We are living during an unprecedented time of options in the world of amateur and professional filmmaking. Prices, availability, options, and capabilities have been increasing at an unprecedented rate. There are many reasons for this but I think two main contributors are RED Digital Cinema and the emergence of DSLR's. There are many detractors of both but in terms of making amazing technological abilities available to the masses they have been instrumental. To literally be able to spend $1000 on a Canon, Nikon or Panasonic DSLR video production camera and have a viable movie making machine is something that was impossible even 3 years ago.
RED started in 2005 with a simple idea, to bring inexpensive, high quality cinema video cameras to the masses. With their second generation camera, the EPIC, they have by many critic's conclusions finally arrived at a camera that can actually rival 35mm film. With resolution exceeding that of S35, extended Dynamic Range provided by HDR-X and sensitivity that brings about shooting possibilities never reached by film, the EPIC has ushered in a whole new generation of filmmaking.
On the lower end, Canon with its 5DMkII camera and its full frame 35mm sensor has changed all the rules of what it takes to make a movie. In fact it has even been used on the Oscar nominated film 127 Hours. Despite their issues, these cameras have put the big guys in the industry on the hot-seat and made it very clear what they need to do to keep up in this democratized production environment.
SO... ON November 3rd 2011 there was a huge announcement from both Canon and RED about their respective products. They may not have been game-changers for major Hollywood studios but they certainly had an impact on nearly every indie filmmaker on Earth. I know that sounds like hyperbole but the point is that if Scarlet or the new Canon camera is not the one you own it will still create waves in the rest of the industry and further push the price vs. performance envelope. It's a great time to be a filmmaker and it's a great time to be in video production.
Epic-X Features are as follows: (with my comments thrown in)
RED DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera)
New MYSTERIUM-X 5K sensor
5K (2:1, 2.4:1, Anamorphic 2:1) at 1-120fps
4.5k RAW (2.4:1) at 1-120fps
4K (16:9, HD, 2:1, Anamorphic 2:1) at 1-150fps (more than is currently available in the RED One at 2k)
3K (16:9, 2:1, Anamorphic 2:1) at 1-200fps
2K (16:9, 2:1, Anamorphic 2:1) at 1-300fps (hopefully it will be a sharper 2k than on the RED One which is not great.)
1080P (16:9) (one of the most exciting ones for me given so much documentary type shooting could be easily handled with a pristine 1080p master)
Increased Dynamic Range - 13.5 Stops, but ability to do 18 stops
Time Lapse, Frame Ramping (probably just an improved version of what's on the RED One)
REDCODE 12 and 16-bit RAW (Awesome for some things but that's a LOT of data, I will stick to a lower number most of the time)
ISO 200-8000 (I would love to see some relatively clean stuff at 2000 at least)
Completely Modular System, each Module individually upgradeable
Independent Stills and Motion Modes (both record full resolution REDCODE RAW)
5 Axis Adjustable Sensor Plate (sounds cool but I'm not sure how hard it will be to simply set back focus.)
Multiple Recording Media Options (Compact Flash, RED MAG SSD, RED Drives, RED RAM) They are supposedly having 2 compact flash slots which will be very useful and finally catching up with the times.
Wireless REDMOTE control (A very good idea and something that should've been around long ago.)
Touchscreen LCD control option (cool but not indispensable)
Bomb-EVF, RED-EVF and RED-LCD compatible (I am VERY happy about this one)
Multiple User Control Buttons
LDS and /i Data enabled PL Mount (A Requirement more than a development)
Monitor Ports support both LCD and EVF (YAY 2 LCD's at a time)
720P, 1080P and 2K monitoring support
Gigagbit Network interface and 802.11 Wireless interface (Finally my iPhone will not have more power than my 30k camera.)
3 Axis internal motion sensor, built in GPS receiver (Pretty slick, oh the possibilities)
Full size connectors on Pro I/O Module. AES Digital Audio input, single and dual link HD-SDI
Support for RED, most Arri 19mm, Studio 15mm, 15mm Lite, Panavision and NATO accessories. INDUSTRY STANDARD IS INDUSTRY STANDARD. I'm glad they're realizing this more and more.
Dimensions- Approx. 4''4,'5.5''
Weight (Brain only)- Approx. 5 lbs (2.27kg)