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Media Program Adds Two RED Epic Cameras

Published: Sep 09, 2013

Taylor University students inspect one of the new RED Epic cameras.

Taylor University’s film & media production program is already Emmy award-winning. Now the program’s equipment is making an even bigger jump to the Hollywood big leagues. The program has purchased two RED Epic cameras, the same cameras used by Peter Jackson on The Hobbit.

Faculty and staff revealed the new technology at a special event dubbed "The Big Reveal," hosted in the television studio on Sept. 9. The room was full for the unveiling of the new technology, and the event was live-streamed to interested alumni.

“This is a significant investment in our students’ futures, and we’re very grateful to a supportive administration and to friends of Taylor for making it possible,” said John Bruner, director of production for Taylor’s media communication department. “While the story is still the most important part of the process, this equipment will help our students prepare for the creative and technical processes they’ll encounter in Hollywood and elsewhere on major film and television productions.”

Tim Sutherland, an alumnus of Taylor’s media communication program, said the purchase is extremely significant. Sutherland works in the cinematography department on the ABC television show Nashville. “For students this is not merely a camera but a window into the world they aspire to enter,” said Sutherland. “The methods they will learn will teach them what it takes to make motion pictures at the highest level with any tools available now or in the future.”

 “We’re really excited about the advantages we can offer film and media production students at Taylor,” said Kathy Bruner, assistant professor. “We are committed to producing graduates who can tell great stories that can influence culture in a positive way.”

"What's most important is the understanding of story and how a camera gets used to impact the audience's emotional response,” said Taylor alumnus, Dave Turner (‘05). Turner recently completed his MFA at the University of Southern California film school and worked last year on the Sundance-winning film Fruitvale Station. “The purchase of the RED Epics gives students generous access to a level of camera that is used on many feature films and television shows in Hollywood.”

The RED Epic is known for ultrahigh “5K” resolution and frame rates ranging from 1 up to 120 per second with an ISO range from 250-12,800. The camera’s dynamic range has 13.5 stops in normal operation with up to 18 stops in HDRx mode. The purchase of Red Rocket hardware will allow students to work with RED’s very large raw files in editing. According to Josh Taylor, media engineer for the department, “Taylor has also invested in an array of Zeiss lenses using PL mounts. The lenses range from 18mm to 100mm, and several are super speed lenses for low light shooting.”

Sundance Film Festival winner and alumna Michelle Steffes (’00) shared her excitement with the department saying, “Congratulations on the two new cameras! Those are amazing, top-level cameras and they'll be a big boon for the department!”