Camalot sponsors Red Epic for Mango!

by - 2012/02/07 35 Comments Production

Camalot AV Facilties is Netherland’s most renowned digital film camera rental and servicing business. One of the owners – Philippe Vié – today confirmed we’ll get their full support for equipment and services. Having worked with our Director of Photography Joris Kerbosch before, they’re confident we’ll make a good use of their Red Epic cameras :) (same camera as being used by Peter Jackson for the Hobbit, delivers 5k)!

Thanks guys, this helps us tremendously!

  1. Absolutely EPIC! Mango is going to look gorgeous :D

  2. Greg Zaal says:


  3. ton says:

    Might become a FAQ: yes, our raw footage also will be released as creative commons, like all of Mango. :)

  4. J. says:

    Great! Any idea which lenses you’re gonna use?

  5. Rixie says:

    Sweet! Does this mean that we can expect a raw R3D Red import at some point in the future?

    • francoisgfx says:

      yet that would be awesome, I would be surprise it ever happen.
      But AFAIC, RedCine is free to download, works great and can export to OEXR, so that’s not really a show stopper IMO

    • N30N says:

      Blender already has support, just compile with WITH_IMAGE_REDCODE. Don’t know if it works with newer RED firmware though (read that they started to do some header obfuscation).

  6. I know the project is meant to bring more attention to Blender and therefore you want to take the most professional approach to this project.
    But it would have been nice to see more of a guerilla filming approach to this and instead used mid range DSLR cameras to show what is capable on a cheaper level.
    In a strange way I sort of feel that encouraging the use of Red cameras is like suggesting that 3dsmax or maya are better to use than blender.

    • Physics Guy says:

      On one hand I agree with you. These cameras don’t seem like something the average blender user would use, so spending a lot of time to get Blender to work with the footage from these cameras doesn’t seem super produce.

      But then again, the renderfarm used for Sintel was also not something the average blender user would use. And still, Sintel contributed a lot to Blender development.

      So the fact that the artist on a Blender project get to use the most awesome high-end goodies doesn’t mean that they will lose sight of the average user. And it will do lots to motivate the artists and developers involved.

      So I think that we should be extremely happy!

      • I was just voicing an idea that popped in my head. :)
        I do think what Ton and the team are doing is the best approach too, and everything new will be applicable to even the cheapest point and shoot.
        Good point about the render farm!

    • DimitrisC says:

      I agree with you. It should have been a ‘you can do it too’ project by using DSLR HD video.

    • Daniel Wray says:

      I disagree.

      Yes, a RED 4k camera is out of the reach of probably 99.99% of the Blender user base.

      But due to using an ultra high-end camera Blender will be pushed to it’s very limits, and hence improved further by the developers.

      Would you rather have the developers tweak Blender just enough to work with 1080p 8-bit images, or have them develop tools / technologies that can allow Blender to handle anything up to 4k RAW image sequences (granted they will use proxies, but for final rendering, colour grading and so on it should be the full 4K images).

      They are aiming high because that’s what it takes to push software. If they were using a 1080p capable DSLR that shoots h.264 I’d actually be a little disappointed.

      P.s. chances are if they ever get around to having a 2nd unit production that goes off to shoot some smaller elements then they probably will use a 1080p DSLR.

      • ian says:

        I agree with everything that you guys are saying! I think principally Mango is supposed to polish/demonstrate a Blender VFX pipeline to make it more palatable to the big studios- meaning a whole crazy 4k deal. At the same time, though, all of these developments will be available to everyone!

        Notably, as soon as the entire team arrives, we’re going to spend a week making a short film that goes through the entire process (I’m excited, and think this is a good idea on so many levels), and it’s very likely we’ll shoot it on a DSLR or a point-n-shoot (a bit counterintuitively, it’s the higher-res, expensively rigged footage that’s much easier to track and key, and making it work with all the jello-cam low-res stuff that can be the real challenge).

  7. Tadd says:

    This is good new for the project! Those cameras are slick as snot. I’ve only looked at one through binoculars while some high power security guards escorted them to their limo ..

    As for what Todd McCullough stated – on one hand I kind of agree. Red isn’t exactly something the average user can get their hands on. That’s a high priced piece of equipment.
    However, these projects are made to push the boundaries of what Blender can do. Obviously people use iut already with DSLR and such, so it’s not really pushing anything. Using a Hollywood quality camera is saying, “Look, Blender can use what the big boys can.”

    I think this will honestly push the quality of what Blender can do. The effects and CGI are all Blender based, and regardless of what gear is used to film, is the effects are done with Wings3D or some other less-quality software, the film will look like crap. So, having a high quality camera and only be effectively utilized by using a high quality softare.

    Ala Blender.

    And .. I dont’ know if that all made sense. But ..

    uh .

    Yay! Blender for teh win!!1!!!one!!1!!1

  8. Sam Schad says:

    I’m with Tadd on this one. I have never touched a Red camera, and most likely never will. But if you are trying to prove that Blender can be instrumental as a production tool, you have to play with the big boys. And the big boys use Red.

    I would imagine that we are all waiting for the day when James Cameron or Peter Jackson call up the BF.

    Can’t WAIT to see the footage on this one. And tracking with Red footage is going to be interesting. I can only imagine that greater resolution, color depth and dynamic range = better tracks.

    • Physics Guy says:

      Tracking with Red footage will require a lot of memory. With 13.8 megapixels, stored in memory as RGB values, that’s roughly 40 megabytes per frame, right? That’s around 1 gigabyte for one second of video!

      Realistically, to work with the footage, one should probably for track on a low resolution version of the footage and then refine the track by loading only sections (upperleftcorner or something like that) into memory.

      • LswaN says:

        Yeah, that’d be some pretty hefty data crunching for the computers, but I’m sure whatever they have at the Blender Institute has plenty of gigs of RAM to cache to, and using the highest quality video ought to give the highest quality track (in theory, anyway). So I’d think that they would stick with the highest quality stuff they can get. The average Blender user might need to tone down the resolution, though.

  9. francoisgfx says:

    Yeeesss well done Sir ;)

  10. ton says:

    I wouldn’t use equipment that would give us a workflow you can’t simply copy as indie filmer (motion capture hardware, robot control cameras, laser scanners, etc).

    Using a high quality camera is a different thing I think. It’s similar to using well known actors, or have plenty of good lights on the set, or spend way more time on vfx in shots than you can afford typically… :)

  11. liser says:

    WOW!!! This is really great news, RED is a great piece of camera!!!

  12. Roundabout says:

    Excellent news!

  13. john smith says:


  14. mitras2 says:

    Absolutly awesome !!!
    Thats a realy fantastic piece of equip.
    I hope you guys will deliver a 4k version of the final movie?
    It would be a shame to miss that with such a good cam.

    Thank you Camalot AV – this way of sponsorship is great :)

  15. Seb says:

    Wow. That’s really an awesome multiplier.Thanks alot to Camalot AV for the support. I Can’t wait to see some footage!

  16. TheOz91 says:

    Delivers 5k? That would make the quality of the film like it’s almost shot on film! In fact, you can take each frame and can treat it like a full resolution photo. I’m very happy to see that the RED camera is used for this production. It’s definitely cost effective since everything is digital, and definitely of higher quality shot using DSLRs :P

  17. morre says:


  18. Coen Spoor says:

    Boo red…. Megapixels are overrated

  19. Dusty says:

    Stunning!! Well done Ton, and THANK YOU to Camalot AV Facilties!

  20. PhysicsGuy says:

    I don’t know the specs of the workstations they will be using.

    Just a thought: would it help to do the tracking distributed over multiple computers? For instance by splitting each frame into overlapping section. Each node would only need the footage for that section. And if a marker gets to close to the edge of that section, the node could have the marker over to the node that has that section.
    That way, a longer shot could be kept in memory, which would minimize disk operation during the track.

  21. Rio says:

    The Camalot guy’s are great, they once let me loan a Arri D21 to just play at home! frikin’ awesome!

    I’d like to see how you guys are handling the color workflow for the red. Are you going to use the RedFilmLog and RedColor2? Also I’d like to know how Blender internally works with bit depths. Can you set the colorspace and bit depth for each read node in the compositor?

  22. Bruno Chansou says:

    It’s a choice of camera that I find strange. First in ethic point of view. Use the movie camera the more proprietary in the world for « Use and improve an open source creation pipeline » (one project target), it’s a paradox, no ?
    I’m not a fanatic supporter of open source (I use blender on a Mac). But RED camera and Blender, these two words together sound strange for me.
    And then in a technical point of view, the choice of 4K for a short film that will be seen mainly on DVD and online. And I also hope and wish on the big screen in festivals. But again short film festivals equipped with 4K projector ? The important thing is that footages are in RAW but why 4K !?!
    This is just my point of view. The Epic is a good camera.
    Sorry for my bad english.

  23. Jeremy says:

    What does that mean for stereoscopic 3D(like in “the hobbit”)?