By KIMBERLY EDDS
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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
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
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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