2018 marks the year RED is getting serious about fitting needs for the VR industry following two camera announcements. RED has earned its spot as a leading cinematic camera manufacturer, winning the loyalty of many filmmakers.
- Lucid and RED announced a 180-degree, 8K, 3D/4-View (4V), VR camera.
- Facebook announced it will work with RED to produce cameras based on the Surround 360 reference design.
- Previously, professional filmmakers had to make custom rigs in order to use RED Dragon cameras.
- RED is also releasing the company's first smartphone, RED Hydrogen One, this summer. The phone has a holographic display.
RED is ushering in a new era of immersive video. Though the cameras won't be exempt from first-to-market technology flaws, the camera maker's technology will bring a new depth to current VR videos.
RED isn't the first to create a volumetric VR camera, but it will be the first to do so on the mass market. There is no word yet on the price and availability of the future Facebook/RED camera, but the Lucid camera will be manufactured on a large scale. This will be the first time filmmakers can create a "4-View" (or essentially a 3DoF volumetric effect) in an immersive video.
Volumetric is a feature that is long wanted from VR filmmakers and viewers. Currently, this technology is too expensive for filmmakers to justify as it will only benefit a small audience. A reasonable price for the cameras could offset this cost, and even encourage consumers to find more value in purchasing a VR headset.
Beyond VR, RED is feeding into its own ecosystem of holographic, immersive video content. With the release of its first phone, the company is in need of specific cameras that can create for its holographic platform. The new camera will primarily serve a niche customer base, but one that represents value for the company; output from high-end content creators will partly feed back into RED's overall ecosystem. This phone, if rumors come to hold, will be the first well done holographic display on a phone. This will have a larger impact as a new immersive display to prosumer and commercial displays.