Serial disruptor RED is at it again.
While the announcement of a REDRAY player capable of outputting 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) moving images had been expected for some time, the accompanying infrastructure that’s being put in place comes as a major shock. RED, in partnership with new venture Odemax, is setting up an alternative to the highly regulated and protected film distribution networks of the big studios – and anybody can join. If they can pull it off it could be nothing less than a revolution.
Odemax is run by Jon Farhat, an experienced Hollywood visual effects supervisor and long-time RED collaborator. The full details of the service, and some big name early adopters, will be announced at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in January, but the basic idea is this; Odemax has set up a cloud-based content video delivery network plus a sophisticated web site (not yet online) for obtaining, uploading, promoting, discussing and controlling content. In the U.S. it has leased bandwidth on a nationwide fiber network. So far, so iTunes/YouTube/Vimeo etc.
The genius bit is that the content is encoded using a new, very high quality delivery codec called (shockingly) .RED, that is suitable for 4K movies at up to 60 frames per second – in stereo (3D) if required. The content can be optionally encrypted. Anybody can encode their 4K material using the free Redcine X Pro software with a US$20 Redray encode plug in.
The .RED content will only play on REDRAY players; if encrypted you can specify precisely which machines it will play on from all players down to a specific one. Content can be limited to only playing once or several times and can be limited to a time of day. If you charge money for people to see your content Odemax will handle the billing and take 30 percent, leaving the content producer with 70 percent.
If your content is suitable for an actual cinema presentation then the Odemax software can talk to the box-office system and bill them accordingly. The cinema will take 20 percent, Odemax 30 percent, leaving the producer with 50 percent. The concept completely democratizes the process of distributing very high quality moving pictures all the way from a single home to potentially every cinema in the world.
Of course, it’s still up to you to make a good film and promote it by whatever means necessary.