RED’s Jim Jannard Blasts DSLR Cinematographers, Says They Should Be “Embarrassed”

In a forum posting discussing bugs associated with the, yet-to-be-released, RED EPIC and Scarlet cameras, RED’s Jim Jannard says that cinematographers should be embarrassed for shooting 1080p on DSLRs.

I fully expect the DSLR mfgs to get it right at some point. Make a non-line-skipping 4K camera. At that point, the difference will be RAW 5K and 6K vs. whatever they make. Until then, a line-skipping 1080P camera is just not in the running for a pro camera. Can you make OK images with a line-skipping 1080P camera? Sure. Should you be embarrassed? Yes. We are not in that business.

I saw the Canon commercial about shooting “motion stills”. They should be ashamed. Just try to take a still from their motion 1080P capture…

Jannard has been no stranger to controversy when it comes to talking big about the DSLR competition.  The RED Scarlet and EPIC cameras were originally unveiled in November 2008, with a projected street date of Summer/Fall 2009.  At the time, Jannard spoke of his DSMC (digital still motion cameras) as game changers with respect to the newly-created DSLR-cinema market.

I want to say that no one has any idea how incredible this announcement will be. Call this hype… please.  Jannard, October 26, 2008

Hype was certainly called; however, 2009 came and went with no new products from RED, but that hasn’t prevented Jannard from taking jabs at DSLRs and users such cameras.

There’s no doubt that RED makes an incredible product.  It has changed the game by giving off-the-radar filmmakers access to a relatively affordable camera capable of going toe to toe with anything else Hollywood is using.  But saying filmmakers should be embarrassed for shooting with a DSLR really rubs me the wrong way.

When I think about cinematography on the 5D Mark II, 1D Mark IV and so on, I think of Vincent Laforet, Shane Hurlbut and Gale Tattersall (DP for season finale of House).  So, I think Jannard has a poor choice of words for what artists are creating with these line-skipping cameras.  Of course, Jannard has never been one to mince words when talking about the competition.  However, the fact remains that RED EPIC and Scarlet are coming up on the one year anniversary of their slated release date, with only a prototype shown on a tradeshow floor to show for it.  At the same time, Canon, Nikon and Panasonic are pushing into their second or third generation of video-capable DSLRs that both amateurs and pros will be using by the end of this year to create art – line-skipping or not.

[via EOSHD]

Update: While this story has been discussed on a number of other sites, I thought it would be worthwhile to share Vincent Laforet’s comments here.



  1. says

    Well coming from RED Cameras what would you expect? This is about as transparent as it gets. He’s in the vaporware business most of the time so Jim is attacking a shipping product that people are buying now instead of waiting for that special day when/if his cameras are actually available. This guy is an elitist who like most elitists thinks it’s the camera that makes the movie. Sorry Jimbo but there are people who could shoot rings around you with your RED whatever using $1000 camcorders. Red’s marketing is all hype and little substance. And they aren’t interested in the community of people trying to make hybrids work, other than attacking them. Way to embrace your potential customers Jimmy! I’ll be surprised if he ships his next camera within three years of the announce date.

  2. says

    Obviously Jim is defending his product, but not being impartial and sincere.

    If the user knows the camera’s limitations (all cameras have some, RED’s included), very good results can be achieved.

    Very good shorts (and not so shorts) have already been shot using “HDSLR” like the Canon 5D Mark II.

    Even George Lucas was interested to know its capabilities.

    So what’s wrong with an existing tool that can give you such amazing low light results, with a high quality and for a so low budget?

    Those so much announced but extremely delayed RED products can’t compete if they don’t exist. They only create expectation and speculation.

    Besides the huge difference in prices when comparing a 4K camera vs a $2,500 body-only camera which is able to shoot Full HD at 24, 25 and 30p. We are talking about very different things.

    Of course there are limitations, there were always in all cameras, but the current Canon EOS 5D Mark II doesn’t still have any camera that can compete in some aspects.

    If Jim has the chance to test one without prejudging, and learn to use it in the right and best way, he will be able to get amazing results for an amazing low cost. That is something no other camera can provide so far.

    There is NOTHING to be ashamed of.

    It is NOT only the “tool” what makes the difference when we talk about art…

    The tool (the camera in this case) is only a medium, not the art work.

    That’s something he should already know.

    PS: when Canon talk about “motion stills”, they don’t refer to pick up a still from a movie clip to print or make a portrait… that’s so obvious…
    Sometimes people who don’t agree or just don’t like something always try to find “arguments” to backup their sometimes irrational thoughts or feelings…

    PPS:We are NOT against any camera nor company (RED included), because ALL of them have they strong and weak points, but such kind of words and statements only reflect a narrow and/or biased way of thinking.

  3. says

    @Scott Bourne

    I totally agree with you…I have seen amazing things shot on Canon DSLR hybrids and surprisingly on little cameras like Panasonic has coming out with 1080p. I think what’s going to happen is RED isn’t going to look at the competition and they will take 3-5 years to present a product worth using. In that 3-5 years, Canon will be light years ahead and no one will want or need to shoot RED anymore. Maybe by then Nikon can get it right even :)

    Besides, RED’s target audience is considered to be a bit above that of Canon and their video DSLR market, right? If RED is making such a big deal about the little DSLR’s, maybe they feel threatened because they’ve seen the shots coming out of the 5D Mark II and the 1D Mark IV…

    Just my 2cents

  4. Eric Calabros says

    recording 4k or 6k video in RAW mode need a huge CPU power that eat naturally you have to carry heavy rig like RED. but being Heavy or Big is not the thing that DSLR mfgs interested in.this became more obvious with new generation of cams called micro four third that are compact, light weight and easy to handle.
    I think we should not expect Anything from Everything. its a fact that Jim should understand and respect too.

  5. says

    To some extent Jim is right.

    But I think rocking the boat is in his nature (which has certainly benefitted us in a lot of ways). What he says is sort of right – the way the video DSLRs are doing it now is not good and certainly isn’t the future.

    I don’t know about being embarassed about making things with a DSLR though. Certainly nothing wrong with using the tools that are available.

    In many respects I think Canon and others are taking the piss somewhat with their products currently – the shortcuts they’ve taken to get HD video off those sensors are extreme, and it RED or Sony or Panasonic tried to ship a “video” camera that did the same things they’d be evicerated. But it has started something that’s only getting better as time goes on.

    In the mean time, until the next generation of DSLRs arrive, and the DSMC ships, these are the best available for what they do. At least for most people.

    Overall I think Jim is genuinely passionate about what he does, and a lot of what he says is based on that passion, but he isn’t delicate about it. He wants everyone to be making the best video they can make, and see DSLRs as selling people short on that, but given no alternative it’s hard to justify the very agressive way he seems to voice that stuff.

  6. says

    Also, on re-reading, it seems clear he’s saying the makers should be embarassed about the shortcuts they’ve taken. Which is probably pretty fair.

    Although they haven’t really set out to make a video camera as such.

  7. says

    If he was attacking the manufacturers…. then that is just as laughable.

    Why should Canon be embarrased about making a beautiful 21mpx FF still camera that can shoot respectable HD footage without any extra cost. Or an 18mpx still camera the can shoot repectable 1080/24p and 720/60p for $800?

    If Canon had hyped these cameras up as professional video units, then Jim would have a little more weight behind his attacks.

    I’d be more embrassed to be running over 2 year behind schedule (on the Scarlet) and without an OEM manufacturer.

  8. SteelToad says

    Ford should have been ashamed of the model T, It couldn’t even drive from Virginia to New York without running out of gas or breaking down.

  9. Jeremy D. says

    insulting potential customers–excellent way to earn respect for your company.

  10. R. B. Old says

    1. Read Scott Bourne’s comment above.
    2. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the RED folks. Vaporware can’t make stills or movies. (Or fly you from place to place [see:

  11. Angelo Sartore says

    Some arrogant comments from a company that produced a half-baked camera & introduced it to the filmmaking community!

  12. ted says

    hmm jim has convinced me,i will take the money i’ve been saving up for a 5d mkII and go buy a scarlet

    oh wait..

  13. ted says

    also the canon 5d is STILLs camera ..that’s what it does best.the video was added as a gizmo sort of like the digital compass on the 7d,nobody at canon thaought that people would primarily buy the 5d for it’s video

  14. Blomquarter says

    Wow, Eric Reagan, whoever you are… you’re a flame baiting hack. You intentionally left out Jim’s first line from the original post:

    “I fully expect the DSLR mfgs to get it right at some point.”

    He wasn’t talking about DSLR cinematographers at all. He was talking about manufacturers.

    • says

      @Blomquarter – Did you even read the quote above? Like, the first line of it?

      Perhaps you’re right about who he was referencing, but that’s not how a number of others have read the pertinent quote. If you are aware of Jannard’s clarification of that statement, please provide a source.

  15. Jimbo says

    Red is the worst company for announcing “dream” stuff then never delivering. I think their attack against the Dslrs is because the dslrs actually work pretty damn good. Any videographer that uses a Red should be embarrassed that they got sucked into hype and marketing. I switched to Arri because Red is full of ego-flakes.

  16. says

    red doesn’t exist. red is a man making claims about an imaginary camera and bashing equipment that exists in reality. when and if red will be a reality we’ll see exactly how good it is and we’ll be excited or not. the best in a certain field bashing the ones they consider inferior is rarely seen.

  17. general says

    At least the video DSLRs are real. Jannard should be embarrassed for having mostly (all?) computer generated images of his vaporware.

    I remember like last year they were saying they’re going to have a 6×45 video camera. What a joker.

  18. Huggs says

    Anybody else think spending over $4700 on a 2/3″ sensor, fixed lens cam is a bad idea?

    No matter how much they brag about the specs, the cams are overpriced.

    At least DSLR manufacturers are producing cams that work with current tech (1080p tvs), and they are making them affordable so they can sell more. Take note Red.

  19. says

    The Canon 5D Mark II penetrates the video market swift and fast. It’s not targeted at RED. When it comes to production it comes down to costing (to too many production houses), hence 5D Mark II naturally become the choice.

    We cannot deny depth of field and excellent sensitivity does come from 5D Mark II.