Thread: Epic W Helium vs Epic W Gemini Purchase

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  1. #1 Epic W Helium vs Epic W Gemini Purchase 
    Member Jason S. Lee's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is the right place to ask the question as most of you guys don't have the new Gemini, but I am thinking whether I should go for the Gemini sensor or the Helium sensor. Extra cost of the helium sensor would be no issue for me. I am a film student at NYU, and most of the stuff that I shoot are indie and NYU films. I think I definitely won't need 8K and 5K would fit my needs as I would be editing in 4K or 1080HD. I am guessing the Helium sensor has superior image quality but the Gemini sensor would be more versatile as it has dual sensitivity mode.

    In most circumstances, I will be able to get the subject lit. I don't care about saving on renting light kits as it is the directors who pay for it.

    If Helium produces superior images when properly lit(compared to when Gemini is properly lit), I'd go for Helium.

    However, if Helium and Gemini produces similar quality image(when properly lit), I'd go for Gemini as I just simply don't need 8K. If such is true, the added versatility of Gemini in its ability to shoot low light mode and its abiliy to shoot 96fps wit no crop would be an advantage in my opinion.

    Questions I have are:

    1) When properly lit, does Helium sensor provide a superior image quality over Gemini?

    2) What is the maximum ISO you can shoot on Epic W Helium with a clean image?

    3) How does Epic W with Helium sensor compare against Alexa Mini? Why are some people complaining about how Epic W with Helium sensor is a complicated camera to shoot with?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Jason S. Lee; 03-28-2018 at 02:31 PM.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member shashbugu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Lee View Post
    I don't know if this is the right place to ask the question as most of you guys don't have the new Gemini, but I am thinking whether I should go for the Gemini sensor or the Helium sensor. Extra cost of the helium sensor would be no issue for me. I am a film student at NYU, and most of the stuff that I shoot are indie and NYU films. I think I definitely won't need 8K and 5K would fit my needs as I would be editing in 4K or 1080HD. I am guessing the Helium sensor has superior image quality but the Gemini sensor would be more versatile as it has dual sensitivity mode.

    Questions I have are:

    1) In your opinion, does Helium sensor provide a superior image quality over Gemini?

    2) What is the maximum ISO you can shoot on Epic W Helium with a clean image?

    3) How does Epic W with Helium sensor compare against Alexa Mini? Why are some people complaining about how Epic W with Helium sensor is a complicated camera to shoot with?

    Thanks in advance!
    #3 is a weird question
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Chris Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Lee View Post

    1) In your opinion, does Helium sensor provide a superior image quality over Gemini?

    2) What is the maximum ISO you can shoot on Epic W Helium with a clean image?

    3) How does Epic W with Helium sensor compare against Alexa Mini? Why are some people complaining about how Epic W with Helium sensor is a complicated camera to shoot with?
    I'd say they are all subjective. There aren't any tests I've seen to compare the Gemini to anything else let alone a Helium. Sure in terms of resolution Helium is all over Gemini, but from what I'd assume-Gemini would have greater DR and is better in low light then Helium. Helium has a bit of a green hue to the shadows hopefully Gemini rectifies that.

    As far as maximum ISO that would vary on the OLPF and lighting conditions/environment. I could shoot 2000 ISO on my Helium and with enough light/depending on the environment it might be usable. With the new ISO Calibration I don't take it above 1280ISO with the Standard OLPF (for a supersample to 4k master)-haven't used the Low Light one since that update but I'm sure 1600 would about be the limit for Helium.

    I think most people prefer Alexa since they'd feel 8k is overkill, don't want to deal with the delays/processing power in editing, and like the look straight out of the camera. RED on the other hand may have a more scientific/correct look to their color science but to get it to look aesthetically pleasing like an an Alexa's Log C curve takes extra time. Add to that "everyone is using it" sure that's why it seems that Alexa is used on everything.

    Like Shashbugu said: test test test
    There's no right or wrong answer, just what fits your style and needs-and that could vary from project to project.
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  4. #4  
    Junior Member Benjamin Jarvis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Lee View Post
    I don't know if this is the right place to ask the question as most of you guys don't have the new Gemini, but I am thinking whether I should go for the Gemini sensor or the Helium sensor. Extra cost of the helium sensor would be no issue for me. I am a film student at NYU, and most of the stuff that I shoot are indie and NYU films. I think I definitely won't need 8K and 5K would fit my needs as I would be editing in 4K or 1080HD. I am guessing the Helium sensor has superior image quality but the Gemini sensor would be more versatile as it has dual sensitivity mode.

    In most circumstances, I will be able to get the subject lit. I don't care about saving on renting light kits as it is the directors who pay for it.

    If Helium produces superior images when properly lit(compared to when Gemini is properly lit), I'd go for Helium.

    However, if Helium and Gemini produces similar quality image(when properly lit), I'd go for Gemini as I just simply don't need 8K. If such is true, the added versatility of Gemini in its ability to shoot low light mode and its abiliy to shoot 96fps wit no crop would be an advantage in my opinion.

    Questions I have are:

    1) When properly lit, does Helium sensor provide a superior image quality over Gemini?

    2) What is the maximum ISO you can shoot on Epic W Helium with a clean image?

    3) How does Epic W with Helium sensor compare against Alexa Mini? Why are some people complaining about how Epic W with Helium sensor is a complicated camera to shoot with?

    Thanks in advance!
    In addition to your questions, I think you need to consider if you have the IT infrastructure to process RED footage, store the footage and have back-ups of your drives. Also, as a student you may not have access to the best lighting set-ups or need to go gorilla-style filming for your project. This is where the Gemini sensor could really help you.

    Answers/comments to your original questions
    1. No one knows yet, we'll have to wait for the camera to end up in the wild.
    2. Depends on how you calibrate your sensor, but I usually never push above 2000 ISO.
    3. This is a aesthetic preference. You're going to have to do some test between the two cameras to determine what you like. Personally, I think the RED cameras are easy to work with but that's just my preference. As for the color science on camera, Phil Holland has some fantastic LUTs that have really helped me dial in the color. I would also suggest you rent a RED and a Alexa to test and compare for yourself.

    What I like about the RED cameras is that I can configure the red with out cables and support arms running out of it. Keeps everything nice and compact.
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  5. #5  
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    A lot of people are asking me to compare Helium, Gemini, and Alexa. Next week when our gemini is back in the shop I'll run these 3 against each other and maybe throw in Dragon as well.
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Whittier View Post
    A lot of people are asking me to compare Helium, Gemini, and Alexa. Next week when our gemini is back in the shop I'll run these 3 against each other and maybe throw in Dragon as well.
    Cool!! Looking forward to it!
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Bob Gundu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Whittier View Post
    A lot of people are asking me to compare Helium, Gemini, and Alexa. Next week when our gemini is back in the shop I'll run these 3 against each other and maybe throw in Dragon as well.
    Be prepared to have your world turn upside down. Camera comparisons will make you lose your faith in humanity.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Blair S. Paulsen's Avatar
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    Here's how I would approach the choice between Helium and Gemini in an Epic-W chassis:

    1) What kind of projects are you doing now or would like to be doing in the near future. This might make the choice easy, but if not...

    2) Gemini's low light chops provide opportunities to shoot in situations that otherwise would be a fail.

    3) Gemini's larger pixels reduce processing overhead for S35 targets.

    4) Helium can resolve more detail with sharp glass and offers greater reframing/punch in options.

    5) Higher frame rates without windowing.

    6) Gemini will likely rent better in 2018 due to "new hotness" effect

    Cheers - #19
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  9. #9  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    More or less what Blair said.

    Overall, if shot well under decent exposure conditions Helium at 8K will let you a higher quality image. But if you find yourself shooting low light and not needing to finish in 8K in particular, 5K Gemini is great for 4K and 2K productions. Just shot with one and checking out the footage. It's a different sort of thing when taking into account the two exposure modes/sensitivities.

    I think what RED did here is pretty cool as there is a core market targeted at 4K and 2K finishing who may be shooting a lit of natural and/or low light situations. Gemini is targeted there and you can of course shoot literally every other type of content with it as well.

    Monstro gives you the large format VistaVision and 8K, Helium nets you 8K in S35. All three of these new sensor technologies, as far as I can tell, provide really nice color with fairly subtle-yet-noticeable dynamic range differences as well as format variations.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    More or less what Blair said.

    Overall, if shot well under decent exposure conditions Helium at 8K will let you a higher quality image. But if you find yourself shooting low light and not needing to finish in 8K in particular, 5K Gemini is great for 4K and 2K productions. Just shot with one and checking out the footage. It's a different sort of thing when taking into account the two exposure modes/sensitivities.

    I think what RED did here is pretty cool as there is a core market targeted at 4K and 2K finishing who may be shooting a lit of natural and/or low light situations. Gemini is targeted there and you can of course shoot literally every other type of content with it as well.

    Monstro gives you the large format VistaVision and 8K, Helium nets you 8K in S35. All three of these new sensor technologies, as far as I can tell, provide really nice color with fairly subtle-yet-noticeable dynamic range differences as well as format variations.
    Post up footage!!

    Phil, would you say it would be a similar discussion regarding the purchase decision of a Scarlet-W versus a Gemini? Is that $10k extra worth the low-light? Considering this would be my first RED camera so I will also need to invest in the grips, lights, etc needed. I am coming from a Sony A7sii setup and looking to jump into RED. The SW price point is right, because I can then afford the extras (lights, grip, etc) but jumping into a 3 year old RED makes me nervous. Thoughts?
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