RED's New WEAPON Camera Will Likely Get ProRes As a Recording Option
While RED has been committed to RAW, it looks like their new WEAPON camera, which is an upgrade from DRAGON, will get the ProRes codec.
Jarred Land recently posted the photo above, with just the word "ProRes." That's essentially two reveals in one, with the other being the fact that there will be 1TB Mini-Mags coming (and likely 256GB and lower Mini-Mags at some point), something that was already announced a while ago, but is now going to be official come NAB.
[Update]: Speaking of the top of the camera, here is a look at the new monitor, which doesn't seem to have any wires (Jarred posted this photo and the words
"Wire Removal" on Facebook). It also looks like a setup that doesn't require any tools to attach (click for larger):
RED at one time was going to provide a Proxy Module for the EPIC and SCARLET (they killed it), which was going to give up to 2K ProRes HQ recordings:
It's unclear whether they will be creating a new module, or whether WEAPON will be able to record ProRes internally (it seems like it will be internal as their aren't any modules attached in the photo). We also don't know yet what flavors it will record, but if they want to match or exceed other cameras on the market, it should be able to do ProRes 4444 XQ, possibly up to 4K (or higher, as ProRes officially supports higher than 4K). It would also be interesting if the camera could record both ProRes and RAW at the same time, which would probably make a lot of people happy as far as workflows are concerned.
When RED was first going to introduce ProRes with the Meizler Module (which also never got released), Jarred Land said this:
Brain cannot and will not record ProRes onboard. Not really a mantra but a philosophy. Our foundation is not only based on Resolution, but RAW as well, and we really feel strongly about it.
In the 2 1/2 years since then, ARRI has become a dominant force in the industry, and countless productions have used only the ProRes option on the ALEXA (commercials, music videos, and films). ProRes is extremely popular at this point, and it has found its way into low-end cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera all the way up to the Sony F55. With so many companies supporting the compressed Apple codec, it would make a ton of sense for RED to include this option right in the camera itself. While there are third party solutions for recording ProRes on RED, having something built-in and fool-proof is often a much better option, and there may even be additional processing to ensure a better result with this baked-in footage.
Jarred also revealed definitively that WEAPON will get slightly better performance out of the DRAGON sensor, so we could see even more dynamic range or better low-light performance. We also know for sure that there will be more than one WEAPON camera (likely Carbon Fiber and regular), and the RED lineup will be as follows: SCARLET DRAGON, EPIC DRAGON, and WEAPON DRAGON.
As far as what WEAPON will be, we know that not all of the current modules will work, and the camera alone will be slightly smaller, but will be able to take a number of modules for external ports like HD-SDI, HDMI, etc (which will make the camera slightly longer). Phil Holland has put together a great post detailing most of what we know here. And we've got a few photos that start to bring the camera into better focus:
We've also got these photos:
When you check out all of these photos together, it's pretty clear what we've got. The only thing we haven't really seen is the top of the camera, which I imagine is where the fan exhaust is. Now that there is no longer a fan on the front, there may be a bigger fan on top or they've been able to run the camera much cooler inside. It's hard to tell in the Bill Paxton photo if that's an exhaust port on the back, but it seems like the modules would be blocking it if that's what it is (but again hard to tell).
We know the current side handle probably doesn't work with WEAPON, but what's unclear is whether the control portion on the side of WEAPON in the Chrome Pixel photo above is going to be standard or extra. I really don't see any reason why it wouldn't just come standard with the camera, since tons of productions are going to take advantage of it.
RED is certainly keeping with their modular approach, and while I had heard some rumors about the camera being larger, it's likely that some modules were attached and made it look larger to the people who had seen it (or I had all of that just completely wrong). I'm sure more hints will come out before NAB, but for now at least we know the new camera is going to be even more modular, and it will have slightly better sensor performance.