RED Introduces 7" 1080p Touchscreen, Interchangeable OLPFs, & More
RED Digital Cinema joined a number of other companies in announcing new products over the last few days.
These include a new 7" monitor, interchangeable OLPFs, the beginning of DRAGON sensor upgrades for SCARLET (and a $3,000 price increase on those coming in December), and the ability to shoot video and stills over Gigabit Ethernet tethered to a computer. We also know that the Broadcast Module, Sidewinder, and Switchblade-M control interface announced at NAB are all now shipping. In addition, we've got some third-party wireless control solutions coming out thanks to OFFHOLLYWOOD and the foolcontrol iOS app.
7" 1080p Touchscreen LCD
First up, is a brand new 7" 1080p touchscreen monitor, which is RED proprietary as the rest of their monitors, and must be powered through the EVF/LCD cable on the camera:
This is the first monitor of this resolution from RED, and though it seems a little costly, it's going to retail for less than their 9" touch, which is a bit large for the size of the RED body. The 5" touch is now looking very behind the times with its 800 x 480 resolution (though I will say, peaking on that monitor works very well). For the first time, a RED monitor will be capable of flipping, which is helpful in lots of situations (but its unclear if this will come to any of their other monitors).
A lot of debate has surrounded RED's DRAGON OLPF situation. The optical low pass filter, which prevents false detail and rainbow patterns in an image, is a tricky part to engineer, and it's part of the reason companies like Blackmagic have avoided them altogether. There is a balance with the design of these glass filters that will result in increases or decreases in apparent sharpness, but with RED's OLPF, they've had to deal with some other issues.
The first version of the OLPF, now referred to as the low-light OLPF or V1 OLPF, was released when DRAGON first arrived, and while it allowed more light into the sensor, it suffered from significant flares when a strong enough light source presented itself in the shot (a lot of these can be seen in the Cinemax show The Knick). RED corrected this with the second version of their OLPF, or V2 OLPF (now called the skintone-highlight OLPF), and while they improved color accuracy and infrared pollution, and distributed highlight/shadows more evenly around middle grey, the shadows became more noisy because less light is reaching the sensor. This brought the low-light performance of the camera back down to the MX (or worse).
With the news of interchangeable OLPFs, RED is trying to give users some options for different lighting situations until they release a DRAGON standard OLPF, which will split the difference between the two OLPFs, and as the name suggests, will come standard in all new cameras when it is released a few months from now.
These are the two OLPFs available to buy right now (which are coming at the end of this month):
These are the OLPFs they are currently working on for the interchangeable system besides the two they have already (They will cost $195 each):
- Underwater : Tuned for underwater shooting
- IR Monochrome : Tuned for shooting B&W IR images.
- IR Color: Tuned for shooting Color IR images
- Dragon Standard : In the middle of the "Low Light Optimized" and the "Skin Tone - Highlight"
- Monochrome: Standard Monochrome OLPF
If you take shipment of the camera after these start shipping, you won't have to do anything, the cameras will already come to you ready to accept these new OLPFs with a simple screw change.
If you have already taken shipment of a SCARLET or EPIC DRAGON, or will before these start shipping, you'll have to either send your camera back to RED (you pay shipping there, they pay it back), or you'll have to get a kit to modify the camera yourself. The modification will be free whichever method you choose, but if you get the modification kit sent to you, it will cost $100 upfront, which will be credited back to you once you send back the OLPF that was already in your camera (in the kit you'll receive a new OLPF in the housing already so you won't need the old OLPF anyway).
This interchangeable OLPF system opens up a lot of interesting options for modifying the image, including adding low contrast or other similar kinds of filters in front of the sensor (it is believed the ALEXA uses a slight low contrast filter). It's also possible that ND filters could be developed for behind the lens, but right now RED is exploring third party solutions — so we could see lots of different filters for behind the lens.
The downside to all of this, obviously, is the fact that you're opening the camera up to more contaminants. There is still one piece of glass protecting the sensor, besides the OLPF, but that's the last line of defense before the fragile sensor. You're going to want to be extra careful doing a modification like this, and double and triple check that there is no dust on the sensor glass and on the back of the OLPF, as these will be harder to remove once everything has been installed (and to remove dust you'd have to take off the mount again and then the OLPF).
SCARLET DRAGON Upgrades & Price Increases
Jarred said in the forum that SCARLET DRAGON upgrades were beginning, and went on to add:
If you are an Epic owner and still waiting for your call you should of already been notified. Contact your rep if you haven't and if need help getting your upgrade sorted as soon as you can, as the price for all Dragon Sensor upgrades is going to go up on December 1st to $12,500. For monochrome, will go up to $15,000.
That's a $3,000 increase from the original $9,500 upgrade, so if you've been on the fence about upgrading, you don't have long to decide before the price is going to go up dramatically. This isn't the first time we've seen RED increase prices for something after it's been available, as they've had their fair share of increases to go along with some dramatic price drops.
Using the Gig-E port on the camera, you'll be able to capture still images and record full motion 6K video, though there are some limits to the compression and frame rates. Here's more from Jarred on this setup, which will be recording R3D files straight to the computer:
R3D's Written off camera. Either to your laptop drive or an external drive hooked up through your Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 port on your laptop. No cap on Resolution, as the resolution/frame rates go up the REDCODE needs to as well to compensate. This is an obvious workflow for the stills guys. You can grab 3:2 6K stills with super low compression stills or bursts of stills. For Motion, you can expect to shoot 6K @ 24fps around Redcode 10:1 till the Gig-E pipe gets saturated.
Their intention is that this will be helpful for photographers shooting in a studio with RED so they can immediately see higher resolution files, but there are lots of applications for video as well. If you're really trying to avoid RED media for certain situations, this setup would allow you to do that. This could be especially useful for very long recording sessions where you want one complete file and don't want to heavily compress to fit on one card.
OFFHOLLYWOOD Hotlink, Hotbox R/S WiFi, HotTap, & foolcontrol iOS App
RED recently opened up their camera control to third parties, which means we are now starting to see other companies take advantage of the open protocol. The first of these includes both hardware and software controllers that work together. From OFFHOLLYWOOD, the Hotlink will run $450 and adds WiFi control to your RED with the foolcontrol iOS app. Hotbox R/S WiFi starts at $1,550, and is a power distribution box that also includes a Hotlink inside it for wireless control. Lastly, the HotTap is a P-Tap (D-Tap) distribution box and starts at $300.
NextVR Virtual Reality Camera System with RED DRAGONs
Here's something pretty crazy Jarred showed off in the forum from a company called NextVR, which specializes in "capturing and delivering immersive, high-definition, live and recorded virtual reality experiences":
NextVR is releasing their Virtual Reality Camera System at IBC and you can check out their rig in our booth outfitted with 6 Dragons as well as a very cool VR demo of stuff they have shot.