Comparison: RED Komodo R3D HQ vs LQ

Regarding the HQ, MQ and LQ settings on the RED Komodo, Jarred Land had this to say:

The only reason you should select low quality is […] to record for a very long time [or] because you have a limited amount of cards […]. The medium shouldn’t even really be there, but you know, people would probably revolt if we [didn’t include it] … You should just be shooting on high quality all the time…

Shooting R3D HQ to a 512GB CFast card means having a mere 30 minutes of record time, so we’ll have to offload footage more frequently should we decide to go that route. Most comparisons of bitrate deal with subject matter like fast moving water and tree branches but we were more interested in seeing how bitrate affected the subtle tonal transitions in the blurry backgrounds of our model shoots. From the couple of tests we’ve done so far, shooting R3D HQ, together with halving the recommended ISO to 400 while making sure shadows aren’t buried in the noise floor really does result in cleaner looking, more detailed footage. For our very first back-to-back comparisons between HQ and LQ, we chose the Meike 75mm T2.1 s35 cinema lens for its nice, creamy rendering of out-of-focus areas. In DaVinci Resolve, when pausing on any individual frame, the LQ clips took on an ever so slightly coarser appearance, and once we began playing the clips, the noise seemed to be ‘chewing away’ at some of the tonal transitions. This was only visible when pixel peeping on our LG 55CX, not on our 16″ MacBook Pro. Sensor windowing, such as when shooting anamorphic, also impacts data rates, and we hope to do more testing once we’ve picked up an anamorphic lens.

Below are a few screen grabs.

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