In 2 weeks, on October 11th, RED is due to unveil their latest 8K camera – the RED EPIC-W, which is said to feature the company’s latest Helium 8K sensor. In addition, plans will be unveiled for a special upgrade program for existing owners, including those with a Scarlet-W deposit, who would be given a chance to upgrade to an EPIC-W brain for $10,000. The normal pricing of the new EPIC-W brain is said to be $30K USD, so Scarlet-W folks waiting in line, get an automatic $10K discount (Scarlet-W brain costs $10K + 10K to jump to Epic-W = $20K), as opposed to $30K paying outright for those not in the Scarlet-W waiting line now. This information was revealed on the company’s REDUser.net forum, which is the usual place where all new announcements and such get communicated to the masses.
The company embraces a very open and intimate approach to communicating with customers (and future, potential ones) via their forum, so it came as no surprise when RED CEO Jarred Land made it official that in 2 weeks time, on October 11th, RED is going to shake things up again by announcing the aforementioned EPIC-W and Weapon Helium 8K cameras plus a special upgrade program for existing camera owners (including DSMC1 owners of Scarlet Dragons, Epic-X, Epic Dragons and even RED One MX) and those with pre-orders waiting for DSMC2 cameras be it a Weapon MG, CF or Scarlet-W.
Not all details have been revealed of course, but in the following paragraphs, I’ll do my best to summarise what I’ve learned sifting through 250 pages in the Update thread on Reduser, which has been my daily read for quite some time now…
Where most other manufacturers chose to just release a new camera model and then push their existing customer base to buy the new model, RED, has been all about the modular approach since its inception. In the past the company has offered a few programs for owners to upgrade either their sensors (Mysterium X to Dragon for example) and keep the old body, or as in the case of the latest DSMC2 Weapon-style bodies – to get a brand new camera body, but keep their RED Dragon 6K sensor.
The new 8K Helium S35 sensor boasts the massive 16.5 stops of DR, and a staggering 8,192 x 4,320 effective pixels with a 29.90 x 15.7mm sensor size. Notable maximum frame rates are 8K FF at 60fps, 7K at 60fps, 6K at 75fps, and 120fps at 5K 2.4:1.
However, with the upcoming 8K Helium Super 35 and 8K Dragon VistaVision sensor, their “upgrade paths”, as they are often referred to, can get rather complicated and confusing not just for existing owners and potential future customers, but even for RED employees, who often have to refer to cheat sheets according to the company’s PR guru Brent.
Here’s a quote from CEO Jarred Land regarding the new upgrade program:
This isn’t supposed to make sense. This deal is about accountability. We really f*cked up with the launch of Scarlet-W. We underestimated the demand and broke our machine scrambling to keep up. It’s embarrassing.
This is our way of saying sorry.
This will be a short term thing that will come and go and I need to be clear.. this isn’t how we will do business going forward… because that’s not a sustainable business. I’m sure there will be people that will still get hurt feelings because of whatever situation they are in or because they didn’t get taken care of in the same way but those people just need to look away for a little bit while we make things right. Our upgrade programs have always been generous and you can’t equate this and that together because they are two very different programs.
So here’s a summary (that hopefully makes some sense) of what’s new from RED for the October 11th announcement.
New 8K cameras to be announced:
- RED Epic-W 8K – features Helium 8K sensor (exact sensor size and frame rates unknown, can be Super 35, can be bigger, not yet known for sure)
- Price: $30,000 for the Brain
- RED Weapon Helium 8K Super 35 – comes in black. Specs similar (if not identical) to Limited Edition White Stormtrooper Helium 8K S35 cameras (pictured a bit further down) that sold out in minutes for $59K back in July.
- Price: $49,500 for the Brain
RED Epic-W/Helium 8K Upgrade Program:
- RED Raven deposits (waiting in queue) – those have to switch to Scarlet-W deposits before Oct. 11th to be able to be eligible for the Epic-W upgrade. The Epic-W upgrade option is not available to existing RAVEN owners who have already received their cameras.
- Scarlet-W deposits or delivered by Oct.11th – Upgrade to RED Epic-W brain for $10,000 USD
- DSMC 1 owners of Scarlet and Epic Dragons as well as Epic-MX, Scarlet-MX, and even Red One MX can upgrade to Epic-W – Upgrade cost not yet confirmed. REDuser John Fransdert prepped a very useful Upgrade Cost summary, to which Jarred Land said he was “dangerously” close but not 100% on the cost of DSMC 1 upgrade to Epic-W, which John thinks will be $17,500. Keep in mind the official EPIC Dragon to Epic-W cost has not been officially disclosed yet.
- Weapon MG 6K (Dragon Sensor) owners – $9,500 Upgrade to Epic – W
- Weapon MG 6K (Dragon Sensor) owners – $15,000 upgrade to Weapon Helium 8K S35
- Weapon CF 6K – upgrade cost to Weapon Helium 8K cost to be confirmed.
- Weapon 6K CF owners with Dragon 8K VV deposit = $0 upgrade to Weapon Helium 8K S35 – RED will go so far as to put an 8K Helium Super 35 in their Weapon at no charge, while they wait for the 8K VV sensor!
Depends who you are (camera wise) If you are a DSMC2 customer ( Scarlet-W, Weapon MG, Weapon Carbon ) and you are doing a Helium upgrade its going to be a much faster process because of the mechanicals.
That said, There always will be periods of insanity that things stack up.
But this launch will be very different than our past launches.
This time… We aren’t f*cking around.
According to Jarred, this new upgrade programme is a direct result of the huge number of orders that they have received for the 5K Scarlet-W camera, hence why RED are offering those who have placed a deposit for a Scarlet-W (or received their camera) before Oct. 11th to upgrade to the higher spec (and newer, bigger sensor) Epic-W at basically 50% OFF (for $10K) so these customers can get into the Epic-W line, while at the same time taking some of the pressure off the Scarlet-W production line. This is quite a big deal, and one that is surely going to be taken up by many.
Weapon MG 6K owners need to also bear in mind that according to RED, past Oct.11th the Weapon MG 6K is “…not EOL, per se. Will still be supported via firmware upgrades and such. But, yes, as part of our lineup simplification, we will no longer be making new ones after Oct 11.”
The upcoming new existing customer upgrade program is quite extensive and includes pretty much every RED user even those with the older generation DSMC 1 bodies. This upgrade program will also be (probably) the last chance for DSMC 1 users to join the current DSMC 2 line-up.
This from Brent @RED re- new upgrade program (which could have easily been called “No RED Owner Left Behind”) that will be announced in full on Oct. 11th:
Come Oct 11, here EVERY. SINGLE. CAMERA. OWNER. has something at the table for them. SCARLET-W paid deposit folks as well. And RAVEN folks have had opportunity to go to SCARLET-W for awhile. Just about every darn person with skin the game has something for them to ponder. We have spent months and months discussing what seemed “fair” to each faction.
After October 11th, the current DSMC2 RED camera line-up and hierarchy could (possibly) look like this (in descending order, from most affordable to the highest end specs camera followed by sensor), unless any models get dropped like the Weapon MG 6K:
- RED Raven 4.5K EF – Dragon sensor
- RED Scarlet-W 5K – Dragon sensor
- RED Weapon Magnesium 6K – Dragon sensor (no new orders after October 11)
- Epic-W – based on 8K Helium sensor (possibly Super 35, but NOT confirmed)
- Weapon Helium 8K Super 35 – 8K Helium sensor
- Weapon CF Woven 6K – Dragon
- Weapon CF Forged 6K – Dragon
- Weapon 8K VV – 8K Dragon sensor
A more simplified line-up, based on what type of sensor is inside the camera was provided by Jarred:
- Dragon sensor – Raven 4.5K / Scarlet-W 5K / Carbon Weapon 6K / CF 8K
- Helium sensor – Epic-W 8K / Weapon Helium 8K
Confused yet? Hopefully it will become all much clearer in two weeks. In the meantime, here’s a bit of footage from the Super 35 Helium 8K Weapon courtesy of Jonny Mass at Abandon Visuals, who borrowed Jarred’s own Helium 8K S35 Weapon to shoot “The Underdog”:
I know this may be quite confusing for some of you. Trust me, it’s confusing even for RED. I am not (yet) a RED user, however as someone (just like some of you guys out there) contemplating either a Scarlet-W or a RED Raven, it’s useful to have an idea of what’s coming up from RED in the near future.
Mark off October 11th on your calendar, it promises to be a crazy day; and of course be sure to check on the blog here for all the details on the new RED 8K Cameras and Upgrade Program, where we’ll post the info as soon as we know.
Let me know in the comments, what I’ve missed (and I am sure I have), and if you have questions that you can’t find the answer above (and there’s plenty) I suggest you go ahead and head over to Reduser to read all of it. Just be sure to grab a strong cup of coffee, or a few cold beers depending on where you are in the world and what time it is – and enjoy going through 2000+ comments and 250 pages here. I know I did.
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