July 10, 2016

RED Introduces 'Helium,' a New 8K 35mm Sensor for the Weapon and Epic-W

Have you seen the RED Weapon built for Michael Bay? Though it has a lime-green custom housing, what's most impressive about it is what's on the inside.

RED Digital Cinema’s President Jarred Land and Chief Design Officer Matthew Tremblay have announced a new sensor line that might get RED fans excited. Dubbed Helium, the first in the line is an 8K Super 35mm sensor, which has 3.65 micron pixels. It differs from RED's current 8K VistaVision sensor in size; according to Cinema5D:

To squeeze 8K into a smaller super 35mm chip necessitates new (smaller, denser) pixels. I’ve been told that smaller does not mean any compromise in imaging performance, quite the opposite, these are “better” pixels.

Cinematographer Phil Holland shared a graphic on the RedUser forum that illustrates how the Helium sensor compares to those in other RED cameras.

Credit: PHFX

Land says that the Weapon Magnesium will be updated with the new Helium sensor, and the new Epic-W will come equipped with it. A Dragon has already been custom-built for Michael Bay for his work on Transformers: The Last Knight containing the new sensor.

There isn't a whole lot of information out yet about the Helium, so we'll keep you posted as we learn more.      

Your Comment

23 Comments

Oh God, no more K's... I can't handle it, there's too much K's!!! ARRI reps said 2K is enough for anyone, it must be correct, even though their 35mm film scanner records 4K.

[/sarcasm]

July 10, 2016 at 7:04PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
542

I'm positive you work for RED

July 14, 2016 at 4:33PM

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Bay is on my list for what he did to Optimus Prime. Prime is not a long nose truck!!!!!

J.J. is also on my list for Star Wars.

Its a naughty list....

July 10, 2016 at 11:33PM

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Also you'd think Red could light the product better for the photos.

July 10, 2016 at 11:34PM

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why? It's not even 4-perf and the dynamic range, color, low light level, skin tones, highlight falloff, and motion cadence are most likely still not on par with Alexa's line. I don't even want to know the noise floor and low light levels that sensor has now due to the smaller pixels. That's the first time I hear "smaller pixels are better" haha

July 11, 2016 at 1:03AM

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Chroma sampling makes smaller pixels drastically better.

July 11, 2016 at 9:52AM, Edited July 11, 9:52AM

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doman nelson
Director, Editor
202

True but I think everyone still prefers bigger pixels due to more dynamic range, less noise, and better low-light performance. Hence why people prefer the Alexa still.

July 12, 2016 at 12:26AM

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Life of a Red owner: buy, test, upgrade, re-test, re-upgrade, re-re-test, sell the house, upgrade again.

July 11, 2016 at 4:23AM, Edited July 11, 5:11AM

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JoachimV
277

Lol. Depends on the kinds of Red owner you are. I bought a Scarlet MX three years ago and have lovingly used it HEAPS over those three years. It's still shooting all the time. We didn't get drawn into the dragon hype and skipped the first Scarlet Dragon (Glad we did). But are now looking at upgrading to the new Scarlet-W this year. That's camera has pros and cons compared to other cameras in it's pricing bracket, but after shooting Red, Canon and Sony for years - I prefer the Red image and find the lack of internal ND's and good audio worth the image. (I have external audio normally anyway). But 8k at s35, I guess we'll wait and see. Complete overkill for my needs, 50fps at 5k will do me for a LONG time.

May be worthwhile as a second hand purchase a few years later when its depreciated like crazy. What I find Red great for is the internal compressed raw and ability to export good quality stills.

July 11, 2016 at 6:18AM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
639

Never saw any setphoto of Transformers 5 with Bay shooting with this neon-yellow Dragon..

July 11, 2016 at 7:50AM

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Nico Saiger
Indie Filmproducer
133

Anyone else think that Michael Bay camera looks like one of those battery recharging kits for your car that also includes a flashlight and radio?

July 11, 2016 at 8:05AM

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Logan
4

Anyone else think Michael Bay is a terrible person.

July 11, 2016 at 9:40AM

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Max Meyer
Owner of MaxamillianStudio.com
1

A green screen camera? I guess it will be easier to make it look more tasteful in the BTS stills with a bit of CGI. Or maybe just erase it. Perfect for Bay.

July 11, 2016 at 10:19AM, Edited July 11, 10:30AM

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JoachimV
277

Has anyone else completely lost track of what cameras RED have available at any given time, or is it just me? Because between different variations and sensors, it seems like upwards of 20+ at the moment. Isn't that all a bit... confusing?

July 11, 2016 at 6:34PM

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Oren Soffer
Director of Photography
1998

Marketing is kind of lost, they're trying to keep up with the bigger publicly traded electronic companies ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

July 12, 2016 at 12:30AM, Edited July 12, 1:03AM

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All electronic companies do this. Just look at the Sony FS7, FS5, F5, F55, FS700, etc. Even Arri, who has been using the same sensor for six years, has the Alexa, Alexa XT, XT Plus, XT Studio, SXT, etc.

With RED, the only camera I'm interested in purchasing is the Scarlet-W, any other camera would be a rental.

July 12, 2016 at 1:02PM

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Rich Brown
Director, Producer
15

But...why exactly? Why are manufacturers constantly coming out with higher resolution cameras? Hasn't it been proven that the human eye can only see certain resolutions from a certain distance? The human eye hasn't advanced so why is there a constant need to advance the resolution of video and film images? Why not increase dynamic range or advance color science? Why are we on the hunt for the highest resolution? I don't get it. Now we HAVE to shoot 4k when in the end most content is being viewed on at home devices. When. Will. This. End?

July 11, 2016 at 11:37PM, Edited July 11, 11:37PM

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Keith Purvis
Director/Producer
1

To make money. They create a desire, even an illogical one, and they just wait for the Gear Acquisition Syndrome to do its job. And maybe Red can't compete with Arri DR and colors because they didn't find a way yet. Their marketing is still based on more Ks.

July 12, 2016 at 4:16AM, Edited July 12, 4:24AM

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JoachimV
277

This camera's market seems pretty clear - high-end directors who want to use S35 glass like Angenieux zooms or Master Primes without a sensor crop. These feature films will likely be presented in IMAX.

For the majority of all other content creators, their videos will probably be viewed on a mobile device.

July 12, 2016 at 1:22PM

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Rich Brown
Director, Producer
15

70mm 5perf is about 12k. 70mm 15perf is about 36k, of course a scanner of that magnitude doesn't exist and I have heard RED guys lower that "real resolution" number for some reason. If they wanted to focus on 35mm glass, than why did they not make a 4perf sensor again? So that they can keep it on the vista vision sensor? Not many people care for that sensor due to their desire to use older cinema lenses.

July 12, 2016 at 4:09PM, Edited July 12, 4:09PM

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Soon it'll be the Weapon, Epic-W, Scarlet-W, One-W, and Weapon-W

July 12, 2016 at 4:28AM

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Matthew Devapiriam Emmanuel
Camera Operator
380

"Helium". Not even hot air :-D But at least not another martial name. I guessed it would be Holocaust, Hiroshima or whatever...

July 12, 2016 at 4:39AM, Edited July 12, 4:39AM

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It's not rebellious enough

July 12, 2016 at 4:10PM

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