In order to gain FCC certification and ability to sell in the United States, RED Digital Camera sent one model to the Federal Communications Commission, a governing body. As it usually happens, FCC open it and disassembled it to the tiniest component in order to find out if the upcoming product satisfies the manufacturing and quality standards in the United States.
FCC Images Reveal a real engineering marvel – It is incredible how many components and different PCB’s fitted inside a compact case
The result was a myriad of PDF documents, with two most interesting ones being External Photos (7-page PDF) and Internal Photos (93 page PDF). Inside, you can see why RED Epic is a real engineering gem. World’s first digital cinema camera that beats the capabilities of traditional 35mm cinema cameras caused a lot of interest in the movie industry, with heavyweights such as Peter Jackson and James Cameron ordering no less than 80 cameras between the two i.e. almost five million US Dollars for less than 100 units.
Removing the casing from the top reveals just how many PCB’s are there inside EPIC cinema camera
We’ve counted no less than 13 Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) containing numerous elements, packed inside aluminum casing weighing in just five pounds i.e. less than 2.5 kilograms. Probably the most impressive element of this packaging is the fact that RED went in and created the whole product almost by themselves. If there wasn’t for Texas Instruments OMAP chip on the "OMAP Board", almost all silicon inside the camera would come out of RED Digital Camera company.
Input / Output Board comes with a custom RED 1242 IOB chip and four BGA memory chips (DDR3? GDDR3? GDDR5?)
Epic’s Input Output Board (IOB) features multiple connectors from front and back, containing no less than eight connectors for flat cables, hooking to another engineering marvel, i.e. Red / Green / Blue ISP board.
ISP Board features three RED 1242 ISP Chips and 12 BGA memory chips of unknown origin.
From the initial comparisons between RED 1242 IOB chip (105-0431) and RED 1242 ISP chips (105-0417), our best guestimate is that RED actually used an FPGA array of some sort and programmed chips to their own liking. RED 1242 IOB was manufactured in 38th week of 2010 (September), while ISP chips were made in 43rd week of 2010 (October).
For the end, we leave you with an image of revolutionary Mysterium-X CMOS Sensor that makes EPIC such an Epic camera. 14 Million pixels are separated by 5.4 microns each, while the boards you saw above make this sensor come alive – enabling movie makers nearly unlimited freedom with 18 F-stops (HDRex), going beyond what analog celuloid film could give you.
14 Million Pixels make up one Mysterium-X Sensor of quite the great capabilities.
Bottom line is, open the 93 page document and enjoy in your dosage of camera/geek/hardware porn for the day. First movies created with these cameras will appear in movie theaters in 2011 already, and something tells us that for the first time – we’ll be able to see the difference between movies shot with this engineering marvel and others.