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Award-winning director DP Mark Toia shares why he shoots Red

Oct 18, 2022

Sought-after director Mark Toia has worked with brands ranging from Jeep, Mercedes Benz, Adidas, Sony Music, Lucky Strike, and more. No matter what, or where he’s shooting — whether in Dubai, Malaysia, Australia, or the Northern Territories for tourism videos, or Monument Valley for Jeep — his camera, the instrument he uses to capture images, must meet certain requirements, some of which are well ahead of current delivery requirements.

“I personally don’t really care who makes the camera, I don’t care what logo’s on the side of it,” says Toia. “It’s whoever can deliver an actual RAW file, with huge amounts of dynamic range, at least 8K resolution with decent frame rates. It has to be easy to use and be able to create an actual RAW file that can be dropped directly into a timeline and accompanied with a really simple real-time workflow. The camera has to be smallish in size, practically bulletproof, because I really give cameras a hard time, and be able to edit and grade raw files in real-time, without the need of transcoding.”

“[Shooting] RAW means you have total control of the image from a colour and exposure perspective, well after you’ve shot,” Toia says.

With miles of room to work with, shooting in a RAW format make it hard to come out with a bad image. And despite Toia’s best efforts of screwing up exposure, temperature, tint, and more, he still is able to fix the image. This, coupled with an 8K HDR sensor, means his projects come out perfect, and can stand the test of time as delivery and distribution standards continue to change.

“An 8K HDR delivery might be too forward thinking for a lot of people right now, but if you’re a studio producer or an invested distributor wanting your films to still visually hold up in the next 20-30 years, this is completely doable right now,” Toia says. “As I’ve demonstrated, you can achieve this even on a current Apple laptop. Obviously Red delivers well ahead of current delivery requirements, which gives the camera itself longevity. Anyways, it’s all food for thought as we head into the future.”

Header Photo: copyright Mark Toia

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