The Red Epic has landed by Ben Spence inally the Red Epic has started to appear in facilities companies around the world, S+O Media is one of the first in the UK to receive a handmade Epic-M. I've taken the camera out on a couple of shoots and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. I'm sure everyone is aware of the Red One, the first camera from Red. Billionaire Jim Jannard decided he could make a camera, one which would change the face of the film industry. Although the Red One wasn't perfect it was definitely a catalyst for change. For example without the Red One, Arri wouldn't have produced the Alexa and Sony wouldn't have made the F3, both of which are excellent cameras. The Red One combined a Super35 sized sensor with 4K resolution, multiple frame rates and cheap recording media. Thousands were sold round the world and used on everything from low budget music videos to big Hollywood features. However, the Red One wasn't perfect and after cutting through the hype, it wasn't the most reliable camera in the world either. It was awkward to use and the 4K RAW workflow, although powerful, took time for people to get used to. The Epic is Red's second camera people have been waiting a long time for it and are understandably sceptical. F future proofs the footage and gives great options for cropping, stabilising and reframing in post. For example HD TV is 1920x1080; 5k is over six times that resolution. The Epic's sensor responds to light in a very similar way to the Red One if you're used to working with the Red you will know what to expect. However, the picture from the Epic looks noticeably cleaner, and "nicer" than the Red One, both on the camera's monitor outputs and once it's in the grade. Size and modularity: The bare-bones Epic is very small. Sure you can dress it up like a grown-up camera, but without anything attached it's smaller than a Sony F3, albeit a little heavier. This small size has made the camera the number one choice for 3D feature film production around the world with films such as The Hobbit and the Ridley Scott Alien prequel both shooting Epic. The modularity of the camera is a double edged sword. Being able to cut the camera down to a very small size is incredibly handy, you can fit it onto Steadicams, car mounts and even clamp it to polecat with ease. However, it means that the camera isn't particularly ergonomic straight out of the box, as it's so new Red and other third parties are quickly making various accessories to make the camera work in different configurations. Knowing what is out there and making sure you get a camera with the correct accessories is vital for a smooth shoot. I've been working with S+O Media to try and work out the best possible options. Accessories still due to arrive include a Pro In and Out module with a full set of XLR's inputs, BNC outputs, tiny onboard batteries and various proxy recorders have been hinted at for recording ProRes or H264, at the same time as the RAW. High speed shooting: The Epic is capable of shooting at 120 frames per second using the full sensor and 300fps at reduced resolutions. Having these sort of frame-rates on hand is an amazingly powerful creative tool for a DP or director. It's not quite bulletthrough-an-apple high speed but it is far beyond what all but the most specialist cameras are currently capable of. Not having to crop the sensor to shoot 120fps is absolutely brilliant. As a DoP it's hard to go back to other cameras which don't offer those sort of frame rates on tap. Do be warned however, shooting 120fps at full resolution will absolutely chew through the SSDs which the camera records onto. The highest data rate the camera shoots is over 200MB per second (yes that is Mega bytes). You and your DIT will need to pay attention or you could find yourself running low on stock. HDRx: High Dynamic Range shooting. For every frame that is captured the camera will also take a second, but with a higher shutter speed. The second frame (or X frame) can be used to protect highlights and with HDRx turned all the way up the camera has an extraordinary 18 stops of latitude. The original image and the X frames need to be combined in post, the power of this type of feature is only just being realised. My view is that it will likely be reserved for complicated or difficult to control shots, but the possibilities are fantastic. The Arri Alexa does a similar thing with its Dual Gain Architecture combining both high and low sensitivity pixels, which allows its high latitude. Enabling HDRx on the Epic will double the For those of you who don't yet know, the most important aspects of the Red Epic are: It's 5K RAW capabilities: The camera can shoot at an amazing 5,120 x 2,700 pixel resolution - 30% more pixels than the Red One. This gives an incredibly sharp and clean picture, 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE >>