We've relaunched as a full community! Get the scoop:

August 18, 2013

Here's Some Brand New RED DRAGON Footage to Like/Hate/Discuss

First DRAGON clip down, many more to come. Before the DRAGON sensor updates start rolling out in big numbers this fall, we should be getting a lot more footage. DP Evin Grant got a little fire-breathing monster to play around with, and he's posted his results online, along with some stills. Tom Lowe, who you might remember from Timescapes, has also received a DRAGON to test, and he's posted a 6K still so far, with likely much more to come. Check it out below, and be sure to head on over to the comments for what is always a fun time.

Some info on Evin's test, followed by the video. Be sure to head on over to Vimeo to download it in higher quality (emphasis added):

This camera's color science is beta, in fact the version of RCX I used is still using RG3 & RC3 so they are not yet matched to the immense DR and color info of these files.

This camera also had a brand new IR filter installed and no adjustments had been made to the CS or RCX for any impact that might have on color rendering.

All of the above meant I felt in order to be fair to the camera and sensor I needed to do some color correction beyond RCX, to that end I did a single primary pass in Resolve on the Prores 444 output.

The kelvin and tint settings noted in the video are my approximation of the ambient lighting according to the eye-dropper in RCX, I developed at different settings when I though it looked best. I also pushed the color saturation as far as I felt I could before looking garish, this is not actually my preferred taste but I felt it was important for the test.

Last off I am not a colorist, I'm a DP and I'm sure a professional who works in Resolve every day could do an even better job given how much color info is in there.

Here are some of his thoughts:

My feeling is there is more DR visible here than the stated spec, but it's hard to quantify. You'll also notice I was very good about avoiding any hard clips. Even the fire ball shots hold color. Another thing is I'm really in love with the grain-like noise when the sensor is pushed to ISO 3200+ it's really organic and gives the truly high ISO material a beautiful pushed film quality. It also handles mixed and discontinuous lighting like nothing I've seen. The shot of the girl dancing at 6400 ISO is shot under just an LED street lamp and plays much brighter than my eyes were seeing.

As far as skin tone the sensor picks up all the subtle colors and variances in the flesh and make-up, this is the trade off for so much info and detail and if you really want smooth skin rendering you'll need to have a great make-up artist and really understand filtration. The only diffusion filter I used on some shots was a Schneider 1/16 HD classic soft just to take the edge off.

Check out some selected stills (click for larger):

The elevator shot has some atrocious looking light in the elevator, but the amount of detail being held is impressive. I think it's also important to realize that while there is noise at 4000 ISO, neither the camera nor the post software is doing any noise reduction, but cameras like the Canon C300 (and many others) are doing all kinds of noise processing internally to reach such crazy high ISOs. This is also similar to JPEGs coming out of a DSLR, which have gone through a number of steps before finally reaching the CF/SD card.

Here is a 6K 4000 ISO still from Tom Lowe's shoot (click for larger):

Again, there is noise but when you consider that it's coming from a 6K motion file, it's mind-blowing. We're spoiled, let's face it. We'll never be happy, even with noiseless 16K images at ISOs over 100,000. It still has a distinctly RED look, but from everything we've seen, and everything that has been said from those who have used it, there is a ton of information to work with. If you're lighting a project, it's rare that you need ISOs this high, but for stuff that's more unpredictable, having this capability is fantastic.

It's unfortunate that it's using old color science. Clearly this sensor is better than MX, but by how much is the big question many are currently asking. Is the current color science holding back the performance? Probably enough to notice a difference, which is why it is surprising they are releasing footage so early. I think if RED really wanted to knock the socks off potential buyers, a Peter Jackson-style short like Crossing the Line would have done it. They are taking the real-world approach where a number of people get the camera for a little while and post whatever they want without any input from RED. That's fine if you know what you're looking for, but they need to impress many more people than that. With how much vitriol has been thrown at the company thanks to an inability not to hype its products, it's a little surprising we didn't get an amazing short film to show off what it can do on a controlled set with proper grading (maybe one is coming).

There should be a lot more soon enough, and Tom has also mentioned he'll be shooting a side-by-side test with MX. I'm sure that's the kind of test many of you have been waiting to see. Feel free to discuss in the comments, though staying on topic is appreciated.

Links:

Your Comment

87 Comments

Alexa fanboys here to defend their pride and joy in 3....2....1....

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Jeffrey

I can't be the only one thinking this looks a little muddy, right?

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
F

I felt that way about the elevator shot. Not so much the rest.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Kenneth

Alexa fanboys here to defend their pride and joy in 3....2....1....

And for what its worth this wasn't my favorite test, but each test shows strengths and weaknesses that come with using RED's with the Dragon.

To this point i'm convinced it'd be a worthwhile investment, well before this video. At the same time i'd love to see someone do a compression test from say 6:1 all the way to 18:1.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Jeffrey

Even at 1/3rd the cost of an Alexa, it's still crazy we're getting cinema cameras with these features. Crazy times.

Not the best test in terms of material, but if we're seeing solid results with the old color science I think it'd be really interesting to see the same results re-processed with Red Color 4 when that makes it's debut.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Thom

Still, there's more detail than any camera I've seen, the closest look to reality.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

Is reality what we're after?

August 19, 2013

0
Reply

I've shot in that elevator before but had to iris pull when going into darkness and still couldn't see much. Pretty crazy how much it can see in the dark.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Micah Van Hove
Writer
writer, director, dp
347

That's the one that impressed me the most, pretty cool that you've actually shot there as well.

August 18, 2013

1
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
256

have also shot in that elevator. Do we win a prize?
Have now seen footage on a 4K monitor. It looks very good.
You're starting to see a number of EPIC MXs for sale here in LA.
The EPIC has a strong niche. I don't think this is a game changer - its just really bloody nice.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
marklondon

Horrible sensor, godawful color science and ugly models. My trusty Rebel, Rebel Jersey Represent T3i is sooooo much better. Fuk Hollywood hueeeeee.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Natt

Shit, I had money riding on a 5D shooter making this comment first. RATS!

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Thom

5D users have been slow on the draw lately.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

Canon T2i is far better, jus sayin

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Tyler

iPhone, B*TCH!

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Kenneth

Motorola v20 produce better colours

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Amir Chang

Ugly models? Man, we have differing definitions of ugly. But I think you were joking and forgot the wink face. Or, you threw a sarcasm bomb.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

I own an Epic, and the Dragon footage coming out isn't really blowing my mind. Besides the low light stuff, nothing else interests me enough to fork out $9500 for the upgrade. I think RED needs to market this a little bit different than just having random filmmakers get their hands on it and release test videos.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Henry Ceiro

Some Samsara-esque short by Tom Lowe would do the trick.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Natt

keep talking dirty to me ;)

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
HVdude

I don't understand the people who feel the need to argue about camera brands...

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Coty

Agreed, it can get absurd. I think that the people who argue most strongly and emotionally about cameras on these forums have never stepped on to a film set. As filmmakers, we use these wonderful tools to fit the project and budget. in the wrong hands any camera will produce an awful image!

August 18, 2013

0
Reply

It seems most Red footage has been in the wrong hands. I began to wonder if green tint was a permanent aspect of the Red color palette because of all the green hue I saw in 4K footage. Then I came across some beautiful footage without that green hue in it. It was glorious, so easy on the eye, so detailed, so beautiful. I saw why Red cameras are so great. Wish I had the $50,000.00 for one!

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

@ Fergus: I raise my glass to you. :)

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Dolly

So, what you're saying is that cameras don't shoot films, people shoot films?

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
DLD

The point may be that cameras give you footage, but only people make films. Like Fergus, I've also never met a professional D.O.P. who works themselves into anything like the tech frenzy evident on some forums.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Dolly

People moaning about cameras tend to forget that a camera is only part of a factor in making a film look good. For example having decent Grip gear with an awesome Grip, some good lights and a great Gaffer is often overlooked on these camera focused forums.

We are professionals and will use the best and most appropriate resources available to us. Every project is different and we have to be flexible if we want to keep working.

We need to stop hating, get off our arses and start creating with whatever tools we can get our hands on and more importantly with the best people we can get our hands on.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply

DLD,
lol, I think Chris Rock said something like that. ;-)

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

@Coty Re: "argue about camera brands" - Socialist statements really irk me... let's play nice... everybody wins.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Razor

The raw materials are there for some beautiful images. (No pun intended)

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Timur Civan

That's what I'm thinking too.

Say bud, can you spare $50,000.00? ;-)

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

Liked the last test much better. This one seemed to be shot almost entirely with soft-ish lighting, which doesn't show off DR, which is what I think a lot of people are looking for with this, hoping it's a real competitor to the Alexa. The last shot was pretty amazing though! Also, the skin tones are much better in my opinion than the MX.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Kenneth

Skin tones aren't all that.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Beezly

Ok nice but can someone please do a proper controlled test of this camera sensor?

August 18, 2013

0
Reply

mind= not blown.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
fml

Nice, but it looks like this Dragon is a pretty tame Dragon. A useful tool nonetheless, just not mind blowing in any way.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Kent

Other than a great dynamic range acheivement from a technology standpoint of 6k, then this is not really a game changer for the industry to me.

Sure its future proof way wayyyyyyy down the line, but nobody is rushing to jump ship on 6k no time soon, 2k and 4k scaled down is has been fine for some time now and will continue to be good enough.

This is the equivalent of a BUGATTI VEYRON , a technology nice piece of art/speed but honestly hardly no one will ever be able to utilize let alone experience the top speed of a BUGATTI VEYRON , same goes for this camera.

Other than large sensor and lowlight, a black magic camera will do the job just as good

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
jay clout

The "softness", I reckon, is due to the Schneider OLPF's. It may also effect the colors. (FWIW, I like the images ... they look more ... wait for it ... 1,2, 3 ... filmic!).
.
PS. People are mentioning smartphones in jest but Sony will probably announce a 4K capable Honami (it should have that removable lens system) unit in a couple of weeks.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
DLD

Also, Camera Rumors are reporting that the Fuji/Panasonic organic sensor with 88 DB SNR (29 EV) will be on the market sooner (maybe even in 2014) rather than later (was expected in 2015 ... maybe). Dragon is 80 DB (allegedly 16 F-stops), so whenever the FP Organic arrives on the scene, it will be - to use a worn out cliche - a game changer.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
DLD

Eventually you won't even have to light.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
fml

You'll always have to light. Unless you're either lazy or unskilled.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply

...ever heard of Terrance Malick?

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Voltaire

With respect, Malick holds up filming for days, waiting for the right kind of natural light to become available. Most professional filmmakers will have more realistic priorities, such as listening to their production manager and bringing in the softboxes.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Dolly

just because they don't use lights doesn't mean they're not lighting. Malick/Lubezki have a strict game plan; when and how to shoot and when and how not to shoot, blocking/staging, camera angle towards light, the use of negative fill ect.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
hansd

Most don't have the option 'when' or 'when not' to shoot. Time and money remain the dominant factors for both the mainstream industry and independent productions. Naturally, a director/d.o.p. is free to walk onto the set of a music video/commercial/television drama production and explain to the producer that he's waiting several hours for the sun to be in position because 'that's how Malick does it'.

But he'll be leaving that set soon after, and meeting the lights on his way out.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Dolly

Sure. I was replying to the guy who thinks Malick doesn't 'light'.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
hansd

That's cool. Apologies if I sounded like I was biting your head off. :D

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Dolly

Windows in the elevator need to be cleaned. Yeah, that's lots of detail. It's like the wax on the cars in the first Red Dragon video. You could see how it was applied.

August 18, 2013

0
Reply
Gene

Does the BMCC have better skin tones then the Red Dragon?

http://youtu.be/iY1rTACpsnQ

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
Aaron

Who knows? With all camera's good grading is crucial. Most of us are still learning I think.

G008 1 2013-08-06 0953 C0000 v3 from Eric V on Vimeo.

August 19, 2013

0
Reply
EricV

Pages