camera 😉
Oh yeah.. also giving all your savings money to helps…

Red Scarlet camera Martin Beek Littekens Film


WOW! Now available: DSLR anti-moire filter for FCP! Free download!

This guy never seizes to amaze me!!! (three exclamation marks)

Jorgen Escher has released his DSLR anti-moire filter plugin for Final Cut Pro within 48 hours after me writing him about my recent micro-moire problems.

This is revolutionary! This valuable and amazing piece of work has LITERALLY saved me a LOT of money AND my a*se! I can’t tell you how happy i am after running my recent test footage through this filter. Phew… relieved…!

Read about (and download) this new plugin from Jorgen’s blog at

He is giving it away for free – nada -, but there is a 10 dollar donation button on the page; i say: use it! It’s worth the ten bucks! If it would’ve cost a 100 bucks, i’d bought it without hesitation!


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