Friday, May 6, 2011
I'll start by saying that this is not a scientific review. It's a personal opinion based on field experience.
I also want to note that my grand father shot film, my father shot film and I still shoot film. 35mm film is the standard by which all HD cameras are measured.
Okay, so I've been using the Alexa a bunch. The camera is a game changer. It not only does things that other HD cameras do not do, it does things that film cameras do not do. It has insane latitude, fantastic image quality, the ability to shoot in super low light with out using large source lights and produce a virtually noise free image. It has a super easy to use interface and it is a very durable camera. If you gave me 40 million dollars to shoot a film (prior to my using the Epic) I would use an Alexa hands down. Over 40 million and I would use 35mm. The camera is that good.........
And then I used the Epic. It is also a game changer. It also has insane latitude, we had detail in hot spots that were 8 stops over key and a black face at night 4 stops under also held up great. It has ridiculous image quality and can shoot 120fps at 5k. Its user interface is a kick ass touch screen that you can use to control all of the cameras functions. It's well laid out and works under any conditions. The camera boots up in about 5 seconds and lasts forever-on one gold mount battery. It also has an on board that goes in the handle and lasts for about an hour. Carrying it around felt not much different than carrying a 5D. It has a great rail system that works with pretty much any accessory you could think of and it's not bulky and doesn't feel like it's in the way. The whole thing is light, so light that I actually added weight to use it on steadicam.
One of the most important features to me is durability. I am really hard on equipment and I demand a lot out of it. I can say first hand that the Epic is a beast. With the go ahead from my producer and director and under the supervision of one of RED's representatives I beat this little workhorse to a pulp. Water, salt water, dirt, sand, impact, you name it; the Epic has the constitution of a concrete block.
At this point I would need a budget of over 100 million dollars before I would consider using 35mm film and even then I'd have to think about it. I hope Sony, Panavision, Arri and every other camera manufacturer is hard at work creating some serious equipment. Even if they are, they have a major up hill climb if they want to run with the EPIC.