As a result of this change, EasyHDR, the option that functioned similarly to HDRx but did all the processing in camera, is put cryptically “on hold.”
EasyHDR (eHDR) is supposed to be an alternative option for those who want an increase in dynamic range but without the headache of dealing with the additional data and post-production tweaking that HDRx entails. As Jannard explained, “You select a number (that represents stops of highlight protection) and the camera does the rest.”
While that may seem like a great feature for those new to the cameras or even for the “prosumer,” it runs against the philosophy that RED has been parroting lately. On the same forums in a thread titled “Who is RED?” back in October, Jannard said, “We recently came to the conclusion that, indeed, we cater to the professional market. That’s it. A pro camera company. We want to build the best tools possible for those that want to “man up”. There are plenty of companies dedicated to selling prosumer (short for “almost right”) cameras. We aren’t going to be one of them.”
It seems this new thinking has lead to a slew of corrections to what RED previously thought was right. One of these corrections is to put eHDR on hold. Jannard said, “The more we have used eHDR™, the more we can see why having full control over the combining process makes more sense… which is what you have with HDRx.” He goes on to relate this news to RED’s new professional philosophy by comparing the technology to the digital photography transition to a RAW file format: “The overall flexibility of HDRx™ is just too seductive to ignore. It is like shooting RAW was a JPEG. One is infinitely flexible and one is “baked in”. One is “pro” and one is not.”
I think this move is smart for RED. Anyone who would be using HDRx is probably going to expect to manipulate it in post-production and want the flexibility it provides. I doubt there are very many people who would pony up the cash for a RED Epic without understanding how it all works in the first place. Catering to the lowest common denominator isn’t always the best tactic and I applaud RED for favoring the professionals who have been using their tools for quite some time.
HDRx should provide some exciting new opportunities for those shooting with the cameras, including John Schwartzman on Spiderman and Ridley Scott. It’s a feature that I’m certainly looking forward to, especially because the Epic cameras will be able to fully utilize the Mysterium-X sensor in a way that the upgraded RED One simply couldn’t. Couple HDRx with RED’s new color science and the battle for digital cinematography supremacy gets more interesting by the day.
It is important to note, however, that RED is notorious for changing things up even this late in the game. For instance, their “Scarlet” camera, a stripped down, cheaper model of the RED Epic, has been renamed twice now from Epic Light to Epic-S. It’s not unlike RED to want to switch things up as they see fit and Jannard acknowledges this habit to all forum members with a quote in his footer that reads, “Everything in life changes… including our camera specs and delivery dates…”
There’s been a lot going on at RED lately as the company gears up to send its Epic camera into full production and this is just one tidbit of small news that has been pouring out of the REDuser forums. To read the full statement by Jannard, head on over there.