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