As goes with some companies, they tend to go quiet whenever they miss their own internal/public deadlines. Such is with the guys at RED. They openly admitted to the fact that they’ve been very quite over the last 6-12 months as they’ve been trying to finally get the RED EPIC DRAGON out of the door. The EPIC DRAGON is their entirely new 6K camera sensor which is capable of things that RED Cameras never were capable of before.
For those unaware, 6K is the half-step between 4K and 8K but still delivers an immense amount of pixels, amounting to 19 megapixels of video, or nearly 10x as many pixels as the standard sub-2 megapixel 1080P. What this allows for is significantly larger video images and impeccable definition at an incredibly high 100 FPS framerate. In the image below, you can see that 2K, which is slightly larger than 1080P covers between 1/9th and 1/10th the image area as a 6K image.
Since they’ve been late, the guys at RED have stayed in silent mode and mainly been working on getting the camera out, and now it’s finished and they’ve put it in the hands of some cinematographers. And as always, on the reduser forum, they’ve documented their entire experience. The guy that has this camera is so excited that he even put his thread title in all caps and looking at his results you can see that this is quite the camera. We’ve got some still shots as well as some video from his and RED’s own shooting.
First, we have a shot that RED took themselves, this is a 6K image downscaled to 689 for formatting here on BSN* however, if you click the image you can see the full resolution 6K image still from the video.
Following that, we took a look at a sample video created by Mark Toia, the guy RED gave a RED EPIC DRAGON to and posted the thread that we linked to earlier. In his video, he demonstrates the impeccable 16 1/2 stops of dynamic range of this camera as well as the ability to shoot at up to 100 FPS even at full 6K resolution. The DRAGON brings an improvement of 3 stops over the previous RED EPIC sensor with two of those stops being in the blacks and one stop being in the highlights. If you look at the results in the video below, you can tell that they’re not just stunning videos but also stunning stills.
Overall, this new camera solves a lot of problems that users had with RED cameras in the past which include the amount of grain in higher ISO, which has be reduced. They have also improved the color science of the RED cameras to satisfy many people (especially colorists) that have complained about RED’s color science. What makes this camera even better is that with such great 6K performance, you get even better 4K performance out of the camera. With this new RED EPIC DRAGON sensor, people shooting in 4K can expect framerates up to 200 FPS, meaning that shooting extremely high-motion 4K video is basically a breeze.
With cameras like the GoPro likely making a move towards 4K @ 30FPS in their next iteration, its probably a good thing that RED’s EPIC DRAGON can do that at more than 6x the FPS which retains the value of having such an incredibly expensive and bulky camera. Not to mention, it can also do 6K at 100 FPS which is still unheard of. What this also means is that RED is slowly inching closer to being capable of accomplishing the final goal of 8K. After all, the step from a 6K camera that does 100 FPS to an 8K camera that does 60 FPS doesn’t seem incredibly crazy. We eagerly await RED’s announcement of an 8K camera sensor, since we have a feeling it won’t be that far off from this announcement.