I’m a big fan of big cameras. A large camera has a certain look when handheld. The picture looks like a picture from a big camera. The same is true for Steadicam. I used to do a lot of Steadicam operating and there was definitely a sweet spot for weight. Too light and the camera and steadicam get thrown around by even a light breeze. Too heavy and your back will be aching all weekend.
The modularity of the Epic allows the camera to be stripped down to almost nothing. For my HDRx test at S&O Media last week I took off almost every accessory apart from the camera’s side handle. This allowed the camera to be used as an in-car minicam; amazing for a camera you can legitimately shoot a feature film on! All it took was a simple suction pad and magic arm and the camera was secure enough to shoot a little test on.
The other week I shot a little commercial job on the Epic where I had the excellent Jonathan Iles operating for me. Jonathan has a top of the line GPI Pro 2 Steadicam and got some lovely shots for us. He said of the Epic: “The camera is the ideal weight. Not too big, not too small.” Jonathan and his assistant Jason Iqbal broke down the camera slightly by removing the 19mm baseplate. They then added the focus and iris motors needed for Steadicam as well as a Wevi video transmitter, all attached to the camera’s top mounts. Jonathan barely broke a sweat and was in his vest almost all day. This same setup but with the original Red One would have been a back breaker, believe me!
One important thing to note about the Epic on the Steadicam is its HDSDI output currently only supports 24p. Do make sure your monitor and transmitter kits are capable of the pure progressive p signal rather than psf. This, Red assures, will be added in future camera updates.