October 6, 2017

RED's Monstrous Monstro Sensor is Here at Long Last

RED Digital Cinema finally put the Monstro name to use with the surprise new 8K VV sensor for Weapon bodies.

After talking about the Monstro sensor for the first time in 2008 and as recently as way back in 2011, RED has long had big things on its roadmap. Now, as 8K Helium sensors are finally becoming more common in the roughly Super35mm frame size, we have the surprise announcement from RED of their new Monstro 8K VV sensor, along with a short film Iron Horse which shows off the full frame imagery using some of RED's favorite tropes of western and motorcycle imagery all in one. You can only watch it over on YouTube, but you can check out the launch build video here.

VV, or Vista Vision, is, of course, RED's preferred method for talking about Full Frame 35mm still sensor size. Since motion picture film ran vertically and still film ran horizontally, the same 35mm sensors were very different in size, and the still photo 35mm frame size has become exceptionally popular in motion picture use for the larger photo sites and smaller depth of field. Using a different name is unsurprising since it's RED after all, but it's also fair since RED tends to make its sensors both wider and shorter than traditional sensor aspect ratios so a fresh name makes sense to ease confusion when discussing what lenses will cover what sensors. Saying "This covers full frame but not Vista" is easier than saying "This covers full frame but not RED's proprietary full frame." 

Though RED's Vista Vision is also wider and shorter than traditional Vista Vision was, you don't tend to see a lot of traditional Vista glass in rental house inventory these days and if you do they should have the expertise to walk you through what sensors it'll cover. The image qualities of the larger sensor are shown off in a few places in Iron Horse which, aside from its creamy imagery, has a few shots designed to take advantage of the tighter depth of field even in a day exterior.

Credit: RED Digital Cinema

RED loves to give hints about what is coming in the future, and while the company is sometimes wildly off in its timeline, it does tend to eventually deliver a lot of the amazing things it hints towards. The big question is whether the use of the "Monstro" name looks back at the original roadmap from 2009, seen above. There is no mention of Dragon or Helium in that roadmap, and a lot has changed in the digital cinema industry since then, but there is a 35FF "Monstro" sensor on that chart. Below it, there's a Monstro 645 and a 617.  With Hasselblad being bought by DJI and having a 4K-capable medium format camera, and the further developments by folks like Fujilfilm in the medium format space, it's possible that this 8K VV Monstro announcement is the first step of fulfilling the original plan.

Credit: RED

Of course, back then RED still called Full Frame "Full Frame" and not Vista Vision, and its sensor sizes where more traditional, but those bold predictions of a Monstro 645 and the insane 28K Monstro 617 were on the map nonetheless. While this doesn't mean we are going to be seeing the Monstro 645 tomorrow, and I think we can all agree it might be another nine years for the 617 to hit market, I think the 645 might finally be on the horizon.

While the 617 size likely won't take over the film industry, super high-resolution imagery could be tremendously useful in certain special application or special effects workflows, and we'd be excited to see how that played out. Or RED just really likes the Monstro name and have been excited to use it all these years.

We can only dream. In the meantime, the initial noise tests for the Monstro are amazing, and as much as we cringe when we hear "watch it full screen," with fine detail noise tests, that is the way to go. 

Available now at Red.com for $79,500.  

Tech Specs:

  • 8192 × 4320 maximum resolution
  • 40.96 mm x 21.60 mm (Diagonal: 46.31 mm) sensor size
  • IPP2 processing
  • 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320),  300 fps at 2K 2.4:1 (2048 × 864)
  • .r3d, ProRes, and DNx internal recording
  • 17+ stops of dynamic range

Your Comment

28 Comments

Honestly had to check to make sure it wasn't april 1st. I can't see using any Red higher than the scarlet-w. Why would you need anything more than 4k 120fps? And idk full frame seems like over kill, S35 is where it's at.

October 6, 2017 at 10:43AM

0
Reply
avatar
Zachary Will
Cinematographer
751

The armchair cinematographers are going to burn you at the stake for your comments but I completely agree man.

October 6, 2017 at 5:09PM

4
Reply
avatar
Mack Calistan
Cinematographer
306

because it's not about the numbers on a piece of paper. It's about image quality. https://vimeo.com/236861899

October 6, 2017 at 11:06PM

1
Reply

regarding the FPS. Have you edited Phantom Flex video before? It's freaking magical and hard to put into words when you start playing with speed ramps etc! I do, however, wish it had a bit more resolution but that's a ton of data to be pushing through the pipes.

October 6, 2017 at 11:12PM

0
Reply

The resolution isn't the issue. It's the dumb chip sizes Red is putting out.

So WTF are you supposed to use for lenses? Now you have the constant threat of vignetting even with full-frame lenses on some Red cameras, and vignetting with Super-35 lenses on the rest of them.

I'm not going to use a camera that makes lens selection a giant pain in the ass, or (even worse) makes my current lenses unusable.

Extra resolution is fine, and can be handy when you need to recompose in post. If nothing else, 8K will downscale to 4K with great quality.

But Red is making itself a proprietary ecosystem that isn't just excessively expensive (see the cost of their media), but impossible to reliably integrate with other professional equipment. Sad.

October 9, 2017 at 8:24PM

0
Reply
David Gurney
DP
1402

Which full frame lenses vignette on any REDS?

October 11, 2017 at 2:22PM

0
Reply
avatar
Emil
Content
254

For the obvious option of cropping in post, assuming you need to crop slow motion footage. But aside from that, I figure if someone can afford these prices they might as well buy into as much excess capability as they can. Note: I'm not in the subset of filmmakers that can even come close to affording anything like this.

October 13, 2017 at 5:29PM

0
Reply

Only 80k? Rent it people. Why put a second mortgage on your house, when RED will make it obsolete in 2 years with a newer model.

October 6, 2017 at 11:13AM

0
Reply
d shay
331

I say 9 months.

October 6, 2017 at 12:01PM

1
Reply
avatar
Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.
792

Yet the RED One is still not obsolete.

October 6, 2017 at 4:30PM

0
Reply
avatar
Emil
Content
254

Somebody please stop this madman.

October 6, 2017 at 5:10PM

0
Reply
avatar
Mack Calistan
Cinematographer
306

Didn't love the grade of Iron Horse. Looks like they dropped a teal and orange LUT on it and called it a day. Image quality and dynamic range were obviously impressive though.

October 6, 2017 at 12:27PM

0
Reply
avatar
Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
915

THANKS. That grade is awful. The Helium S35 one was gorgeous, and this one is like you say... A magic bullet LUT/preset done by a filmschool student in his first year.

October 6, 2017 at 12:36PM

0
Reply
avatar
Eudes Quittelier
Photographer/colorist
81

The actual grading recipe is: teal orange over teal orange and, finally, a bit of teal orange. Just to make sure people feel like they're still in 2010.

October 7, 2017 at 11:40AM

0
Reply

RED points at advertisment projected on the moon.

October 6, 2017 at 1:52PM

0
Reply
avatar
Luc Beloix
Director Of Photography
124

I hope the image will look good on my iPhone;)

October 6, 2017 at 4:23PM

0
Reply
avatar
Marek Kremer
Editor & Colorist
1

No. Shit like that will only look good on Red's own phone. You know, the overpriced one that will sell about a dozen. The one that probably will never make it to market.

October 7, 2017 at 11:39AM

0
Reply

Isn't it the same price as the S8 and Iphone? Also if it never comes to market it costs everyone nothing since the purchase is fully refundable.

October 11, 2017 at 2:23PM

0
Reply
avatar
Emil
Content
254

.

October 6, 2017 at 9:09PM, Edited October 6, 9:13PM

0
Reply
Tim Green
Director
72

Don't we all love gear? I could go on about it all day long - but behind this is a terrifying truth: it's very difficult to make a truly outstanding film. If only it were as simple as using a "Monstro" sensor!

October 7, 2017 at 3:52PM

0
Reply
Ed Wright
Director, DP, Writer
389

Would still rather shoot with on an Alexa mini.

October 7, 2017 at 7:59PM

0
Reply

I don't show up on set with anything called "Mini" But that's just me....

October 8, 2017 at 1:05AM

0
Reply
avatar
Brad Grimm
Director/DP
100

Then you haven't been on most shows or movies as of recent.

October 8, 2017 at 3:43PM

0
Reply

Only the ones I film. Tune into SHOWTIME and see who is the DP of the film Tough Guys currently streaming.

October 10, 2017 at 5:40PM

0
Reply
avatar
Brad Grimm
Director/DP
100

K

October 12, 2017 at 2:25AM

0
Reply

You must not work too often

October 9, 2017 at 12:25PM

0
Reply
avatar
Chris Kas
Jack of all trades
169

Quite a bit actually. The great thing about being the DP is you choose the camera..

October 10, 2017 at 5:43PM

0
Reply
avatar
Brad Grimm
Director/DP
100

"the still photo 35mm frame size has become exceptionally popular in motion picture use for the larger photo sites and smaller depth of field"

You forgot to add, "among amateurs who don't know what 'full-frame' means." Otherwise, the above statement is bullcrap.

October 9, 2017 at 8:16PM, Edited October 9, 8:17PM

0
Reply
David Gurney
DP
1402

Such a grading huh?.... Didn't see a drastic difference in dynamic range in Monstro and S35 8K Helium has a noise at 400 percent crop compare to Monstro..really?! Tell me people Who the hell is going to do 400% crop ever?! ....no sense. Ya! Bigger sensor...different lenses....different everything.

October 14, 2017 at 2:01PM, Edited October 14, 2:12PM

0
Reply