Jason & Josh Diamond - Director/DP
Emery Wells at KATABATIC - Color Grade
Dave Waldron - AC
Du-All Camera - Elite Anamorphics
Thiago Martins - Actor
So when we found out we we're getting an Epic Dragon to shoot we had very little time to prep. Based on it showing up on a Saturday at noon and immovable plans already in place it meant we were going to effectively have about 6hrs to shoot whatever we could before the Dragon flew home Monday leaving us scorched in its wake.
We flatly dropped the idea of doing anything Narrative yet also were not interested in a camera "test". We also decided to shoot Anamorphic because we love the format and had not seen any public Dragon Ana footage yet. So we decided to put ourselves in scenarios that forced us to use available light and the best possible locations. Luckily our good friend Lucas Wilson from Assimilate let us use his swanky hotel room. We also decided we would steal as many shots as we could in the Dream Hotel lobby in NYC until we got yelled at or arrested because quite frankly, it's a stunning lobby and was well worth the risk.
So back to the camera, this new sensor is a beast in all senses of the word and when Jarred from RED said they might win an award for the most aptly named piece of kit he wasn't lying. We were also using the current color science not the new Dragon specific science that's still being boiled and cooked in some Willy Wonka lab so who knows what everlasting gobstoppers we'll get with the new builds.
The Dragon is handily 2 stops over the previous Epic MX sensor which in its own right is a stellar sensor. We found ourselves able to expose and ISO where we would not have been able to before without being in the outer limits. I say handily 2 stops over because it's actually more than that but subjectivity and personal sensitivity to noise floor is for everyone to decide on their own above that. I think one of the bigger eye openers is the slow motion. Higher fps performance at seemingly ludicrous compression ratios. We shot 6K 2:1 Anamorphic 2x at 80fps 17:1. That's right 17 to bloody 1. You can see in the piece that the compression looks nowhere near that. Also, one of the biggest leaps of all is being able to shoot lower ISO's without highlight penalties or pinky purple weirdness invading your upper registers.