March 25, 2015

RED Goes Vista Vision: PL Mount Revealed for New Full-Frame 35mm Camera Sensor

RED DRAGON WEAPON Full-frame 35mm Vista Vision PL Mount with Brad Pitt

[Update]: Jarred has confirmed that there will be non-Vista Vision versions of WEAPON. This definitely means full-frame 35mm is coming, but you'll also be able to get the new WEAPON body with the DRAGON sensor.

[Update 2]: Jarred seems to indicate here that the bigger Vista Vision sensor may come later, so the first upgrades to happen may just be 6K DRAGON. He did say earlier in the thread that you'll be able to upgrade from 6K DRAGON WEAPON to Vista Vision WEAPON at some point, though this probably won't be cheap. This is partly the reason for the new body, so that people can upgrade to the WEAPON body with their DRAGON sensor, and decide later if they want the Vista Vision sensor. We know the lineup will soon be SCARLET DRAGON, EPIC DRAGON, DRAGON WEAPON, and Vista Vision WEAPON (with Carbon versions sprinkled in).

Here's Peter Jackson holding the camera (click for larger):

Peter Jackson Holding RED WEAPON Camera

It may seem like we've been talking a lot about RED's new WEAPON camera, but really it's been a few major clues, plus a lot of little leaks along the way. We're pretty sure ProRes is coming to WEAPON, along with plenty of other goodies. We've also just now learned that RED could potentially release a full-frame 35mm sensor with the new WEAPON camera — but it's unknown yet if it will happen by NAB, or if it's planned for later in the life of WEAPON. 

The photo of Brad Pitt above with the PL mount was posted to Facebook by Jarred Land, and he indicated that this was for a Vista Vision sensor (Vista Vision and full-frame 35mm are essentially the same). While that doesn't necessarily mean WEAPON will get a full-frame 35mm sensor, it does mean that one is coming sooner or later, and they are planning ahead with a PL mount that has the empty space behind the mount for a larger sensor. We also saw Jarred blow up a PL mount, which could be the same on in the photo above:

Jarred hinted that the two Vs in Vista Vision also make up the beginning of the new name (VVeapon). Let's play devil's advocate and assume we'll see a full-frame 35mm sensor with the new camera. If RED keeps with the DRAGON technology, and pixel size stays the same, here's what we would be looking at for WEAPON (assuming they stick with a standard full-frame 35mm frame size):

  • New Sensor: At least 36mm wide (7.2K with .005mm Pixel Size)
  • Old Sensor: 30.7mm x 15.8mm (6144 x 3160 with .005mm Pixel Size)

RED could also decide to go with a higher pixel count sensor to get to 8K, since 7.2K is kind of in no man's land — not really enough for 8K and probably more than they need for a 4K finish. If they did go with a DCI spec 8K sensor, which is 8192 pixels wide, the pixel size would drop down to about .0044mm (and if the sensor had even more pixels than that, they would obviously get smaller).

If they keep all the tech identical and just used a larger DRAGON sensor, everything stays the same in terms of lens coverage as the current 6K 30.7mm DRAGON. If they went with a true 8K full-frame sensor, the current 6K 30.7mm image area would go from 6144 to 6985 pixels, and a standard Super 35mm frame size of about 25mm wide would clock in at 5.6K, plenty of resolution for stabilization and an oversampled 4K image (and it would ensure more lenses are compatible with more resolution). 

Keep in mind that the sensor size discussion is just speculation, as we don't know what's happening. We do know for sure that full-frame is coming, but as for how they are achieving that on a technological level, we may or may not have to wait until NAB to find out. Jarred had made some interesting comments previously that WEAPON would be just a body upgrade at first, so this talk of a larger sensor is new information (but it could mean that WEAPON will get a larger sensor relatively soon).

We've been told old mounts will work with the new camera, but we don't know which ones would work (if any) in a Vista Vision mode. Certain third-party mounts may already be compatible with Vista Vision because of the open space at the rear, but there's no reason why this new mount wouldn't work the other way, for a smaller sensor (so it would be compatible across the entire line). Either way, this is shaping up to be an interesting NAB indeed.     

Your Comment

14 Comments

So, just like the controversy surrounding the correct pronunciation of "GIF", we now need to understand that the proper pronunciation of Weapon will be "VVeapon". Contrary to what Mr. Land claims publicly, this is not because of the Vista Vision sized sensor, but instead a clear swipe at RED's competition: German-made Arri.

Schultz: "I know nut-ting!!!"

March 25, 2015 at 11:17AM

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Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.
793

Release weapon already.. Damn you red

March 25, 2015 at 12:01PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
993

What exciting times!
Unfortunately, I can already hear the cries of the armchair self-made experts.

Please try to remember the following:
Cheapest Arri Alexa "body only" to buy is $44,008.00 and their "65mm" model is a $10,000 per day rental only. They use a lowcon-like treatment in their optical path, slap a 1/4 low contrast on any camera and notice how Alexa-like it becomes.

Any camera underexposed produces noise. RAW does not circumvent the need for proper exposure, nor does it provide a short-cut for color management on set.
Low-Light cinematography is a cruel joke and an up-surd marketing tactic. Put a lens cap on just about any camera and notice the noise.

That out of the way, Weapon is insanely good and I dare say what everyone has been asking for since a long ways back...
FF, High DR, HFR, Exceptional Color, analogue-like specular roll-off, super-sample celluloid quality resolution, near silent, and a true digital replacement of film for cinema! (now with ProRes)

March 25, 2015 at 12:19PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1090

I think your hat is too tight.

March 25, 2015 at 3:10PM

6
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Truly

March 25, 2015 at 3:31PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1090

let's all speculate on a camera that doesn't exist!

March 25, 2015 at 10:14PM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1603

*that hasn't been announced yet.

It most definitely exists :)

March 26, 2015 at 2:19AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2444

Shit just got real

March 25, 2015 at 5:47PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1076

+1

But I think it got real with Red 4k in 2007. This just making it real-er. I like how aggressive Red is. Some commenters eyes are just now opening to how aggressive Red is. It could be WEAPON is 8K, which has been rumored for about 2 years. I'm sure Red 10K (or higher), on an even larger sensor, is on the way. Fun to see other companies chasing them. Got some popcorn?

March 25, 2015 at 8:59PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
533

I seriously hope that inevitable 70mm and large format sensors will be still called Monstro. I liked that name.

March 25, 2015 at 9:24PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1076

I'm glad you said inevitable, instead of thinking small and saying larger sensors, and 8K, are the newest sales gimmick.

Speaking of Monstro, it puts me in mind of this trailer: { https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yGidvgM5y4 ]

March 26, 2015 at 12:53AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
533

How are we not talking about the menu screen and controls on the dummy side of the body???

This is a HUGE improvement and a great way to assist the AC's who have complained about the lack in ease of use for most RED cameras.

March 26, 2015 at 4:19PM

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Brandon Kelley
DIT/Director
466

Good luck keeping things in focus with a full-frame sensor.

It's a nice option, but lots of noobs don't realize that 35mm motion-picture cameras run the film VERTICALLY, making APS-sized sensors the cinematic choice.

March 27, 2015 at 2:47AM, Edited March 27, 2:47AM

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David Gurney
DP
1564

I think the best improvement here looks to be an HD-SDI port that people without 7th grade girl hands can use!

April 5, 2015 at 10:52PM

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Daniel Mimura
DP, cam op, steadicam op
2103