FULL DISCLOSURE: I am partner in a company called Master Cinematographers along with Jared Land, president and co-owner of Red Digital Cinema.
Late last year I did what I said I’d never do and bought a Komodo. It’s nothing against the good folks at Red. I love Jim Jannard, Jared and Lia Greist and think their products rank with the best. It’s just that owning technology is a pain in the ass. With reasonable maintenance, an Arri III would have lasted twenty-five years or more. Digital cameras have a lifespan equal to that of the Nehru suit. You’ll understand that I’ve been a little suspect from the start.
The good news is that the Komodo’s performance rendered any misgivings moot.
A ton of technical information is available on the web, so I won’t bother listing the minutiae. But as a camera used for action sequences, B-roll or a last-minute bonus shot, its compact form factor, versatile menu choices and easy set-up offer many creative options. Though a number of after-market accessories are needed in order to get the most out of the Komodo, this does not relegate it to lower status. By my experience, it could easily work as an ‘A’ camera in most situations.
The Panavision DXL2 served as my primary on a recent pilot, shooting R3D files in 6K. In every case the Komodo’s 6K specs matched perfectly with the PV footage; this was the most important detail of all. Of course, credit must also go to the beautiful work done by DI colorist Katie Jordan and dailies timer Bill Stokes at Light Iron NY. But as a jump-off device for fast, convenient, high-quality image creation, the Komodo truly distinguished itself.
Don’t get me wrong. Though it’s not perfect (what camera is?), it represents a huge step in that direction. I might be a bit late to the rail, but I would enthusiastically recommend the Red Komodo to anyone looking to raise their game with a minimum of fuss – and even less aggravation.