January 3, 2014

RED Squeezes More Dynamic Range Out of DRAGON Camera with HDRx in New Firmware Update

These days our cameras are like fine wines -- they just keep getting better with time and, well, firmware downloads. Today RED is kicking off the new year by dropping firmware 5.1.34, a significant release build over the their current 4.0.18 release build (Beta releases have given us some of these features, but release builds are theoretically far more stable). Notable on the feature list is the addition of HDRx (which was announced late last year) and Speed Ramp for the DRAGON sensor, as well as major UI enhancements and additional lens support. Read on for the full feature list and download links.

[Update]: Apparently NASA is doing some interesting things with HDRx on the current EPIC as well. Jarred just posted this in the forum:

HDRx should lead to some impressive possibilities in terms of dynamic range on DRAGON. For a quick look at what it can do on the old MX sensor, here is Luke Neumann shooting on the RED EPIC with HDRx:

Here's the full (and impressive) list of features and fixes from the new build:

  • Added Dragon support of HDRx and Speed Ramp
  • Added support for QuickPlate Battery module
  • Added support for XL Battery Module
  • Added support for Motion Mount
  • Added In-Camera help
  • Added Search Help
  • Added User Lens Calibration (rudimentary support for unsupported lenses)
  • Added Quick Presets
  • Added Create Shortcut
  • Added Reverse Key Mapping
  • Added Auto-Hide/Remove Menus Mode
  • Added support for MiniMag 512GB media
  • Added Adaptive fan mode for Dragon. Epic/Scarlet default set to Auto.
  • Added meta data for RedCode compression ratio and Sensor revision id.
  • Added fan control dialog to display warning if auto or manual mode is selected
  • Added option for Rack points to show distances on the overlay
  • Added raw mode indicator to "Standard" overlay configuration
  • Added shutdown notification when more than one rear battery module is found
  • Added support for Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • Added support for Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS
  • Added support for Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Added support for Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
  • Added support for Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • Added support for Canon EF_24mm f/2.8
  • Added support for Canon EF 400mm f/2.8
  • Added support for Canon EF 500mm f/4
  • Added support for Canon EF 28mm f/2.8
  • Added support for Canon EF 300mm f/2.8
  • Added support for Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
  • Added support for Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0
  • Added support for Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
  • Added support for AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • Added support for Sigma 18-35mm
  • Added REDMOTE firmware v8.0.8
  • Playback Enhancements
  • Rack Focus Mode Enhancements
  • Major UI Enhancements
  • Improved On-Screen Keyboards
  • Support for returning to dialog after opening sub-dialog
  • Advanced Format Dialog
  • Large Pull-Down lists are searchable
  • Easier sensor calibration management
  • Extra confirmation required for formatting media
  • 9" Touchscreen supports large menu items by default
  • Simplified Time/Angle and Absolute/Relative exposure time setting
  • Fix shutter speed menu when ramp record is in progress
  • Fix guide with the shading to be on top of the other guides
  • Fix player hang with invalid in/out set points
  • Fix REDcode calculation using fps/2 for MoCo mode
  • Fix Nikon lenses iris control for unsupported lenses
  • Fix removes "OK" from "Incompatible Battery" dialog and replaced with 10 second timeout
  • Fix limits the REDcode displayed in playback similar to preview
  • Fix will round up displayed REDCODE value for display (e.g., 10.35:1 is now 11:1)
  • Fix REDmote unresponsive left navigation button

You can download build 5.1.34 from the following links:

Firmware

Epic M-X
Scarlet M-X
Epic Dragon
REDmote
Operation Guide

For RED owners out there, what are your thoughts on the new build? Is it significant for your work? Is there any feature or fix on this list that you've been waiting for? As always, join the discussion below.

Link: Camera Release Build v5.1.34 — REDUser

Your Comment

42 Comments

how much it cost that camera?

January 3, 2014 at 1:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nelson

Starts at around 15K for a ready to shoot package (without PL-glass), ends at around 50K for the carbon dragon. 1 fully equiped camera is easily 60K btw...
So it's a rental for 95% of filmmakers (except for scarlet maybe).

January 3, 2014 at 4:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Henri De Vreese

red.com for new, for used check out reduser or ebay

January 3, 2014 at 5:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

17.5k for the brain, plus more to make it shootable. but any DP owns most of the stuff already accessory wise and really just needs a camera plus media, and then a control surface. you can use red mote, side handle, or touch screen to control the camera. its a great tool, i own an Epic

January 3, 2014 at 5:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

Search help? How has this not been a feature on other cameras before (I'm looking at you Sony). Could definitely be handy when you can't remember where that one obscure setting is located.

January 3, 2014 at 1:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Michael Solomon

+1
It only took 5 times looking up how to change the tint on the Epic before I remembered :P

January 3, 2014 at 1:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kenneth Merrill

a good tech or DIT will do it all for you in redcine, but camera menu can work too... i really like redcine a lot tho, and with raw it can do a lot as far as one lights go

January 3, 2014 at 5:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

true, which has saved me once or twice. But it's an extra, unnecessary step in post.

January 3, 2014 at 7:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kenneth

Well its not really "post". Redcine works both ways. I can send the LUT in camera on set too... Its all there in the raw data nothing is burnt into the image yet, tint, kelvin, ISO, all of it can be changed in post/on set DIT. The only thing burnt in on Red is focus and shutter. All other data can be changed in post/on set in seconds since its all raw and highly changeable

January 3, 2014 at 11:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

red is amazing, their r3d codec is amazing, shooting raw is amazing, overcranks are amazing, 6k is amazing, and HdrX is amazing.... there is a lot to like about the red workflow, i highly suggest people look into it. I rent my Epic out also and can be a tech, I keep it with a rental house and am super red centric but trying to move into more Arri and Phantom

January 3, 2014 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

another camera…? learn lighting first

January 3, 2014 at 3:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DIO

It's not a new camera, ya dingbat.

January 3, 2014 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Colin

i didn't say new…just another

January 3, 2014 at 5:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DIO

its a 3 year old camera actually...and with raw youd be amazed how much more control you have. arri raw and red raw are the only true raw motion formats. if anything i suggest you look into them

January 3, 2014 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

worked with arri raw and red raw…prefer 35mm kodak…then arri raw…red is okay.. are you sure you don't work for them..?? did I rent you a camera…?

January 3, 2014 at 5:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DIO

But is red raw truly raw, if it is at least 3:1 compressed? It has all of the characteristics of a raw file, but isn't it really just a variant of Cineform? I don't think you can dump a truly uncompressed file out of a red? Is it always wavelet compressed?

True? False? Anyone?

January 3, 2014 at 9:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mel

yes its always "wavelet" compresses. But its a raw image in that you can tweak anything including kelvin unlike with "raw" on sony or canon. also i dont work for them, just a huge fan boy of all cameras, arri, phantom, red you name it. i do own a Red Epic and rent it out tho via a rental house and soon will have a Dragon. As far as digital goes its a really neat tool I think

January 3, 2014 at 11:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

@mel

Raw is not the same thing as uncompressed...do you believe that putting a raw file in a .zip file suddenly makes it not raw?

January 4, 2014 at 7:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gabe

@mel: maybe a zip file was a bad example...cuz it's lossless and not lossy (I think. I don't personally know or really to find out.) RAW doesn't have anything to do with compression. Some are lossy and some aren't. Neither one has anything to do with whether or not the files are RAW or not. D-SLR's (for stills) are where "RAW" first came from...and most of them have some form of compression.

January 8, 2014 at 10:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Mimura

learn lighting first

January 4, 2014 at 2:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kemalettin

If the zip process applies lossy compression to the file, then I would have to say that it is no longer virgin data off the sensor and therefore no longer raw, but a compressed format with all of the characteristics of a raw file.

January 5, 2014 at 8:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mel

There is no arguing semantics with someone who decides on their own arbitrary and very specific definition of "RAW" (& we all make our own definitions, to some degree...I always chose to capitalize it, even though it doesn't stand for anything...but I do it to avoid confusing it with the term "raw footage", meaning whatever you've shot and haven't edited yet.)

Some cameras, some Nikons I know let you chose which RAW settings you want...between no compression, lossy and lossless compressions (we're talking stills of course...where the term originally came from...) RAW means that it's a sort of "digital negative" without baked limits of the final image...it's not the finished look and that's how RAW has always been used, totally separate of whether it's compressed or not. Uncompressed is kind of ridiculous because you have vastly more data for an academic purity of the image versus lossy/lossless codecs that save space. Compression only matters if it reaches the point where you can perceive it. There are plenty of lossy codecs (like REDRAW at most settings) where the compression is less noticeable than the signal to noise ratio or the resolution...so it doesn't even matter. Realistically, I'd much rather use a compressed lossy Red 4-5k image than the terabyte an hour you get out of an uncompressed hyperdeck shuttle at 1080. If you want the technical and academic purity of an uncompressed format and don't consider a lossy codec as possibly being a "RAW" format, knock yourself out.

January 10, 2014 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Mimura

upgrading firmware on the my Scarlet tonight, can't wait.

January 3, 2014 at 3:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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David

The centre of the sun was blown out in one shot. This is simply not good enough.

January 3, 2014 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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but your missing the point my friend, Redcine and HdrX can only do one lights. Unless you go into a program like Resolve you cant clip paths. So when I tweak something in ANY direction in camera or in Redcine (which is the same thing essentially I suggest everyone look into the workflow, simply AMAZING) its gonna tweak the whole frame.

So unless a colorist/motion graphic artist goes into Resolve/After Effects or something along these lines, they can simply cherry pick the best exposure for pieces of the frame and clip paths around them. You can isolate objects outside of Redcine/camera. You can stay in the raw format and significantly tweak the living daylights out of them.

So I assure you, anything you see that you don't like can easily be touched up and perfected. The Hobbit, Prometheus, Spiderman, Gatsby, Pirates, etc LOTS of films shoot Red for a reason. Its a very high end system that is capable of many things other image acquisition devices simply don't do.

I have to admit I am biased as an owner op but none the less I love things at Red. Free firmware updates, upgradable cameras instead of doorstops, american made, always improving workflow and firmwares for on set and post. Theres not much to not like at Red, other then unrealistic time tables and daring to dream.

I am pretty sure JJ runs Red at a complete loss, and the only reason most of you are getting into 4k NOW is because of him, and early(ish) adopters like myself. It truly is an amazing camera system, tho I still have much love for all the high end brands. No DSLRs tho, nothing but 8 bit highly compressed HD wrath for them!

January 3, 2014 at 5:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

I think Ed may have been kidding. Since every camera format blows out the center of the sun, I'm taking his comment to be intentionally sarcastic.

January 3, 2014 at 5:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Jim Jannard did not start Red out of the goodness of his heart any more than Donald Trump created his organization. Sure, I bet in the early years Red Studios was in the red, but I guarantee it would have shut down by now if it wasn't profitable. Just a brief scan of craigslist in So Cal will assure anyone that Red is alive and well, selling plenty of camera, and plenty MORE accessories. (I bet anything they sell the bodies for pennies, but the media/mounts/arms/batteries/chargers/monitors/evf's/etc. are where they make the money)

January 3, 2014 at 7:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kenneth

I am not sure how much of the stuff outside of media isn't third party though. And I have no idea how they are doing financially, he cut the prices back cuz they were doing well which is why I can afford my Epic in the first place. i know he once said "if you want to make a million in the camera business start with two" lol, he was a funny guy on RU its too bad he doesn't post anymore. true fact I am one of 3 autographed Reds, I am that into their cameras lol!

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

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brian merlen

So the only reasons to do something in life is because of either 1) charity, or 2) pure greed?

January 4, 2014 at 7:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gabe

Wait, so how many stops does it add to the DR then?

January 3, 2014 at 3:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Its difficult to quantify for several reasons. Number one dynamic range is measured on several differing formats, so you first need to isolate which one your talking about to even get scientific about it. Number two, the camera is actually shooting two different images. The images are layered in post using Redcine. You can tweak it significantly, so it really depends on the DIT/colorist on how much you can pull out of it. But the end result is consumers see it compressed into Red709.

Actually to go even mind boggling further into this... When you shoot Red your actually shoot raw, like film. In order to see what your shooting red has developed some Red 709 emulators which is what Red Color and Gamma is. They are meant to take the raw bayer pattern and give the op something to see. But since the camera shoots raw, its actually absorbing details you cant even see at those settings perhaps. So in post one can take the kelvin, ISO, White Balance, Tint, hell you name it and completely alter it and still have a non clipping image. Yes its that powerful.

But no matter how wide you make it, whether as your own LUT, or using a Red Rec709 LUT, in the end its compressed into consumer distribution space.

Also because of how HDrX works you need to pick and choose what you want. A good motion or colorist person can go in and cherry pick. Take the best of your two differently exposed frames and layer pieces and track as needed.

A DIT like myself does basic one lights. A master can make art, can do the most amazing stuff you ever will see with a Red. I mean they can do it with other high end tools too, but Red specifically has a lot of features unique. So I am not sure how to quantify your answer, but its more stops then you can distribute is the reality no matter how you look at it. With the right people you can even make a block buster film with it!

January 3, 2014 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

Comparing Red cameras to " fine wines — they just keep getting better with time" is some God-level meta- humor.

3900 dollars for Motion Mount to remove rolling shutter - but only in temperatures over 0 degree Celsius... I guess real cineme pros never work outside during winter.

Well, at least they did actually deliver that product, most likely because it was designed and engineered by other company, then bought by Red.

Unlike the end-of-it-all : "Meizler module", which was hyped in NAB 2012 and then constantly hyped FOR OVER A YEAR in Reduser :

http://www.red.com/news/red-presents-the-epic-m-monochrome-and-the-meizl...

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?85218-The-Meizler-Module-The...

...and finally killed officially with single comment from Jarred Land in some obscure discussion thread. While still having the all the time the official Red store page for product available with "Coming soon" claims.

January 3, 2014 at 6:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

with all due respect Arri makes you buy a whole new camera to do that! and the studio aint exactly cheap... yes they miss time tables and kill products when they don't pan out sometimes. but thats because they include us in the discussion, like a focus group but to the whole industry. i rather like being more in the loop and having a say in the features i want. the newly coded redcine is damn good, my 4 year old entry level mac mini can grade in redcine now with 6k footage. that is some very impressive stuff. I am quite happy in camp Red and I am well aware some people don't like it for a variety of reasons, and some of them are more creditable than others, but none the less I really like their products and they do offer some great services

January 3, 2014 at 11:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

Wow...so it doesn't work below zero. It must totally suck then.

God RED sucks.

They promised me!!!

(sarcasm.)

January 8, 2014 at 10:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Mimura

17 stops - should be enough to capture my cats.

January 3, 2014 at 6:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Stu Mannion

I'm liking the sarcastic tone these NFS RED comments are taking.
That and people pimping for work.
Refreshing!

/very cool. Can we get our mitts on one now please RED? Still zero Dragons about at rental houses.

January 3, 2014 at 6:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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marklondon

Meaning, none out yet?

January 3, 2014 at 9:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

There out. some people have them. If you go on Reduser you can score rentals from owner ops right now. Its just Transformers 4 is probably keeping the rental houses busy. I actually keep an MX Epic at a major house in NYC but don't have my Dragon yet much to my di$may. If I had money I'd buy a Carbon Fiber brain but I'm broke lol

January 3, 2014 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

I think your red doesn't keep you busy enough when you have enough time to comment on each critical comment towards red on the internet. If by any means red was superior there wouldn't be any other camera, nobody would use a much more expensive, heavier and bigger Alexa, a more expensive Sony F5/55, a less "complete" Canon C100/300/500 - but the opposite is true. Red is okay but when there's enough money people tend to use Alexa or they take reds by the dozen due to their bad reputation...

January 4, 2014 at 3:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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mariano

Most DP's don't choose their camera. The Director has had succes with Arri, it works so lets take that one again. The Canon's are just a completely different market than RED. Those are made for low-light and are not great in anything else compared to RED and Arri.
Once a DP/director worked with Dragon, they never want Arri anymore.
I shot a commercial on an Epic about a year ago and it was EPIC.
Arri is great, but not mindblowing like RED is.
CF Dragon is just waaay to expensive btw, but if you want a dragon NOW, it's faster with CF.
I would love to own a Dragon, but that's out of the budget for me.
I shoot the camera that is frequently being used along the Alexa, so that's not too bad ;). (D800 in case you didn't know)

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

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Henri De Vreese

If any of you currently rent out your equipment, or know someone who does, please check out www.rentalgear.com. Its a new directory-type site for rental equipment. Compare prices amongst multiple renters.

January 4, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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NASA didn't get the memo from the internet telling them to hate Red and 4k. Maybe a 4k hater can drive over to NASA and knock on the door and let them know they're supposed to hate 4k and bitch about it like they're smart. Just go knock on their door. It would be that easy. Set the record straight. Put an end to this 4k snake oil foolishness.

(BTW, that was sarcasm, just in case some idiot troll thinks I am serious.)

January 5, 2014 at 1:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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AAiM