RED has finally done it after years of anticipation and released the first Epic camera into the wild. Labeled #006 (more on that later) and nicknamed “Elvis,” the man on the receiving end is Mark Pederson of OffHollywood, a New York based production company and rental house. In typical RED fashion, “Fire Chief” and Jim Jannard’s right hand man, Jarred Land, alerted Pederson and members of forum site REDuser with a simple message: “Thanks Mark for being the first person to put up their hand 5 years ago. Fedex just left.”
Pederson responded almost instantly, thanking Jim and explaining the meaning behind Jannard’s comments:
Ted & Jim explained that we would take $1000 deposits for a serial number, a place in line – that it would be fully refundable, etc. Everyone on the call was very quiet. It was really just Ted & Jim talking. I asked if we’d be starting with the number “1″. And there was a quick side-bar between some of the folks on the call and then Ted announced that serial numbers 1-5 would be Jim’s cameras. So then I asked, really without even thinking, “Can I have number 6?” and there was silence – some chatter between Ted & Jim and then Ted said “Sure”. “And number 7″? And Ted said “Sure, Mark has number 6 & 7″. And the thing I remember most about that call was that I expected everyone else on the call to ask for a serial number – and it was just silence.
Ted called me after and said “I can’t believe you did that! One day … you will understand what a big deal that was.”
I suggest reading Pederson’s full forum post for the rest of the story about how he was the first to receive/own a RED One – and now an Epic too.
Later in the forum, he also was kind enough to post pictures of the camera with different lenses mounted on it which gives a real sense of scale to the body.
Shortly after receiving the camera, Pederson tweeted out that, “Master Prime is bigger than the camera.” An amazing feat of engineering by the RED team to expand on the functionality of the RED One while downsizing it’s physical footprint. That has made all the difference already for John Schwartzman while shooting Spiderman and the size of the camera should make life easier for those used to mounting the RED One to Steadicams or finding suitable shoulder mounts.
Pederson also posted some pics that give us a peek into the REDMOTE user interface that I was looking forward to and the “Hershey bar” solid-state drives that are bound to replace CF cards because of how much data this camera records. Also tweeted was a pic of the camera reformatting some media while the picture remains up – an improvement over the RED One which had to take over all resources of the camera to format cards or a drive.
The camera seemed to make everyone at OffHollywood antsy since after not too long they flew to Niagara Falls to shoot some tests with the camera. As Pederson said, “you can only shoot so many tests looking at a resolution chart.”
It looks like Pederson is going to have his hands full in the next couple of days getting to know the camera and mess around with it. It will be a bit longer, however, before the rest of us can get our hands dirty with an Epic. Jannard has stated already that RED will hand make less than 100 of the cameras (and label them Epic-M) before going into mass production on it. And, as one could guess, most of those cameras are going to prominent names like Peter Jackson or Ridley Scott. With the Arri Alexa, the Sony PMW-F3 and now the RED Epic, the landscape of the digital cinematography industry is set to change dramatically in 2011. I can’t wait to watch.