The phone connection was crackling in Cannes. Jarred Land and Brent Carter were on the line. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “What camera name had I managed to mangle this time?” I was eternally on red alert for messing up the names of RED cameras and sensors in these FDTimes reports.
But honestly, how could any mere mortal remember that a RED W8K VV MOSNTRO really should be called a RED Digital Cinema Weapon 8K VV Camera with MONSTRO Sensor, not to be confused with a RED 8K VV Epic Camera with DRAGON sensor or a RED Weapon 8K Helium? And what about carbon fiber, aluminum, medical white or Xenomorphs? (WEAPON and EPIC are bodies, MONSTRO, DRAGON and HELIUM are sensors. Fincher gets Xenomorph bodies and brain surgeons get the white ones, along with a few lucky DPs.)
My head was spinning and it wasn’t just from jetlag, back to back screenings while wearing a too-tight tuxedo, hearing Élodie Bouchez discuss improvisational acting on “Guy,” or bottomless glasses of Rosé at Optimo and Summilook soirées.
And then, as any good French neo new-wave existential screenplay would have it, a cool, calm wind blew across the Croisette and this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnawed and fumbled and caressed and never hurt quite enough—this moment to jump across the precipice, to exist—suddenly there was meaning.
Meaning—it was the voice of Jarred in the earbuds, “We are simplifying to avoid confusion. We are going to unify all models with the popular DSMC2 body, the same WEAPON brain—the powerful circuits inside, but we’re going to get rid of the body name. We’ll name the camera by the sensor, sort of like what you and many others have been calling them all along. They will all have the camera brains of the WEAPON, and the different models will be determined by the sensor. The sensor will be like the film stock.
“This a great way for anybody to get into the system. The cost of the brain goes down, and they can upgrade the sensor.”
Whew. So here’s the way it will work, and the result is an easier to distinguish line of cameras and basically more affordable costs. Essentially, there will be 3 models of REDs to remember:
DSMC2 MONSTRO has the same specs as the WEAPON MONSTRO 8K VV camera. The body is available in aluminum alloy and , on request, in Carbon Fiber.
DSMC2 HELIUM has the same specs as the WEAPON HELIUM 8K S35 camera. The body is made of aluminum alloy. On special order, this camera is also available with a HELIUM 8K S35 Monochrome sensor.
DSMC2 GEMINI has better data rates and REDCODE settings than the EPIC-W 5K S35 GEMINI camera. Otherwise, the rest of the features are the same. It’s available in aluminum alloy.
Here are more details. The prices are as if you were walking into a RED store and buying a camera from scratch. We’ll get to upgrades in a moment:
DSMC2 MONSTRO: $54,500
This is the top of the line 8K VV (Full Format) camera with MONSTRO sensor: 35.4 Megapixels, 40.96 x 21.60mm (46.31 mm Ø), 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320), 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456), etc. By the way, the MSRP of this camera was previously $79,500. So it’s now much more affordable to jump into Full Format at a very competitive price.
DSMC2 HELIUM: $24,500
This is the 8K Super35 camera with a Helium sensor: 35.4 Megapixels, 29.90 x 15.77mm (33.80mm Ø), 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320), 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456), etc.
DSMC2 GEMINI: $19,500
Formerly known as GEMINI 5K S35, it has RED’s highest-sensitivity sensor and captures very low light scenes with little noise and superb shadow detail. The 15.4 Megapixel Dual Sensitivity, full-height, 18mm high Sensor is 30.72 x 18 mm (35.61mm Ø), 75 fps at 5K Full Height 1.7:1 (5120 × 3000), 96 fps at 5K Full Format (5120 × 2700), 120 fps at 5K 2.4:1 (5120 × 2160), etc. If you’re shooting S35 anamorphic, the 18mm vertical, full-height image area will not introduce a crop factor.
Meanwhile, back in Cannes, I ducked into a quiet alcove on the Gray D’Albion’s rooftop, where the signal strength was sufficient to start up a quick Q&A with Jarred and Brent:
JON FAUER: This really simplifies things, doesn’t it?
JARRED LAND: By going to just a single brain called ‘DSMC2’ and then referencing the sensor, it just simplifies the lineup and makes it so much more intuitive. You have the brain, now pick what sensor you want in it. Since people have been calling their camera by the sensor name for years anyway – a ‘DRAGON’, a ‘HELIUM’, and so on, it just made sense to simplify our lineup that had gotten complicated over the years.”
Was this unified Brain idea on your brain for some time?
JARRED: “You and I have talked the last year or two about my goal to eventually get to a single unified brain with sensors becoming the only variable, and today we have finally have achieved that goal.
How does that affect manufacturing?
BRENT CARTER: By committing to a single brain, we get to the quantities that allow us to work with new manufacturing and supply chain partners. And those economies of scale get us to the point where we can really affect the total cost of a brain.
How were you able to get the prices at these reasonable rates?
JARRED: We had to take a step back and look at how we started. It was with a RED ONE at $17,500 that changed the industry. We needed to get back to where people could get our top-of-the-line camera specs for under $20K. That required a lot of tough choices and a re-thinking of our business, but it is right to do this for our customers.
I don’t know if this pricing is short-term or long-term, but we will do our best to keep costs down so we can keep it here as long as possible.
What about upgrades from existing cameras?
After releasing the GEMINI sensors, we have gotten a ton of emails from customers who had yet to get into the DSMC2 line. They wanted to know how they could finally make the jump to DSMC2. So, we are also opening up some more upgrade paths because I really want everyone to have a proper chance to get into our current line.
Upgrades to Gemini?
$12,500 for an upgrade from Scarlet-W to DSMC2 Gemini.
$14,500 upgrade from DSMC1 Dragon to DSMC2 Gemini.
$4,950 to upgrade Epic-W internals to the new unified DSMC2 (Weapon class) brain.
And what about upgrades to DSMC2 MONSTRO 8K VV?
BRENT: It was $29,500 if you had a WEAPON. But, now the price is $39,500 to move into MONSTRO from most other cameras (HELIUM 8K S35, WEAPON 6K DRAGON, DSMC2 HELIUM or GEMINI 5K S35.)