RED Unveils MONSTRO 8K Vista Vision Image Sensor

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

RED loves to make a cannon ball splash of an announcement into our digital pool, and watch as the ripples fan out in all directions. This time, it’s a brand new image processor for the WEAPON platform, dubbed MONSTRO, that promises to blow DRAGON out of the proverbial water.

“RED’s internal sensor program continues to push the boundaries of pixel design and MONSTRO is the materialization of our relentless pursuit to make the absolute best image sensors on the planet. The Full Frame 8K VV [Vista Vision] MONSTRO provides unprecedented dynamic range and breathtaking color accuracy with full support for our IPP2 pipeline.” –  Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema

It’s called MONSTRO, and Fire Chief Jarred Land calls it an evolutionary step in processor design. With full frame lens coverage for 8K at up to 60 frames per second, Monstro can process images at up to 300 MB/second, with still images captured at 35.4 megapixels. With these specs, MONSTRO essentially swallows the image. Additionally, MONSTRO can simulataneously write to both REDCODE RAW and Apple ProRes, or Avid’s DNxHD/HR.

Take a look at the dynamic range in this still:

Dynamic Range example from MONSTRO; you can see stars while the rock lighting stays balanced (Image: RED Digital Cinema)

Land says that the result is 2/3s of a stop greater dynamic range than DRAGON VV with increased color accuracy in IPP2. And in low light, the amount of noise that creeps into the party is at a minus as show in this comparison at both 3200 and 6400 ISO:

And here’s an example of what all that image processing puts out:

The really cool thing through, is that RED continues to uphold their core principle of making “OBSOLESCENCE OBSOLETE.” That means that while other users are stuck having to sell their camera to get a new one, RED’s modular design continues to fulfill the promise of enabling users to upgrade only what they need to.

“Who else is ready to do the “MONSTRO MASH”?!!” – Gregory Gillespie, on Facebook

The camera itself out the door is $79,500. But existing DRAGON users can upgrade as follows:

  1. $29,500 as a sensor upgrade to existing DSMC2 WEAPN camera owners
  2. $14,500 as a sensor upgrade to existing DSMC2 WEAPON Stormtrooper owners

“Special thank you to all you crazy ones that jumped on the Stormtrooper Weapons last year without any specs or footage or even knowing really what it was. Blind Faith. I told you afterwards that it would be worth it, and I hope I came good on my promise.” – Land on Facebook


The “Stormtrooper WEAPON”

Not only that, but it looks like existing Stormtrooper WEAPON preorders will get a bump up to MONSTRO automatically. At least that’s what Land’s Facebook post seems to insinuate: “Those of you that had a DRAGON VV on order ,I hope you enjoy your MONSTRO and the pole position that Stormtrooper gives you.”

RED will start shipping to existing DRAGON VV and Stormtrooper reservation holders today, getting a several month’s jump on Sony, which isn’t going to get their full frame VENICE 6K camera to the market until February. Check out for more details.

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.