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Peter Jackson chooses RED for 3-D

Famed feature film director Peter Jackson has secured up to 30 RED EPIC cameras built especially for his next production, a two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit.” Production starts shooting in New Zealand early next year.

Although not commercially available yet, EPIC claims 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120fps and has a new HDRx mode for high dynamic range. RED representatives said they took lessons learned from building their first camera, the RED ONE, and designed the new EPIC to be a smaller, lighter camera that is more powerful and more fully featured.

“The Hobbit” will be one of the first productions in the world to use EPIC, and at least 30 cameras will be required by the 3-D production. EPIC’s compact size and relatively low weight make it ideal for mounting two of them on each 3-D rig.

Jackson has a long history with RED, dating back to when he directed the short film “Crossing the Line” as a very early test of prototype RED ONE cameras.

“I have always liked the look of RED footage.” Jackson said. “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image RED produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the EPIC, (RED) has gone even further. It is a fantastic tool. The EPIC not only has cutting-edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for filmmakers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large, cumbersome VTR machines. The EPCI gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”

Jim Jannard, owner and founder of RED, flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability.