a_red_paperclipThe prolific guys over at fxguide have posted a Red EPIC test shot that shows the HDRx mode in use. In this case, the shot is a car driving from the interior of a dark tunnel to a fully daylit sky. They’ve dubbed it The Impossible Shot, as without some kind of high-dynamic range mode, it simply wouldn’t be possible. It really is a fantastic way to show off the feature, as it captures the practicality of a common shooting situation…moving from interior to exterior. It’s always a challenge to do that, and EPIC HDRx appears to handle it with aplomb.

UPDATE: Red has announced another supply chain delay, due to the situation in Japan:

“…there are 18 parts (out of 18,000) of EPIC-X that come from Japan. More specifically… northern Japan factories. If you are not brain dead and have been watching the news, you will understand that this is bad news.

We are late shipping EPIC for many reason up to now… mostly due to us. We have made changes, had no idea how difficult this project was… yada, yada. Now that we know what we are doing and are ready to rock, including building a complete production line in Irvine… this happens.”

Original post follows…

In other recent RED news, Jim Jannard has shared some information on the forums about the current shipping schedule. As lately seems to be the case with Red, no specific dates are mentioned, but this info should be helpful to those who are waiting in line for Epic cameras and need to plan finances or rentals. Here’s Jim at the start of the thread:

“EPIC-Ms will continue to be made given that the parts and pieces are available. EPIC-M are not full featured… but have most of what you want. EPIC-X Stage 2 will ship a few before NAB, production will continue after a slight delay due to Japan supply chain issues end of April. All features will not be available for early EPIC-X and upgrades will come as they are enabled. All orders for Stage 2 and 3 will be shipped before summer’s end 2011 (this year). Order taken for EPIC-X at NAB will be shipped by summer’s end. EPIC-S will beging production as soon as EPIC-X orders are filled.”

As a reminder, EPIC-M is the hand-machined, limited-feature camera that is being built directly by RED. These are coming out in limited quantities to the typical list of friends and early adopters. EPIC-X is the proper manufactured camera system, though from what Jim says it looks like future firmware updates will be required to enable all the features. EPIC-S is the new terminology for what the interchangeable-lens Scarlet S35 used to be. They’ve taken the one Scarlet model that I personally was interested in, added some features from the EPIC line, raised the price, and now are designating it as the base-model EPIC. When Jim references Stage 2 and 3, he’s referring to their customer waiting list and rollout order.

This staggered, firmware-feature-limited rollout is akin to how RED One was released…get it in shooters hands with limited features and some known (and unknown) bugs, and fix things later via a number of firmware updates. From my personal experience with RED One, it was around firmware version #15 to #17 before the camera was what I would call full-featured and (mostly) solid. Hopefully Epic will prove to be rock-solid out of the gate, and feature updates will be released more quickly. Later in the thread, when pressed, Jim noted what they mean by “summer” and narrowed down the Stage 2 ship date a little:

“Technically summer ends in September… so that means all Stage 2 and 3 should be shipped well before then. All orders placed at NAB will certainly be shipped before then.” “I would look at Stage 2 to be shipped by May/June.”

He also went on to say that EPIC-S specs would be “locked down by NAB.” For those that are counting, this is the third NAB show that Red will be showing an unfinished Scarlet camera, and specs have officially changed several times since then. If we’re going by Red’s track record, I’d fully expect EPIC-S specs and ship deadlines to change again before the end of summer timeframe, but we shall see. I’m a bit jaded at this point at the perpetual spec and ship-date changes, so it would not shock me if we didn’t see EPIC-S ship till closer to Christmas 2011. I sincerely hope that Red proves me wrong.

Jim also notes that we can expect Scarlet Fixed-lens updates at NAB, so that’s either a spec or shipping timeframe update, or both. I can see why they would hold off on EPIC-S delivery until after the majority of EPIC’s ship, as EPIC-S has the potential to cannibalize higher-level EPIC camera sales (in my opinion, based on the featureset vs price). Scarlet fixed-lens, not so much. I don’t see why they would want to artifically hold back the fixed-lens Scarlet, so ship dates for that camera are probably going to be determined by just how finished the camera really is, and the state of the Japan parts manufacturing situation.

Honestly, I’m not that excited about the Scarlet fixed lens system, not nearly as excited as I was a couple years ago when DSLRs and large-sensor cameras weren’t available and Red was the only game in town talking larger sensors. But now with S35-sized (APS-C) sensors on every corner, and more options on the horizon, Scarlet’s 2/3 sensor and fixed lens seem rather limiting…for me, I’d look at other manufacturer camcorders before I’d consider the Scarlet fixed lens. This is not only because of the features, but is also a function of the continual price bumps that Scarlet has gotten over the years…it’s no longer “3K for $3K” and that has placed Scarlet in the same price range as several new options that are hitting the market.

The EPIC-S, on the other hand, while a little more pricey, offers the features I’d probably want, and at a fair price point. It’s priced higher than it was originally for roughly the same system, but the price seems to match the features and some of the EPIC features have carried down (like HDRx). In my opinion, Red was smart to bump the price on the interchangeable-lens Scarlet and move it up into the “professional” EPIC line. Now those who buy EPIC-S will have the EPIC badge on their camera, and not have to feel like a scrub shooter, justifying the “prosumer” Scarlet moniker in pro production circles (remember, the low-end Scarlet was originally the chicken in every pot, the camera every soccer mom was going to carry). And in my opinion, the new name + new features also allowed Red to justify bumping the price so as not to cannibalize higher-level EPIC sales as much as the Scarlet S35 would have.


6 Responses to “RED Pre-NAB Updates”  

  1. 1 Kenneth Gooswit

    It looks like it’s all about picking the pocket!

  2. 2 Matthew Jeppsen

    What do you mean, Kenneth?

  3. 3 Carl Weston

    I believe the Epic-S won’t ship in any quantity until February 2012, but when it does ship it’s gonna sell very well..I think there will be a few used Sony f3′s around that time..

  4. 4 Matthew Jeppsen

    Perhaps, Carl. And anyone that has shot with a Sony F3 in the 11 months till you think Epic-S will ship, will have made a boatload of money. If you need a good camera now, buy one now. Don’t wait for a company’s pipe dream to materialize.

  5. 5 Bart Sutherland

    I’m just confused about the pricing strategy…price of low end Epic is 12K, high end is 58K. Same camera, some different boards inside and half the data rate, but does this cost 46K ?? Red seems to have moved in the direction of charging what the market will tolerate…when the Arri offering comes in at 60k, they simply offer theirs at 58k. What happened to putting the highest quality possible into the hands of the biggest number of people?? Or am I missing something?

  6. 6 carl weston

    The Epic M is a temporary camera system designed for testing. It cost more because the parts are order in very small quantities. Because of the quake in japan there building more Epic M’s than planned, people want the dam camera so badly that there willing to pay almost twice the price as opposed to just waiting for the the Final retail production line version of the Epic M witch is called the Epic X..It will cost 28G’s, much less than a Arri Alexa.