Saturday, January 28, 2012

New RED Cameras - Scarlet & Epic

I recently met up with my old mate Jonathan Lovekin in London and we went to Red Europe to have a look at the the new EPIC and SCARLET cameras from RED. Based in Pinewood studios Red have a UK office where we met Alan who gave us an enthusiastic welcome and showed us both of these amazing cameras. He also gave us a pretty definitive run through about RED CODE and RED RAY, the ground breaking technology which makes the whole RED system possible. His description of how the RED camera came about reminded me of Steve Jobs and Apple. Basically if you cant find what you're looking for then design and build it yourself. Which is pretty much what Jim Jannard of Oakley sunglasses fame decided to do.

The reason we wanted to see them is in a month or two the Epic will start to ship to the rental companies including The Production Depot here in Dublin and for anyone shooting commercials it's a good idea to see what's coming down the pipe. The Epic is about $50,000 for a basic kit without lenses but the Scarlet which shared the same sensor is about $15,000 which makes it much more affordable if you want to step up the quality from say a Canon 5 or 7 D. The reason Epic is more expensive is the processing power of the engine inside. It's my understanding that with Epic higher frame rates of 60 or so are possible at full 5k resolution in RAW format! and 300 fps at 2k. So what does that mean for stills? The sensor in both these cameras is the same,14mp. Okay so thats lower in resolution than the Canon and Nikon cameras that we've been using since 2005 and a lot lower than any of the LEAF, PhaseOne or Hasselblad medium format backs, (80mp from LEAF and PhaseOne now) but considering how fast this technology has evolved since 2006 how long will it be before these cameras shoot 21mp at 100 fps? I dont think too long. When that happens it will mean that finally a frame from a TV shoot on EPIC can just about be used on a 48 sheet and certainly for most magazine and other press. Have a look at the RED website and you'll see how many Vogue covers have been shot on Epic or Scarlet with photographers like Bruce Webber.

I've been shooting a little bit of TV work for stings etc on 5D and plenty of stills for print campaigns during TV shoots which is never very productive for anyone, so I can really see how this is going to help when there is no choice but to shoot TV and print together.

Jonathan has been directing food commercials for Tropicana, Sainsbury's etc for some years now shooting both digital and film and we can both see how the new Red Cameras will most definitely be part of the equipment list in the very near future.

Interesting times.

Jonathan Lovekin, Director and photographer, at home

Epic and Scarlet together -(Scarlet with no monitor)

Looks a bit like An Apollo Hasselblad from above?

remote for controlling all functions off the camera

                                                                                                                             128GB memory

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