First Hands On With RED Weapon Helium 8K Camera

We had a chance to look at the new RED Weapon Helium 8K camera at IBC 2016 for the first time since it was announced in July. Here’s a run through of what we’ve been told at the show floor and what we know so far.

The RED Helium 8K is a new sensor that will be introduced in October 2016 in the RED Weapon and RED Epic W cameras. A limited number of special edition white RED Weapon Helium 8K cameras have been produced, one of which we found at the IBC show.

RED Helium 8K

Specs of the RED Helium 8K (according to nofilmschool.com)

RED Helium 8K specs
According to this spec sheet, most features should be comparable to those of the original RED Weapon camera, like slow motion in 2K crop mode at up to 240fps and Apple ProRes Proxy recording.

The most important thing to know: this is the first 8K sensor with a super35 sensor size, meaning that the pixels are now twice as dense as before, with 3.65 microns per pixel.

According to early user reports, the lowlight performance is good and the camera is usable at ISO 3200 and possibly beyond, though this certainly has to be tested. It is promising to get this kind of quality and resolution, accessible to many professionals in the near future.

A word about storage requirements in 8K: apparently, each recorded minute will produce 10 to 15 gigabytes of data (i.e.: 4x size of 4K at 5:1 RAW recording), so you will roughly need 1 terabyte for each hour of footage.

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 Mathias Sonnleitner Reply
Mathias Sonnleitner September 16, 2016

As I have already used it :P
I can definitely say that the Camera is usable up to 3200 ISO. Yes you see some noise, but it’s way less than i had expected.

The only “downside” I have encountered so far is, that the Camera has a subtle Greencast even with the Standard OLPF. The Creencast can most likely be compared to the greencast you have on a normal Weapon with the Skin Tone Enhanced OLPF.

What I can also say is that the jump from 6k to 8k is not really that noticeable, especially if you are using cheap glass (I used CP.2 and Leica Summicron C for this test). I will highly recommend not to use any cheap lenses on this Camera!!!

Also the only software which is currently able to read the Helium files is Red Cine X. Premiere and DaVinci are not able to work with the Raw Footage as of now. This will Probably change next Month.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber September 16, 2016

Hey Mathias,

Thanks a lot for chiming in, this is valuable information for everyone interested in the camera! Looking forward to the October announcement, though chances are RED will not lend us a camera any time soon… Would love to push it through our lab tests.

Best,
Seb

 Beebee Lestr Reply
Beebee Lestr September 16, 2016

Sensor size:

Super 35 format = 24.89mm wide sensor

Red Weapon Helium = 29.9mm wide sensor

Looking at the specifications above, it seems to me that the Helium’s sensor is a tiny bit wider than most other Super 35 cameras.