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Who Wants a Carbon Fiber Camera? New RED DRAGON Carbon Being Used on 'Game of Thrones'

RED DRAGON Carbon FiberYou may have dealt with Carbon Fiber rails at one point or another — and you might even own some — but how about a Carbon Fiber camera? That’s exactly what the RED team has created. The California-based company has put their brand new DRAGON sensor into a custom Carbon Fiber shell and machined Magnesium body with a Magnesium PL Mount to bring the weight of the camera down 1 pound. Two of these cameras are going to be used on the HBO series Game of Thrones (which we recently wrote about), but I’m sure most of you are wondering, how much will it cost to get your hands on one?

Here is Jarred on REDUser, plus a picture of the new camera (click for larger):

Meet the Carbon Dragon. 

With a Carbon fiber shell and side SSD matched with a machined magnesium body and machined magnesium lens mount it cuts off a full pound from the standard Epic weight. It takes a tremendous amount of time to build each one of these but they are quite incredible.

We are also excited to announce that the first 2 Carbon Dragons are being used by HBO for Game of Thrones, a fitting first flight for one of our all-time favorite shows.

Carbon Dragons will be available to purchase on a one- by-one, build-to-order basis starting at the end of October for $50k, first come, first serve.

RED DRAGON Carbon Fiber

$50K is obviously out of the price range of most people, but the original RED EPIC M cameras were right around that when they were first introduced, and this also has the newest sensor inside. One pound may not seem like a huge difference, especially when cameras fully rigged with PL lenses end up weighing into the 20-30 pound range, but that pound can mean a lot for for certain setups, like smaller copters/drones (I’m sure Steadicam operators would appreciate less weight). One pound can mean the difference between being safely within the tolerance for something, and pushing the limit. Of course, the other side of that is when you have productions like Game of Thrones spending millions an episode, they want the best of the best, and there’s no reason not to use a lighter camera like this if there are no other differences.

RED DRAGON Carbon Side

The camera in this configuration should weigh somewhere around 4 pounds, maybe less. If you were using the side handle and touch monitor in a handhold or stills-shooting configuration, that pound is going to make a massive difference. There is only so long you can hold the camera without any support before it’s tiring, but I imagine this version with a relatively light lens might actually be workable for longer periods.

While Game of Thrones will continue to be shot primarily on the ARRI ALEXA, they must feel that the DRAGON is a big enough step up in terms of color rendition and dynamic range to use them for the show. It’s also possible that they will be using DRAGON for visual effects shots and other moving shots, as 6K (and really 5K for that matter) is going to give you tons of room for stabilization in post for a show that eventually finds its way back down to 1080.

It’s probably going to be available from select rental houses, so even if you can’t afford the price tag or don’t really need one less pound all the time, it should be available for rent should you want that special shot requiring a lighter camera.

What do you think about the DRAGON Carbon? What other situations could you see for needing something like this?

Link: DRAGON CARBON + Game of Thrones — REDUser


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  • uhh yeah, as soon as I get 50k together, this is the first thing I’m ordering.

  • yes, game of thrones has always been shot on the Arri Alexa… i’d suspect that RED gave these special cameras away to the producers of Game of Thrones. Smart marketing– story gets written up, an maybe their DPs tries them out and starts using the RED over the Alexa. And maybe people with way too much money to blow will buy into the idea. doubt it though – spending $20,000 to shave off a pound on a camera is too silly to really comment on. An external battery solution would cost 19K less and shave off more than a pound. But good marketing idea. Gets people talking about it.

    • Gotta be for aerials, quad copter, some kind of specialty shot right? RED did this for The Social Network for Fincher’s Winklevai rowing shots.

      • Was just about to point this out – not the first carbon fibre REDs ever made.
        And there are plenty of serious users who will have/find a use for one – I can easily see maybe up to 20-30 of them being made and used as specialty cams.
        Putting out a GOT headline – yes, that’s the marketing part. But still, cool.

      • brett harrison on 09.12.13 @ 4:25AM

        Jarred on Reduser said they’re using it with a MoVi among other things. He was otherwise tight-lipped about it.

        • jarred the master at marketing…whatever he serves they will drink it

          • Someone is too poor and bitter.

          • brett harrison on 09.12.13 @ 8:22AM

            You’re thinking of Jim, not Jarred, and:

          • You’re missing the point – this is huge! How do I know? I read the thread at RedUser – one poster needed oxygen, another wet his pants, and another’s mind was blown!!!111

            Someone else thinks people who can’t afford this camera would be willing to trade parts of their body for it – if only Red would accept organs in payment…

            What a difference a pound makes/
            Sixteen little ounces/.

      • I bet it’s because there’s Dragons in GOT!

        Damn subliminal messages.

  • Anyone makes lighter but still decent quality lenses?

    • Sure, the Zeiss CP.2s aren’t the best lenses in the world, but are still great quality and remarkably light. While the set doesn’t have a constant aperture across the lenses, they are all remarkably sharp even wide open.

  • Being used with the MōVI!

  • Aside of the price tag, Carbon-Dragon is a must for any kind of Movi gimbals, drones/octocopters, sliders, skinny-ass cheapo cranes and lightweight steadicam. No matter how stripped off the camera can be, regular Epic is still too heavy for some.

  • Extremely silly to talk real weight savings but me thinks people will buy it. They will sell at least 50-100 of these babies easily. For aerials and gimbals? I seriously doubt it. For rich directors, producers, and DPs who want bragging rights? No brainer.

    There has to be some effect on heat or sound maybe? Quieter, cooler, dragon would make sense for 20k extra?

    • As Ryan Koo pointed out, David Fincher was able to film Social Network’s Winklevai rowing shots ONLY BECAUSE Red were able to make the camera light enough to put in the boat.

      In other words, “Extremely silly to talk real weight savings” are not silly at all and in fact do posses distinct advantages. But of course, who is Fincher when we have the wisdom of Miles?

      • If you waste your time engaging with the large number of immature trolls NFS now has, you will be a busy boy. :-)

        • Remember, on this page if things cost more than a Canon 5Dmk3 it must be a waste of money. Welcome to NFS, where everyone’s youtube account makes you a professional!

          • Wait bro…. I thought my 24-105 L glass lens made me a professional…. right next to my redrock rig….. :-)

      • I bet that was a Red One not an Epic. An Epic stripped down weighs substantially less than a Red One and I doubt you would need a carbon fiber Epic just to rig on that boat, but I could be wrong. I have actually shot with an Epic mind you, and am fully aware of its size and weight. 20K extra for no increase in image quality is a luxury.

        • Perhaps the $20K premium is a luxury but it’s still at least $30K less than an Alexa, at least $15K less than an F65 and only $5K more than the Alexa HD. Any production with the budget to use any of these cameras probably wouldn’t notice the price difference as much as the weight difference when weight is a concern, especially over the course of the day.

  • Anotherthing on 09.12.13 @ 2:35PM

    re: Rigging to a boat. The weight differences are multiplied exponentially as you cantilever the camera away from the boat (profile shots etc.) 1lb would make a HUGE difference 4ft away from the boat.

    Another reason Red is great: They bend over backwards to help make tools that allow filmmakers to put cameras where they couldn’t before. Red’s a great company, and getting better every day. Any flack they get is from people who are mad that their cameras are out of their price range. Nobody hates on the Alexa, because they assume it wouldn’t be affordable.

    I say this as someone who once owned a Red One, and got out of game because things were changing too fast, and I found I was better owning a cheap camcorder for horsing around and renting Reds when required. Being in the owner/operator game has never been more precarious with all this awesome technology coming out! Exciting times!

  • john jeffries on 09.12.13 @ 6:28PM

    The Epic-M when it first came in 2011 out was 58k for the kit i believe. So this is not that bad. Probably gonna be mostly for high end rental houses and the group of diehard regular posters that use red cameras to remedy their mid life crises

  • Anotherthing on 09.12.13 @ 6:46PM

    John, you’re absolutely right, Red cameras are the new Porsche.

  • Call me crazy but I actually think we have reached a time when it makes sense to own highend cameras rather than rent. By this I mean when cameras exceed the resolution our eyes can see, see into darkness better than we can see and record to 16 bit raw then I dont need to wait for a camera better than that. I’m done.

    Look at the Sony F5. Features that will out live me before I need to upgrade again if I get one. 16 bit 4K, this months firmware upgrade will give it 240fps 2K raw, it has a bunch of different recording formats to choose from, its modular and its got huge dynamic range.

    And it can take about any lens mount made.

    I dont want to sound like the head of the U.S. patent office in about 1898 when he declared everything invented and that it was time to close the patent office down. Idiot, how could he not see the iPhone coming!! :)

    There will continue to be developments of course but surely we’ve reached a point where it makes sense to own again. Myself I’m myself looking at the F5 as I think its specs will even outlast me.

    • There are always new sensors, new video processors, new recording media, new monitors, new lenses, new rigs, etc.

      • DLD, you’re correct but, Simon’s point is a good one. There is, I believe, a point of diminishing returns and if it’s not here now, it will be soon. We now have cameras capable of coming pretty close to, at least, an acceptably film-like image which, it seems, a lot of people feel is the holy grail. Resolution beyond what the eye can see, dynamic range exceeding film and the ability to practically see in the dark is available now. Maybe, the only frontier needing improvement… the cost of the equipment itself.

      • I know but what I’m saying is when you get 14 stops, 16 bit, 4K, 240fps, raw etc I think its more cost effective to own than rent now. To me specs like that are basically future proof. I couldnt imagine I would be saying that a year or two ago but there has to come a point where the tech has become more than good enough to invest in a solid camera body that will still be pumping out amazing images 10 years from now.

        • Sorry Dixter my comment was in reply to DLD’s also good comment.

          Whats going to be really good about all this is we wont have to worry about the tech soon, no more arguments about cameras. We might hear crickets on NFS when that happens.

          • No, NFS will still be a-buzz with those folks arguing about the shortcomings of the cameras they secretly want to own but, can’t afford.

          • IMO, the cost stabilization – OK, this will never really happen, with the computers being what they are – will take place with the second or third generation of the 4K cams and we’re barely the first generation in. In other words, if you are looking at 18-24 month product cycles, then the 4K will reach the commodity level pricing by 2017-18 or so. By then, you still might encounter the fifty percent saving over the course of 2-3 years but a working camera owner/operator will be able to easily recoup his investment of $4K-$6K into a pro level gear and, at that point, lenses and kits will again become more expensive the the electronics themselves.
            Of course, with the 2020 Olympics being in Japan, the NHK and the Japanese based manufacturers will push the 8K onto the consumers. The consumers, with the exception of some high end videophiles, are expected to push back.
            PS. Red might be the only entity with the 3rd gen 4K/6K cam out there. Arri still doesn’t have a 4K unit. Neither does Nikon. Canon’s 1D C and C500 are their first generations and are still on the shelves. Sony’s Z100 may be considered first generation prosumer or second generation pro but FS-700R, F 5, F 55 and F 65 are their higher end/production products in fist generation as well. There’s still ways to go here from the economics point of view.

    • we’re at a point where we can build our own cameras with parts.

    • Just leaving this here:

      That there is a living proof that when you combine “good enough camera”, with great talent you do need anything more. There are several images in that video, that are right there with best of digital cinema material.

      You do not need $80K Alexa, you do not need CF shell Dragon, simply because you will not get basically any better images. Not matter what the RedBoys (or ArriBoys) say.

  • If Red wanted to make their cameras lighter while keeping the cost the same why dont they stamp out aluminium bodyparts instead of costly carbon fibre?

    • I don’t think cost is an issue for them or the productions buying these cameras, and carbon fiber is a lot lighter for the same strength than aluminium (which is why Boeing’s dreamliner is made from carbon fiber instead of aluminum)

    • Or they could use more titanium internally. Various magnesium alloys that are used in the airplane/airspace industry also have a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Or they could make the unit modular like Alexa M.

  • no reason to buy into a system…every job has it’s own requirements and camera needs (digital or film)…lighting…etc…if you’re not in LA and you just want to have a small business realize that these cameras need lighting…they are not just point and shoot…I’ve seen terrible footage coming out of these cameras..and I think part of the reason is people buy a camera without any training …

  • I was testing out shooting with an octocopter with an EPIC mounted on it, and I had to shave to off every single gram on the setup, including plates bolts and screws, were using the thinnest v-lock batteries ever, and the lightest lenses (high speeds) – and still – it was just a tad too heavy – which resulted in crashing the octocopter with the camera on the test site. This would’ve made the difference there… Would I pay 20 extra grand for this? No so much.