Shooting with RED Epic #4: Use the LED Status Indicators to Save Time

Shooting with RED Epic #4: Use the LED Status Indicators to Save Time

Unlike the RED One which seemed to add indicator lights on the body for no real purpose other than aesthetics, the Epic takes advantage of these lights to relay useful information about the camera. Of course, that depends on your ability to read them correctly.

From our ongoing exploration of 10 Things You Should Know Before Shooting with RED Epic:

4. Use the LED Status Indicators to Save Time

In a change of pace from the rest of this series, today’s post takes a look at a positive aspect of the RED Epic: indicator lights.

(OK, so it’s not the most exciting topic, but I promise it’s useful!)

Unlike the RED One which seemed to add indicator lights on the body for no real purpose other than aesthetics, the Epic takes advantage of these lights to relay useful information about the camera.

When working with Epic, these lights are a major convenience whether you’re looking to confirm the camera is recording, check if media is running low, or want feedback that the camera is booting up.

Of course, all of that depends on your ability to read them correctly and know what you’re looking for.

What Does Each LED Status Light Mean?

There are three main indicator lights on the body of the RED Epic, technically called Status LEDs. Two of them are located on the “dumb side” of the camera — aka the right side if you’re looking in the same direction as the lens — above and below the record/power button, while the other is located on the opposite “smart side” on the SSD module.

The lights that are most useful are those on the dumb side — specifically, the REC indicator which has a few modes:

  • No Light - No media inserted into the camera or it’s not formatted
  • Solid Green - Media inserted and ready to record
  • Solid Yellow – Finalizing
  • Solid Red - Recording to media
  • Slow Blink Red - Recording and/or 25% media left
  • Fast Blink Red  - Recording and/or 5% media left

The only catch on the Record Status LED is the light will blink red when the media gets low regardless if you are recording or not. This makes it tough to know when you are actually recording while your media is under 25%.

The other LED, the Power Status LED marked as “PWR,” gives off these signals:

  • Solid Red - Power present, but camera is not on
  • Solid Yellow - Camera is booting
  • Solid Green - Running on AC power
  • Blinking Green - Running on battery
  • Yellow Blinking - Battery below 10%
  • Red Blinking - Battery below 5%

The Power Status LED is great for feedback that the camera is booting and also for a visual reminder that your batteries are running low.

The third light — the Media Status LED on the SSD module — operates almost identically to the Record Status Indicator, so there is no need to re-list its different modes.

How to Use These LED Status Lights to Your Advantage

Once you are aware of what these indicator lights, well, indicate, you can learn a lot about the camera’s status with a quick glance.

On an Epic shoot a few weeks ago, since we were limited to one LCD monitor on board, I wasn’t always able to get a glimpse at the display without edging the cinematographer/camera operator out of the way. So, to check media status, ensure the camera was booted (or off), and know when it was powering up, I could lean over and sneak a peak at the lights on the camera.

This was especially helpful when switching REDVOLTS out of the side handle where I would swing in front of the camera while powering it down, confirm the lights had turned off, and then swap the batteries.

When all’s said and done, these lights saved me quite a bit of time and frustration from having to constantly get my eyeballs on the LCD screen. Instead, I could look for their colors, patterns, and whether they were lit or not.

You should try and work this into your on set Epic workflow as well. While it’s not for everyone, nor necessary in all situations, by knowing what these lights mean, you can save time from having to find the particular setting on the screen, REDMOTE, or within the EVF. Just check the lights.

Of course, if it’s a vitally important check, you should confirm with both the lights and an on-screen indication — the lights are no excuse for not doing your job right.

But they do enable you to be slightly more efficient in situations that demand it — and sometimes that split-second of time saved is the difference between being an invisible camera assistant or not.

Do you find the indicator lights on the camera helpful? Do you even use them? Why or why not? Please share your stories in the comments! Thanks!