revelation. Although it worked well in a run-and-gun documentary style of shooting, it feels designed for the cinematic aspect, where if the AF doesn’t nail it first time, you can reshoot. It’s also very simple, to avoid putting off first-time AF converts – probably a good thing, considering the intended audience. Firmware upgrades since we tested the original Komodo have also added anamorphic de-squeeze options, which speaks volumes about who this camera is for. That someone wants incredible colour, the best codec choices and amazing image quality, as easily as possible. The sensor has lots of dynamic range, and ISO goes from 250 to 12,800, with a sweet spot around 800. Sensitivity is good when light levels drop. The Komodo records compressed Raw in low-, medium- or high- quality levels, and all debayering is done in post. This means it’s easier to capture all that data, and allows the recording of its R3D Raw files to a CFast card. And the Komodo can record in various ProRes 422 settings for a faster workflow. You can switch between Raw and ProRes, but the camera has to reboot – and this can take up to 30 seconds each time. Opening Raw files is possible with standalone software, like Red’s free Redcine-X Pro, to transcode them into something editable. But Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve will read them as native files. Using Raw files means you can change the white balance, ISO, highlight and shadows, highlight roll-off, sharpening – and add noise reduction. Then, export from
Redcine-X Pro into whatever format you like for editing, and original Raw files are still kept intact. The camera supports custom LUTs, and you can upload your own, with a huge number of free custom LUTs on the Red website – or even get creative yourself. Editing 6K files does stress your editing computer, but put in the effort and you are rewarded with natural skin tones, lots of highlight and shadow detail, and simply wonderful colours. The camera records from the whole size of its Super 35 sensor in 6K. Then, going down to 5K, 4K or 2K, is simply a crop of the sensor – so the angle of view changes, as well as the maximum frame rate. Compared to a full-frame 35mm sensor, shooting the Red Komodo in 6K gives an equivalent 1.34x crop and a maximum frame rate of 40fps. In 5K, it’s a 1.61x crop and 50fps, while 4K is 2.01x and 60fps. Shoot in 2K and it’s a 4.02x crop against full- frame, but this allows you to record up to 120fps. Control comes via the built-in, touch-screen colour display, which is 73.7x73.7mm/2.9x2.9in, and allows access to menus, as well as a small live preview. The screen has a histogram display, false colours, and traffic light system to show whether exposure is right. On our limited-edition white Komodo ST camera – often called the Stormtrooper, although Mr Lucas doesn’t like that – we used an external Atomos Shinobi SDI
monitor, as it’s small and light, with a huge range of tools to get everything correct. Camera settings must still be inputted on the small touchscreen, which uses a Red UI that is easy to understand and use. The camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi, so you can link it up to a smart device and control from the dedicated app. Or, maybe use your iPad as a director’s monitor. With the Red, you don’t get many of the regular cinema camera features, like built-in ND filters and XLR audio inputs. There is a standard audio-in jack for plugging in a DSLR-style mic, and we used a variable ND on the lens to control exposure. But the Red is modular, so you attach what is needed and nothing more. At the rear of the camera is a battery mounting plate for a pair of Canon BP batteries, which are hot- swappable. And at the bottom is the Komodo Expander Module, which gives more options for mounting, as well as Genlock, BNC, timecode and four-pin control sockets. We also used the Komodo Link Adaptor to give USB-C control – ideal for connecting to a smart device. The base Red Komodo really is a base model; batteries, monitor and rig must all be added. But that means it can be stripped down on a gimbal, rigged up for handheld use, or fully dressed with external ancillaries as a real cinema camera. Whatever you use it for, the results are incredible.
POWER STATION With a pair of Swit batteries providing juice (above), the camera can run for hours. The screen is a basic Atomos Shinobi SDI for lightness
CINE CUBE The Red Komodo is little more than a compact box, until you add batteries, lens and monitor (left)
“Opening Rawfiles is possible, with standalone software like Red’s free Redcine-X Pro, to transcode them into something editable”
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