Tom Ellacott tests out some of the RED camera range, including the Weapon, 6/5K Epic-Dragon, Raven and Scarlet cameras in London.
Test footage from the latest RED cameras including the 8K Weapon.
Shot in London.
I have always wanted to either own, operate or simply use a RED Digital Cinema camera – and thanks to cvp I now have.
They, along with Reducation, provided a week-long training course on the basic and advanced techniques on setting up, operating etc their latest cinema cameras, including the new 8K (!) Weapon along with 6/5K Epic-Dragon, Raven and Scarlet.
Immediately, you feel the hardware for it's size and weight – its both very small as well as very heavy.
Maybe I just wasn't expecting the weight, but it did come as a surprise to me.
As soon as you boot them up, you need to 'black-shade' – which is essentially the opposite of a white balance. Afterwards though, the camera (as long as you have a REDMAG and lens etc) is pretty much ready to shoot.
Simply navigate through the extremely simple touchscreen menu and quickly select your desired settings (8K took a matter of tapping 'Resolution', tapping '8K' and then I was done) and you're all set.
If you have already black-shaded before, you can literally boot-up and start shooting with your desired setting in under literally 2 minutes.
The immediate RAW and ProRes footage looked incredible without much work – and with work, looked even better. 16bit bitdepth is almost perfect as well.
Using the cameras handheld and only with a top handle and ext. screen is a very straightforward set-up, provides good leverage with great footage.
With an EVF and shoulder mount for example, I would find very little faults with the new systems – however, I do have some.
Like I said earlier, it was most likely just myself not expecting them to weigh what they did, but they weren't actually uncomfortably heavy at all, just to be a bit lighter would of been a huge advantage.
They're extremely strong, reliable and work without any problems. They're just very expensive I feel for what they are compared to, higher capacity C-Fast cards for example, and if that precious Redmag Reader were to ever break, it would just burn more holes in your pocket than the actual camera, gear and REDMAGS alone already would of.
RED cameras are famous for it, but I've never had a problem with it – seriously. It isn't huge or bad, its just 'there'.
Sometimes the guides will tell me that my focus on a particular object was perfect, and it did seem it through the provided 7" screen, but then upon rendering the footage afterwards, I noticed a lot of the time that it seemed as though there were artifacts or simple soft focus points that I was assured were not there at the time of shooting. This could of just been a simple mistake on my part, but it is annoying – hopefully, the addition of an EVF would stop this problem when using it again.
Shoot full-frame or gain 'false crops')
Essentially, if you have the 8K Weapon, and choose to shoot 4K, the camera does not take a 4K sensor size from the 8K sensor, instead it zooms or crops the image, losing quality and gaining noise. Meaning, depending on the severity of the quality of the crop (Which might not even be that bad – I did not spend too long checking) you should usually shoot full frame, which for some would mean 10 minutes of 8K footage at a time.
These 'problems' are not problems per-say, instead just things to take note of for future. They're not handycams, they are tens of thousands of dollars worth of professional, high budget cinema equipment and the shooting process and post-workflow should always be treated as such.
Furthermore, I loved using them, extremely pleased to be a rare user of the 8K Weapon and Helium systems, as well as the others and I would like to thank both the tutors, RED and cvp for letting me have the opportunity.
Thanks to cvp.com and Reducation.
Any questions? Let me know!