RED Digital Cinema starts shipping two new Super35 8K HELIUM Sensor Cameras today.
RED WEAPON 8K S35 is the top-of-the line model featuring the new HELIUM sensor. The body is carbon fiber, in a shade close to dark end of a Technicolor gray scale. It shoots 8K (8192×4320) up to 60 fps, with data rates to 300 MB/s and 5:1 REDCODE RAW at full 8K 24 fps. This model offers a sensor upgrade path to RED DRAGON 8K VV sensor when available. The price is $49,500.
RED EPIC-W 8K S35 comes in a black magnesium and aluminum alloy body. It has the same HELIUM sensor as the WEAPON 8K S35, shoots 8K (8192×4320) up to 30 fps, with data rates to 275 MB/s and 6:1 REDCODE RAW at full 8K 24 fps. The price is $29,500.
35.4 MP Stills
Both models let you grab 35.4 megapixel stills from the 8K video (because 8192 x 4320 =35,389,440 for each frame). If you’re covering Paris fashion week or doing anything in the overlapping worlds of stills and cine, this is a big deal.
ProRes & DNxHD/HR
In addition to REDCODE RAW, both models record 4K Apple ProRes (422 HQ, 422, 422 LT) or 4K Avid DNxHR (HQX 12-bit) up to 30 fps, 2K Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR up to 120 fps.
Hang on, isn’t the HELIUM camera supposed to be white? Yes, RED created those limited edition white WEAPON cameras for a large government agency in Asia. And from that first batch of white cameras, RED had a handful of additional units that they were able to post for a flash sale. And they sold out in less than 5 minutes.
On a recent visit to Japan, Jarred Land, President of RED, was able to watch the white cameras in action—a remote robotic surgery—not exactly what he was expecting for a “broadcast” application. Imagine you’re a brain surgeon using a 70 micron suture, thinner than a human hair, that you now can actually see clearly and sharply in full rez 8K?
Of course, cinematography isn’t 8K brain surgery. But doesn’t the thought of an 8K ECU send shivers down the spine of a DP ready to confront a major Hollywood star whose complexion hasn’t been helped by heavy-duty partying the previous sleepless night? Not exactly.
Mark Toia’s recent HELIUM 8K demo film on Vimeo shows some excellent examples of how flattering this new sensor really is.
Speaking on Skype from location in India, Mark described the HELIUM look as “smooth, creamy, silky skin textures, with very natural tones and low noise even in deep shadows, even at 2,000 ISO.” Take a look at Mark’s video online.
RED EPIC-W and WEAPON 8K S35 Sensor
In summary, the new EPIC-W 8K S35 and WEAPON 8K S35 have the same HELIUM 35.4 Megapixel CMOS sensor, with 8192 x 4320 effective pixels (each one is approx. 3.65 microns). The sensor measures 15.8 x 30.7 mm (diagonal 34.5 mm).
RED WEAPON 8K VV (VistaVision)
By now, some may be wondering, “Huh?” Why S35 and what about the RED WEAPON 8K VV camera? Wasn’t Full Format supposed to be the wave of the future?
Quick review: the RED WEAPON 8K VV camera has a DRAGON 35.4 Megapixel CMOS sensor, with the same number of effective pixels: 8192 x 4320. The 8K VV sensor is larger, of course: 21.60 x 40.96 mm (diagonal 46.31). Pixel pitch is approx. 5 microns.
Land explained this at IBC. Having both formats offers more choices to cinematographers. Yes, there are more Full Format lenses coming to market, and there is a lot of interest in the shallower depth of field and big screen look of this large format. However, many productions will continue to work in the existing S35 format. One thing common to all these choices is RED’s commitment to higher resolution—in this case, 8K.
Full Format will eventually take the place of S35 for Features
The head of a large rental company recently said, “Full Format will eventually take the place of S35 for major motion picture production, while S35 will mostly be used for television and productions that previously used 16mm (or ¾-inch).”
If I were the President of RED, I think I would agree—especially with the Olympic 2020 games in Tokyo committed to 8K and NHK driving many of the technical specs.
For more information, including upgrade paths for existing owners or prospective owners of RAVEN and SCARLET-W, go to the red.com website.
And here’s an EPIC-W video from RED:
RED WEAPON 8K S35 Gallery
RED EPIC-W 8K S35 Gallery