RED MONSTRO VV SENSOR Thoughts

First off huge thanks to everyone at Red for getting me this camera so quickly. Like many of you, we’ve been holding out and waiting for VistaVision for a long time, and now know the wait seems to be coming to an end. 

I’ve only had the sensor for less than a day but I’m EXTREMELY IMPRESSED! I haven’t done side by sides with the Helium but I would say the sensor is just as clean, and like many others who have been shooting VistaVision, it’s pretty addicting. 

The following are my non-techie, non-polished, thoughts on this sensor and what it means to the industry. 

  1. 5K S35. This might be Red’s first true Arri competition. Finally, a super clean sensor with amazing highlight roll off that shoots at 5K! I love the resolution and the flexibility that it gives me but clients/agencies/post house aren’t always the biggest fans. No matter how many conversations I have about the benefits of R3D compression, it’s data rates and so on, we eventually have to bend over and give them what they want — and they love 4K ProRes 4444. Now, thanks to processor and GPU advancements, the most common video editing stations can handle 5K R3D just as well, if not better than 4K ProRes 4444 when you throw it in timeline- but you get the flexibility of RAW. While I loved the Dragon sensor and got to know it really well, it had its limitations which the Helium, and now Monstro sensor, have addressed. Now that you can get S35 5K from Monstro I can’t see a reason to shoot ProRes 4444 anymore. (Now that is still for the client to decided and I would still love if Red allowed for 4K ProRes 4444 only recording in-camera for those “back-up and walk away” clients). Besides just being 1K above 4K deliverable which is ideal for fast turn, non-future-proof productions, 5K also offers better rolling shutter performance compared to 8K even 7K with the Helium. Making it great for car work. 
  2. High-Speed. 2K looks amazing on this sensor!!!! It’s super, super, super clean and usable even for a 2K finish. I have to do more compression tests but just looking through the monitor at 2K 300fps looks amazing. Which means for commercial work with 1080P finishes you should be pretty safe to shoot! Bear in mind that I have been using Otus Zeiss, and your lenses are going to play a big role, am really excited about this! And 4K 120P looks amazing as well! When I have more time next week I’ll do some true compression test and post some R3D, but yeah this sensor’s low noise floor opens up a lot of possibilities. 
  3. 8K VV vs. 8K S35. For the first three hours after turning the Monstro on I was convinced that I would upgrade all of my cameras to Monstro! Just because it offers so much more flexibility and speed at lower resolutions which is especially useful for commercial workflows and the VistaVision field of view is just so so addicting. However, having both on hand is going to be a must for me. While I shoot a lot of commercials that only have 13 week life span and future proofing isn’t really necessary, the majority of my work is! 8K S35 allows me to capture 8K/7K with a wide variety of vintage and new lenses and gives me the needed crop factor for shooting wildlife on long lens. 8K VV gives me 8K with a field of view that is just breath taking! While people will always argue just use a wider lens with S35, I’ll say there is nothing like shooting VV! 

Anyways, I’ll post more informations and include more techie stuff (nothing compared to Phil knowledge) in this thread later as I have more time to test. But honestly, at the end of the day, I am a shooter so I’ll be shooting a lot with this camera in the field than shooting charts and doing side by side comparison tests. 

- Jacob Schwarz