Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hobbit to be Shot on RED Cameras

Peter Jackson will shoot the Hobbit films in 3D on RED (digital) cameras. More good news for the industry in general as well as low-budget filmmakers since film (and related processing) is probably the single most costly element for most productions.

The RED camera has already been used to shoot several high-profile movies, including 'Che' and 'The Informant!' -- Steven Soderbergh was one of the first Hollywood directors to embrace digital cinematography. 'District 9' was shot primarily on RED cameras. Michael Mann, I believe, shoots mostly digital now. 'Collateral' certainly has the look, as does 'Miami Vice' (memory fails me though).

Early movies shot digitally had a kind of gritty, grainy quality. I think that problem has been solved and imagery from the latest REDs is silky smooth, tighter than film. In low light, film can't compete with digital sensors. A lot of stuff is being shot at night on digital cameras without the use of huge banks of lights, generators, etc., which is basically impossible on film. I think they did that for 'Skyline'.

Small film crews can rent digital cameras, saving thousands in film-related costs. Between that and internet distribution, we might see a revival in the low-budget indie film scene, giving the new Cassavetes and Woody Allens their chance to change the world.

RED has been threatening to come out with a consumer still/video DSLR. I'm hoping. Will give Canon and Nikon something to worry about. We could use the competition.

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