Thread: DRAGON - ITS THE REAL DEAL !!!! - (PART 2)

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  1. #1 DRAGON - ITS THE REAL DEAL !!!! - (PART 2) 
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Could be anywhere in the world today.
    SINCE The original "DRAGON - ITS THE REAL DEAL !!!!" thread got modded / closed, due to some crazy out bursts, lets keep this one civil ya... :)

    Hi Everyone...

    Having the Dragon in my hands was privilege… and a curse !
    Hundreds of emails from people wanting me to do tests for them, people wanting to know if there lenses will still work on it, people wanting to fly down and help out... crazy stuff going on in the back ground. (and sorry not to respond to you all )

    To say that I'm not not flattered is an understatement, but knowing that the world is watching I wanted to be true to my testing.
    I'm going to be pretty straight forward with my results as a "No bullshit" clause comes with this test. So sharing exactly what I think is best for RED and all of you.

    Jim and Jarred have not pressured me in anyway (surprisingly enough) which was great, because if they did start to control me, I probably would have told them to keep it.
    I don't need the pressure from both sides of the fence, as I'm not being paid for this test, I'm just cracking it out under my own steam and have nothing to loose. So you if the is a problem or it did not meet my expectations, then I decided I would share good and bad.
    So I'm glad they left me alone and a credit to them for trusting me with there baby.

    I started to type up a lot of fluff and carry on, tying to explain what we saw with our own eyes, and about how bright and contrasting certain shots were, but unless you were standing next to me to actually see the extremes we were shooting into, then…. you just wouldn't believe me. So you all have to dig deep into your minds and remember all those times you shot in a rain forest and it looked like hi contrast shit, and the trying to shoot that shiny silver in bright light, but only to get an underexposed shot due to the hight taking over or vise versa. Well… Those days are gone ! Long gone !

    I think its best I just share with pictures as you will all have your own ideas, expectations and opinions and I'm not going to defend anything I've done to get the exact results I wanted out of this test. I just pushed and pulled the camera from one end of the spectrum to the other, including RCX. Shot dead into the sun with a 600mm (sorry Jim) then shot into pitch black… I just wanted to smash this thing and see where we ended up.
    I didn't worry about lighting, reflectors or fill, no fancy props, on gorgeous models… I did not want to cloud peoples judgement with beautiful contrived over lit, over stylised shots then turning this test into some sort of wanky showreel. The images are just normal real world situations without any aids.

    This is as basic a test as you can get, so there are no manipulated images, nothing has gone into Smoke, AE, or FLAME for any touch up's or masking, nothing went to Resolve or any other grading program (other than RCX) No power windows where used to lift or push down certain areas, no colour keying, no noise reduction, no nothing… This is as basic as it gets, straight out of the camera then into RCX for a very basic curve which was applied to a RED LOG film setting. And some shots are directly out of the camera using the default RG3 settings.
    I can only imagine what a talented colourist within a powerful grading tool could do with all this extra information.

    The two main areas I wanted the camera to perform in are :
    HIGH CONTRAST information, just how much is hiding on the shadows and highlight. And secondly, Just how far can I push it in the dark. What is the most usable ISO without the aid of any noise reducing plugins.

    Data was also big question for me, I'm a laptop warrior, I travel the world with RED and MAC.. I don't need anything slowing me down. So the question was, Just how long are these cards going to last… So my idea of testing lower compression rates to save space, and then to push the limits of the ISO into 17:1+ compression to see if it fell apart. The simple answer is no… Dragon @17:1 looks like MX @8:1. So we are all saved, none of us have to run out to buy more cards.
    Skin tests, filter tests, IR tests, were also done.

    Ok.. Thats all said, my feed back as follows.

    The Red Dragon sensor has 3 F STOPS more than before. 1 in the hight lights which rolls over wonderfully !, 2 solid extra stops in the darks…. maybe 3 once the colour science has been perfected.
    But there is still noise, but nothing like before. I ran some 250d 2k film rushes next some of my 4000asa stuff, And silly as it sounds, it looks like film grain, not noise. Don't ask me how, as I wouldn't have a clue. But it looks great !

    Red Dragon now has the best highlight fall off I have ever seen from any digital camera. Beating film! Big call I know, but after shooting film and pushing it around in telecine chains for more than a decade, I can categorically say that this new sensor has a better range than film ever had.

    Single still frames compared to a top of the line professional 35mm Digital stills cameras, I'm going to say that the EPIC matches, if not betters most. Don't ask me how they do it, but every single frame from the DRAGON is 109meg !! @16bit when saved as a tiff from RCX. and at 100 Frames per second, I tell you this… someone has sold there soul to the devil.
    If you are a pro photographer, you are mad if you don't have this camera in your tool box. You quite literally will never miss a single shot.

    Is Dragon better than 65mm Film…. (with good lenses) YES. No shit…
    The images out of the Dragon are so smooth now… so so smooth, like low asa large format film.

    The Dragon is more stable than my current MX EPIC's.

    The SONY F65 I rate as having the best sensor in the market for a production cine camera. Yes.. it's better than the EPIC- MX. (I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons).
    Even Jim knows that Sony have done very well with the F65 sensor and that was obviously pissing him off, because his new Dragon sensor has just given the the F65 notice.
    All the F65 SONY purists out there will dispute this. But I have Sony files here with me, and I'm looking at both side by side… and Dragons grain (noise) structure is cleaner and it has more range.
    Dragon is now the King. (AND… I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons). or did I ..ha !

    The single one sentence i can say that can sum up everything is this..
    It's the first camera ever that I have used that captures exactly what I see with my own eye.
    Never have I seen this before. !

    Jim... You done good man, Real good ! The world of digital cinema owes you a big thanks.
    You have know more to prove.
    Go and retire !

    RED TEAM, Seriously dudes... WOW ! Great work, your the "A" team !

    Thanks Jarred. Lets get dunk!

    Ipad RETINA recommended.

    Sharing is caring.

    Please excuse the grammar and spelling, I'm typing so fast here to get this all out to you… Ive broken a nail !

    Toia Out/

    Last edited by Mark Toia; 08-11-2013 at 07:31 AM.
    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    Could be anywhere in the world today.
    Jim's thread is also worth reading again.

    From Jim...

    Let’s see if we can clear up some Dragon misconceptions.

    1. The native Dragon sensor clearly shows 18+ stops shot on our Frankie test bed last December which was posted. Obviously, we were excited out of our skull. Stuffing the sensor’s capability into an electronics package the size of a matchbox always causes loss of performance. That is why we stuck with 3-4 stops of improvement over the EPIC MX. We always measure dynamic range with the engineering definition… as do most others. We said repeatedly 16 stops for EPIC Dragon, which is more than any other digital cinema camera. We stick by this statement… even though we see continuing improvements over time, just as we have always done. For free.

    2. If you want 20 stops of dynamic range… shoot EPIC Dragon HDRx 4.

    3. We do not incorporate a low contrast filter inside our camera as does the Alexa. While it does soften roll off, we think the user should have control of that aspect of the image. Add a 1/4 LowCon and match that characteristic if you like it. Since many seem to be lost on this point, we are now looking at adding a low-con LP filter option which you can change out with your original. It certainly gives the appearance of more dynamic range because the rolloff “blooms” or softens the transition. It is a baked in look however if it is done in camera. Maybe someone should make a post filter?

    4. I recently posted that the Dragon was “insert the highest superlative known to man here”. Of course I have taken a lot of flack for being a hype-monster over this quote (and a few others). Maybe that moniker is well deserved… or maybe I’m just being proud of the team’s real accomplishments. You make the call. In defensive of my statement, which I will reiterate now, I offer the following:

    The Dragon has more native dynamic range than any motion capture camera ever made as measured by the standard engineering definition… signal to noise ratio. And it does it with the least amount of noise.

    The Dragon outputs more measured resolution than any motion capture camera. That includes a 4K scan of 65mm film or the Sony F65. Notice I didn’t say captured resolution… I said measured resolution.

    The Dragon shoots 100fps at 6K. Good, cheap and fast. Pick all three.

    The color depth of the Dragon was increased to 16 bit. New Graeme color science. Skin tones.

    We have a thousand knobs to turn to extract more performance from the Dragon’s electronic package, just as we did with the RED ONE and EPIC MX. You remember, it was a “new camera for free” several times. If you are not familiar with this… ask any long term RED customer.

    The Dragon is an upgrade to EPIC… one of the smallest, lightest and most accessorized cameras in the cinema industry. You don’t have to buy a new camera to get Dragon.

    You can shoot REDCODE RAW on Dragon at an incredibly high compression ratio and get incredible results. That means your SSDs are not obsolete. You really want to shoot uncompressed or RGB?

    Now… if you want to debate a single point, feel free. Then I would ask you to look at the total package above and tell me why I can’t retire tomorrow having delivered what was promised… for less than $10K.

    My goal when I started RED was to make the best camera in the world. The most important showcase for image capture is the motion picture industry. Check.

    I am old. I am tired. I started Oakley 38 years ago. RED 7 years ago. In both cases my goal was to make a difference. To declare war on conventional thinking. Inventions wrapped in art. Dedicated to purpose beyond reason. Thermonuclear Protection.

    I have had the chance to work with the most incredible people for so many years… both at Oakley and at RED. Too many people to mention… except one. Jarred Land. To release the Dragon with my closest buddy is a dream come true. I really don’t think I can ever top it. We’ll see.

    God love us all.

    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Michael Mayda's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Thank you for bringing this great thread back to life. And getting me to read Jim's post again...
    Michael Mayda, Forensic Imaging; Dragon #00942; Epic X #00653; Red MX #1976
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Tom Van's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Hollywood, FL
    Mark... Your efforts are much appreciated. I've picked up all I need to know about this new sensor from your post alone.
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  5. #5  
    REDuser Sponsor Martin Stevens's Avatar
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    Jan 2007

    Can you say at what ISO the Dragon has equal stops above and below middle gray?
    Martin Stevens

    President and Founder of Glidecam Industries, Inc.
    Producer and Director at Metaphoric Pictures Corporation.
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  6. #6  
    Another round of congratulations and thanks for your efforts Mark.
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  7. #7  
    Moderator David Battistella's Avatar
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    Great stuff.

    Let's hope this one stays civilized.

    "Colors are the wounds of light."
    -William Blake
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member steve green's Avatar
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    I'd still love to know the max frame rate (at present) of all the resolutions. Knowing that they may change before release.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member
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    These are all great stuff !

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  10. #10  
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2007
    Mark, perhaps I've overlooked this, but what f stops did you use on the car shots:
    frames 15 and 24 from the top?
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