Red made a slew of new announcements on Friday (Oct 30), and I’m going to be picking through it all. The most significant and detailed new announcement had to do with the specifications for the Epic/Epic-X camera, the closest successor that Red has to the Red One.
They made announcements about details nearly a year ago on December 3, 2008, and I covered it extensively here)
Article continues after the jump – pictured above is one of the millions of possible configurations of the Epic & Epic-X camera…
New Epic and Epic-X specs (all from a post by Jim Jannard on this page:). Where possible, I’ve tried to distinguish where different from previous announcements. If you just want the executive summary, skip to the end.
For those who haven’t been keeping track, Red is planning on releasing a slew of cameras, from a 2/3″ sensor camera with and without a fixed lens, S35, FF35, medium format, and 6x17cm sized sensors in a wide line of cameras, Scarlet (smaller/lower end/more affordable) and Epic (bigger/heavier, more professional). The Epic-X camera is a model specifically for existing Red One owners – it is a customized kit with some freebies that regular owners have to pay for, and a few other cosmetic changes as well AFAIK. Functionally, it will be identical to the regular Epic S35 camera, except for slightly higher REDCODE RAW data rates (250 vs 225), and if I’m reading the reduser boards correctly (and the conversations there are true), hand picked, slightly mo’ bettah (beyond basic spec) sensors. Take that last with a grain of salt, I haven’t seen clear confirmation on that as yet.
Defined speeds at given resolutions and aspect ratios:
5K (2:1) at 1-100fps
4K (2:1) at 1-125fps
Quad HD at 1-120fps
3K (2:1) at 1-160fps
2K (2:1) at 1-250fps
1080P (scaled from full frame) at 1-60fps
WHAT’S DIFFERENT FROM LAST YEAR:
In last year’s announcements, they stated that maximum frame rates at maximum resolution would be 100fps. In the updated specs, those maximum frame rates haven’t changed, but they are caveated at 2:1 aspect ratio. EDIT – THIS IS FINE, since the native aspect ratio of the Epic is 2:1 instead of Red One’s 16:9. I had previously written that max frame rates at 2:1 seemed a bit of a cheat, but since the sensor is 2:1 aspect, that seems entirely fair. 16:9 will actually be a side crop if I’m understanding the specs correctly. Ultrawide 2.35 mode using the full sensor width, which the Red One can currently do in beta build 21, isn’t mentioned but it seems fair to presume it’ll be included as well.
They haven’t defined if there will be a burst rate any higher – I’m guessing not, but I have no information either way.
Oh – and the 1080p full frame output – that was on the specs last year as well, and I PRESUME but don’t know that that would be the long lost Redcode RGB at long last?
Other announced features:
Increased Dynamic Range, reduced noise – yay team! Jim has stated in various places that Mysterium X shoots about as noise free at ISO 800 as Red One did at 250 or 320 (can’t recall which), which is great. As for dynamic range, details here about 1 1/2 stops more than Mysterium.
Time lapse, Frame Ramping; Redcode 250 – were previously announced, no further details – I’m particularly interested in how they are “counting” that Redcode 250 – Red has previously stated that they are calculating Redcode values on a different scale than currently used on Red One. Is that a maximum quality per 24p @ 16:9, akin to the Red One? If so, I’d interpret that as the highest quality still you can make, since 250 MB/sec is too high for CF etc. Is it the maximum data rate at maximum frame rate, as in 5K 2:1 @ 100fps generates 250 MB/sec? Again, I don’t know how they are calculating this, and I’ve yet to see any definition of it from Red.
ISO 200-8000 – we didn’t have ISO numbers before, but this range runs higher and wider than the 50-2000 we have currently on Red One. Interestingly, it runs higher but NOT lower – ISO 200 is as low as it goes so far, which would imply they are pretty confident in how noise free ISO 200 must be. Hmm!
new FLUT Color Science – I’ve yet to get it nailed down as verified, but rumor has it this is a floating point LUT (Look Up Table) capability. How that ties into their color science? I don’t know exactly, but combined with different LUTs for different outputs, and the requests from the high end community to support 3D LUTs for monitoring paths, this sounds promising/intriguing.
Independent Stills and Motion Modes (both record full resolution REDCODE RAW) – as expected, but this seems to confirm no uncompressed stills mode. Purists may whine, but if the Redcode runs high enough….who cares? It is awfully, awfully good.
5 Axis Adjustable Sensor Plate – I would take this to mean roll, pitch, yaw, in/out, up/down adjustable. Control is good, but based on “success” of adjustable PL mount (many complaints about lack of accuracy), this scares me until proven otherwise.
Multiple Recording Media Options (Compact Flash, 1.8″ SSD, RED Drives, RED RAM) – consistent with past statements, Red Drives will be usable (hooray!), and 1.8″ SSD should be an interesting addition as well.
Wireless REDMOTE control – as previously announced, and still sounds slick as hell!
Touchscreen LCD control option – VERY interesting newly announced option, be interesting to see how well this scales from 2.8 to 9 inch wide interfaces. Touch interfaces are challenging, witness iPhone vs everybody else. The UI is one of the areas that I was dissapointed in the Red One with – not that it was bad or unacceptable, just that so many other aspects of their program were so advanced, I wanted to see a more modern UI.
Bomb-EVF, RED-EVF and RED-LCD compatible – Glad to see my existing EVF and LCD can carry forward and work, this also implies that the resolution of those monitoring paths is not changing – so Bomb-EVF should be same resolution, etc., as the current EVF.
Multiple User Control Buttons – THE MORE THE BETTER. As I’ve been shooting more and more DSLR stills, and upgrading from a D90 to D300S, I appreciate more controls to more quickly change what I need to on the fly.
Interchangeable Lens mounts including focus and iris control of electronic RED, Canon and Nikon lenses (along with Zoom data) – GREAT that they are doing this, a bit vexing that the Red Pro Primes I’m about to receive DON’T have the electronic relays to pick up that information – seems to be an out-of-sync solution, since the early lenses that the pros eschewed had this feature, but now the nicer, more professionally acceptable primes don’t. In any case, electronic Canon/Nikon support will be a HUGE boon to the indie crowd. Now, will that be auto-focus on the fly during video, or half-push to focus in stills mode, or both, or what?
“Touch Focus Tracking” with electronic lens mounts and RED Touchscreen LCDs – new, slick – poor man’s 1st AD? Can it be done while shooting, or just before? The word “tracking” in there implies yes, but maybe that is dynamic focus of THAT spot during the shot, rather than dragging a finger around during the shot….
Rollover Battery Power – NICE. I don’t know if this was previously mentioned, but Red One certainly needed this (and lacks it).
Independent LUTs on Monitor Outputs, as well as Independent Frame Guides and Menu overlays on Monitor Outputs – GREAT – this has been a much requested feature – the operator wants false color or other techie display for operating, but they also want a client friendly display for director/clients/etc. – dual outputs is mandatory for complicated shooting, especially commercials with clients on set.
Monitor Ports support both LCD and EVF – OK, we hadn’t seen this before, but that’s handy – this may open up the possibility of more mix ‘n math monitoring, I don’t know….
True Shutter Sync In/Out and Strobe Sync Out – I didn’t know we couldn’t do these already, so OK….
720P, 1080P and 2K monitoring support – BOOM. This is a big one – for mission critical feature/shallow focus work, the 720p only outputs on Red One was a shortcoming – 1080p and 2K (presumably 2Kx1080 I’d guess) are notable improvements! For professionals on set, this brings Red in line with the “big boys” for on set monitoring needs, combined with the independent LUT-ing and overlays previously mentioned.
Gigagbit Network interface and 802.11 Wireless interface – the WiFi I recall being discussed at some point, GigE offers some interesting capabilities as well – what will it be used for? Can you send stills down 802.11 (and what flavor? g, n, what?)? Can you send REDCODE RAW down GigE? Or are these just command/control interfaces? If so, why GigE and not 100BASE-T? GigE is good for about 90-100 MB/sec in real world applications, good enough for quite a bit of shooting, considering REDCODE RAW currently maxes out at 42 MB/sec worst case scenario.
3 Axis internal motion sensor, built in GPS receiver – OK, this is new and unexpected and surprisingly powerful stuff – the camera will know where it is and which way it is pointed/oriented at all times. With support for lens data, VFX folks can rejoice, presuming the rolling shutter issues are reined in enough. I had been thinking this would be an add-on module, to build it into every camera is awesome. Again, a private note, I’m STILL bummed my Red Pro Primes won’t have lens data pins to record that info, since that would round out the VFX camera data recording capabilities.
Enhanced Metadata – ….presumably to record the above data, but what else?
Full size connectors on Pro I/O Module. AES Digital Audio input, single and dual link HD-SDI – as expected, but a good lesson learned from the mini connectors on the Red One. More on this later, as I’m still looking for clear definition of what we get on the Base I/O module for upgraders….
Support for RED, most Arri 19mm, Studio 15mm, 15mm Lite, Panavision and NATO accessories – ah, and herein lines the devil in the details. Red had previously stated accessories that are contingent on the size/shape/form factor of Red One body may not work, and that makes total sense since the package size/shape/variability is changing. So I’d expect my rails and handles to not carry over, nor my Element Technica breakout box adaptor. But my EVF, LCD, batteries, Red Drives, CF cards, etc. should all be in good shape.
Dimensions- Approx. 4″x4″x5.5″
Weight (Brain only)- Approx. 6 lbs (2.72kg)
Size – I don’t recall sizes explicitly stated, but it seems to still be in the ballpark.
Weight – OOF! It has gone up 50% from last year’s estimated goal of 4 pounds. Put a grip with battery on it, the Bomb-EVF to hold it up to your eye as well as a lens, and I’m betting this starts weight in around gallon-of-milk territory for shooting stills (8.6 pounds) – ouch! More on this later…
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – all specs are as expected from last year’s announcements with a few caveats and a lot of additions.
SAME: max frame rates, modularity, time lapse/ramping, high data rate REDCODE RAW, improved dynamic range and reduced noise, interchangeable lens mounts, /i lens support, full sized connectors for I/O, compatibility with many existing accesories including electronic Red/Nikon/Canon mounts available
FUDGED: max frame rates at max resolution still stands, but at a qualified 2:1 aspect ratio not “really real” max of 16:9. Still technically exactly as stated, but one can quibble. I do. CORRECTION – I THINK I STATED THIS WRONG – since the sensor is a 2:1 aspect ratio instead of 16:9, that IS max res – 16:9 is derived from a side crop, whereas on Red One 2:1 was derived by letterboxing the recordable 16:9 area – so therefore it MIGHT MAYBE be possible to get slightly higher frame rates in 16:9 in theory….but then again, there are myriad reasons why that wouldn’t be the case.
NEW/IMPROVED/MADE OF ZAWESOME: ISO 800 is daily usable, FLUTs (if as expected, needs to be better defined by Red), 5 axis adjustable sensor plate, 1.8″ SSD, touchscreen controls, touch focus tracking (po’ man’s 1st AD?), rollover battery power, Arri LDS support, indie LUTs & frame guides/menus on differing outputs, 1080p & 2K monitoring, GigE/802.11 interfaces (for what exactly?), 3 axis w/GPS (!!!), HEAVIER (bummer but hey….)
Overall, awesome news! I don’t see anything that isn’t as good or better than I’d hoped for here, and MANY things (built in GPS/3 axis, 1080p outputs, etc.) that are unexpected delights.
OK, great! So when does it ship, and how much does it cost? Ahhhhh……that’s a more complicated answer, coming up next –
Next up, the upgrade options for existing Red One owners….
EDIT – oops, I got distracted and wanted to clarify to myself about the specs differences with Red One, so those are here first. Upgrade info follows thereafter…
PS – in accordance with the new FCC disclaimer regs, which I’ll fully comply with shortly as soon as I can write a separate disclaimer article, I am a Red One owner, I worked a few trade shows for them a couple of years ago (I received plane tix/hotel/meals, same as the “for real” Red employees, which I never was, and received ZERO compensation beyond that), and know most of the key players personally at Red. They’re nice folks.Oh, and way back in Dec. 2005, I got flown up to Oakley to participate in a meeting where the specs for the proposed Red camera were discussed, for which I received a nifty pair of MP3 playing sunglasses as a thanks for taking the time to come, same as everyone else they flew in (VFX folks, DoPs, post production software folks, etc.)