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Peter Jackson nabs thirty RED EPIC cameras to film The Hobbit, tempt you to blow your savings

We're still slightly bummed that Peter Jackson never made Halo, but this should patch things up a tad -- the Lord of the Rings director will film The Hobbit in 3D entirely on thirty hand-machined RED EPIC cameras, starting early next year. That's the news straight from RED founder Jim Jannard, but that's not all, as a limited number of pre-production EPIC packages will be available to early adopters as well. $58,000 buys your deep-pocketed budding director a machined EPIC-M body, titanium PL mount, Bomb EVF and 5-inch touchscreen LCD, a REDmote, a four-pack of batteries, a charger and a solid state storage module with a four-pack of 128GB SSDs. Jannard expects to hand-assemble that first batch of 5K imagers in December or January, start the real assembly lines a month after that, and hopefully have widespread availability by NAB in April, though he's not making any promises there. That's how RED rolls. PR after the break.

[Thanks, Patrick]

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Hobbits on Red Epics.

Peter Jackson's two film adaptation of The Hobbit will be shot in 3D using RED DIGITAL CINEMA'S soon to be released EPIC Digital Cameras.

The successor to RED's industry changing RED ONE, the EPIC has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made. Taking everything they had learned from building their first camera, RED designed the EPIC from scratch and have produced a smaller, lighter camera that is an order of magnitude more powerful.

The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC and at least thirty cameras will be required by the 3-D production. The EPIC'S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D - where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D 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." he says, "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, Jim and his team have 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 film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo."

Jim Jannard the owner and founder of RED flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so that Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability. "Everybody at RED is incredibly proud that Peter has chosen the Epic" says Jannard, "The Hobbit is a major production, and could have chosen any camera system that they wanted. The fact that they went with us is extremely gratifying."

The Hobbit will start shooting in New Zealand early next year.