Shooting with RED Epic #9: You Must Know What You Want from the Camera

Shooting with RED Epic #9: You Must Know What You Want from the Camera

Because the body is so basic and so customizable, you will definitely add modules, accessories, and other gear to it. There's just no practical way to shoot with the RED Epic without doing so. And whether you like it or not, it's up to you to make sure you grab what you need.

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

9. You Must Know What You Want from the Camera

The number nine post in this series examines your ability to know what you want from the camera.

I don’t mean that in some meta-physical, art-school, “ask the camera to be your friend” sort of way. I mean it in this practical sense: the modular design of the RED Epic emphasizes your responsibility to know what you expect from the camera.

Because the body is so basic and so customizable, you will definitely add modules, accessories, and other gear to it. There’s just no practical way to shoot with the RED Epic without doing so.

And whether you like it or not, it’s up to you to make sure you grab what you need.

For example, let’s take a look at two issues I’ve brought up in this series: REDVOLTS and monitoring.

If you’re attached to a shoot that you know the days have the possibility of running 17 hours long and the rental house only carries five REDVOLTS total, it would be wise to drop the REDVOLTS and use RED Bricks instead.

Or let’s shift gears to monitors — say your shoot is a small crew of you, the director of photography (DP), and a producer walking around a city for a day shooting random B-roll. Your shotlist is fairly conservative so you’ll have a good amount of time.

Suddenly, having multiple monitoring systems mounted to the camera isn’t a huge deal — you can use just one LCD and share it. Since you’ll have time and it’s just B-roll, using the monitor for menu navigation and focus marks won’t impede on a DP rushed for time to frame a shot.

As a third example, maybe you’ll be mounting the Epic to a car rig and want it to be lightweight and controllable from a distance. So drop the side-handle and grab a REDMOTE.

Basically, the RED Epic is customizable in more ways than a Rubik’s Cube — and it’s your job to twist, turn, mix, and match until it’s the perfect potion for your shoot.

This shouldn’t be a hard transition for most as it’s already a primary responsibility of the camera assistant to build a suitable camera package, but with Epic, the process is a bit more involved. There’s a lot more to add to the Epic and a lot less automatically built into the camera.

Even small things like power outputs for accessories, as commentor Benjamin Tubb pointed out, requires an additional module.

All of this boils down to you understanding what your shoot is about. You will have to work closely with the DP and the DP closely with the producer to gain a greater knowledge of the realities and practicalities of the shoot. Then it will be up to you to translate those situations into the camera rig so that it can stay powered on, shooting throughout the day, and doing so with minimal troubleshooting by anyone.

Intimidated?

Don’t worry — the flip side of the modular coin is that the RED Epic is open to many different solutions and, if they aren’t already available, many are planned to be released soon.

Just keep in mind that for all the camera’s quirks, problems, and issues, you have to configure it to give it the best possible chance to deliver during production.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Volstraav Kevin Marshall

    That is the other side of the coin of modularity – knowing what you need and making sure you have it. It’ll become even more important in the coming months as the slew of new modules (Rear SSD, Pro I/O, Dual/Quad Battery, +1 Monitor Adaptor, Meizler, wireless video transmitter, and beyond…) begin to ship.

    Just like with RAW – while the modularity grants a lot of flexibility, that flexibility requires more responsibility on the part of everyone involved to stay informed of how it all works, and be aware of options, and consequences. For my part, I love it.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Yep nothing worse than being on set and someone asking “Oh can we do this?” and the answer is, “Well we could if we had..”

      I love the modularity too, but I also love a well-thought out all-in-one. It depends on the project. Also, frankly, I’ll love modularity more when RED starts releasing the modules people need.