What’s cool about the EPIC Camera

Red Epic Camera

By Blake Barnett

| Equipment, Video Production


The RED EPIC Camera is a hugely evolutionary and perhaps revolutionary step in the digital cinema camera world. RED took the best things about their original camera – put the specs on steroids – and the body on a diet – and kept it at a very reasonable price. For a base price of around $30K without a lens you can be up and shooting (although pretty stripped down). The camera is beautifully small, expandable and elegant. Now to the big 5:

Resolution – The Epic currently has the highest resolution recording availability of any player on the market. At 5K the Bayer sensor on the Epic has been highly optimized and provides a much better picture than the same sensor on the RED One MX. This high amount of resolution provides advanced capabilities to reframe, stabilize, hide noise and repurpose footage in post production. If you have never used an oversampled image in post than you really don’t know what you have been missing. It’s amazing to be able to have a Raw image that you can zoom into nearly 300% in post and still have enough detail for 1080p.

Dynamic Range – The Epic camera has all the detail in the world but if it can’t handle contrasty situations then what is it worth? Fortunately for users the Epic has a built in Dynamic Range of about 13.5 stops. This doesn’t quite do what film can do under certain situations but it certainly has brought it within striking distance. Under those situations where contrast is uncontrollable or it’s not practical there is HDR-X. This is is truly revolutionary by the way it uses a simple concept in multiple exposures, and finds a way to mix everything together and approximate motion blur between the two streams to make a really organic feeling image.

Image Feel – This one will always be debatable but the images that you can get from the Epic camera have certainly excited a lot of people. According to John Schwartzman, Director of photography of The Amazing Spiderman “This is the best footage I have ever seen from any camera. Ever.” The holy grail of film is how it deals with skin tones and many people believe that the Epic has finally found a way to give us the type of face reproductions that we’ve always been looking for in a digital camera.

RAW Flexibility in post – With the introduction of REDCODE nearly a decade ago the world was introduced to an amazingly robust ‘raw’ format that made extensive coloring and manipulation in post with very small file sizes a true reality. The latest versions of Redcode only improve on this and make the footage that more malleable and amazing.

Sensitivity – The RED One MX sensor helped to finally push the boundaries of what you could record with very low light on a cinema camera. Although 35mm film has continued to advance over its lifespan it has basically hit its limits with respect to sensitivity. This is far from true with digital sensors. The Epic gives its users the ability to take a fast lens set and finally shoot in actual candlelight. A thing that was once nearly unreachable and the thing of legend on films such as Barry Lyndon is now quite attainable and at very low noise levels. In fact the Epic can be reliably shot at ISO’s of 2000 or higher with a very low grain image which opens up brand-new creative possibilities.

To discuss your next project with one of our RED Epic Cameras please contact us here.