Nikon and RED spoke to Televisual at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas about the reasons for Nikon’s acquisition of RED and the company’s approach for the professional digital cinema camera market in the future.

Nikon completed its acquisition of RED, whose cameras have long been used on major Hollywood features and shows including the upcoming Horizon: An American Saga, Apple TV+’s Constellation and factual and wildlife series like Our Planet II, A Year on Planet Earth and Limitless, last week. RED is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Nikon.

Keiji Oishi, of Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit, assumes the role of CEO of the combined business and Tommy Rios, Executive Vice President of RED, moves into the role of Co-CEO.

Hiroyuki Ikegami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit, explained that Nikon was attracted to buying RED to gain a fast track into the professional digital cinema camera market. “We recognised that it would take a long time for us to expand the professional digital cinema or the video camera market by ourselves and we were looking for solutions,” he said. “By acquiring this great company, we have an opportunity to do so.”

New RED CEO, Keiji Oishi, of Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit, said that “by combining all the competencies of the two companies, we aim to develop distinctive products in the fast growing professional digital cinema camera market.” He also said there was “great synergy” with Nikon-owned broadcast robotics company, Mark Roberts Motion Control “not only in cinema, but for the broadcasting field.”

Sean Mchugh, Chief Strategy Officer of RED, who moves into the role of Co-COO, explained that while the two companies would develop new products in the future, “right now the focus is continuing to make sure that our current products continue to penetrate the market with all the different verticals out there.” He said that “we’re very excited about what it means but it will take several years” of development. “Our current lineup is something that we’re very proud of and proud that Nikon has chosen to acquire us.”

But, says Oishi, there are immediate tech benefits. “After the acquisition completed, we already began exchanging our technology and knowledge. We are actively considering lens development for cinema, and we are aware that many of customers use the old NIKKOR.”

Mchugh added Nikon tech like its “very low power, high speed special purpose chip could create all sorts of things” along with the much larger company’s “global supply chain relationships, its 100-year history of design” as well as high volume software development and lens technology.

Oishi added that from “Nikon’s point of view, we also see that the technology and engineering [at RED] is very outstanding” along with its “sensor technologies, especially for wider high dynamic range” and its colour science and “we also recognise that its software development is very efficient.”

And from RED’s point of view “RED can leverage the Nikon competencies of our products and services in the future” along with technology, procurement, purchasing power, software resources, production technology development and optics “because Nikon is recognized for making very good optics.”

Pictured: RED Digital Cinema Co-CEO Tommy Rios, RED Co-COO Sean McHugh, RED CEO Keiji Oishi, Nikon Executive Vice President and General Manager of Imaging Business Unit Hiroyuki Ikegami, and RED VP of Product Management Jeff Goodman

Jon Creamer

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