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First RED DRAGON video on Vimeo
  • You can watch it here:

  • 65 Replies sorted by
  • This is the very first Dragon footage released by Red. Any impression?

  • Well, it seems to be up there with the F55, to say the least.

  • I would like to see a Zacuto shootout with Alexa Plus, F65, F55 for dynamic range, lowlight and skintones. I must say i love F65, and i love Alexa less. If the Dragon make on par with these cameras, they will need to revise (again) their price point. In all this, it remain a mistery for me why the Alexa is "the camera of choice" and F65 is starting just now to make some features. (Oblivion, Evil Dead). Only a DR matter?

  • Dynamic range is impressive, although none of the images really 'speak' to me to use a vague undefined term. I suppose that may come down more to the glass used and how it was graded. It looks like very wide dynamic range DSLR video to me, but I would never mistake it for the elegance of film.

  • I must say i'm very impressed. I see much difference from my Red Mx.

  • The high frame rate shots are very very video like, and the normal shots range from film like to video like. There something still not dialed in on this camera or on the workflow.

    Yet, imagine the freedom this will give to shoot outdoors without HMI and reflector fills, and to do much quicker setups on set. That alone is potentially revolutionary in the narrative acquisition process.

    Ultimately, the delivery medium will probably compress the DR, but not tomorrow's delivery systems. Another future proofing beyond high resolution. But I see this as making filming cheaper, and increasing the shift to post production dailing in of things that would previosuly be determine with lighting,

  • My take - accept with a large grain of salt - although it looks nice with high dynamic range and the high frame rates are amazing, to me Alexa has a saturated mojo going on that isn't that ubiquitous pale desaturated look. I know you can crank up saturation to any RAW files and grade how you like but that's not it. There is something else, a magic going on that makes the image punch without effort on Alexa. The color science is spot on. The F35 still rocks for this reason. I say this having played with R3Ds, Alexa 444 stuff and more. Red is high resolution for sure but IMHO lacks mojo. Too clean if you want a bit of emotion. Let me explain, I bought the Hobbit on Blu-ray and was really looking forward to it. Was disappointed - kinda like watching TV with a hyper reality edge to it. Same with the social network. Same with the Wallander series. In fact every Red production that I have eagerly bought has left me feeling the same. Sharp but no emotion. Moving DSLR pictures in other words. When I watched life of PI I was mesmerised all the way through at how punchy the film looked. It sucked me in. Looked like some of my favourite films shot on 35 mm / 65 mm that punch - like The Fall, Baraka, Samsara etc. Don't get me wrong - I think it's a monumental achievement but throwing more resolution at us doesn't make up for an image that makes us go wow for the sharpness as opposed to the overall look. Kind of reminds me of the Sigma still cameras compared to the others. Few come close in the depth and palette they can capture. Canon and Nikon have the market in high resolution but these little babies have mojo that others cannot replicate. They are slow and annoying but when you grade they make an old man smile. Anyway - sometimes you want clean and sometimes you want mojo. Alexa, BMCC have mojo for sure but RED has grabbed the affordable Hi res, HFR RAW segment of the market and sealed it. Guess I can start to see a Red in my future at some point. Better start saving pennies. I do like mojo though - that's why I have held onto my SGblade and will do for a while yet.

  • The Hobbit @ 48fps was like those led tv's that goes wild at 600 hertz: telenovelas effect. As is, digital is cold, especially if you want something very clean. I'm on your side about film, and i think all these 4k projectors in theatres are not the best you can get: you miss entirely the analogic process in that way. I prefer a good Arrilaser with a nice film stock to print the digital on, and, if it's possible (it depends on colorist skill in the old school), a last "push" in film development, like Storaro use to do, and he still does even with digital cameras. I really loved The Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman), shot in 65mm. I think that is still a beauty that digital can't achieve.

  • The questions comes to mind after watching this " VIDEO " is : - WTF those kids are doing walking in the trees carrying $80,000 worth of camera and no " matching " tripod or audio capture system !? - Where did those kids parked and locked their skateboards before getting in those trees !? - Is there a difference in price for the left or right when I'm selling my kidney !?

  • The challenge with 17 stops is in making the image pop; say something rather than just show everything and look like stuff does when you are glancing. I´m sure it will be possible to put all that range into good use, it will require a lot of work though - it´s not like: now when it is there you can just shoot and everything will turn great.

  • my reaction? 'meh'

  • I'm going to post something similar to what I did in the BMPCC thread.

    If you want to judge the IQ of a camera you must: A: Have the original camera files B: Have the proper tools to playback and manipulate the image C: Know how to read scopes D: Observe the images on a properly calibrated monitor

    If I had to guess, some of the posters here might be missing some of those items in their analysis toolkit. That leads to very uninformed observations which spreads FUD on the web.

    I suggest that people respect the process and offer analysis that is more useful to the community. You don't have to like a particular camera, just make sure you have reached your conclusions with a logical approach.

    In the case of Epic vs Alexa vs F65 vs BMCC these cameras all provide exceptional image quality but IQ is subjective. Also the talent using these cameras is quite vast and experience level varies. There have been some blind tests conducted with high level DPs that have misidentified Alexa and Epic footage that was matched very closely to each other.

    Do I think Red footage has flaws? Sure. So do most cameras on the market, including film. That's why choosing a camera and or film stock that is suitable for the style and story is still the way to go. I always recommend people do their own testing and rely less on the internet experts. Not that the information should be ignored, but should instead be a starting point for conducting your own tests, which you can control all of the variables and reach your own conclusions.

    Mark Toia is one of the busiest DPs/directors in the world. His approach here was to kick the tires of Dragon in real world scenarios and get some first impressions. the footage you are seeing has not been graded much if at all. that wasn't his goal, he wanted to see what was coming straight out of the camera with a basic LUT applied.

    My suggestion, wait until you can get your hands on some R3Ds and then follow the four steps I outlined above. Do it any other way and you are just guessing.

  • smsjr

    Well, you do have some very valid points. I re-checked Mark´s vid today (highly compressed) at work and most of what looked dull on my small laptop looked a whole lot better to put it mildly. The stuff that didn´t look good was there because he was pushing the latitude thingy. Since the original footage isn´t available I will only judge by eye > there´s no point in scrutinizing the scopes on an .mp4

    These are the things that popped to mind after a second view: 1. there still seems to be some ugly steps in the highligts at times. 2. Shadow response seems impressive. 3. having all the DR in the world doesn´t mitigate the need for lighting. 4. abuse of great DR will create some seriously un-realistic footage (f.i you don´t stare into the sun without having to adjust your eyes some time afterwards)

  • @RRRR Mark was trying to break the sensor. :-)

    I agree about not looking at an MP4 on scopes. Hence why step 1 is to have original camera files. Eventually he will be able to release the R3Ds if he so chooses to do so. Right now, there is no public version of Redcine-X to open them in, hence no desire to release the R3Ds and have people wonder why they don't work in current Redcine-X.

    In regards to highlights, I'll reserve comment until I at least see an R3D or get to test the camera myself.

    About DR and the need for lighting. I am a big proponent of getting it right with lighting. Extra dynamic range will be useful, but it still comes down to painting with light if you want the most cinematic results. Show up with a camera and hope for the best often doesn't work in my experience.

    I think Dragon will be an improvement over the MX, but it's hard to quantify how big that improvement will be at this point because it's just too early. We need to see final production cameras with new color science implemented in Redcine-X as well as other tools such as Resolve. That is when the complete picture will start to form. Until then, guys like Mark Toia will give us some initial first impressions which we can begin the process of understanding.

  • I think we need to be able to talk about what we see, what´s the point otherwise? (with releasing footage before there are production samples out there). Highlight roll-off didn´t always turn out great in the 8bit files. Can be the source, can be the output.

    Color science is one thing, but the thing that strikes you first is the feeling of the image from any certain camera, however - this too can be quite hard to tell from a oversampled highly compressed .mp4 - at least one needs something close to the original source.

    Personally, the nicest images (by far) I´ve seen for digital cinema is from an Aaton Delta in preproduction (who knows if it will ever be available for film-makers!). But then again, I´m all for an image with personality (like film-stocks) - not one with near infinite mouldability within certain confines.

  • I think it's a big improvement with the skin tones over any other RED out there. That's one thing that I never liked with the brand. It always does something weird with skin. Not sure what it is.

  • Personally, I really enjoyed the results with the high ISO footage. I'm not saying anything about how it compares to other cameras (because I think the general idea of @smsjr's points is valid) but the video does clearly demonstrate the ability to get good high ISO results (which is a big deal for things like shooting exterior landscapes around sunset and sunrise, for example).

  • I know all these cameras, and i used them for tests in various scenario.

    This not because i'm good, but because i just have at 50 meters to my house the biggest service/rental in Milan, and i know them like we can know our pizza-maker, or favorite Bar near home.

    So, i see these stuff, and i own a Red One Mx, plus my GH2, and some equipment. I'm saying this because i have analyzed the raw of the Alexa Plus, and i don't see all this greatness.

    I think people choose Alexa because of 14.5 DR stops, good lowlight, and a easy workflow if you don't shoot in raw. For Sony F65, it's another planet.

    I think Claudio Miranda in Oblivion understood that camera with his guts, because the look of that movie is the essence of that camera (not like The Evil Dead, that you can shoot with every pro camera and do your things in post).

    All this to say: if Toia didn't make color correction, if the skin tones are genuine "straight of the camera" , and if everything is for real "real life" shooting, i can state i never saw a better digital than Epic Dragon.

    I'm saying this during the observation on Alexa post production: there were 2 cameras, only one shoot raw. The quality is not like the Dragon sensor, but there will be surely time to see what camera will shine in the near future :-)


    800 x 450 - 89K
  • thats an insane amount of dynamic range. no more need to gel windows or have expensive lights trying to compete with the sun. Its basically nearly idiot proof in regards to capturing a good exposure in most lighting conditions.

  • Jean71, How much a " running and loaded " DRAGON would cost today ? That is, if I wanted to shoot let's say three scenes - Int & Ext. total 60 pages of script and running the rushes only once to the village with two RAW backups.

    I asked the same at reduser and the answers have been from off to outrageous. The lack of info about the " approximate " cost of a running shooting rig while there is so much info about the pixel count and DR and looks of it is going around doesn't say good things about our shooters community.

  • @010101 Finished Red Dragon products are offered in 5 configurations from their store:

    • Brain Only $29,000

    • Brain with Side SSD and Lens Mount $31,200




    You would need one of the 3 collections, but which one would depend on your specific needs. The way I read your description, any of the 3 collections starting at $42,360 and up would work in terms of shooting. The two at $45,300 and above would allow you to shoot more footage.

    I think the best fit would probably be the $45,300 collection. You might also want to add a few cheap 3rd party power bricks for it as well.

    The backups would depend on what media you were backing up to (3rd party SSDs or hard drives, etc.).

    But somewhere between $45,300 and $50,000 depending on your specific needs would sound about right.

  • @010101

    Hi, Offload media at the video village could take some time. The answer is: do you want really shoot the scenes you're talking about? In all seriousness i tell you that you will need to travel light, that the Dragon will not be out until september, and all the raw you will need, it would be good to store in a 12 TB Promise Pegasus, and then a HELL of post production, with Rocket cards and a powerful pc/mac. (Other 5 figures, especially if you will need 4k display/s).

    My advice? Rent Canon. A C300 with 24-70 usm II, a 70-200 in the same league, and a wider zoom, a zacuto-like rig, a decent tripod. Also some cards and a laptop. You will have 50 megabit per second files, a very nice image, a run and gun camera, and you will save a lot of money. You shoot everything real fast, then you see your stuff in real time in a power mac. Good Mikes, Led lights (Trow an eye in the lights advices from VK here)

    You bring the stuff back at the rental, and you start to editing/coloring the C-Log, with no hassle, when you can take your time.

    Great result with no big money.

    Hope it can help.

  • @Jean71 I have the Canon 24-70 (Mk1) and 70-200 (no IS Mk 1) and I certainly enjoy using them. But I'm surprised to see you suggesting the C300 in this context (that is, for a narrative picture apparently aiming for the highest image quality, or I would infer that from wanting to use RED Dragon).

    The primary advantages a C300 offers over a GH2 are:

    • Internal ND filters

    • Timecode

    • Aspects of the ergonomics of the controls

    • Active EF mount

    • Superior high ISO performance.

    • Scopes Etc.

    In other words, primarily the sort of enhancements that really make a big difference with short setup times (especially run-n-gun, documentary, news, etc.) but can be worked around in narrative projects with a bit more time built into the schedule (or supplemental equipment that is significantly less expensive than a C300).

    Let's look at a C300 vs a GH2. Both of them output "pre-baked" 8-bit codec files (with a hacked GH2 having more bitrate) and you can buy a GH2 (or whatever version you feel fits better, like a G6 or similar) for the cost of renting a C300 for a while.

    The extra money you spend a C300 won't get you:

    • More bit depth (still 8-bit)

    • Much in the way of extra dynamic range

    • A RAW/compressed RAW/wavelet codec

    • Higher resolution or framerate options

    In other words, almost none of the things that a RED Dragon (or even Scarlet or BMCC if you forget framerate) normally have as some of their big selling points.

    I think that C300 is a great camera for run-and-gun applications (and in my brief exposure to using one, I loved the way it felt in my hands and the buttons laid out, etc.) but I just don't understand how the pricing makes sense for a narrative film in this context.

  • @thepalalias @010101

    Hi, Our friend said he wanted to shoot 60 pages of script, three scenes, int/ext. For what he want to do, i think a camera like C300 (and many others) will suit his needs. I like C300 images, if it had a different price, i would buy it. GH2, i use it with Red One, i love it, but i think a 2k from a 4k sensor, and C-Log is a great thing for renting C300, and also the lowlight: you will not need many extra lights with C300.

    About raw, it's still a tough workflow. If you are very committed in being a colorist, in having long rendering times, even for a couple of minutes, with a solid workstation, you are welcome. You will ask: is it Red Dragon better? In my opinion and for what i saw, it looks so good, you can't even compare with C300.

    But if you want to make it fast, in shooting and post, with a good quality, i think C300 (and i would say Sony FS700 too) could deliver very nice things.

    At the end of it i think: really he wants to spend $50,000? If he has more than one project and he share the costs with some people, it could be an expensive option, but doable.

    If not, renting a C300 or FS700 would be not a bad thing at all ;-)

    Just my opinion.