News, Trends

RED Cinema Unveils ‘Holographic Media Machine’ Hydrogen One


Last week, RED founder and CEO Jim Jannard teased a major announcement about a “new product category” for the brand. Since, then we’ve been waiting on pins and needles to hear exactly what RED has been up to.
Jim Jannard announces new product
This morning, we headed to RED User forums and camped out, brimming with anticipation. The company that brought us the RED ONE in 2006 has a track record of paradigm-shifting products, so we knew this would be a newsworthy event.

We’d seen the schematics — they looked like a stackable pocket camera with cellular capabilities — so it was exciting to try to decipher the charts and break down the possibilities. The abstract reads: “Modular digital camera and cellular phone.” Identifiable in the renderings appear to be a lens mount, an eyepiece, and what looks like a “brain” element, with a camera lens on one side and an LCD on the other.
RED patent application

brain element from new RED product

Hydrogen One

As the moment of today’s announcement — 9am PST — arrived, the server unsurprisingly crashed from a rush of traffic. We weren’t the only ones waiting expectantly for the reveal. Heading over to Jannard’s Facebook page, however, we saw the news. The HYDROGEN ONE is a new smartphone (due Q1 2018) billed as a “holographic media machine.” Details remain slim, but here’s what we do know.

The Display

Accoring to RED, the HYDROGEN ONE represents “the future of personal communication and information gathering.” This is not a holographic display like the one you’re familiar with from the Star Wars universe, but a 5.7″ display featuring “retina-riveting nanotechnology” (of which I’m not terribly embarrassed to say I haven’t the first clue as to the meaning). The phone will switch between 2D content, 3D content, and something called “holographic multi-view content.” I would assume that means you’ll be able to see depth within the surface of the display, and that using accelerometers and 3D object files, the phone achieves extreme parallax capabilities.

What’s super cool is that if you’re the owner of a RED camera system — or if you’re considering buying one of these systems in the near future —
the HYDROGEN ONE can work together with the SCARLET, EPIC, and WEAPON systems as a user interface or monitor. Some people have monitor/recorders, but monitor/holographic cellphones? That what I call a paradigm shift.

Sound and Video

I’m unfamiliar with the proprietary H30 algorithm, which splits a stereo audio signal into 5.1. It sounds feasible, but not having a live engineer doing the mix, I’m not sure how well it will actually work. Will the highs, lows, and mids be sonically optimized, or just smeared so as to achieve a circumaural effect? Though the spec sheet doesn’t speak much to its video-recording capabilities, knowing RED, it will be absolutely top-notch technically, and the modularity will align with RED’s dedication to “future proof” hardware configurations.


Due to RED’s history of boundary-pushing product releases, I’m going to go out on a short limb and say that this is a truly exciting product that we will all be in awe of, but most of us won’t be willing to spend the money on — $1195 for the aluminum body and $1595 for the titanium body, at the moment. (That hasn’t stopped people from already placing pre-orders in droves.)

Like the entire RED camera line, in the coming years, you will likely see more and more of these products in the hands of content creators as prices slide downward and the technology stays highly impressive and relevant. Though the details on the HYDROGEN ONE are sparse for now, I have to assume that they’re going to get it right once again, and that RED’s technology, design, and functionality will keep technophiles and content creators alike more than satisfied.

I personally can’t wait to see a product video!

What do you think of this latest development from RED? Will you be purchasing one yourself or waiting to learn more? Join the discussion below!