If you've been having some trouble seeing what all the fuss is about with RED DRAGON footage on Vimeo or YouTube, and you've been itching to get your hands on the camera to see what it can do, we've now got the next best thing: RAW footage. Phil Holland, who shared with us some great photos on the set of a DRAGON shoot, had a few hours with the camera himself and has been kind enough to share RAW frames and actual footage for the first time. Check out the RAW samples and the video below from Phil.
RED DRAGON - It's Just Paint
Phil has done a tremendous job with all of the samples and information, and it is greatly appreciated. Download the original 1080p on Vimeo for better quality:
If you'd like to watch it in 4K (or at least greater than 1080p if you've got a capable screen), select 1440p or Original on YouTube:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=G21-ejQJbbA
.R3D RAW Clips and Shooting Details
If you haven't yet, download Beta 21 of REDCINE-X here which in addition to DRAGON support, also includes GPU acceleration. Phil has provided a number of samples in many different formats on REDUser. You can download two of the 72 frame clips by clicking on the images below, but head on over to REDUser for the rest:
Some details on the shoot:
Red Epic Dragon (Carbon Fiber)
Shoot Date: 10.03.2013
Format: 6K WS, 24-96 fps
Rated ISO: 800 – graded in post ISO 320-2000 (no noise reduction)
Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Quick Color Grade in Redcine-X Pro
Lenses: Schneider Cine-Xenar III Primes: 18mm-95mm @ T2-T8
Filters Used: Occasionally an ND .9
6K DRAGON REDLog Stills
Here are redlog grabs, 800 ISO (click for the larger 6K version):
Here's one at ISO 3200, everything is still there, and noise looks less chromatic in the blacks than it does on MX:
ISO and Sharpness Tests
Phil has also been doing a lot of testing with the ISO capabilities as well as post sharpening (click for larger):
The first thing you'll “feel” when shooting Dragon is there's a lot more room between the ceiling and the floor if your midtones are rated in the sweet spot of the sensor. There's a big chunk of latitude to be found in the meat of the REDCODE RAW as well. Some of these shots I pushed down to ISO 320 and lifted up to ISO 2000 without any noise reduction, you could even go further.
The full Epic Dragon sensor is a multi-format system. I chose to shoot at 6K WS here, but I can crop into 5K or further just fine. Finishing your material is up to you, just like Mysterium-X. Some prefer the debayer/down organic look. Some will apply post sharpening, especially if they are exporting for print purposes.
I'm doing some finishing experiments at the moment and testing out different sharpening methods, but here's a taste of what you can do.
Thoughts on DRAGON
So while it's not quite the same as actually getting to shoot with the camera, RAW footage tells you exactly what's going on. Something many who've worked with DRAGON so far have mentioned is just how clean the sensor is and how thick your "negative" is. DRAGON seems to be tempting you to push it. Not only does it definitely have more latitude than MX, but it's so much cleaner that you might not believe your eyes. At times 800 ISO can be a little noisy on the old sensor depending on how much you underexpose. Not so with DRAGON. Plenty of shoots will be consistently working at 1250 and 1600 ISO indoors. Downscaling from 6K makes the little noise that's there even less noticeable.
I think most of the comments so far have spoken about not being impressed by the footage, but it's hard to not be impressed once you get this footage into REDCINE-X. It's all there and more. The outdoor scene above is a great example of that. The talent has no fill, and the darker balcony and brighter background are all held by the camera. The tiny bit of overexposure on the tent rolls off very gently.
Footage generally feels softer and more film-like when contrast is lower, and I've seen plenty of ALEXA footage that looks practically ungraded. If you want something like that look, it's pretty clear you can get it with the new sensor. It will be really interesting what this sensor will be capable of when new color science is released. I imagine there is probably a bit more dynamic range hidden in there somewhere, so we'll just have to reexamine the footage once more when the new color science made for DRAGON is released.
Lady Gaga Music Video Shot on DRAGON
In other news, it appears that the Lady Gaga music video released a while ago from Inez and Vinoodh was shot on DRAGON (or at least part of it was, the wording is slightly unclear):
Here is a still:
We're probably going to see many more music videos shot with the camera in the coming months, so there will soon be no shortage of examples with the new sensor in all sorts of lighting situations and skin tone variations.
After playing with the sample clips, what do you think about DRAGON?