RED Digital Cinema cameras have become a staple in the world of cinematography. They started the 4K revolution, setting the standard for the resolution of any feature movie. The company itself is not very old, it was founded in 2005 by Jim Jannard, who had previously founded Oakley. His initial vision was to create a digital camera that could shoot in 4K. Two years later, prototypes were ready to enter the market. Director Peter Jackson was the first to experiment. He used two RED ONE cameras to shoot his short WW1 movie, Crossing the Line. After watching the movie, director Steven Soderbergh told Jannard, “I’m all in. I have to shoot with this.” He used a couple of RED ONE’s to shoot his jungle documentary, Che.
After that, RED’s became an industry standard, even challenging other companies to join the digital world of film, leaving physical film behind. The switch was made easier due to RED’s ability to shoot in RAW. This basically means that it captures a minimal amount of data for a shot. The images are not processed, so all the individual layers of a shot are then pieced together to compose the desired shot. This ultimately gives the editor much more control over things like color correction or contrast enhancement. Having this kind of control was the reason why many companies were still using film, so now that digital could compete with the same benefits, digital became the ideal choice.
Since their debut, RED has been accredited with capturing an impressive number of movies. The list of titles on their website is massive, and could be scrolled through for what feels like a constant page. Saying they are popular is an understatement. Their credit for influencing the change from film to digital is impactful to say the least.
35mm film cameras had been the industry standard since the beginning of movies. This recent shift from 35mm to digital has been a major leap forward in the progression of cinema technology. Even movie theaters had to adjust by exchanging their film projectors for digital ones. This also meant that theaters could recieve movies via internet, making celluloid obsolete.
With a body that resembles a large still camera, the RED camera made a major impact on the industry around it. After being decked out with accessories including lenses and dollies, it looks just as intimidating as a film camera. It is also about a quarter of the price of a film camera. It influenced one of the biggest transitions in videography history, and now rains supreme as a house name.