One of the best features of this battery is its recharge time, especially when used in conjunction with additional batteries. The manual indicates a total recharge time of 210 minutes, which is, admittedly, a long time. However, by using three batteries in rotation, and replacing one around the 20% mark to recharge, a production using the Epic can remain fully operational with virtually no downtime. Of course, this technique doesn’t account for every shoot schedule, but from 5K Insight’s experience, a producer can count on great power performance from a three battery rotation.
Where the Epic is concerned, this three-battery plan really shines. Since the Epic only requires about ten seconds to power up, a battery change has almost no impact on a production, and the DP and camera team can maintain an efficient on-set work flow. Meanwhile, two batteries can be recharging, as long as there is power to the charger, which can be run off a conventional grounded power outlet. Conversely, the Red One tends to eat up these batteries quicker than the Epic, and so a three battery rotation is essential.
If the production only has two batteries available, the Epic can operate full time except for the circumstances where the camera is having prolonged use without powering down. This situation may result in the batteries still needing time for a full charge. In this case, a camera team has three choices: rotate undercharged batteries; rent more batteries, which is relatively cheap; or, include the Red Volt battery into its rotation.
The Red Volt is the newest addition to the Red power setup. These little batteries can insert directly into the DSMC side handle or the DSMC battery module, and are very small and light which is ideal for “running and gunning,” or when the camera needs to fit into tight corners. There are some limitations to these little batteries, however. Recharge time for a single battery can take up to 90 minutes for a fully depleted battery. Also, operational camera time is limited to about 30 minutes before needing to replace the battery. Thankfully, Red provided each Epic package with four Redvolt batteries, which will allow near continuous operation, or allow the spare time to recharge two brick batteries.
The Red Brick does have a couple of drawbacks when used with the Epic. One, the camera doesn’t currently recognize the battery, unlike the Red One. So, operators must rely on the LED indicator on the side to determine how low the battery is. It can be mildly annoying, but certainly isn’t a priority for concern. In fact, this has encouraged me to often err on the safe side, and change out early, ensuring that no battery gets very low. Two, it is much heavier than its little brother, the Red Volt, and so negates some of the lightweight benefits of the small camera. However, each circumstance is different, and by incorporating the Red Volts into a shoot schedule that requires a lot of handheld or steadicam, the Red Brick’s are free to handle the bigger jobs on the crane or sticks.
In the final analysis, Red really got it right with their power setups. By providing two distinct battery options, including one that was forward compatible from the Red One, the Epic is the go-to camera for any cinematographer looking for both lightweight and long shooting options.