01 Aug 2016

What can we tell from the first RED Helium 8K footage?

  • Written by 
What can we tell from the first RED Helium 8K footage? RED / Jonny Mass / RedShark News

RED has just made available a short film shot (amazingly by a 19-year old, Jonny Mass) on a RED Weapon Helium 8K loaned to him by Jarred Land for a mere 24 hours. And it tells us a few things about the camera.

19 year old filmmaker Jonny Mass has produced The Underdog, a film shot on a RED Weapon Helium 8K on loan that looks anything but the product of only a day's shooting. It's an extraordinary achievement.

We don't have any real technical details about the production, except that it was shot in 8K. Despite the mundane reality that most of us will be watching this via YouTube on our laptops or phones, we do learn several things from this:

First, this is a real camera that works in the real world. It's not an experimental prototype. 8K Technology is real and it's here right now. We'd imagine it's only a short time until the Helium 8K S35 sensor will be on sale in a RED camera body.

Second, on the evidence of this film, the pictures are great. Insofar as you can tell from a YouTube video, any fears that cramming 35 megapixels into an S35 sensor might result in a noisy picture with limited dynamic range appear to be groundless. The opposite would appear to be the case, with very good detail under what appears to be quite difficult lighting conditions.

Third, proper, high quality slow motion: remarkable when you consider the data rates at 8K resolution.

Fourth, this is 8K at a human and eminently usable level. If you can make a film like this in 24 hours, then it goes a long way to dispel the idea that 8K technology is somehow going to be beyond the reach of ordinary filmmaker.

It's worth keeping in mind that this is not in any sense a cheap camera, but then it's not at an exotic price, either. We don't know the final price, but the recent special edition RED Weapon Helium 8K camera sold out in ten minutes for $59,000.

We suspect that the Helium 8K camera will be shown fully at the upcoming IBC show in Amsterdam in September and that it may become fully available during the following month.


David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

Twitter Feed