RED vs. HD – The Reality

One of the questions that we get asked all of the time goes something like this “Okay, so the RED Epic shoots 5k, but my nephew/ grandmother/ kid in the mail room/ company we’ve been using since 1972  has an HD camera and he only charges $5 a day, and it’s only for the web so why should I change?”  It’s a hard question to answer without a) showing them something  b) explaining the history and technology of film and video  or c) killing the person slowly.  I usually lean towards c) and so thought it was time to put a little something together…

Obviously, there are lots of differences between the two types of camera and what they are capable of delivering, but we had to start somewhere and make it simple so we chose to try and illustrate a few of the factors that contribute to the filmic look the camera is capable of – depth of field, depth and accuracy of color, exposure latitude, sharpness, motion blurring, slow motion capability and recording RAW footage.  For our test we shot material on both a RED Epic with RED PL mount lenses and a Canon 1/3 inch HDV camera, side by side, and lightly color corrected both sets of images to make things a bit fairer.  This is what we got…

RED vs. HD – Depth of Field

And a RED only example of Depth of Field

RED vs. HD – Color Depth and Accuracy (and Sarah is not pale and slightly blue!)

And a RED only example of Color Depth

RED vs. HD – Exposure Latitude (still not pale and blue)

And a RED only example of Exposure Latitude

RED vs. HD – Sharpness

And a RED only example of Sharpness

RED vs. HD – Motion Blurring

And a RED only example of Motion Blurring

RED vs. HD – Slow Motion (the HDV footage is slowed to match the RED true slomo speed in the edit system)

And a RED only example of Slow Motion

And finally a RED example of how you should shoot for getting the most from a scene in pre-post using the RAW format


Hope these help explain – if not then back to option c) and the slow death! I’ll go and get the hatchet… :-)