A few weeks ago I filmed my new short film ‘Beehive‘. I was absolutely thrilled that I was able to shoot this on a Red Epic and Red Scarlet-X.
Thanks to the guys at ‘Wonderworld films‘ for The Epic and Carl Zeiss CP.2s. I was very excited to take it out for a spin.
For Sydney filmmakers check these guys out for their Epic packages, they are very competitive and a pleasure to do business with.
Now, I’d had the chance to shoot on a Red One, Red MX and Scarlett-X before but this was my first chance working with the Red Epic. So I thought it high time I do another gear review and tutorial post. I hope that you find this interesting and useful. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make this a better resource.
After the release of the first Red camera, the Red one, in 2007, Red has released two new cameras; the Red Scartlet-X, the cheaper and less featured of the two and The Red Epic.
The Red Epic digital cinema camera is the top of the range of the ‘Red’ series. It features a 5k sensor and can capture from 1 – 120 frames per second at full resolution. It can handle challenging lighting conditions with it’s dynamic range of up to 18 stops with HDRx.
The Red Epics knock-out feature is its Mysterium-X 5k sensor. Now, it only shoots 18fps in 5k but for some that is an amazing feature to have on hand. For the rest of us the 4k ability is incredible.
The Epic shoots the following rates: 1-120 fps 5K and 4.5K, 1-150 fps 4K, 1-200 fps 3K and 1-300 fps 2K.
It shoots 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 47.96, 48, 50, 59.94 fps for all resolutions.
Slow motion abilities
With 5K Resolution at 120 frames per second. the ability to do incredible slow motion is incredibly easy and looks amazing. The Epic is the only camera on the market that is capable of a 120 frame rate at such a high resolution.s at 5K resolution.
I had a chance to shoot a bit of slow motion and I was very pleased with the results.
Check out this beautiful video demonstrating the slow motion capabilities of the Red Epic from CC Media Ltd.
The Red features a 14 megapixel Mysterium X sensor with a standard dynamic range of 13.5 stops, 18 stops with HDRx technology (The blending of two clips filmed simultaneously to get 2 different exposures. Useful for a dark interior and bright exterior. Blending the two clips will make both interior and exterior appear correctly exposed).
*Note – It is important to use an ND filter instead of just stopping one camera down to F22, because if you change the aperture then you will be changing the depth of field and when you go to combine the shots certain parts will look out of focus
The R3D codec has seen even more improvements with the addition of Color Science 3.
Lenses and mounts
Red offers a wide range of interchangeable mounts (Nikon, Leica, Canon, and PL glass) so you don’t get stuck with lens options again.
A great benefit of the design is that these mounts and most accessories are cross-compatible between both the Epic and Scarlet cameras, so the mount that you use on one camera will be able to be used on another.
This made it very easy for me to jump between the two cameras for my shoot.
RED has their own series of PL-mount lenses available in two different sizes of zooms and four different prime sizes. They are available from $4,250.00 for the lowest-priced prime and up to $9,975.00 for their most expensive zoom (which would cover almost all necessary lens lengths).
In addition to RED’s line up of lenses, there is a very large assortment of lenses with are compatible with the RED mounts available. I shot both with Carl Zeiss CP2s and Cooke S4s and was so pleased with the ease of changing lenses and also how fantastic these lenses looked with the RED Epic.
Recording media and style
The Epic uses REDMAG (SSD) Modules which are available in 64, 128, 256, 512GB Media.
To record audio both the RED Scarlet and Epic record up to two channels of RAW 24-bit 48khz audio.
There are a few different ways to control your RED Camera, the most simple is the DSMC Side Handle which connects directly to the side of your Epic or Scarlet Brain. This is extremely beneficial because it also allows a slot for RED’s REDVOLT batteries to power your camera instead of being limited to the onboard AC Adapter.
You can also control your camera using a touchscreen LCD monitor or REDMOTE (which wirelessly connects to your RED Scarlet or Epic).
LCD monitor and viewfinder
RED has created their own monitors that connect to the camera via proprietary connection, but you can also use the HD-SDI connection to attach a third-party monitor.
RED also has a type of viewfinder available, the Bomb EVF, which connects via the same proprietary connection. It comes in two versions, with a LCOS or OLED display.
The RED BOMB EVF (LCOS) viewfinder and a 9″ RED TOUCH LCD priced between $3,200.00 and $3,450.00.
Differences to red one and scarlet-x
The biggest issue with the Epic is its success rate. The camera is known for failing on set and it is generally recommended that a backup camera be made available. The Epic has a lot of little bugs, that won’t necessarily make the camera fail but if you aren’t aware of them they can cause you a lot of grief and could get you fired.
I was fortunate enough to go through my entire shoot with barely a hiccup. The only issue I ran into was hitting a button on the side handle which adjusted my white balance. This proved to be unchangeable and the only way to reset it so I could adjust the white balance correctly was to reset the factory settings. This only took a few minutes on set. It was a pain but I was glad that this was the worst issue I came across.
When the Epic was first released it had a steep price tag. It recently has had a price change of almost 45% cheaper. Read here for more details about the price cut.
Brain (depending on model): $17,500 – $22,500
How to Use the Red Epic
Film Riots review and tutorial of the Red Epic
Red Epic vs Canon 5d for web video a great little review of the Red Epic and a comparison test weighing up how to choose your camera for online videos.
Phillip Blooms ‘Why I love the Red Epic and Why I don’t have one anymore‘.
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“With my head in the stars, a twinkle in my eye and a love for cinema and nostalgia, filmmaking is a fun, creative way to express myself.”