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Why do Hollywood filmmakers use RED cameras?

We headed to LA to ask creative agency Origin Point for their Hollywood insights. They used to be the in-house production team at RED so they know what they’re talking about… 👀

Are RED cameras better than ARRI?

So why do a lot of Hollywood filmmakers shoot on RED? Is it better than ARRI? We headed to LA to visit the creative agency called Origin Point to tell us why RED is Hollywood's go-to camera.

We based this article on the video below; Disclaimer: Don’t watch this video if you don’t want to buy a RED camera.

Let’s go!

Why Hollywood Filmmakers Still Use This $10,000 Camera 😏

According to Clyde Bessey, Creative Director at Origin Point, there are a 3 main reasons for that.

1. RED’s overall cinematic image quality

Now, what does that mean, superb cinematic image quality? It comes down to its resolution. The RED Gemini shoots up to 5K resolution or 5000 pixels, so it’ll give you a very high-detailed image.

With the RED Gemini, you will be able to expose for your skies as well as see into the shadows.
Clyde Bessey Creative Director at Origin Point
RED Gemini zoomed in

2. RED’s dynamic range

With the RED Gemini, you will be able to expose for your skies as well as see into the shadows. Having a full, healthy image means that you want to be able to see detail at every level of exposure throughout the image. In other words, it’s a very flexible sensor that allows you to see into highlights as well as darks very easily.

The first sensor that RED offers actually has a ‘low-light mode’. This means that you can shoot in a standard setting which goes up to 1600 ISO, or if you’re shooting at night, shooting at a live event, shooting moonlight, or whether you’re just a scenario where you can’t bring lots of lights with you, you can shoot in low-light mode. That’s going to open up a whole other calibration for the sensor that starts at 1600 and maxes out around 1200.

What makes the sensor on the Gemini so particularly special is as you go up in ISO in low-light mode, you’re not getting a lot of noise or grain in your image, which is usually a tell-tale sign that you’re struggling for light.

3. RED’s interface and usability

A camera’s usability is a big deal for lots of filmmakers.


RED’s Gemini brain weighs less than 5 lbs, making it very lightweight to carry around and to shoot all day with.


And the control interface will feel familiar to anyone who has used an iPhone before. It’s very easy to change settings, manipulate your resolution, go into slow motion, 69fps, etc.

RED Gemini control panel

Factors to consider when choosing a camera

It’s a combination of all the reasons stated above that makes the Gemini a sensible and smart choice for a lot of filmmakers to use.

So why shoot on RED and not ARRI, for instance?
We asked the Origin Point team about their preference. Interesting face: the people at Origin Point team used to be the in-house production team at RED Digital Cinema. They traveled the world capturing content for RED, so they’re natural at using the gear. They have used ARRI cameras in the past, and both are amazing tools for helping capture your image and tell the story you want to tell.

However, when it comes to making a choice between them, there are some factors to consider:

  • The experience level. If your DPs or camera ops aren’t familiar with a certain type of camera, it’s going to take some time to get used to it. Calculate this in, or choose another camera.
  • The camera’s UI. RED’s controls interface is ‘super easy and simple to learn’, according to Clyde Bessey. “You can access everything immediately from the top menu via touch screen.” He says that after a couple of minutes, pretty much every filmmaker will feel familiar with how to operate and set it up as long as they’re familiar with basic exposure and such.
  • The science of color. RED captures RAW footage, so it doesn’t put any LUTs on your image or anything like that. ARRI, on the other hand, has some LUTs applied to it that are going to give it that ‘signature ARRI’ look. Of course, Clyde says, that can also be done on the RED if you just apply LUTs to it. So it requires a bit more effort if you want that added in, whereas ARRI provides that right out of the box.
Clyde and Elke Origin Point

So, RED cameras vs. ARRI. Which one to choose?

Ultimately, it’s about choosing the right tool for the right project. It is important to select a tool that not only meets the requirements of the project but also enhances the overall storytelling experience.

For instance, RED is a camera that boasts a sensor so sensitive that it can capture footage in low-light situations where other cameras may struggle. With this feature, filmmakers can capture stunning footage in scenarios that were once difficult to achieve. However, other brands such as ARRI, Blackmagic, and Sony have their own unique selling points that set them apart from RED. These brands have been tried and tested in the industry and have their own distinct looks that add value to any project.

If your preference leans towards RED cameras and you’re wondering how to take a good shot with RED Gemini 5K, watch this video.

Not sure how to manage all your (newly purchased) gear? With Cheqroom, you can get control over your entire gear inventory. Try it for free for 7 days!

Elke 4
Written by Elke Swinnen Sep 14, 2023

Elke Swinnen is Cheqroom’s video reporter and event queen. Most of the time, you’ll find her out in the world visiting Cheqroom customers and shows like NAB and IBC. She is passionate about sharing the latest gear updates, film industry insights, and top gear management tips and tricks. Her favorite pieces of gear are the ARRI ALEXA 35 and Aputure MC Pro. She’s also a Content and Social Media Marketer at Cheqroom.