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SPIDER-MAN reboot starts shooting with RED EPIC 3D cameras; faces of geeks worldwide ready to melt

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
December 7th, 2010

With Peter Jackson set to use the RED EPIC 3D camera set up for his upcoming take on The Hobbit, the camera has not only become the talk of film geeks around the world  but has also caught the eye of Sony.  As of yesterday, it’s gotten its first usage in a major studio film.

According to cinematographer John Schwartzman (who recently headed to RED camera user forums to chat about the camera), the camera is being used on the set of Sony’s upcoming SPIDER-MAN reboot, which has begun shooting as of Monday:

Today was Epic, Monday December 6 marks the first day the Red Epic camera was used to shoot a major studio motion picture. I can say for certainty the camera does exist and boy is it ready for primetime, as a matter of fact it’s a true game changer. We shot in 3D with 4 Epics mounted on 2 3ality TS-5 rigs today, we did 22 set ups, including running high speed and the images look stunning! I do believe the sensor is iso 800 minus 1 stop for the mirror in daylight and iso 640 in tungsten light but that is really for every dp to determine for themselves, Brook Willard and I figured 640 tungsten but that’s just a number. For the first time in digital cinematography, small size doesn’t come with a resolution penalty, as a matter of fact there isn’t a higher resolution camera available other than IMAX, and this one weighs 5lbs with an ultra prime on it, suddenly 3D isn’t a 100lb beast!We had the cameras on dollies and a libra head today and we flew the 3D rig like it was an Arri 435. You guys told me you could do it in September and here we are today, Congratulations.

I am lighting by eye except that I’ve had to re-train myself to work at lower light levels because the camera is so sensitive. The images we made today were stunning, rich beautiful color and the resolution of a vistavision camera all in a package the size of a Hasselblad 501. We are shooting 2.40 at 5K, there wasn’t a hiccup from the cameras all day, the data was flawless, and there was a lot of it. I can tell you without these cameras it would be impossible to move a 3D rig in the ways that THIS story demands, if Jim and the crew hadn’t made these cameras available to us I don’t think we could have shot this movie the way our director envisioned it in 3D. Guys you’ve trusted me to take these out on their maiden voyage and I can tell you that after today I won’t let you down. I will have the members of my team, most of whom are familiar to the REDUSER site post about things about sub-menu’s and stuff my camera assistants won’t let me touch. I would like to thank Nate, Brook, Michael, and Deanan as well as my regular camera crew for an unbelievable first day, and Brook thanks for the Tiff’s they look amazing!

Mazel Tov RED!

Now, while I obviously haven’t seen the RED EPIC camera in use, but from the sounds of it, it seems to be a relative winner.  The digital style seems to fit films with a bit colder sense of tone visually, but it may be just the visual kick in the pants that tech geeks like yours truly have expected from this piece of hardware.

That said, this is only one day’s worth of content, so who knows come day 30 of the shoot, what those involved will ultimately be saying about the tech. Hopefully people will still be singing its praises.  Fingers crossed.

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