RED, the company famous for revolutionizing the filmmaking industry with groundbreaking cameras, just announced a smartphone with a holographic display: the HYDROGEN ONE. It appears to be a near complete departure from the digital cinema field they have become synonymous with, but after looking closer at this release, it seems to be the start of a brand new system that will remain connected to their high-end video-making machines. Unfortunately, RED is being a bit stingy with the details, so much of what we think this smartphone can do is going to be based on conjecture.
We do know that it is going to be a pretty solid phone going off the photos and that it will eventually be the brain of a complete imaging system. Looking at leaked drawings and patent data posted it seems like the high-speed bus is going to be perfect for a number of imaging systems for which the HYDROGEN ONE will then function as a monitor/controller. RED has also said that you will be able to use it with current cinema cameras as well. So, the 5.7″ device looks to be a great options for current RED owners looking for yet another integration of the product into their daily lives. One aspect I could see this being a huge help for is custom settings. Imagine showing up on set with your phone, connecting it to the rented camera and automatically having everything ready to go.
Where the HYDROGEN ONE gets really confusing is in the display itself. It’s holographic and glasses-free, which means it should be able to display all types of AR, VR, 3D, and 2D content natively, as well as the new holographic format. To me, this looks like RED is trying to get ahead of the game, something they are always looking to do, especially with AR and VR becoming more and more commonplace.
Is it worth it? Well, if you are a diehard RED user or use one as part of your day job it just might be. For the rest of us it is definitely too early to tell. We need to hear more about the promised modules and pricing before deciding whether this is truly the next generation of digital image capture. I am cautiously optimistic however, RED does have a history of disrupting the status quo with revolutionary products.
If you want to learn more about the HYDROGEN ONE I recommend heading over to the RED website and checking out the few details they have made available.