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A Tale of Two Cameras


RED Ramps Up

RED recently unveiled plans for its upcoming Epic and Scarlet camera lines, along with a product roadmap leading up to 2010.

Scarlet and Epic will form the basis of RED’s new DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) systems. With these lines of cameras, the company is going after both the high-end photography and cinematography markets. Due to its modular design, users will be able to configure a camera to work as a DSLR camera or a cinema camera.

The modules start with what the company is calling the “Brain,” which is basically the image sensor block. The company is planning several variations of its Mysterium- X and Mysterium Monstro image sensors for a variety of resolutions and lens mounting systems.

Users will be able to swap out “Brains” without having to buy a new camera. In addition, users can swap lens mounts, i/o modules, batteries, recording modules or monitoring systems, as well as other accessories.

Scarlet will be available in 3K, 5K and 6K versions with a variety of lens mounting options ranging from a fixed 8X RED lens, to Mini-RED, B4, C, PL, Canon and Nikon mounts.

Epic will be offered in four basic versions: 5K, 6K, 9K and even a 28K version (planned for 2010) with a 186 mm x 56 mm Mysterium Monstro image sensor that will require Linhof or Alpha lens mounts.

Prices for the Brains will range from $2,500 for the 3K Scarlet, and up to $55,000 for the 28K Epic.

Company founder Jim Jannard promised that existing RED One owners will be able to upgrade their cameras to the new Mysterium-X image sensor or trade in their RED One for the full $17,500 value towards the purchase of an Epic. They will also have the option of keeping their RED One and getting a 12 percent discount on the purchase of a Scarlet system.

But, as always, the company stressed that “specifications and delivery dates are subject to drastic change.”

Dalsa Fades to Black

Meanwhile Dalsa, which first introduced its 4K Origin Camera in 2003, has decided to exit the camera business after years of struggling to get a foothold in Hollywood.

The company, whose core business is manufacturing image sensors, announced in late October that it was committed to eliminating the ongoing losses in its Digital Cinema division by the end of the year. That includes both the Origin Camera and the company’s Woodland Hills, Calif. rental facility.

As the first 4K camera on the market, the Origin was widely lauded as a technological breakthrough, and the company had high hopes it would take Hollywood by storm. But in the end, the camera’s $3,000-per-day rental rate was probably just too high to compete, (especially after RED arrived on the scene).

It was only ever used on a complex skydiving VFX shot in the recent James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, as well as a few independent low-budget features and commercial spots (who weren’t paying the full rate card rates).

“The actions we undertook in the third quarter to stem further losses in our Digital Cinema initiative will now allow us to focus our attention more fully on our core Digital Imaging and Semiconductor businesses, and to further build on their success moving forward,” said Brian Doody, CEO of Dalsa Corporation.

Dalsa announced on Oct. 30, that it had “entered into a non-binding letter of intent (LOI), which includes a 30-day period of exclusive negotiations,” with Arri to sell the camera side of the business and continue to supply Arri with image sensors for the camera, but at press time, no deal had been reached.

The company also reports that it is talking to a number of parties.

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