Shortly after RED’s new flagship cinema camera, the RED V-Raptor hit the market, camera operators started complaining about a sensor flare issue, which emerged along the line that stitches two Raptor image sensors together. Red has addressed this issue by offering a flare guard, which will filter out any flaring that emerges before it hits the sensor.
As cinema cameras become higher in resolution, camera sensor designers have begun stitching two image sensors together in order to absorb more light and increase image performance. This is true with the Vista Vision Red Raptor, which takes advantage of the dual image sensor setup. But last December, an issue crept up.
The issue is caused when light coming onto the dual image sensor would illuminate the stitch line between them. This causes an annoying flare to appear in the image, highlighting the stitch line.
The issue doesn’t happen all the time, just in certain conditions where the right lighting conditions are coupled with certain lenses that tend to cast flares into the image.
Initially, RED CEO and Fire Chief Jarred Land stated that the issue wasn’t likely sensor-related since every Vista Vision sensor Red has released would have had the issue if it was.
Land’s first impression was that it was most likely an “optical issue with the adapters used with certain lenses that can cause rare stray light to bounce at extreme angles sweeping across the sensor. That initial impression has been born out during RED’s investigation and testing.
Camera operator Phil Holland, who also functions as a moderator on the REDUser forums, echoed this evaluation by stating that in his testing, this flare issue doesn’t affect just RED cameras.
“I can say safely by my own testing regarding this particular artifact,” Holland wrote, “this stretches across not just RED cameras, (and) it likely is taking both time and experimentation to come up with the appropriate design that can be mass-produced and reasonably installed on the body-side.”
Four months later, RED has designed what it calls a “flare guard,” which sits between the lens and the image sensor. The flare guard will have to be installed by RED, so Raptor owners need to contact RED to arrange for installation.
In the meantime, RED recommends camera operators deploy best practices such as installing a matte box or lens hood, and when necessary, an RF to PL lens adapter which is designed with proper flocking and unreflective internal surfaces.
Once the flare guard has been installed, RED says that the stitching flare is completely mitigated, without affecting any deliberate lens flare that the director or camera operator wishes to use to affect the overall image. Moving forward, RED plans to ship new V-Raptor cameras with the flare guard preinstalled.
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