Does Philip Bloom understand a RED workflow?

I was just reading the Philip Bloom blog about “To buy a Scarlet or not to buy, that is the question…”. http://philipbloom.net/2011/11/20/scarlet/

He has some great points especially that it will cost you more than you think but also there are some alarming misinformation in there. For example he reports that it takes 90 minutes to offload a 128GB SSD card. I did it on a old HP Pavillion laptop through eSATA to some 2TB WD Caviar Green drives and it took 28 minutes. These are the slower intellipower (5400RPM) drives that I would not recommend. The producer bought them in advance and we had to roll with it. FireWire 800 takes around the same time. This was on set of a short movie we are filming called “Deadly Flower” so I have lots of people to verify that. I can also show anyone that is interested. Offloading to a RAID this time could be knocked down to 8 minutes.

Also he reports that it took 3.5 days to convert four 128Gb cards to Apple ProRes. Philip no doubt was trying to do this at full resolution debayer. At full resolution debayer one hours worth of footage can take 24 hours to convert. With half resolution debayer there is hardly any noticeable difference in quality when converting for HD. This is a debayer test we did on reduser and many people could not tell the difference: http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?55559-debayer-test

Full resolution debayer is a must for 4K output but not for HD output, especially when you just need offline proxy files to edit with. In any case he is partially right, you will need a workstation class computer. If using a laptop then get the latest model preferable quad core i7 or i5. Working with a RED is not working with video, it’s working with RAW and debayering takes lots of processing power. The workflow is very similar to film (albeit not as expensive) and one that is very technical.

In my opinion you can get by with two 128GB SSD cards and that is the minimum that I would recomend. You will need someone offloading the footage for you and knowing what they are doing. Attend some workshops or ask around on reduser what settings others are using. This workflow requires education and research… it’s not a video camera. There are some professional DIT’s on reduser that can give you great information.

His opinion on 4k future proofing is also limited to only his work… for example he says it’s good for movies. In my opinion it’s also great for documentaries and music videos. Well anything really that you would like to see in the future on higher resolution displays. Heck even home movies would be good for 4k or higher. Every camera and soon TV will have it in the near future, so why not have it now if you can afford it and make some money back? So in my opinion this is like saying all we need is a 2 megapixel still camera. Soon there will be no difference between stills and motion devices in regards to resolution.

In my opinion Philip Bloom is a good shooter for the type of work that he does. This does not mean that he’s a technical expert in post production. His experiences should tell you something though… if you are less technical that he is and don’t have the time to be researching on reduser… chances are you will have the same problems. Also everyone uses a camera in different ways… his opinions and experiences are his. We are all human beings coming from different perspectives with different wants and needs. In my case we mostly do music videos, shorts and feature film investment trailers and pursue a workflow in that regard. His experiences does not speak for mine. I’ve never had any reliability issues with my Epic, I think 4K is a good equivalent to film resolution and has the same future proofing aspect as film.

The only issues that I have with RED right now is that they are swamped from the Scarlet orders and some products are seriously back ordered. I hope they fix the back order situation soon and get their customer service back to where it should be.

44 thoughts on “Does Philip Bloom understand a RED workflow?”

  1. A reply: do you understand how to read blog posts?

    I always states “in my opinion” and “in my experience”

    I also state frequently that never listen to just one person

    With regards to you questioning my numbers. I actually was saying though FireWire 800 or USB 2.

    With regards to conversion I was convert 2k 300fps to proreshq at full debayer which is essential in the 2k

    So do I understand RED workflow? Yes. An I an expert. No an I have never claimed to be. Please correct your post accordingly

    Thank you.

    Philip

  2. One last thing you also failed to mention I was using. MacBook pro for my conversion rather than a desktop. Another important point!

  3. Perhaps you should clarify your blog entry with more details? As stated FireWire 800 transfers are around the same time. No one knows what methods you were using but 90 minutes transfer time for a 128GB SSD card is absurd. Why would you be using a USB2 hard drive in the first place? I tell my clients to grab a FireWire 800 or eSATA hard drive. USB2 is too slow. You obviously don’t understand proper workflow if you are using a USB2 drive… which I strongly suspect you were.

    Regarding 2k being done at full debayer… your transcode times were not reported with any technical details. Exactly what type of laptop were you using? What are the specs? Were you transcoding to and from the same drive… were those drives USB 2.0 too?

  4. Have you tested FW 800 vs. eStata? I get these times:

    To copy a 1 gig file:

    sata/eSata: 10-18 seconds (depending on drive speed and how full it is)
    FW800: 22 seconds (both 5400 and 7200)
    USB 2: 45 seconds

    That’s 21-38 minutes over eSata, 47 over fw800, and 96 over usb2. Unfortunately, sometimes usb is all you’ve got.

  5. Yes I’ve tested FW800 on a full 128GB SSD drive and got the same 28 minutes. If i was transferring to a RAID system the eSATA would be substantially faster. That day I was transferring to a single drive that also had an eSATA connection. With the FW800 transfer it was to a desktop computers internal drive. Great thread on reduser about transfer times off the SSD: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?67539-How-long-does-it-take-to-empty-a-64gb-red-ssd-card

  6. Why the attention seeking title. Oh yeah. It’s attention seeking.

    I stand by MY experiences and if you bothered to read the VERY first sentence then you would not have written this he way you did. Then again maybe you would have done

    I shared MY experiences. That is what they were. Now leave me out of it and write a post listing your experiences without dragging me into it.

    Thank you

  7. And one VERY last thing as I said on my post AND on here this was on my MBP. Not ideal.

    Now please leave me out of this.

    Thank you.

  8. So your blog entries stand to serve a purpose of misinforming your readers?

    “You don’t need all the cards if you have someone to offload, but be really careful if you go down that path. Those cards take an age to offload! Firewire 800 (obviously faster with Esata) will take around 90 minutes to offload to one drive…There is a reason the M package comes with 4!! It’s always a worrying thing to do format cards in the middle of a shoot. If you are doing it yourself. Best to get it a dedicated person to do that if you are going down that road…” — Philip Bloom.

    You still stand by by that statement? You are really saying that a 128SSD will take 90 minutes to offload via FireWire 800?

  9. Andrae,

    I have a few concerns about the intent of your post. Everyone is free to post anything they want (obviously) but I don’t support the approach you took with this article.

    Why attack someone for what they are saying verses helping? He makes it VERY clear that his post is based off of his personal experiences. It seems you have knowledge of post workflow. Why not create a post helping others in their journey as a filmmaker?

    Philip (whose name you also didn’t spell right) has been generous enough to take time to post his experiences — and subject himself to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Taking a negative approach and blatantly attacking someone’s abilities is ridiculous and there is no need for it whatsoever. If you are wanting to drive traffic to your site, why not do this in a positive way? Life is too short for negativity. I would love to see the post redone to focus on how to approach post production workflow but that’s just my two cents ;).

    Cheers!

  10. I will no longer carry on this discussion when you are using personal attacks .

    You should be ashamed of yourself. What sort of professional does this?

  11. Hey Preston,

    I have someone in my local market regurgitating what he read on Philip Bloom’s blog as if it was a universal truth. I wrote this to say that Philip Bloom’s experience are his and not mine. Obviously people have some believes in the man and based their decisions off of his input. That means he has a responsibility to his readers to post well informed reviews. He can’t just get away by saying those are his experiences. Not when his reports affect the livelihood of so many people.

  12. Sick to death of this. But…One quick question as you are obviously way more experienced than me as you seem to be bragging…I guess you must be offloading to one drive with those times. You are braver than me!

  13. No I was backing up twice on set. The producer had a Startech eSATA USB to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station for Dual 2.5 or 3.5-Inch HDD SATADOCK22UE. I advised the producer that this docking station is not ideal and he will be getting one with mirrored RAID functionality. So I was in a difficult position that day. I had to back up to one drive and then another drive. Due to the fact that the docking station cannot mirror the data. I was able to accomplish full “double backup” of five “FULL” SSD cards worth of data that day.

  14. I would not listen to this Andrae guy he’s seems slow. As far as I can tell he’s not professional he thinks owning a red makes him so. He has a hole in the wall studio basically a garage. He has no demo to speak of so he probably does not do any work at all so I don’t know what experiences he has in the professional world other then probably a few rentals, can he even shoot professionally? show us a completed video you have made. The only videos he seems to have are bugs and beaches from his back yard with horrible coloring. You seem to think you know everything but you just look very dumb I think your the last person to have a teaching seminar.. just reading red user and being a fan boy does not make you qualified. Plus if you were a professional you would know in your market rentals are a bad business plan and considering you don’t have any other skills because you seem to post everything on your blog and yet again i have not seen anything you have rally done or shot so Im sure you wont last long, or as long as who ever is giving you money. Stop attacking Philip he will make more money off of shooting with an iphone camera then you will your whole life pretending to be a professional with your red.

  15. One more thing I hate doing this sort of thing no one should be attacked but if your going to do it to Philip you should see what it feels like. You really are an idiot you should read the first blog part…Its his experience its not a learning thing!!!

  16. Rich,

    How can I have a demo reel when I’m mostly providing free DIT services to people that rent my Epic and RED One cameras? Perhaps I should have someone filming me doing DIT. LOL.

  17. done with the high road this guys being a real ass hole. Well all your blog entries talk about coloring this shooting this, no blog entries on dit. if you were a pro DIT you would have your own cart set up and not even worrying about the clients drives you would have your own on board raid system then just the offload their backed up footage to one of their drives. Again which part of you is professional so far i see a single man with an epic who goes along with it providing fake DIT services… you realize thats not real dit a 5 year old can back up to drives .. your clients should feel cheated

  18. because when you mess up and lose all their footage they wont care that its for free. Your non professional standard will end up destroying, or not copying the information the right way its inevitable. Maybe your mad at P{Philip for giving a little bit of wrong information because your one of those people who get all their info from blogs and has no ideas of his own just recycled blog information. Go to school get a real job

  19. every one tinks low price and free is good until they get some one who does not know what they are doing like you, then next time they will know not to go with the free low price guy. Get off your high horse and stop bothering Philip

  20. As a DIT I’ve never been knocked out or lost one bit of data… I’m undefeated. 🙂 Obviously I’m faster than Philip Bloom with the transfers. LOL.

  21. like i said its inevitable the way you do things for it to come crashing down. Your treating this like a game saying things like undefeated for some people that footage is their lively hood you should treat it like that and not a little game.

  22. My DIT skills have been battle tested… I sting like a bee and do a super fast verifiable transfer. 🙂 No bit is left unturned with my free services… when I hand that SSD back to the crew… they can format in peace. LOL.

  23. Rich Moran is right… depending on the importance of the job… you do need a fault tolerant RAID…. heck having at least a 12 core Mac Pro on set like the one we had would be awesome too. Unfortunately we would have to charge for those services and most clients can’t afford it. Just Friday we bought a new 17″ MacBook Pro and will be getting a Promise Thunderbolt RAID that we’ll offer at a cheaper price points just for safe transfers. I’m also now waiting on the new Mac Pro to ship. Would have thought they would ship it ages ago. The 12 core Mac Pro 2.66GHz can play back RED footage realtime at 1/2 Resolution without the need for a RED Rocket card. This is a blog post that I made on REDuser about my experiences with our 12 core Mac Pro.

    http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?54978-My-experience-with-12-core-2.66GHz-Mac-pro-amp-Quadro-4000

    Unfortunately I’m not a professional blogger so I mostly post my informative post to reduser.

  24. Wow…this informative blog has turned into a major bitch fest.

    Andrae: Maybe the title is a little bit on the over-confrontational side. But other than that it seems very informative. And you can have a demo reel actually, just showing what you’ve worked on. I know Dino has shared a lot on Reduser. Plus being a fellow Floridian I’m personally just curious to see what you’ve worked on.

    Philip: You are a well respected film maker and have contributed a lot to the film community. So you must realize that when you write a blog about an issue, people will believe it as fact whether it’s just your personal experience or not. If there is an issue, put it on RedUser. See if the issue can be resolved before blogging about it. This and every other situation following could have been avoided if you took those steps first.

    Even though this whole situation has left a bad taste in my mouth, I still respect you as a film maker (and am very sad that Critics is done with. I loved that show!)

    Rich: Just shut the fuck up.

  25. Philip Blooms opinion blog is useful as a caution to owner/operators without a lot of DIT experience.

    Andrae’s opinion about an opinion blog is understandable but quite unnecessary if I may offer my opinion on an opinion on an opinion. Anyone with any pro DIT experience knows basic practical bandwidth limits and can do the math on how long a 128gb transfer will take. The rest are better served by Philips conservative speed reports.

    Its really not surprising that Philip and andrae and a dozen others would report different experiences with their different setups. It just reminds you that if you aren’t sure and haven’t tested, don’t just hope for the best on set…

  26. Well I wrote to you Andrae privately. It’s a shame you didn’t reply. You took an opportunity to attract attention to your blog and that’s fair enough, a bit sad but your choice. You posted it everywhere which clearly shows your deserve to attract said attention.

    It’s just a shame you didn’t bother reading my opening paragraph of my blog post or bother to actually listen to anything I said there. My last words are these…my experiences.

    Good luck

    Philip

  27. Wrote to me privately? Was that via email? It’s kind of funny that you are accusing me of trying to attract attention… based on your profession.

  28. Andrae,

    I wrote two email to you via the email you used to register to my site. i guess it was not real.

    There is attracting attention via your work and knowledge which I spent 4 hard long years doing and if you do that it is utterly commendable. Then there is attracting attention by sharing your knowledge by jumping on a hate fuelled bandwagon which is what you did here. Which would you rather be? Yes there is no hate in here but you failed to read my post properly and yet based a whole post on that misinformation. Your timing was deliberate though. You timed it with all this attention on me and RED, you posted it everywhere. It’s clear what your intention was. If it was just about sharing your experiences then great! All the better for everyone but you chose a different approach. One which in my opinion is not so commendable.

    Do you know where I posted my post about my RED experience? On my blog, my twitter and my Facebook. I did not post it on any other sites or jump on any hate field baandwagons. I don’t hate. Hate takes up more energy by far.

    My profession is a cinematographer and director. I also have a blog.

    I hope you understand why I am aggrieved at the path you took on this. Preston summed it up the best.

    if you would like to continue this discussion privately over email I would be more than happy to take the time to talk to you. My email is attached to this comment. It’s real. It works.

    Thank you.

    Kind Regards

    Philip

  29. I read my gmail account every now and then… it’s a personal email address.

    Perhaps I should have started my blog post off with this… “I feel this is a really important blog post, as I am reading in so many places some worryingly ill-informed comments from people.” — In this case, you sir are the leader of the ill informed.

    I think your true profession is a blogger… you obviously are very good at it and have been doing it for quite some time. If you weren’t a blogger we wouldn’t be having this discussion. You would be another person that doesn’t understand the RED workflow. Given your importance in the DSLR community, your ill informed opinions affect the opinions of your readers. At least RED was gracious enough to delete any threads or comments that personally attacked you. I see you are not gracious enough to do the same. You milk your audience for some sympathy like a tragic victim in some play.

    You have many inaccuracies in that blog post. I only focused on a few major ones that went to the heart of your argument. The way that I look at it… if a shooter wants to shoot at the level of a Scarlet or Epic… then they have to do some research into effective workflows. If they don’t have the knowledge then hire someone to operate as DIT. I’m not a day to day blogger so I’m not going to blog on these issues… trust me when I say they are well covered on reduser.

    A person wishing to back up to two drives… should in a good scenario do so simultaneously with a mirrored RAID. I’ve worked on all kinds of shoots… many of my clients don’t have insurance and have very low budgets. I have to travel with the gear to secure it primarily… another function is to help out as DIT, camera technician or AC. Now I’ve been on shoots where I’ve advised clients to bring hard drives and they brought none. Definitely a lessening of professional standards is at play and they are way over their heads. I do my best to advise them… but they approach this like it’s a DSLR.

    The problem here is education and research. Even with having one hundred 256GB SSD cards on set… you still need a DIT. The reason for this is to check the footage on a larger display for technical issues. These issues could be vertical lines in the footage, having no footage at all being recorded, sensor noise due to lack of black calibration, etc. A few years back while operating a HVX200 with a FS100 the no data issue appeared on one of our shoots.

    I did agree with you by stating… yes the cost is more than what most people think. To me the larger problem is that the DSLR world and the Scarlet/Epic/ALEXA/F65/Film world is way different in professional standards. Call me elitist if you will, I cannot see how writing a blog covering low end cameras could serve both worlds. “Most” of your readers couldn’t even handle the insurance to cover the gear. So yes… it’s way more expensive than what they think.

  30. sorry andrae , the alexa workflow is alot more straight forward than red epic. Being a red epic owner operator, it pains me to write this. I hope RED fixes this fast, and also the HDRX to effectively use it, it requires alot of post and dare I say masking! in FXPHD , the grading video series on RED. There is a some information on a new program from RED which will handle this.
    currently my workflow is RED epic footage straight into premiere pro cs5.5 with a quadro . no transcoding. It’s sort of working, but seriously very clunky.

  31. Since the Epic with a AJA KiPro Mini or Sound Devices Pix 240 can simultaneously record RAW & high quality Apple ProRes video with filename and metadata export… I personally find it hard to justify a ARRI Alexa that is very expensive for the same RAW & video workflow. Not just expensive but a major drain on post workflow support as far as needing a RAID to process the Alexa RAW footage.

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