RED Hydrogen One – Release Postponed (Updated)

August 6th, 2018 icon / message-square 6
RED Hydrogen One - Release Postponed (Updated)

Last time we published an update about the RED’s phone was in May (article here). The final product was supposed to hit the stores in August 2018. Now it’s confirmed that there is going to be a delay in the release date due to an issue with the FCC certification process. There will also be a special version of the phone for those who preordered called “Houdini.”

RED Hydrogen One Testing Unit. Source: FCC.gov

At the beginning of July, Jim Jannard said that there will be a delay caused by a certification issue,”There is a critical part in the phone that is out of spec and one tool needs to be reworked.” To the people who preordered the phone (already a year ago) Jim offered the option to ask for a refund.

Special pre-release phone “Houdini” & Jannard signature for those who wait

In addition to that, he added a few extras for those who decide to keep waiting. There will be a special pre-release Hydrogen One called “Houdini” which should be available at least a month before the official carrier launch. “Houdini” will come with an additional 128GB micro SD card for the external slot and it will be carrier unlocked. It will come with complete release packaging plus an extra metal Hydrogen icon sticker. Jannard also offered to sign the boxes and he will also set aside two days and deliver the HYDROGEN personally at RED Studios. These units can only be picked up or shipped to customers inside the US. The Houdini model will also come with an extended one year longer warranty at no charge. It will be the only “Houdini” Model ever released.

Jim also mentioned the delay can give them a better “selling slot” and more time to enable things that would have been a software update after the original release. There still will be updates, but more features will be enabled from the start with a new launch date. He said they are getting support from the major studios for 4V content and the delayed release date will allow more 4V content to be available at launch.

RED Hydrogen One Testing Unit. Source: FCC.gov

FCC Certification causing delays

The RED Hydrogen One can now be found on the website of the Federal communications commission (FCC) – link here. There are a couple of new photos from the testing process of the RED Hydrogen One as well as reports from the tests. It appears the phone has already been put through the FCC certification process, which is another important milestone in the release process.

RED Hydrogen One Certification Process. Source: FCC.gov

In latest clarification post on 2nd August on H4Vuser.net Jim Jannard wrote:

To be clear, the delay is being caused by HYDROGEN failing one part of certification. To fix we needed to redo a piece of tooling. That has been completed but set us back in certification which is the sole cause of the delay. Both carriers have been very supportive throughout the process including this setback. They are NOT the cause of a delayed launch. We are.

I am currently at the ODM working through the fix and hope to have updates as soon as I return. That will include a new launch date with the carriers, the pre-order delivery and Houdini project.

RED Hydrogen One Certification Process. Source: FCC.gov

RED Hydrogen One

Just a reminder – the RED Hydrogen One phone will come in either aluminum version (preorder price: $1,195) or titanium version (preorder price: $1,595). The preorders are not available anymore, for the final price please reffer to the updated part of the article. For more information and specs of the “RED Media Machine” you can read the last update post from May 2018 here on cinema5D.

The RED Hydrogen One will initially be available with two US carriers – AT&T and Verizon. On the AT&T website on RED Hydrogen One’s product page there is still a quote stating “coming fall 2018”. There is however no exact release date yet and it is also not clear if AT&T already reflected the latest certification process development in this delivery estimate.

UPDATED – Release Dates

Jim Jannard posted today an update on H4Vuser.net and clarified the release dates and some more information about the Houdini project. He said however there is still a remote possibility that something could come up to further affect the schedule and change the following dates.

The official carrier launch date for AT&T, Verizon and Telcel (Mexico) is November 2nd. That applies however only for the aluminium version in black and shadow colors – price will be $1295. Titanium will not be available from the carriers until 2019 and then in very limited quantities.

The release date for HYDROGEN preorder customers is October 9th. Black aluminum will ship first and titanium models will follow shortly after. Jim mentioned how the titanium version has proven to be very challenging in production and that titanium models will be highly desirable and extremely hard to get for several months even after the official launch.

The release date for the Houdini developer’s model is August 31st thru September 11th. There will be an event at RED Studios Hollywood to kick off delivery of this program on August 31st. Quantities for Houdini are limited, so there will not be enough phones for all preorder customers that want to jump in – the ones interested in the Houdini need to send an e-mail to [email protected]  (first come, first serve basis). All August 31st Houdini units will be Black. Titanium version of Houdini has no confirmed date yet.

UPDATED – Houdini Details

Houdini is a developer’s pre-release model of HYDROGEN. It is a PVT HYDROGEN Production Sample with pre-release firmware/software which comes with the above mentioned extras including the 128GB Micro SD card. Jim Jannard said about the Houdini model:

It works very well, but several of our apps are still in final development and there are a few bug-scenarios we need your help to find. There is a Feedback App we will ask you to use if you encounter any issues. Houdini is OTA capable and will receive upgrades on a weekly basis. You will need to do the upgrades when they are released.

The Camera app, camera color science, Player app, and 3D/4V conversion apps work but are still under construction with several updates coming before the official launch in November. All image capture file sizes are not fully supported (most are).

To qualify for Houdini you will need to:

  1. Have a pre-order in place now.
  2. Agree to the Terms and Conditions. (see below)
  3. If you work for or have affiliation with a competing company you are excluded from the Houdini program.

By signing up for Houdini users will be helping RED to prepare for the final launch product. The program is not intended for people who want to do a review or post results because it is not a finished product. The Houdini owners will be able to say or post whatever they want after the official launch in November. Until then the company just wants feedback through the app.

Jim further said:

We reserve the right to brick the device if used for any purpose other than giving us constructive feedback. If you are a vocal critic or reviewer, wait until after the launch. By signing up for Houdini you are TRADING your pre-order release model for the Houdini Development Model. Please make sure you understand this and agree the terms before hitting the button.

To see the terms and conditions for the Houdini development model you can follow this link to Jim’s original post.

What do you think of the RED Hydrogen One phone? Did you preorder one? When do you think it will ship? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources: Neowin, FCC, H4Vuser

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 Dan Brockett
Member
August 7th, 2018

Initially I was skeptical of a RED phone. What’s the purpose? Is it to make calls or make movies or both? Will it cost $5k to get one with all of the goodies everyone really wants?

But after shooting some of our latest documentary on the iPhone 8 + with the Moment case, lenses, Filmic Pro, Zhiyun Crane M, I’m now less skeptical. The iPhone 8 can make decent video if the user does their part. More dynamic range, larger imager, more filmmaking type tools on a RED product probably, this is starting to feel intriguing to me, times and technology change.

It feels as if phones are soon going to obliterate lower end digital cinema cameras to me and will even encroach on work that is done today on mid-line C300 MKII, FS5/7 type cameras.

James Manson
James Manson
Member
August 8th, 2018
Reply to  Dan Brockett

Ridiculous! The C300MKII is far from a mid line camera and it might take another 20+ years for any kind of in phone camera to encroach on anything a C300MKII or FS7 can do.

 Dan Brockett
Member
August 9th, 2018
Reply to  James Manson

20 years? How long have you been in the business James? I’ve been in it about three decades. Let’s talk pro level media, formats and standards. Film VHS – 3/4 – 3/4 SP, Betacam, Betacam SP.

The digital crept into the mix, slowly with DigiBeta/BetaSX – DVCAM/Mini DV. Here is where something interesting happened for pro users in case you were in the business then? I owned the last generation analog Betacam, the BVWD600. Digital Head, analog recording, about $75k without a lens if memory serves correctly? Then we had clients (agencies, corporations and even some broadcasters) who bought a Sony VX-1000.

Sure, not as good as a BVWD-600, but with lighting and skills, good enough for MANY applications. So for our first digital camera, we downgraded to a camera that costs 1/4-1/2 as much to shoot the “Pro” level version, the Sony DSR-500 WS, wow and it can shoot widescreen (16:9) DVCAM format for some of the new wide screen CRTs that are the rage for certain viewers.

Then the digital revolution kicks into real gear with the Panasonic DVX-100, Sony VX-2000, clients and many users are happy with the 24p that can be delivered with the DVX-100, wow, filmic looking video. Sure, at this point, many pros are shooting with higher end cameras, of course, like they always were, I am still shooting S16 with my Arri SR2 but film’s days are numbered even then. Then HD starts to become a for real thing for real mortals, the F900 and the original Varicam hit and sure, they aren’t cheap. They are awesome for their time though, but did you notice, a LOT of users and more importantly clients become more interested in shooting HDV, the highly compressed cheapo 1080 version of HD. The Panasonic HVX-200 hits the market and guess what? The MAJORITY of the market downgrades to lower end cameras. Not necessarily the under $10k versions but sales of F900 and Varicam type cameras languish and users and clients flock to lower end cameras that with pro users, can produce pro level results at a fraction of the cost.

Social Media goes through the roof with popularity, TV begins to disintegrate into whatever the OTTs have turned it into today, all with ever decreasing budgets. More content for smaller audiences at smaller and ever shrinking budgets. Feature films shot on iPhones win film festivals, get into theaters and onto the OTTs (Tangerine amongst a few dozen other outliers). The low end pros cede from the sub $10k level (Z1/HVX200) to sub $3k “Pro” cameras like the Sony A7, Panasonic GH-5, Fujifilm XT-2, while upper low end pros buy cameras like the FS-7, C300 MKII, C200, etc. Upper low end pros didn’t used to exist but is now becoming the majority of the market. The majority don’t OWN Reds, Varicams, Amiras, Alexas (they might rent these all) but generally don’t own a camera or do own an FS-7, C300 MKII, BM UMP, type of camera. History has proven that the work that these cameras largely are used on WILL be shot with a device that costs a fraction a much in less than five years, probably even in as soon as 2-3 years. I predict that at least a sizeable portion of that falling cost/complexity/weight/size paradigm will be replaced with higher end phone/imaging devices. A C300 MKII costs what it costs because of lousy economy of scale. How many C300 MKIIs do you think are sold worldwide each year versus iPhones and Galaxies? Because of the economies of scale, phones and phone-like products can implement more computing power and RAM than mid-level cameras can and at a MUCH faster development rate because new phones only stay state of the art of around a year.

History has already proven me right and you wrong. You can assert “ridiculous” all you want but market direction, previous sales figures and the cost of scale in computing power solve almost all reasons for the “need” for many to shoot on a low line pro camera like the C300 MKII/FS-7.

Detachable lenses? Sure, we already have relatively good quality cell phone lenses like the Moment primes but thinking the other way, computing and imaging power will make longer zooms obsolete for many users eventually. If a phone can record with a 6k/8/12k imager for 4k finished resolution, once the micro lens technology catches up, bet you can get pretty effective digital oversampled zooms, moves, re-framing. How about fake, in camera dolly shots with shifting BG perspective? All it takes is computing power.

Shallow/variable DOF? Ha, piece of cake, the iPhones are already doing a hack version of it for stills. Computing power can simulate this optical effect today and in two years, will be able to do a lot more. Sure, it won’t look as good as doing it optically but the current generation has a different set of aesthetic requirements for an image to be acceptable to them. Heck the majority of TV viewers today PREFER the horrifically bad 240Hz scanning feature that makes everything look like a bad soap opera. For them, simulated DOF will work just fine.

XLR inputs? Outdated already, the future is wireless. If you think XLR inputs cannot be replaced, you are stuck in the past.

Timecode? Piece of cake to implement at a level that makes today’s cameras look like amateur hour.

Form factor? Sure, phones have sucky form factor for shooting handheld, are awkward on a tripod but are pretty good on a gimbal. Oh, yeah, forgot, if you are imaging 12k to get 4k, think that internal IS can do an even better job than a primitive mechanical gimbal can do today? I do. A lot of form factor only matters for shooting steady shots. If a camera phone has such advanced internal IS that the end results look like shooting with a real Steadicam at the push of a button, does awkward form factor matter as much? I vote no. Not to most people. Not to me. I hate hoisting a 25-35lb camera on my shoulder most of the time, I much prefer shooting handheld with a stripped down, smaller camera.

If the C300 MKII (I’ve been shooting two documentaries with one along with my C200 for a year and a half so I am pretty familiar with it) is “far from a mid-line camera”, then what is it? If a low line camera is a GH-5 or A7 and a high end camera is a RED or Alexa, then what is an FS-7 or C300 MKII?

Anyway, no offense, not trying to pick an argument, I’d just like to hear what market trends and statistics support your assertion? Cameras are and have been getting smaller, cheaper and higher quality for the past two decades, what makes you think they will stop at the FS-7/C300 MKII for the majority of users?

Johann Hütter
Johann Hütter
Member
August 9th, 2018
Reply to  James Manson

when there’s red, the sony venice and arri at the top end and c100, fs5, gh5, a7s at the low end, i guess, the c300 fits the definition „mid line“ pretty well.

i‘d bet you a case of beer that smartphones will outpace a c300 mkii in less than ten years. computational photography is the future, and it starts with phones. it won‘t take too long for big sensors and expensive lenses to become obsolete.

 Dan Brockett
Member
August 9th, 2018
Reply to  Johann Hütter

Agreed Johann, except I’ll make my bet for under five years. Cameras like the FS-7 and C300 MKII are much larger, heavier and hassle-filled to use than they need to be.

The big Achilles Heel of phone/micro sized sensors now is low light. That problem will be solved shortly with more advanced, lower light sensitivity imagers and better optics in phone sized devices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see phone imager size increase also, which will make lower light/ISO sensitivity better too.

It’s so funny, I own and shoot with the C200 and have had a C300 MKII available to me for a year and a half on a project and while I shooting with both overall, I know that the entire concept of the mid-range camera is about to change, the writing is so on the wall. If you look at the immense popularity of cameras like the GH5 and A7, pros, for many uses, are flocking to smaller, lighter, cheaper cameras that are still “good enough”. I think a lot of people’s egos and self-worth are inexplicably wrapped up in their choice of camera while for me, cameras are a means to an end, that’s all. If I could use a RED or anyone else’s cell phone sized camera to achieve a result that is good enough for my needs and my clients wants, I would in a heartbeat.

If you are in our business and make money selling “your gear”, rather than your skills, other than for high-end or feature production with crew-served cameras, you are going to go out of business soon.

What low to mid-range clients wouldn’t be thrilled to pay you $100.00 per day for your “camera package” cell phone type package than $500.00 per day for your C300 MKII package IF you could deliver results that still met their needs? As older clients retire, leave the business of hiring us or die off, younger clients won’t care as much about hiring us because we have a “big pro level camera”.

I think for many people, owning a “pro” camera is a security blanket of sorts when they really need to be exercising and growing their skill set with becoming better at lighting, sound, directing and writing more. A lot of these people have the same mindset that F900 owners had years ago when the Z1 and HVX200 came out. Those “little cameras” weren’t pro enough when clearly, for a LOT of clients, they were. Cameras like the FS5/7 and C200/300MKII and EVA 1 are in the fast track to obsolescence. They’ll be replaced by better tools that cost a fraction of what they cost that are lighter, smaller and easier to use, that’s the result of the still ongoing Digital Revolution.

Timothy McClanahan
Timothy McClanahan
Member
August 7th, 2018

Upgrade to SD845? That’d be very nice. Even a delay to get the SD855 would not be out of line.

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