With news of Blackmagic's slight delays, it only makes sense to visit the other company that is notorious for being late to the party. RED unveiled their new DRAGON sensor "officially" back at NAB 2012, and while the sensor is "done," we've only seen one sample showing the dynamic range, and another with a decidedly stiff "dragon." We've got word from the higher-ups that the gears are in motion, and some high-profile individuals are shooting with the new sensor, which may even include a shoot with Lady Gaga.
Originally Posted by Mike P.
Whoa, whoa whoa; Jarred, you didn't deny that the Gaga shot is an inez/dragon/vinoodh love-sandwich... does that mean it is?
I don't think I am allowed to say what they shot , but I can say that Inez and Vinoodh definitely were the first photographers to shoot Dragon.
As for when we should see at least some frame grabs, Jim mentioned that they would need a few days. He also said this in the forum:
The Dragon is out of the lab and in the hands of trained professionals. So far, the feedback is everything we had hoped to hear.
One major league production was going to shoot EPIC MX for everything except the "wide vistas"... and use 6K Dragon on those. After viewing his tests... the project will go 100% Dragon. It is a 20 camera shoot.
Darius Wolski, Inez and Vinoodh, Chris Probst, Peter Jackson + Andrew Lesnie, , Michael Bay and Amir and Peter Collister all have wielded the Dragon. Toia is up to bat next.
Most of these guys priority with the Dragon isn't to take "marketing" images.. they are shooting tests or footage for their current or next films.
Peter Jackson posted this on Facebook (thanks Jake), and while they aren't going to have time to use the camera for any Hobbit footage, the camera team is testing alongside the EPIC MX:
The DRAGON has also found its way out into the desert for some Kowa Anamorphic shooting. Christopher Probst was taking the new sensor for a spin, and Phil Holland snapped a few pics (the latter of which Christopher only just posted with permission from Jim):
Christopher also mentioned this:
Here I was trying to make it dark but the Dragon is so sensitive you really need to rethink your ideas about lighting! The governing factor on this shot was the intensity of the flashlight... At ISO 1500 and 1600, I would have had to futz with NDing the flashlight... We wanted the environment to feel like there was a power outage... As a DP, I wanted enough on my neg to have detail and options without unwanted noise...
If you look closely, it's shooting 6K anamorphic at ISO 1280, and there is a ton of information looking at the histogram. How is DRAGON capable of such insanity while still shooting 6K? Jarred explains:
Dragon is a completely new pixel design developed internally at RED for RED and only for RED. Dragon does not use any dual readout, analogue gain offsets, binning or combining tricks... it is natively just one badass mofo with more native latitude on top and more native latitude on bottom.
But... we kept HDRX in there as an option, just in case you wanted to go ahead and get crazy.
To me, that's the most interesting statement in all of this, especially if RED has kept this design in-house. We'll hopefully only have to wait a bit longer to get our hands on some of the first footage and see what the sensor can really do. As of right now, the current version of REDCINE-X will not open up DRAGON .R3D files, so presumably that is one of the main things holding back RAW footage from being released to the world (as no one else would be able to do anything with them). Once that happens, we will likely see a flood of new stuff from major shooters.
Either way, we shouldn't have too long to wait.