January 15, 2014

'EPIC' Los Angeles Aerial Video Shows Why RED DRAGON Could Be the Ideal Airborne Camera

We've already seen some terrific aerials from RED's EPIC DRAGON camera, and a new aerial video of Los Angeles from Axiom Images -- not to be confused with the Apertus Axiom camera -- really shows off the strengths of the new sensor. With its small size, 6K resolution, excellent dynamic range, and better low-light performance than the MX sensor, it may just be the perfect camera to take up into the sky. Check out the video below:

This is what CJ Roy from Axiom Images had to say about the new sensor:

As far as the noise goes, with the MX I felt that 1280ISO was getting sketchy and 1600ISO was pushing it. With Dragon, I feel very comfortable with 2000ISO. The noise didn't scream at me like it normally does. I need to pull up some older aerials and compare the two side by side, but I won't have a chance until I'm back from NY.

The most impressive parts are the night shots. While LA is pretty well-lit at night, compared to what we used to get with film, these new digital sensors are simply stunning. CJ and the team shot on with 18-85mm Fuji Premiere in 5K (since that lens didn't cover the full 6K sensor all the way through). Here's a photo showing their setup in the PictorVision Eclipse rig:

For more on the Eclipse rig, here's a nifty product video:

Obviously these kinds of setups are not cheap rentals, but the results speak for themselves, and many of these kinds of clips are available from companies like Axiom to purchase. For more information on the rig and Axiom images, check out the links below.

Links:

Your Comment

44 Comments

Man, some of those cityscapes midway through made me gasp. Literally. Ofcourse the camera, but the compositions+movements were so awesome.

January 16, 2014 at 12:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nikhil

The cars on the freeway are unlike anything I've seen before.

January 16, 2014 at 8:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

Great images for a studio with big bucks-- Not much help for the little guy unless that license images.

January 16, 2014 at 12:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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William

Camera work is good. However, the Dragon images are no better than anything I've seen from the Sony F65. https://vimeo.com/63252461.

January 16, 2014 at 12:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ben

I agree, the Sony F65 looks great in that video you posted.

January 16, 2014 at 12:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Alex

I think the LA video looked better.

January 16, 2014 at 1:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Agreed. Grading and encoding definitely play a part, though.

January 16, 2014 at 6:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Agree f65 is the king and the f55 is not too bad also.

January 16, 2014 at 6:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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jaye

NO, now the King is DRagon , more DR , better in I low light , light weight and small size, and better in color and now Recording in 6k not the 4k as the f65 ,and then Alexa .

January 16, 2014 at 10:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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LUIS

Sony F65 has equal visible resolution, when final 4K image is compared to Red Dragon. Amount of data that is gathered in sensor for final image is almost exactly the same.

Actually, there are several cinema lenses that do not cover the Dragon senson. This results to amount of photosites that is actually less than what is used in F65 to form 4K image.

And when it comes to noise and low light... Well, you read yourself. It is rather amusing to watch how the Red boys try to sidestep the painfull facts.

That is, Dragon has lot more noise in low light situations than what was promised by sunglasses salesman himself. Well, not really promised, more like arrogantly bragged for several years.

in fact $17K Sony F5 ( = simply a lot cheaper camera) has a better low light ability than $31K+ Dragon.

January 16, 2014 at 11:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

hehe ninth, so the noise is not much better and maybe you do not understand it.
Dragon according to tests is better than even the best EPCI and f65 and Alexa
It 's true that over 3200 iso becomes noisy, because the F65 is better? the answer is NO, Alexa equal over the 1600iso is not usable, so if Dragon is good at 2000 ISO has already won, as well as have more dynamic range and better colors.
Timur did some testing, follow him, but also many other people in REdusers and out Redusers ..
http://timurcivan.com/blog/
It may be true that the F5 is better in low light, but everyone knows that going up to iso lose dynamic range, and personally do not utlizzerei ever, and honestly I have yet to find a DP that goes beyond ISO 1000, but if you're used to shoot at night with no light at iSO 4000 you probably have not made ​​some good movies. The good photograph is made with lights, a good team, and DRagon now is the best digital sensor.

January 16, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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LUIS

When will the Dragon be available? The Sony F65 has been out for two years now.

January 16, 2014 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel

Red Dragon camera is available, it is just that company that makes the sensor for Red has very bad yields...

There is only company that can really mass produce sensors with level and that is Sony. Well, not just that level, but level above that. Sony is several years ahead of the competition, when it comes to state-of-art sensors.

January 16, 2014 at 4:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

RED CARBON DRAGON is avaiable NOW in 2 week.
this is priority.
http://www.red.com/store/products/epic-m-red-dragon-carbon-fiber-w-side-...

January 16, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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LUIS

Well, yes the F65 has been out. But they dont rent. None uses them for some bizarre reason. Its a great camera, but its workflow is a bit cumbersome, and its physically big. The F55, Alexa and Epic are all smaller with great images, so it just kind of got lost in the fray.

January 19, 2014 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I agree Sony is the best in the biz for high end cameras. But every tool has its job and all these new high end cameras are all so similar that it really comes down to opinion. Id take a sony f5 f55 f65 for its design and image quality any day.

January 16, 2014 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Caleb

January 16, 2014 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

Ya, the F65 looks good. But it is not as good as the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon stands alone. The RD color is more like real life than the F65. The detail and low light is better in the RD. There's a tad too much saturation in that F65 footage---gives it an animation feel. There's something eye catching and fascinating about the Red Dragon.

January 16, 2014 at 8:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

Great dynamic range .....but some of it looked a little soft for a high res cam.

January 16, 2014 at 12:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Alex

Yeah if I didn't know better I'd say it looked like a 720p h264 streaming video.

January 16, 2014 at 2:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gabe

Smog. LA is a dump.

January 16, 2014 at 3:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mikey

Come live here. You get over the (much less now) smog no problem.
If you like in a city over 500k you will have smog too!

January 16, 2014 at 4:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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marklondon

Hah. I know. I've been here for 10 yrs. It's better on the coast. I miss the clean air of New England.

January 16, 2014 at 4:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mikey

Here in the San Francisco Area there's not always visible smog, but there's always this thin layer of blue gray lint on things. I met a guy once that said he took it to work and analyzed it. He said it was mostly rubber.

I love to be on Highway 1 because of the clean air!

January 16, 2014 at 8:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

Yeah, because it record 720p vimeo files

January 22, 2014 at 12:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Natt

That music wasn't epic enough... haha

January 16, 2014 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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J

Cool - but I can't afford this...RED making an excellent camera that I could afford...now that would be news!

January 16, 2014 at 1:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ed Wright

The Alexa at 2k still looks better than 8k Red.

January 16, 2014 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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MenAtWork

absolutely agree with you! and all the footage from the F65 looks like... well, looks like really good video. resolution is important but the what matters the most is the dynamic range and color rendition. that's why the alexa is king..,

January 17, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Oh look another victim of LESS RES BUTT BETTER arri brainwashing

January 22, 2014 at 12:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Natt

The next step is to get F65 quality for an F55 price inside an F5 body.
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As to Axiom's Red footage - they cut away quickly from the Santa Monica shot where one should have seen the most dynamic range between the brightly lit pier and the very dark - and deserted - beaches. As it was, even the quick glimpse was very wide, including the pier, the relatively well lit by the reflections ocean and the adjacent SM buildings and streets. On a freeze-frame at 1:11, I thought the ocean looked very noisy. And, needless to add, since it was on Vimeo, it wasn't in 5K or 4K or even 2.5K. Otherwise, I do think the footage looked very pleasant, allowing for the disclaimers.

January 16, 2014 at 3:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

How can you judge cameras like these from Vimeo and YouTube streams??? It's absurd.

January 16, 2014 at 3:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dan H

Sorry to pile on, but this is nothing extraordinary.
I've seen better shot with the F65, Alexa, 35mm and (gulp!) a perfectly setup Sony 900.
Re the Santa Monica shot - they were obviously fighting the fog. You need to be very lucky to get a perfectly clear night down there for aerials. We had a job where we had to go up 3 times over 2 weeks to finally get it.

January 16, 2014 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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marklondon

You are wrong !

I read from the Reduser.net that this is superior footage ! And Reduser-people know because the are PROFESSIONALS ! Unlike Nofilmschool-people who are just amateurs using SOCCER-MOM -CAMERAS.

Mr. Jannard said that Red Cameras are for PROS, other cameras are for soccer-moms !

And what is that Sony 900 ?! Google images show that it is ugly, like a mormon sinner ! ( And that is very bad sinner)

Red cameras look beautiful, because they REBELLIOUS AND MILITARY-TACTICAL.

January 16, 2014 at 4:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

Guys I have seen pictures of a CArbon DRagon, let me say that I love the F65 but this DRagon be very light and cool, the pictures look great and the best of the F65, maybe I'm wrong but they were really nice velvety and beautiful colors.
I know that this time RED has done a great sensor.

January 16, 2014 at 4:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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ANDRIUS

Gorgeous! The detail and color look like money!

Camera companies not yet having 4K should consider leapfrogging 4K for 6K. Still looking forward to 8K footage from Japan and/or South Korea!

January 16, 2014 at 8:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene

I don't know if it's on my end or what but the compression is horrendous. I don't know how anyone can see dynamic range or anything else for that matter. I know the camera can perform, the shots were composed beautifully, but the algorithm they used was pretty bad. Who knows maybe they did it on purpose since they sell stock footage. When does h265 arrive? To me that's a bigger "game changer" (hate that phrase) than a new sensor.

January 16, 2014 at 8:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

I was in a pretty big rush to get the video out, due to our next shoot, so you're seeing 1080 ProRes HQ compressed to H264 with fairly default settings. When I get back to LA, I'll try to upload a better quality version.

January 17, 2014 at 12:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thanks for the reply. Such beauty, looking forward to version 2.0. Thanks

January 17, 2014 at 7:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

Google says VP9 is already here but it will take them a while to move the zillion of the uploaded videos from VP8 and H.264. They hinted that they may use H.265 (aka HEVC) too but that probably depends on what they have to pay for it. It's make sense for Vimeo to go the HEVC route but I haven't seen any announcements about that.
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In terms of hardware, some of the routers and processors have been in use for a few months now. Most of that has been in trial stage, however. I suspect new cameras with the HEVC based acquisition codec to be announced at the NAB in April. Panasonic hinted that their Varicam will be "file size efficient" for an easier workflow. Of course, one can just have a lower bit rate like that new Sony consumer camcorder and try to make it up with a more powerful processor and improved software.

January 17, 2014 at 3:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

Thanks DLD, I'm just saying, now that we're getting beautiful footage like this we need better codecs. Glad to hear its on it's way.

January 17, 2014 at 7:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony Marino

This is awful. The editing I mean. Why can't they hold a shot for more than 3 seconds so that we can actually judge the image? This isn't an action movie trailer, just show the damn footage.

January 17, 2014 at 1:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DW

OH NFS and stupid people claiming RED Epic Dragon not better than Alexa Sony 5D iphone etc..
you guys are funny lol

January 19, 2014 at 11:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kemalettin

Bash ultra hi-res 4K+ cameras however you want, but extra resolution like 6K raw come in handy when you need to push ISO even further in the shadows using noise reduction in post. Without denoise it looks like grain if resampled to 4K and completely clean if Neat Video or Autodesk plugin applied.

January 22, 2014 at 12:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Natt