We all wanted RED’s Hydrogen One to be great. Instead, it turned out to be the arguably the worst tech product of 2018.
Even the biggest RED fans like YouTuber Marques Brownlee (better known as “MKBKD”) had to declare the Android phone the “bust of the year.”
But despite its disappointment, RED’s still charging forward with the phone in 2019, starting with a 3D camera attachment called Lithium.
RED teased the Lithium 3D camera attachment on Facebook with only a “Big things in the works for next year. Lithium” caption.
Per Engadget, the 3D camera is made by LucidCam, a company that already makes 360-degree cameras designed for VR, and uses the Hydrogen One as a camera and controller.
Lithium is not to be confused with any of RED’s promised modular components, which will connect to the magnetic pogo contacts on the rear of the phone like Moto Mods do on some Motorola phones.
As you can see in the image of the rather monstrous (it’s large for a phone, but compact compared to cinema-quality 3D cameras) Lithium, the attachment looks it connects to the Hydrogen One with metal claws.
A smaller cinema-grade 3D camera would be great for filmmakers…if 3D wasn’t on the sharp decline.
In 2017, revenue for 3D ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada fell 18 percent according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
You don’t need to be overly observant to notice 3D, once heralded as the next major immersive experience for movies, hasn’t caught on.
Besides the obvious fact that most 3D movies really suck compared to their 2D counterpart, tech companies have largely abandoned 3D as format consumers remotely care about.
Nobody makes 3D phones anymore and Nintendo has greatly de-emphasized the 3D in many of its games for the Nintendo 3DS.
Tech companies have largely abandoned 3D.
Similarly, even TV makers, once the largest proponents of 3D, have stopped marketing 3D as a marquee feature. Hell, most newer TVs don’t even come with 3D. Instead, TV makers are focusing their efforts on 4K and 8K resolution, HDR video image quality, and improving display quality with technologies such as OLED and MicroLED.
James Cameron might be the only person who’s still living in a bubble where he strongly believes 3D still stands a chance at winning over consumers. But like, where the heck is Avatar 2? It’s been perpetually “coming” for the last 10 years and has yet to arrive.
With so many knocks against 3D, I don’t think it’s premature to say RED is blinded by its own personal ambitions. I’m not saying there’s no chance filmmakers won’t be impressed by the Lithium camera, but its odds aren’t looking good.
Like all RED devices, the 3D camera will no doubt be expensive. So a really expensive attachment for an overpriced phone to shoot in RED’s 4-View (H4V) “holographic” format that can only be viewed on RED Hydrogen One phones… how does that make any sense?
Fine, maybe the 4-View videos can be adapted to be viewed in 3D in theaters, but then it’s basically admitting the 4-View format is nothing more than 3D. Do you see where this is all going?
Perhaps I’m completely wrong and the Lithium camera and the Hydrogen One are such niche products that us mere regular content creators just don’t understand their genius. I wish RED the best of luck. I’ll stick with my iPhone until I’m proven wrong.
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