January 6, 2016

First Film to Shoot on RED's 8K Vista Vision Camera is 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'

RED WEAPON 8K Full Frame Vista Vision 1
RED has just confirmed that the first major feature film shooting on their new 8K camera is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

While the flagship 8K WEAPON Vista Vision/full-frame 35mm camera is a lot more than most of us need right now, major Hollywood features can always find a way to take advantage of more resolution and higher frame rates. This camera is slowly starting to trickle out to RED users who have pre-ordered it, but as always with the newest tech, high profile shows often get first crack at it. The 8K DRAGON sensor shares similar image characteristics — like pixel size, color, and dynamic range — as the 6K DRAGON sensor, but is much larger.

The 8K WEAPON camera can shoot at a variety of resolutions including 6K, 5K, 4K, etc. (and of course 8K at 8,192 x 4,320), and for a comparison, here's what that RED 8K frame looks like compared to some other formats:

Here's RED's press release on this:

“We are all hugely excited to be shooting the next Guardians of the Galaxy on the new WEAPON 8K. This is my third collaboration with RED, having previously shot with the RED EPIC® on Prometheus and the EPIC DRAGON on Tarzan,” says Nik Korda, Executive Producer. “The large sensor size and super high resolution offered by the new WEAPON 8K, combined with its lightweight and compact size open up a whole range of new creative possibilities.”

WEAPON 8K captures 8K at 75 frames per second (fps), 6K at 100 fps, or 4K at 150 fps with REDCODE® RAW; and its wide dynamic range produces cinema-quality images rich with natural color. Additionally, WEAPON 8K features interchangeable lens mounts, an intelligent OLPF system, and in-camera 3D-LUT outputs.

“RED’s 8K WEAPON is the little big camera. Perfectly counterintuitive. And perfect for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2,” says Henry Braham, BSC, Director of Photography.

As with the rest of the industry, if people have a good experience using a particular product, they're usually going to go back, and we're seeing that again here with the choice of the 8K WEAPON for Guardians 2, as DP Henry Braham, BSC previously worked with RED on Tarzan. James Gunn, the director, used the RED ONE on his film Super, and though the first Guardians film was mostly ALEXA, he's gone back to RED for the newest film shooting in February. Gunn expanded on why this camera was chosen over something like the ARRI 65 on Facebook:

It was a huge question. I love both cameras. It came down to the fact that we're employing some additional new technologies in creating the film and I needed the smaller physical size of the RED to do so.

It will be interesting to see what kind of workflow and what lenses they choose for the film. The Vista Vision sensor on the WEAPON 8K means they'll have to choose lenses that cover full-frame 35mm or larger, though I imagine it's possible that only parts of the film will actually be shot in 8K, just like we've seen with other films that shoot higher-quality formats for specific scenes.

It's not out of the realm of possibility that most, or all of it could be in 8K full-frame, however, as a movie like The Revenant, which is now in theaters, shot quite a bit of the film on ARRI's 6K ALEXA 65 (above 10% or close to 25% depending on the source). That camera has a much larger sensor than Vista Vision, and at times much higher data rates due to being uncompressed RAW (while RED's is compressed). 

Inevitably people will ask why anyone wants to shoot higher than 4K when that's the maximum we can see in a theater, but with the way sensors are designed, you're not getting a 1:1 pixel ratio for each color channel. A Bayer pattern sensor, which is what all of these cameras use, puts an emphasis on the color green, and has to interpolate color information:

The higher the resolution of the sensor to start off with, the more color information we're going to have, and therefore the higher the "resolved detail" will be. 8K can give a sharper and clearer 4K, just like 4K can deliver a sharper and clearer 2K/1080p image. This is one of the reasons that Sony's F35 and F65 both have much higher resolutions than their final output. The F35 had a 5K sensor for 1080p output and the F65 has an 8K x 2K sensor for a 4K output.

Beyond this, for VFX, reframing, and stabilization, having more resolution than your intended output can always be helpful.      

Your Comment

19 Comments

Has anyone seen footage or stills from the Red 8K yet?

January 6, 2016 at 7:51AM

0
Reply

Yes, I saw footage at Cine Gear in June on a big 8K TV. It looked pretty good, but I was hoping to see closeups of faces like I saw at ARRI's booth with the ALEXA 65. Either way, it looked good, lots of detail in wide shots, but then again, the 6K camera also looks pretty damn good on a 4K TV of the same size. So it comes down to more of those other factors I talked about above.

January 6, 2016 at 7:57AM

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor At Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Yeah, it probably does look great. I was hoping to be able to link somewhere and seem some of it. I know it's been in use by a few people for a month or so.

January 6, 2016 at 8:01AM

5
Reply

According to some sources, The Revenant was not entirely shot on the Arri 65

January 6, 2016 at 8:47AM

4
Reply
Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
523

Yes that's true, I think a few scenes were not, but the majority was 6K with the ALEXA 65.

January 6, 2016 at 9:17AM

3
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor At Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

"Around 25% of The Revenant was
captured with ALEXA 65" - ARRI NEWS 9/15

January 6, 2016 at 9:26AM

0
Reply

Damn well that's marketing for you, I completely missed that number in everything I've read about it. Thanks for clarifying.

January 6, 2016 at 3:24PM

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor At Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

According to Lubezki, approximately 13 percent of The Revenant was shot with the Alexa 65..
From ASC January 2016 article.

January 6, 2016 at 3:25PM

0
Reply

Ah, no wonder I didn't see any difference between what footage I saw from The Revenant and other HD video. From what I saw of The Revenant I was wondering what was going to be the selling point for the Alexa 65.

January 6, 2016 at 5:59PM

0
Reply

Lot's of The Revenant was shot on the regular Alexa and probably the Alexa Mini.

January 6, 2016 at 11:02AM, Edited January 6, 11:02AM

1
Reply

Well, I feel sorry for the VFX artists that get to pull hundreds of green screens from material that is 3:1, 5:1 or more compressed. Anyone who worked on the LOTR or Hobbits films knows that pulling fine hair detail from compressed material is about as much fun as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. It will get done, but it won't be fun.

January 6, 2016 at 10:38AM

0
Reply

Hate to sound like a grump, but I don't see the need for 8K at all. At least right now. What would be great is if RED would make a Vista Vision sized 6K or even 5K sensor and make the actual pixels bigger and better. Instead the company decided to push the resolution game further.

January 6, 2016 at 2:16PM

0
Reply

If I'm understanding it right, there is talk that 8K will be the level of resolution where those things you'd like to see will be done. 8K is a sweet spot in resolution where it will be worth stopping at (so they say) and doing the research and development for those things. Up to now it's been a race where camera makers don't want to look back.

January 6, 2016 at 10:20PM, Edited January 6, 10:20PM

0
Reply

A-a-a-a-ah, hooked on a kool-aid :)

January 7, 2016 at 2:56AM

3
Reply
avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
869

Are you really the girl in the picture? I want to know. I don't think you are.

January 7, 2016 at 10:01AM, Edited January 7, 10:22AM

2
Reply

The 8K post will be insane, but very curious to see the end result. Can't wait to get either the RED Raven or Scarlet-W myself.

January 7, 2016 at 12:01PM

4
Reply
avatar
Aaron Nanto
Editor
1

In this video there's a 24 SSD RAID build that would clearly speed 8K workflow up, if you can afford it. Pay particular attention when he talks about Read/Write configuration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0qtu5NXhuQ

January 8, 2016 at 12:10AM

0
Reply

I guess the blogger hasn't seen The Force Awakens in a 4k Liemax theatre. 4k is woefully inadequate for a giant screen. 8k is probably the entry level for an Imax-like experience.

January 7, 2016 at 1:57PM

0
Reply
J Robbins
239

I suffered through 2K digital projection on a giant screen designed for 15/70 True IMAX film projection. It was truly painful to watch. So 4K projectors (preferably the new really bright laser ones) is a welcome upgrade.

January 7, 2016 at 8:44PM

0
Reply
avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
869