RED has carved out quite a bit of the professional market with their cameras, and they're trying to do far more than that with their new 6K resolution DRAGON sensor, which according to the company is capable of 16 stops of dynamic range and is very clean at 2000 ISO. Now we have word that the first finished cameras are finally shipping to customers who ordered the upgrade, and we've also got what looks to be the first official music video shot with the camera.
Here is Holy Grail from JAY Z featuring Justin Timberlake, directed by Anthony Mandler and shot by David Devlin (some NSFW language):
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AIdXisPqHc
Obviously this is a very strong grade, so you're not really going to be able to make out any dynamic range improvements, but it's interesting to see it being used on such a high-profile shoot before the color science has been finalized. Clearly this was shot with anamorphic lenses, and we've also got some strobes in the video early on, which either means they long enough for the sensor to read them, or the team is playing with the new Motion Mount that acts as a global shutter and ND filter.
Those guys aren't the only ones playing with DRAGON. John Marchant had a little time to shoot with his new DRAGON and shared this clip:
Here is Jarred Land on REDUser about the announcement:
Dragon Upgrades have begun. The first handful of Dragons have shipped to customers, coincidentally almost 6 years to the day after the we shipped the first RED ONE in 2007.
Michael Bay , David Fincher, and John Marchant being the first 3 to receive their Dragons.
Things will be going pretty slow for the next month, as we are working through a low sensor yield right now, and that won't change until the end of September.
Cameras will be rolling out in small numbers until then.
He also mentioned when we might get a new color/gamma build completely optimized for the new sensor:
DRAGONCOLOR and DRAGONGAMMA will likely come out in October, we still are making sure it covers all the basis. Right now people with the Dragons are using beta builds with an Dragonfied RG3 and RC3 , and that beta build will probably roll out to the public shortly after IBC.
While quite a few high-end directors and DPs have already gotten to play with DRAGON, people like Michael Bay and frequent Darren Aronofsky collaborator Matthew Libatique are now getting the final shipping version of DRAGON:
Video is no longer available: twitter.com/MattyLibatique/statuses/373538452958363648
As for why these people are first, Jarred gave a nice explanation:
Its not the high profile stuff.. its all about people.
Yes Michael Bay and David fincher are big dogs.. but Bay spent alot of time with us on making some of our new accessories work better , And Fincher comes in almost every single week and helps with various pieces of development.
John Marchant is in that first 3 not because he is a big name, but because he has donated a ton of time working on the Monochrome and with Graeme on the underwater colorimetry and various other things leading up to the Dragon.
These are the guys that don't just make money using the tools.. they give up time from their incredibly busy schedules to help us make the tools better.. Everyone wins when that happens. We don't pay any of these guys anything, and they all buy their own cameras, so letting them use the cameras they help develop right out of the gate is the least we can do.
Matthew Libatique is another great example. Yes, he is a big dog, but The new exposure tools that give you 50% grey along with sensor clip and lows was developed by him. The guy is always shooting but yet he comes in on his down days and spends hours and hours with us to make things better.
Every one of these cameras you see going out early has a similar story. So don't feel bad if your number is low or you think you should be next and you see someone else out there swinging around a Dragon... its the only way we get to reward the guys that really make a difference and push us forward.. ultimately making the camera that you do end up getting that much better.
So when you see Guys like Phil , or Evin, or Toia get bumped up later next month, it's because they deserve a little nod. We love you all.. and wish we could do everyone at the same time, but we just havn't figured out how to do that yet :)
So at this point everyone receiving cameras will still be using the beta color firmware for DRAGON, as the finalized DRAGONCOLOR and GAMMA will not be out until October at the earliest. That doesn't mean you'll necessarily have to wait that long for your camera, as the early adopters and EPIC-M users should be getting their number called sometime in September. For us average folks, it may not be until October, but things are supposedly going to ramp up by then. How about SCARLET DRAGON, the lower specced and cheaper version for SCARLET users? I would assume we won't start seeing those upgraded until RED has gone through most of their EPIC upgrades. That could take some time, so it's possible that SCARLET upgrades will take well into the new year (but it's really anyone's guess right now).
EPIC-M owners, who has gotten their number called? What are you most excited about with DRAGON?