I’ve been so busy lately that I almost forgot that today is November 13th – the day of the big RED Digital Cinema announcement regarding the new Scarlet and Epic cameras. Not to be too much of a fan boy, but I have been waiting for this for a while.Â Scarlet had been very high on my list since I “saw it” at NAB. When you look at what’s out there, you can’t beat a 3k camera for $3k. Then mid September they announced that Scarlet was basically going to be scrapped and redesigned. While no one knew exactly what that meant, I’ve been holding out hope that the specs will be even better. Â I wanted to get in on the first batch of orders. But this announcement changes everything!Â It’s bigger than anyone imagined.
A few hours before the announcement Jim Jannard “leaked” a few renders of the new design. In case you haven’t been following, Jim had been in the press lately raving about how huge this announcement is going to be – taking some jabs for his enthusiasm along the way. However, from the early pictures I could tell that his level of excitement was totally warranted. Â Now that I’ve seen the announcement (a few hours early) – I know what he was so excited about…
The new Red system is a DSMC system – which stand for Digital Stills and Motion Camera. Â The idea is to select a “brain” and then build a body around it. Â Everything is modular and interchangeable. There are multiple Scarlet and Epic brains to choose from and they range in Price, Image Size, and available Frame Rates. The various brains will not all be available at the same time. They will be released in phases over the next two years. Â But the idea is that you can build a custom camera based on your needs now, and then just swap out the brain later on for a better one.
Unfortunately we still have a lot of waiting to do. It looks like the earliest any of us will be getting one of these will be Spring 2009, with some of the less expensive brains not coming out until Summer/Fall 2009. The $2500 model falls into this category and will have a 2/3 inch sensor, a 3K image, max out at 120fps, and have a Mini-Red mount, B4 Mount and C-Mount. Of course all of these details are subject to change – especially the dates. “Count on it.”
On the high end is the 617 which has unbelievable specs: a 28k image sensor, an image size of 28,000 x 9334 and will run $55,000. Â Check out these specs. I added a column with the very important price and estimated release dates:
Other announcement details:
- There is an upgrade path for current Red One owners – and the promise that Red pioneers will not be forgotten for their investments. Â In practical terms they can upgrade the sensor, trade in their Red One for an Epic getting a full 17,500 towards the price, or keep it and get a 12% discount on a Scarlet.
- Red One owners will also have priority on purchasing Epic or Scarlet, meaning that they’ll be in the order queue in front of those of us who waited.
- You have to check out this page to take in the whole thing. Â But there are 8 bodies to choose from. 4 Scarlet variations, and 4 Epic variations. Â They range in price and in resolution.
- “Scarlet and EPIC are themselves built on several variations of next-generation Mysterium-X and Mysterium Monstro sensors. With performance specifications that are nearly unbelievable, until you see for yourself. The sensor size and frame-rate combinations, couples with increased dynamic range and decreased noise, put Scarlet and EPIC off the scale against any competitor. At any price.”
- “Sensor sizes begin at 2/3” and go all the way up to an “I don’t believe my eyes” 6x17cm and, as Mysterium technology advances, both Scarlet and EPIC can be upgraded simply by purchasing a new “brain”. Not a whole new camera.”
- The Scarlet brains are not all 3k – 2/3″. Â They range up to 6k – FF35. Â Likewise the Epic brains are not all 5k. Â They start there at S35, jump to 6k – FF35, 9k – 645, and the massive 28k – 617.
- There is one Scarlet mentioned that has a fixed 8x lens, an estimated Fall 2009 release, and a price that is TBD. Â Will this fixed lens scarlet be even less than it’s $2500 brother or come in closer to the originally promised $3k.
- They also announced a slew of accessories. The prices in that chart above are only for the brains. Expect to spend at least a few thousand for recording modules, monitoring, lenses, batteries, mounts, handles, etc. Â Most of which will be required to record even one frame.
Overall it’s all very exciting. The Red forum is buzzing with already 135 pages of posts in the last hour or so. Â The main bummer is that there’s still a lot of the waiting ahead. Options are great, but looking over everything makes me want to creep up to the next tier, and then the one above that. I was hoping for a 3k camera for $3k. The fixed lens scarlet will probably fit that bill – but that’s a year away from being available. The sweet spot seems to be the Scarlet S35 which is $7000 for the brain. Â But the model down from that is the one I’ll probably justify at $2500 for the brain.