In December, RED Digital Cinema began shipping their newest sensor known as the Dragon. This sensor boasts a 6K image (vs. 5K of Epic MX) with an increase in the number of pixels, 19MP from the current MX sensor at 14MP. While 6K might not be appealing to everyone, it means you get an extremely high quality 4K finish due to the subsampling. The sensor marks a large leap in technology and image processing far beyond anything else available on the market, film or digital. The Dragon sensor is capable of capturing 16+ stops of Dynamic Range making it the widest latitude ever available in a cinema camera. RED has also carried over their amazing HDRx feature boosting the available Dynamic Range to 20+ stops. The usable ISO range has been improved to maintain 16+ stops dynamic range from 250ISO up to 2000ISO and compression algorithms have been vastly improved. Early tests have shown the most impressive improvements in highlight roll-off, noise in low color temps, and improved overall color. Loads of R3D samples are available on Reduser.net if you want to play with the files yourself. Or better yet, rent one and shoot your own tests. The Epic Dragon is currently being used on Transformers 4, Gone Girl, Avatar 2 & 3, and several others.
Speaking of improvements, RED has now enabled GPU decoding of R3D material to boost playback and speed up transcoding times. Previously you needed a Red Rocket card to get real time playback and renders. With the latest release of Redcine X Pro, multiple GPU support has been enabled. Soon the SDK will be made available to software developers to implement in their software packages.
The Dragon sensor is the highest scoring of all time and first to break the 100 point threshold on the DXO Mark Sensor test! This is a massive achievement for anyone let alone from a digital cinema camera that shoots that quality in motion unlike the others. The Epic beat every other camera ever made. What’s even more mind blowing is this was achieved with the prototype camera and not the improved updated release version. Check out the results here: http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/RED-Epic-Dragon-review-First-camera-to-break-the-100-point-DxOMark-sensor-score-barrier
You can purchase a CF (Carbon Fibre) Dragon now and receive it in 7-10 days. While it comes with a hefty price tag, you’re shaving a couple pounds of weight over the standard Epic body and essentially jumping to the front of the line. http://www.red.com/store/products/epic-m-red-dragon-carbon-fiber-w-side-ssd-carbon-fiber-and-magnesium-lens-mount Things are definitely looking good for this upgrade. If you have questions or need help configuring a package, feel free to contact me and I can even put you in touch with a representative at RED.
Here’s a peek at some very early footage. RED is still working on the new Dragoncolor which promises to improve color even more.
Please Excuse the JPEG compression: (These have all been colored but keep in mind it’s RAW so you can take it many directions.)
16.3 stops of total Dynamic Range of the Dragon sensor confirmed by the Sekonic lightmeter Profiler.
UPDATE: RED has announced the updated replacement OLPF for the Dragon sensor. This new OLPF removes the flare visible in certain lighting conditions and also improves on color and an increase in overall dynamic range especially in the highlights. We should now have an additional 1.3 measured stops of dynamic range in the highlights as well as a slight improvement in low end noise. Color response has also benefitted from the new calibration.
A WHOLE NEW BEAST
With the 6K RED DRAGON® sensor, you can capture over 9x more pixels than HD. Unrivaled detail and impressive native exposure eclipse 35mm film in both latitude and image density. Industry leading specs distinguish the EPIC DRAGON as a model for image innovation, helming the evolution of digital cinema technology.
BIGGER IS BETTER
Resolution is more than just attention to detail. From large objects to granule textures, 6K images cultivate the nuance of every image, leaving nothing behind. Improvements to micro-contrast and MTF produce a cleaner image, drastically reducing moiré and aliasing artifacts. When outputting 6K files to 4K or HD, your image will appear more refined and detailed compared to those captured at lower resolutions. The choice is simple; Bigger is better.
STILLS CAMERA? MOTION CAMERA?BOTH.
6K resolution translates to over 19 MP, packing the same detail you expect from your DSLR into a cinema camera. When you can capture up to 100 frames per second at full resolution, you get 100 chances per second to capture the perfect picture. Every still is raw and Adobe Photoshop compatible, which means your workflow doesn’t need to change—even if technology does. The RED DRAGON sensor blurs the line between motion and still cameras, giving you the best of both worlds.
NEW COLOR SCIENCE
Your image is only as good as the color science behind it. The new RED DRAGON™ sensor features our most advanced color science yet, taking advantage of vastly improved dynamic range and low-light capabilities. Skin tones are softer, primary colors are more vibrant, and subtle color variations are discernibly remarkable. EPIC DRAGON cameras capture images that are true to life, with colors that can only be described as “brilliant”.
SAME MOUNTS MORE LENSES
Leica-M, Canon, Nikon, and PL lenses are all compatible with EPIC DRAGON cameras. All mounts are easy to swap out and are engineered to fit precisely, without ever having to adjust back focus. A redesigned sensor window allows for the use of wider Leica-M and Angenieux lenses, while also providing a larger field of view when shooting. Every lens is a new perspective and the EPIC DRAGON lets you pick the one that works for you.
HIGHER DYNAMIC RANGE
The RED DRAGON offers dynamic range that was once thought impossible for a digital sensor. Such wide latitude provides cinematographers and photographers alike with the ability to take on challenging lighting conditions, without the need for excessive filtration. Improved low-light capabilities let you shoot at ISO 2000 and still produce a clean image fit for theatres or publication. Dilated exposure and improved sensitivity makes it easier to take on the unpredictable and capture the unbelievable.
BIGGER, BETTER 3D
Compact form factor, 6K resolution, and wide dynamic range makes the EPIC DRAGON a perfect solution for 3D capture. Ample resolution provides VFX artists with a more malleable image that is easier to manipulate and compose for 3D work. As with the EPIC MYSTERIUM-X, the EPIC DRAGON is widely compatible with 3ality Digital 3D rigs, including the EPIC-inspired ATOM 3D rig. When you’re done shooting, you can bring your stereo 3D footage into REDCINE-X PRO for viewing, color correcting, HIT/VIT adjustments, and exporting. When it comes to 3D blockbusters, there’s only one choice if you’re thinking big picture.
The EPIC DRAGON clocks 100 fps at full 6K resolution, merging the worlds of hi-speed with hi-resolution. For even faster speeds, simply drop your resolution and take advantage of maximum speeds of up to 150 fps. With blazing fast hi-speed capabilities, there’s nothing that gets past your EPIC DRAGON.
*All data is copyright RED DIGITAL CINEMA and used for promotional purposes only. All material is copyright of their respective owners and I make no claim to own it.