I’ve found myself unable to sleep at night salivating over potential camera packages I want for 2013. Here is option one.
RED Epic Package – Only a cool $45k.
I recently shot a job on the RED Epic and it is an awesome camera. The guys who make Oakley sunglasses make this camera, so you can imagine some of the frustrations. Not the most thought out camera in the world. The menu system is clunky and things are buried deep. But the ability to shoot multiple formats & off speeds while grading in RAW is awesome. 300fps at 2k widescreen. Yes please. The .r3D files also drop in nicely to Adobe Premiere CS6 for integrated editing & RAW workflow. And you can pull stills from it if need be. Some downsides are: It’s expensive, it eats through media, the files are huge, it’s very heavy and currently does poorly in low light (expect the Dragon Sensor Upgrade soon but people are estimate it will cost an additional 10k for a dynamic range of 20+ stops). This is more a features camera than a docu setup. It’s unwieldy and meant for low light location work. So there is that. There are also other considerations like you cannot run a EVF & Screen at the same time (kind of ridiculous) and the internal fan can be loud for audio purposes. Run & gun with this camera is not really an option the weight of it makes it really hard to hand hold. People say it also can glitch out (in my week of shooting I did not run into this). Also, this price tag does not include a Red Rocket (which is probably a good idea if you are in the RED Raw workflow) and the fact that you will be buying hard drives left right and center. I shot for less than an hour on it with the settings 300fps, 2k WS, 8:1 compression and I burned through 180 gigs. While that is fine as is. Let’s multiply that by a 10-hour day of shooting and you are at almost 2 TB. A weeklong shoot? That job just jumped to 10TB is raw footage. In comparison I can bang away on a c300 all day long and maybe go through 96gigs on CF cards… oh yeah the proprietary RED Mags are a pain and expensive. Red support is North America only while Canon is worldwide. So if something were to happen to your setup while on a travel job you would be screwed. Oh yeah we haven’t even talked about the cost of having a second setup or back up brain. For the same price I could be styling around town in a murdered out BMW 3 Series.
The more I talk about it the less I’m selling it I feel like. So why do I still want this camera? I have no idea. There is something about it. Maybe it’s the label on the side. Or maybe the fact that at the end of the day for all of it’s short comings the footage looks amazing. The ability to edit, grade, and push & pull the footage in a non-degrading way is a beautiful thing. I know I know… we’ve been talking about this forever. It has nothing to do with how many K’s there are. Let’s get that straight. 4k, 5k, 6k… this is the exact phenomena that happened with mega pixels. Unless you are shooting a feature film that will be shown on a 4k projector somewhere none of that shit really matters. And photogs listen up. A Canon 4K 1DC means nothing. Why? Because while it’s “4K” it’s an 8bit 4:2:2 file (which is the same as a 5D Mark III). More pixels does not mean better. Come on kids remember when the more Megapixels the better the camera was? Same shit different day. We could get into the specifics of chroma subsampling but that will get out of control very quickly.
Anyway. Despite the price and downsides I still find myself unable to sleep at night thinking about the moment I have one of these babies all to myself. I guess my 4K iPhone app will have to do for now. Here is a little test footage to leave you with.