Review of the Red Scarlet-X by Timur Civan

by planetmitch2 Comments

Timur Civan has written a review: Red Scarlet: The Gateway Drug. If you don't remember Timur, he's the guy who caused a huge stir when he put a 102 year old lens on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (two posts: stills post and video from the same lens). So he knows his way around a camera.

He's graciously sent us his initial post on his thoughts on his Scarlet-X. He's going to post more. We're including the first half of his article (it is long!) and you can read the conclusions on his blog.

Red Scarlet: The Gateway Drug

I am surprised.

I am surprised by how much i like the RED Scarlet.  Like is too soft a word.  I adore my RED Scarlet.  This comes as a surprise to me not because i was expecting a bad camera, i just wasn't expecting something that i would come to be so fond of.

I will return to this point in a minute, but first,  I want to talk about the path to RED, and why i chose to purchase an additional pro level camera.

For this past year I was happily shooting on the Sony F3 with sLog.  The F3 is absolutely astonishing. I recently shot a feature film with it, and it performed amazingly well, beyond belief.  The shoot took place from october 15th though November 10th.  The Canon/RED November 3rd announcement hit during our closing weeks of production and my DIT and I discussed the offerings from the big players.  The choice seemed clear, 4K for $20,000 all in.  The F3 had certainly earned its keep and is still one of the most flexible tools i've ever owned.  However, as a business owner, I want Tstop Cinema to remain on the cutting edge of cinema technology.  Not that i was at all unhappy with the F3, but I have a formula, If (Rental Cost) X (#of times used per year) > (1/4) X (Item New Purchase Price), i buy it.  I had used a REDMX  and Epic 9 times this year.  Thats around $11,000 in rentals.  The formula said get a RED.  I put down my deposit and waited……

Some weeks later before I received my camera, I tested a RED Scarlet with Ryan Koo of No Film School. This accomplished a few things, first since I had not yet received the RED, I had a chance to see if I even liked it.  Should I change my mind I can always get a refund from RED, they are really good in that sense.  Second, I got a chance to see what it was capable of interms of image, ergonomics, functionality and over all performance. You can see the film we wound up shooting on our first outing here: [tentblogger-vimeo 34904115]

I liked it.   Yet, i wasn't completely sold.  There were some issues.  The camera does not come with a standard thread spacing on the base, so using my basic accessories proved difficult. MatteBox, Follow Focus, filters, additional monitoring etc… all out the window.  The RED needs additional accesories to make it function in a basic manner.  Nothing too horribly expensive, but still.  Really? I need a $100 riser to make it “standard”?

I decided to keep my order, and play it by ear.  Since I had a low order number, I'd at least have the ability to sell the camera for cost in the event I wanted to get rid of it after it arrived.

Finally, three weeks ago, my Scarlet arrived, with the 5″ LCD.  I purchased the Wooden Camera  Anton Bauer back plate. I had originally planned on using the RED base production pack to remedy the lack of standard mounting points on the bottom.  Waiting for it to arrive, I put the scarlet to good use, and started day one on a eight day shoot.  The setup below, is without the base plate riser, with the camera bolted directly to a Element Technica 19mm Hybrid Plate.  This presented a quick solution, and massive problem.  Yes the Cooke 18-100 T3 Varotal, could now mount….  however, the camera was positioned way too low, and thus neither matte-box nor follow focus could fit under the lens.  My 1st AC improvised, and turned the Obox into a clamp on Matte-Box.

That's just the first half!

I told you it is a long review ha! Read the full story with a bunch more photos and info! Red Scarlet: The Gateway Drug

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. ..nice review…but there are going to be other options coming out this year…nothing to do with Canon and Nikon either.

    So I would be hesitant about plunking down $50,000 for Epic or $20,000 for Scarlet or Canon package. Unless you need
    it for a shooting job next week.

  2. I totally agree, with NAB in just a couple of months I’m sure a some big stuff is happening soon.

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