New RED camera & hyper-modularity

RED was formed in 2005 by the founder of Oakley.

They blew Hollywood away with their first product, the RED ONE digital movie camera. Today they announced what may be the craziest modular system ever:

“The RED DSMC system. Using a DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) lets you shoot no-compromise still or motion images with the same camera. Well actually with over a trillion different cameras. Configure your camera to handle like a DSLR…or a cinema camera… or anything you can imagine.”


I’ve often thought computers should follow this business model. Modular design so you could buy a newer/faster processor “core” when they become available and keep the rest of the bits.

I think he has a great product. The design is a little hard edge though.

Probably not a cheap proposition once you add-up all of the ala carte accessories. Kinda like eating tapas. The bill is always a shocker.

I’m amazed by how far they’ve come in only 3 years! It’s a private company founded by a billionaire… I wonder how much they’re investing in R&D?

Some configurations:

I don’t have enough technical competence to say anything beyond, “it looks pro”.

It is amazing that such a complicated product could be developed in three years from scratch. Oakley is big though…and for a reason. The owner must have brains in surplus.

the construction and modularity is phenomenal. We’ve all worked on modular concepts, it is like a designer requirement. In this product it actually makes sense, and it benefits the manufacturer, the brand, and the user.

LOL, too true–the modularity of our Alaris infusion pump is our key differentiator and has made us the market leader… But I’ve always been curious about makes modularity work or not for a product.

Ours isn’t too different than this RED product: the modules are essential, but allow you to choose the right one for your specific needs–even if you never buy another. It seems that a lot of modular products fail when they start offering non-essential “add ons” and expect a lot of swapping.

There just are not that many products types where it makes sense.

It makes the most sense in commercial and medical applications I think. When I was at Evo, we worked on some automated lab test systems, various stations for testing, and pipetting, with programable robotic arms to transport samples from station to station. These were fully modular systems with plug and play stations. We also did some work for Pittney Bowes who makes some great modular stuffing and mailing systems.

This is one of the first consumer pieces were I thought is made a lot of sense to do this. It’s pretty cool.

I’d like to see someone do this with laptops, or even the next iPod. We get rid of so many good components in our old CE products just to get a little more memory, or a faster network. You should be able to swap out the upgraded part and keep the screen, the keyboard, the housing, something.

i’ve thought about this alot. i know exactly what you mean… still seems al long way off from being comercially produced though. damn those cameras are expensive. they must be hitting the prop market hard. i wonder how they compete there…?

They’re a textbook disruptive tech: lower-cost and equivalent quality to the existing film workflow–and a lot more convenient.

At the other end it’s interesting to see the new DSLR’s able to film in HD video. There’s already a cottage industry sprouting up to “cinematize” these cameras. I’m drooling for the Canon 5D Mark II. Check out this video sample and you’ll see why.