an epic dragon in hawaii

last month i was able to travel to hawaii (yay) for work and shoot some of the amazing scenery the island of oahu, hawaii has to offer.
while we didn’t get to shoot everything we wanted (stairway to heaven and some other apparently ‘illegal’ hikes) we were able to shoot some fantastic images.
perhaps just as importantly for me, it gave me a chance to put the camera through its paces.
while i love lighting a scene and controlled environments, mother nature has some fantastic ways to test the dynamic range and versatility of a camera.
what is great about the new dragon is its impressive latitude. to me it appears to have gained at least a stop or two in the highlights (actual latitude ~14.9 stops), which for a digital camera is good news.
there is a downside.
the engineers seem to have forgotten that while the epic-x wasn’t killer in low-light and shadows, it was at least produced a moderately clean image up to 1280 iso.
the dragon? it’s got noisy shadows at 800. push it beyond that and you better get ready for some post de-noising and loss of sharpness.
i black balanced the sensor after arrival in hawaii, and we shot virtually the entire time with a green E/T
red has since come out with a ‘dragon enhanced blacks’ option in red-cine x that will help get rid of at least the red (most noticeable and significant) portion of noise in the shadows.
you know who doesn’t have that option? premiere. so unless you’re encoding out of red-cine to master your film, you’re reliant on aftermarket de-noising software.
my impression of the dragon footage over-all is positive. it was great to color with, and the extra latitude in the highlights helped immensely.
occasionally i found i lost detail in a moving shot, and in those cases the clipping is rather pixelated and harsh, but over-all the image is quite detailed, flat, and pleasant to work with.

here is a highlight reel of some of the footage we shot (watch it in 4k!):



a few people mentioned the shot of the moon at the end. here is a 4k image i grabbed from the footage: