July 28, 2015

RED Drops First Major Firmware for WEAPON as New Camera Starts Shipping

RED Forged Carbon Fiber DRAGON Aseembly Line
RED's newest 6K DRAGON sensor camera body, WEAPON, has just now started shipping.

Though it's going to be a rather long process just like with their previous upgrade programs, we are now starting to see the very first cameras leaving the assembly line. The first model we're seeing now is a special one, as it's a forged Carbon Fiber body. Instead of the typical weave of Carbon Fiber, forged CF is created by applying significant heat and pressure to create a composite that is very strong and sturdy. The 6K CF cameras are shipping first, with the 6K Magnesium body cameras coming later — and 8K much later (6K Magnesium has slightly lower ProRes specs and can't be upgraded to the 8K camera directly).

If you're one of the lucky few getting a WEAPON in the next day or so (or you've already got it), firmware 6.1.6 adds:

  • Apple ProRes 4444 (HD)
  • Apple ProRes 4444 XQ (HD)
  • Apple ProRes 422 (HD,UHD)
  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ (HD, UHD)
  • Apple ProRes 422 LT (HD, UHD)
  • R3D + Apple ProRes
  • Sensor Auto-calibration
  • REC709,REC2020 Color Space
  • 3D LUT, Multi Look Support
  • Multi Look Flip/Mirror

One of the big changes after NAB is the fact that the Carbon Fiber WEAPON is capable of 4K ProRes internally, matching a camera like the ALEXA Mini. It's been a long time coming for RED, but having ProRes internally should be huge not just for proxies, but for actually being able to shoot a high-quality non-RAW file right in the camera.

In addition they have released the user guide for WEAPON. Here are a few more shots of the camera on the assembly line:

Your Comment

30 Comments

Oh cool, cameras are like rap albums now. Can't wait til Canon drops some new models.

July 29, 2015 at 12:53AM

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They got the C300 mark II coming in Sept

July 29, 2015 at 6:42AM

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CABLE (X-FORCE)
DP/EDITOR/DIR
292

Wow is it really necessary to shoot in 6k?! Its weird. But ok if its for Cinema and i also think its good to know that there is a camera that can film in that resolution. But i would need it.
How long does it need to export a 60 Mins Movie? Years :P

July 29, 2015 at 4:51AM

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Cathy Danneberg
Filmmaker, Editor, Designer, VFX
560

Probably not, but I read where House Of Cards was shot in 6K and framed wider than normal in order to reframe in post to 4K.

July 29, 2015 at 9:09AM

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It's also useful to obtain what some might call a "true 4K image", since a 4K sensor does not always equal 4:4:4 color depth or a detail level representative of the resolution. Cameras like the Alexa, Sony F65 and F3, and Canon C300, all downsample from a higher resolution sensor in order to get the best raw footage at their delivered resolutions.
RED simply takes an alternative route by giving us access to the full resolution of the sensor, which we can downsample or, as you said, use for reframing and stabilizing purposes in post.

July 29, 2015 at 9:33AM, Edited July 29, 9:35AM

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That is true in the case of the Sony F65, but probably not with the 'Weapon, because the last time I checked no RED camera can output uncompressed RAW. At the very least it's compressed 2:1. Essentially Redcode is Cineform (they licensed it years ago, before GoPro bought the company). Think of it as Prores with the characteristics of RAW that allow you to set white balance etc in post. So, while the 6k sensor may be able to generate 'true color' 4k, a lot of that information is discarded when stored at 2:1 or higher compression.

July 29, 2015 at 10:57AM

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2:1 is lossless (theoretical limit is actually 2.5:1)...it's like putting the data in a zip file, it makes it smaller but it doesn't throw any information away.

July 30, 2015 at 1:19PM

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Is it possible to downsample and retain raw? I know what you're getting at but I think if you downsample it has to be debayered and therefore wouldn't be raw data anymore.

July 29, 2015 at 4:27PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
736

It depends on how you downsample and export the 6K image to a 4K file. If you downsample using the Red codec you'll simply get a downscaled version of the footage, with the same compression. An uncompressed format is needed when you downsample, to gain the extra color data from the process.
The downside is that you'll end up with 4K footage that takes up a lot more disk space than the original 6K footage, which makes this process mostly viable only with heavy VFX work.

July 30, 2015 at 10:16AM

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VFX work usually involves using compressed EXRs...there's no reason to use uncompressed files anymore with today's CPUs, it's just a waste of space.

July 30, 2015 at 1:21PM

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And I will correct myself by noting that you wouldn't downscale the raw footage before doing the VFX and compositing work anyway if you are delivering for 4K, but rather render the CG elements at that resolution and fit the 6k .r3d footage to a 4K project in-software. My bad!

July 30, 2015 at 7:23PM

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Yeah, but raw means unmanipulated sensor data. Downsampling in post is one way to go, but do you have an example of in camera Downsampling when filming raw?

RED don't do it. They'll do sensor cropping but you can't film 2k and use the entire sensor. Blackmagic have specifically statedstated that it's impossible to downsample when filming raw which is why they offer cropping for raw and Downsampling only with ProRes.

Similarly the GH4 (uses compressed format) is capable of turning the 4:2:0 4k image into a 4:2:2 1080p image but only in post.

July 31, 2015 at 10:09AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
736

As I mentioned earlier, the Sony F65, Sony F3, Canon C300 and Arri Alexa (in the earlier years where it delivered 2K footage) all do this :) Though the C300 can't deliver raw because of hardware restrictions in both outputs and on-board processing.

August 3, 2015 at 10:34AM

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Do you have a source for this? I did (granted, a quick one) a google-search on these cameras and the information I found supports my claim that when you shoot raw, you either get the full sensor size or you can crop the sensor. But the only way to get full sensor size and lower resolution is going with a compressed format.

August 24, 2015 at 11:13AM, Edited August 24, 11:13AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
736

The Alexa does not. In fact, the Alexa isn't even 4K.

August 1, 2015 at 5:49AM

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David Gurney
DP
1694

Shooting in 6K is great. Delivering in 1080 and being able to crop in where and whenever you want is fantastic. For example, shooting an interview in 6k that is being delivered in 1080 allows you to shoot as wide as possible for your master and then crop in for a closeup. It makes editing a breeze because it's like having two cameras running at the same time. This also goes for shooting scenes. Shooting a wide master and being able to crop in and get a closeup when you need it gives you more creative freedom in the editing room. I think I will always prefer to shoot in a much higher resolution than what I am actually delivering in. It also makes stabilizing shaky camera movement much more effective, as you can give the edges of your frame some bleed so that the stabilizing software can crop in. This is why the new BlackMagic cameras are shooting in 4.6k instead of 4k. BlackMagic knows you'll want that extra .6 around your frame if you're delivering in 4k. It will give everyone more flexibility in post.

July 29, 2015 at 4:19PM

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Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
459

While doing this is indeed possible - to go from a 24mm wideshot and crop in to get to a close up - it's usually never as good as just having two cameras with different focal lengths - it feels like a jump cut. Erroll Morris I think did this in Standard Operating Procedure which made it cool but overall - I think 6k can create its own shallow depth of field look that is quite interesting and it's useful for slo motion at lower compression rations. However I still on the dragon try to shoot at 4k because of the depth of field characteristics. Looking forward to the Weapon once it comes out - hopefully it has a fan that is not as loud and the placement of hd-sdi port seems better - so that is good.

July 29, 2015 at 6:18PM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1683

Kinemax6K just started shipping their cameras as well everyone is going 6K...

July 29, 2015 at 6:40AM

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CABLE (X-FORCE)
DP/EDITOR/DIR
292

It's great to see internal ProRes recording becoming more common. I think RAW is wonderful, but often not appropriate (for workflow, budget, and time reasons), and being able to go right to ProRes without extra gear is great.

As a trivial side note: does anyone else find Red's super-macho camera names a little silly? Every time I hear about the "RED WEAPON with the DRAGON sensor" I can't help but hear it in the voice of 1980s Arnold Schwartznegger.

July 29, 2015 at 10:02AM

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Benjamin Reichman
Post Supervisor/AE/Editor
292

If you study the history of Red - checking out the Red forum on Cinematography.com - you'll start to understand the name of the cameras. Also Oakley, Red's CEO's former company has a huge military contract for sunglasses - so I assume maybe he has a feeling for military style design and company names. The C300 and F55 is a silly name too :)

July 29, 2015 at 6:20PM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1683

Red is so Macho (Dragon, Weapon…) and Arri is so feminine (Alexa, Amira…) LoL!!!

I remember the first prototypes of the Red One camera looked like a futuristic weapon. They even designed some kind of support system that would make the camera looks like a rifle.

July 29, 2015 at 11:08PM, Edited July 29, 11:10PM

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I'm sure it's also wonderfully easy to travel internationally with an item labelled WEAPON in your luggage.

July 30, 2015 at 5:54AM, Edited July 30, 5:54AM

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Dan Keeble
Video Editor + Cameraman
121

I've even shooting 6k for a year. This is just a new body update to make the camera lighter and bring wireless on board. Pro res is nice but that's 7 years late.

July 29, 2015 at 10:47AM

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Thomas Koch
Director/DoP
252

This is great news.
It's really easy to get bent out of shape about RED's new cameras and their insane resolutions. It's also easy to get annoyed when Apple puts out new iPhones with more features. Or cars that have better gas mileage. The hypocrisy!
Everyone is going to get pissed, because RED doesn't make in-between models like Sony, who puts out 20 versions of the same camera before anything different comes along.
Like it or not, 6K is necessary, because the world is going to adopt 4K, and 6K gives it breathing room. (Japan is rolling out 8K broadcast next year, for perspective).
The only people this affects are the people shelling out $50K for a Weapon, who are expected to shoot in 6K...RIGHT NOW. For their jobs. Not a short film that'll just play on Vimeo.
RED has always been ahead of the curve; Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, etc will follow, as consumers clamor for video that fills their 85" TVs.
Today, two more Scarlet-X's popped up on eBay, I'm assuming from disgruntled RED owners. Only $5K trade-in credit for the Scarlet-X? Fuk you RED!
When the Weapon officially appears online, all the other cameras will drop by $5K to $10K (which happens every time). As a RED One MX owner, I'd rather sell my camera and buy a Scarlet Dragon, than ever think about Weapon or even Epic.
So this is great news.

July 29, 2015 at 5:20PM, Edited July 29, 5:32PM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
394

Working with a camera system is more than pure resolution - other factors that are just as important are color information, dynamic range in shadows and highlights, frame rates, highlight rolloff, motion cadence, skintone, mixed color information, and ASA. And of course, the ergonomics of a camera. Can I take it to the desert? Into the cold? Will it work with the audio person - how is the post workflow on tight projects? All these things are just as important as resolution.

For instance, DP Rodrigo Prieto shot on a short on the Canon C500 in 1080p instead of 4k to get 4:4:4 12-bit files because the color and luminesnence information was more important to him than 4k files.

4k televisions may or may not take off. I still think this is the era of the mobile phone -and more and more people are viewing content on their phones and tablets - and I don't really see the need for more resolution than 1080p on a device 15 inches or smaller at a distance of 4 ft.

For the Cinema, 4k only really becomes apparent in the first 2 rows -there was an article in Consumer Reports on this. What's more important is perceived resolution - and for me even the Alexa is too sharp as it is - I actually put a good deal of diffusion on the lens whenever I shoot on this 2k camera. So I'm not really into 4k. I'm into color and dynamic range and motion and highlight roll off - and for that - I think if you look up what most DPs are using - celloid and the Alexa are leading the way.

And I own 2 red one mx - they changed the industry - and made everything more affordable so I thank them for that.

July 29, 2015 at 6:26PM, Edited July 29, 6:29PM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1683

4k is apparent in way more than the first two rows. 2k is subpar in every row in front of the middle. In consumer products it's less apparent. But the difference on a 130" screen from 12 feet is big!

July 30, 2015 at 12:27PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
736

Hi Ed, I'm a fan of your "New York Stories" film; thanks for responding to my post.
I definitely won't say that resolution is the most important factor, or even dynamic range. These are great buzzwords.
Let's be real: shooting on 4K is quite cool. More pixels, more colors. But I acknowledge it's not the most important thing-neither is dynamic range or ISO.
To me it's mobility. Unless you're shooting the news and the camera doesn't leave the sticks, moving the camera to tell a story-not dolly or panning-but physically setting up the camera costs time, which is money.
Red One MX: amazing camera, beautiful images. But, the sheer weight of this camera without anything attached to it (10 lbs) , makes it impractical, especially in the cold, and especially in the desert.
That's why the GH4 took off. And that's why the Scarlets and Epics and Weapons will be sold.

This shouldn't be a numbers game. It's about personal preference-shooting style.
There's no right answer.

July 30, 2015 at 1:19PM, Edited July 30, 1:52PM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
394

Hey all, I know this is a little off topic but i'm desperate to know if anyone has used an Arsat f2.8/80mm on a Red before? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GR5GVJG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UT...

I recently purchased a Red One MX and am looking for a cheap temporary PL mount lens for simple tests. I've reached out to Amazon and they said it is compatible but I'm just wondering if anyone has used it before? Thanks!

July 30, 2015 at 4:23PM

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"Drop" means "discontinue." Doubtful that they discontinued it.

Example: Microsoft has dropped support for Windows XP.

July 31, 2015 at 4:39AM, Edited July 31, 4:40AM

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David Gurney
DP
1694

>4K ProRes internally, matching a camera like the ALEXA Mini

Weapon - oversampled 6K to UHD/4K
AlexaMini - upsampled 3K to UHD/4K

yep, totally the same thing ;-)

July 31, 2015 at 5:52AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
935