July 18, 2024

Nikon Acquires Cinema Camera Manufacturer RED

Are you familiar with Oakley sunglasses? Jim Jannard, the company’s founder, amassed billionaire status through the sale of a large quantity of sunglasses. He then went on to establish RED Digital Cinema, an early pioneer in the digital cinema camera industry. The agreement to acquire the camera manufacturer, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon Corporation, was announced today.

Television and film cameras were caught between a rock and a hard place when the company was established in 2005. While digital production workflows were growing in popularity, the quality of existing digital video cameras failed to meet the standards for high-end television and low-end movie production. The organization’s objective was to develop a cost-effective and groundbreaking 4K digital cinema camera, which represented a significant improvement over the prevailing 2K standard of the era.

Without sacrificing frame rate, the RED company set out to develop a sensor capable of matching the high quality of DSLR cameras (specifically in low light). The physical dimensions of this sensor were analog film-like, effectively connecting the realms of digital and conventional film manufacturing. Jannard introduced the RED One camera at the 2006 NAB Show, where initial results were displayed. The announcement of the camera sparked instantaneous interest in the industry, and preorders commenced. A further demonstration of the camera’s potential occurred in 2007 with the short film “Crossing the Line,” directed by Peter Jackson and filmed with prototype RED One cameras. A noteworthy achievement in the realm of digital cinema, this short film persuaded director Steven Soderbergh to utilize RED technology while filming his film “Che.”

After the camera began shipping in earnest in August 2007, RED became the camera brand of choice for television and film production almost immediately, and many of us who had been following the photography industry since its inception were incredibly enthusiastic about it. This was the first functional digital video camera to record in raw video format, which significantly increased the flexibility of the editing process. In conjunction with compression algorithms, this camera was capable of handling the enormous quantity of data it generated.

Notwithstanding Jannard’s retirement in 2013, Jarred Land continued RED’s tradition of innovation. In the film industry, the company’s cameras became standard equipment. By 2016, the organization’s cameras had been utilized in the production of over 25% of the highest-grossing films in the United States that were shot on digital video.

Nikon’s acquisition of the camera brand is both significant and strategically astute: Canon’s C-series cameras have established a long-standing presence in the industry, Sony’s cinema-line cameras have been pillars of the industry, and Fujifilm—well, one is inevitably encountering one of their products while traversing a film set.

RED’s cameras are a significant and logical addition to the Nikon brand; it will be intriguing to observe the capabilities of RED under Nikon’s financial support.