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Company's cinema camera prototype stolen

Company's cinema camera prototype stolen
Company's cinema camera prototype stolen 

October 4, 2006

A prototype for a digital cinema camera that creators say will 
revolutionize the cinematography industry was stolen late last month 
from the Lake Forest office where it was being tested, authorities said 

Red Digital Camera Co., the brainchild of Oakley sunglass creator Jim 
Jannard, is in the process of perfecting RED ONE, a high-performance 4K 
digital camera that promises to deliver the quality of 35mm film with 
the ease of a camcorder at a bargain price.

"Losses could venture into the millions" if the technology is 
compromised, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County 
Sheriff's Department.

The list price for RED ONE cameras is $17,500, compared with $100,000 
for competitors' models. Initial production of the camera is scheduled 
for early 2007, according to the company's Web site.

A Red Digital employee arrived at work shortly after noon Sept. 24 to 
find the office's front window smashed and hundreds of thousands of 
dollars in camera and computer equipment missing, Amormino said.

A prototype for RED ONE, computer files relating to the camera's imaging 
sensor and four other pocket camera prototypes were among the missing 
items, Amormino said. A 50-inch plasma television, a 30-inch monitor, an 
Agenieux camera lens, an HBX 200 camera and several laptops were also 

The total property loss was $332,200

Sheriff's investigators are trying to determine whether Red Digital was 
the victim of industrial espionage or run-of-the-mill thieves. Several 
other neighborhood businesses have had their windows smashed and 
property stolen in recent weeks, investigators said.

There are no suspects.

The company is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the 
capture of the thief or thieves. Company officials declined to comment 
on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

Jannard was quoted on technology-centric blog Gizmodo assuring observers 
the theft would not significantly delay production.

"While items taken included many computers, drives, monitors, prototypes 
(including our shiny aluminum IBC prototype), ID files and our Scratch 
system ... it appears that the thieves did NOT get any sensors, sensor 
information or our primary 'Frankenstein' shooting camera," Jannard 
wrote Sept. 26. "We will resume shooting and testing tomorrow."

Red Digital set off a feeding frenzy at the 2006 National Association of 
Broadcasters conference in April, when it introduced RED ONE with a 
flashy presentation.

Capable of recording resolutions up to 4520 x 2540 (a measure based on 
pixels), the 7-pound camera advertises the same depth of field and 
selective focus as found in film cameras.

Hundreds of people put down $1,000 deposits to buy RED ONE at the NAB 

But the possibility of maintaining such high footage quality at such a 
reduced price has also spurred skeptics.

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