Jannard Crows Over Test Results of His New Red Dragon 6K Censor

Refers to the new 6k chip as “single most significant sensor in the history of image capture.”

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

RED CEO Jim Jannard is excited.  After seeing the test results of the new RED Dragon 6K sensor, he’s crowing that the Dragon’s image quality is revolutionary, especially considering its $6,000 price tag.

Come the end of the year… there will be a new dynamic range King. It just so happens that there is a new resolution King at the same time. And frame rates don’t suffer. – Jim Jannard, REDuser Forums

In case you missed the buzz at NAB, Jannard announced the RED Dragon 6K Sensor upgrade for both the RED Epic and RED Scarlet at a price of $6,000.  It touted over 15 stops of dynamic range and 120fps at a full 5K of resolution with no loss of frame rates.

And the RED User faithful jumped on it like a parched refugee in a desert land, drinking up Jannard’s marketing genius like cold, bottled water. “Please have my Bomb Squad pre-bill my card and email me service instructions. Thank you,” said one user in reply.   But others were not so sure, especially when the Dragon offered no upgrade path for the original RED One.  But Jannard countered that the Epic was the One’s upgrade.  Still, RED Users, being like Apple fans, dove in and pre-ordered the $6,000 upgrade, even though Scarlet users will have to wait until next year.  And their faith seems to have paid off once again as Jannard says results of testing the Dragon are stunning.

“The Dragon sensor is the cleanest sensor you have ever seen,” posted Jannard in the REDUser Forum. “ISO 2000 looks better than MX at ISO 800.  If you bet on RED… the Dragon will be the payoff.”  You gotta love Jannard’s “Jobsonian” marketing panache.  He certainly can stoke the flames of the faithful into a frenzy.  Course, it would be nice if he posted a few clips or even a screen grab to support his exciting report.

But even with the boasting, the numbers of the new Dragon chip are that it’s about 10% larger both ways over the Epic’s Mysterium X, which means a chip size of about 30.7mm x 15.8mm, according to RED’s “Fire Chief” Jarred Land.   And according to the thread, RED was also able to squeeze one more stop or dynamic range, totaling 16.  Jannard adds that there may be a slight loss in resolution with certain lenses, the dynamic range remains constant: “Any lens is useable with Dragon. You may have to window down to a slightly lower resolution. The dynamic range remains the same.”

“I asked Graeme to evaluate the tests. His comment… 16 stops of the cleanest image I have ever seen. Native.  And that is before optimization.”

Additionally, Jared Land may have intimated that RED is also going to come out with ProRes/MXF support.  When a REDUser hoped that RED would come out with a ProRes/MXF DNxHD module to answer producers concerns about easier workflow, which is causing rental income to be smaller than cameramen had hoped.  Land countered reassuringly … “Don’t worry … we are listening. ”

For those who have already pre-ordered the Dragon upgrade, RED Epic users should be getting their upgrades very soon.  Sadly, though, Scarlet fans will have to wait until 2013 as specs for the Scarlet haven’t even been finalized yet.  “Epic -M owners will get priority for the Dragon upgrade,” says Land.

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.