RED Epic and Scarlet Unleashed

RED Digital Cinema has done it again. Several years ago the California based camera manufacturer faced much skepticism after they had announced the RED ONE digital film camera. The camera touted such advanced specifications that no one believed the unknown company could pull it off. In the end they pulled it off.

Specifications for RED Digital Cinema’s Epic and Scarlet, the two new camera systems have been announced this week. The projected abilities are beyond what any other manufacturer can match at this time. By any measure there should be a wave of skepticism again but no one is questioning whether or not RED Digital Cinema can pull it off this time.

Epic and Scarlet are a part of RED’s new Digital Stills and Motion Camera (DSMC) system. The two cameras are not like any cameras we have seen so far. The units are highly configurable which means that different pieces can be mixed and matched to answer specific needs of a production, rental facility or an individual photographer or cinematographer.

Yes, “photographer” is correct. Epic and Scarlet can be configured in to work as high end digital still cameras. The Epic 617 option with new Monstro sensor comes at an astounding 28k resolution (28000×9334) pixels.

Speaking of sensors and sizes, RED is introducing the all new Mysterium-X and Monstro imaging sensors which come at a range of sizes and resolutions starting at 3k and going all the way up to 28k.

The sensors are part of the camera “brain” which is a self contained module that can be configured with lens mount, remote control, power and recording options. The announced prices for RED Epic and Scarlet camera brains range from $2,500 to $55,000.

The body of the camera can literally be custom built using available options. Judging by the fact that the existing RED ONE camera has been embraced by third party manufacturers it is reasonably to expect that the available body options and accessories will not be limited to the offering announced by RED.

These options currently include a handle grip, lens mounts, video viewfinders, recording modules, batteries, I/O modules and a remote control.

The small form factor of Epic and Scarlet makes them ideal for use in stereoscopic photography and RED has already announced an ergonomically deigned stereoscopic rig for use with these cameras.

The estimated street dates for various Epic and Scarlet options are from spring to winter 2009.

Igor Ridanovic is a co-founder of RED Los Angeles User Group