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  • The Little Camera That Has Changed the Film Industry

The Little Camera That Has Changed the Film Industry

The Little Camera That Has Changed the Film Industry

When we think of the movies, one of the images we conjure up is that of the celluloid film strips that whir inside a projector and flash the moving pictures in front of us in a theater. But the way the film industry is moving towards an era of digitalization, the need for physical film is slowly running out of screen time.

We can thank digital movie cameras like the Red camera for such a change. First introduced in 2007, the Red camera is smaller than a professional-sized still camera, but packs a punch with its combination of high-resolution perfection and greater portability. Even though digital cameras were already on the market at its debut, the Red camera challenged all competitors with its semiconductor chip (which essentially converts photons into electrons for all you techies out there) that was the same size as a frame of 35-mm film, the standard in Hollywood film. Even better, the digital image it produced was practically indistinguishable from its celluloid counterpart.

Though not every Joe Schmoe can afford it (the most recent model goes for $8,000 a pop, and that’s a bare-bones version),  Red camera’s technology is making movie productions more accessible and more advanced than ever. A fully-loaded version of the latest Red model costs between $45,000 and $60,000, perhaps a quarter as much as a new traditional film camera. It’s this efficiency in both cost and production of the 4K camera that have attracted the likes of famous filmmakers like Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh upon Red camera’s release. Jackson apparently finds the technology addictive, having used 48 Red cameras, including models configured for 3-D effects, while filming The Hobbit. Since then, many directors have used Red cameras to shoot some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean. Most recently, you can find the likes of Red camera in films like Oz: The Great and Powerful. According to Red co-founder Ted Schilowitz, most films these days are made with Red camera technology.

Thanks to cameras like Red, the era of film strips is coming to an end. Even movies that are shot on film today are usually digitized afterwards, simply out of need to edit and add special effects on a computer. Those movies are then printed back on to film and then shipped to theaters. As it is now, most theaters in America still use traditional threaded film projectors, but as digital age churns ahead, the necessity to adopt digital projectors will grow. Soon, there won’t be an ounce of celluloid required to produce or project a film in the movie industry.

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