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  1. #1 Thinking of buying a RED 
    Member Kerry Lofton's Avatar
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    Hello everyone!

    Hope this is the right thread for this. And I apologize in advance for the long post. Iíve been doing research on here for a while now and finally got signed up and approved to post. Iím thinking of jumping into a RED but I keep going back and forth in my head . Canít tell if Iím just being hesitant because of how expensive it is or if I really have a reason to not buy. FWIW Iíve talked to several people who own REDs and picked their brains but would love any input from you all if you have it. Just trying to soak in as much info as I can to make an informed purchase.

    A little background info- I currently shoot for an NFL team doing their creative social content. On any given day I can be working on a mini doc, a short storytelling piece, a hype video, travel, etc. Iím pretty much always shooting so this camera will have to be run and gun. Which brings me to my first hesitation. Iíve seen and heard conflicting things. Some people say this camera is meant to be on a set and ran with a crew while others say itís great for run and gun. Iím a one man band so I need as much help as I can get from my setup. Iíd be pushing it hard too. Gamedays can be a lot - 9-10 hour days and shooting.

    Which brings me to my next point... probably 80% of what I shoot has a quick turnaround. I could be filming our guys boarding a plane for an away game and have to edit the video and have it ready to post before we land. Or on gamedays Iím shooting and as highlights happen Iím running to my workstation on the sideline to cut them, export and send off to our social team to post, quickly enough to get back out there and keep shooting. Iím planning to download some sample R3D files from the website to edit and see how my computer handles them but just wondering how this camera does in a workflow like that.

    Those are really my two biggest concerns. Besides small stuff. Iím planning to buy a used Scarlet W so my biggest fear with that is spending so much money and it being a lemon or something. The last thing I want to drop a ton of money only to get hit with pricey repairs down the line.

    Outside of that, everything seems like this would work for me. Iíve always loved the images that RED cameras produced. Itís just something about them. My team shoots on Arri Amiras (I used a Sony A7riii last season Instead because of its lightweight) and I just still prefer the RED. Outside of my job, Iím also picking up a ton of side work. Iím doing content for players personal channels, weddings and will start creating personal short films and docs when I can find the time between the team so Iím sure Iíll get my moneyís worth.

    Aside from an unfair comparison to RED, I love my Sony. Itís just time for a switch, mainly because not having 4K/60 sucked and I canít wait any longer for the A7siii and itís ghost specs. Besides RED, my other option was the ursa mini pro G2 (over the pocket cameras because although the price is great, I hated getting all the parts, etc to kit my Sony out, even though I know the RED is similar and will have to kit it out too :) ) anyway, Iíve seen some really beautiful images from Blackmagic and Iíve seen some stuff that is a turn off. Again, thereís nothing like RED. Same thing with FX9. Not a fan of the MXF files and at that point, after dropping $15k to get it where I need it to be I could have the RED Iíve always admired.

    Anyway, again, sorry for the long post and thank you to anyone who read all that. Any advice you all have on my approach to this, buying used, or just anything in general, Iím open to hearing and learning. Hope you all have a great day!
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    I'm not a Red owner but I can say a few things that you may find useful.

    I've heard very good things about the Leica SL and the Sony A9 as video cameras. One guy said that he never grades his SL footage, and the clients love it. The GH5s is so good that its image quality is at least as good as some cameras with bigger sensors, even in lower light levels. Perhaps you've already looked at those. Personally I'm not sure I'd choose those over a Red for video, but I'd need to think about it more.

    According to one website, Sony is very likely launching an FE mount camera next month:

    The very same sources sharing the ZV1 details also say there is a super big Full Frame event in June. So if the ZV1 rumor turns out to be true on May 26 than there is a very big chance the Full Frame info I got is correct too.
    https://www.sonyalpharumors.com/fina...lating-screen/

    Also, wait for the Komodo!
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Alex Lubensky's Avatar
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    You didnít mention - are you working handheld, or on a gimbal. For a handheld camera I find Red really comfortable, especially with photo lenses. The way you can kit it (side handle just screws right into the top of the body), how fast you can do it - is just exclusive. Your camera can shrink almost to a brain size, or could grow 0,7 meters in size in 10 minutes.

    Though, the camera is batt-hungry, it consumes around 65wH, which means youíll have to carry around some V-locks to spend your day. While you fly a lot, itís a thing to consider (there are IATA limits on batts).

    R3D workflow is fast, in Premiere Pro on a PC itís a non-brainer for most machines, while Resolve experience is going to be more power-hungry. Also on dsmc2 you can record prores proxies for a fast turn-around.

    Iíd say rent one, work a week before buying - get used to a workflow, see if it does fit your work. If itís limiting somewhere, Iíd say think twice - in the end itís only you who sees the difference in your field, so if your job becomes harder it might not be worth a hassle.
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  4. #4  
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    Everything you say about what you do screams “Red”. You’re actually in the field Red c‚meras perform the best: sports. I shoot a lot of motorsports for example, and red cameras absolutely shine in that field:

    Super slow motion at UHD or above. Slow motion is a must for any sports and motorsports shooting

    Redcode Raw- raw is an excellent starting point for dynamic looks that sports imaging need.

    Multiple interchangeable mounts: I have to often use super telephoto lenses on the field and the fact we have native EOS mounts with stabilization are an absolute must for those moments we want to shoot on track at a safe distance and get those dynamic, dramatic and up close shots. There are cinema tele lenses but nowhere appropriate for sports shooting, specially live/happening, anything can happen scenarios.

    Buy without fear. You will not regret it for a second. Make sure to download Phil’s and Red’s available creative Luts and ipp2 luta for the quick turnaround.

    Red ode raw workflow is mature and robust and you’ll have no trouble working with it at all.

    I would suggest getting an Epic Dragon Instead if you can find one, redvolts and side handle for that extra portability ( yes they last 20 minutes but you are completely portable) extra media, or a DSMC2 Magnesium for the frame rates at higher resolution. The Scarlet W is excellent-We have one to complement our Monstro- but those extra frame rates at 5K and 6K of the older epic and the magnesium give it an extra boost for motorsport.
    Sťrgio Perez

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  5. #5  
    Senior Member William Long's Avatar
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    One word: 'Komodo'.
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Long View Post
    One word: 'Komodo'.
    Have to disagree. Lacks frame rates.
    Sťrgio Perez

    Weapon Monstro #03294 "Amochai" in Macau

    Video Director/Creative/Producer


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  7. #7  
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    Definitely rent one for a week; the lustre will wear off immediately when/if you canít make it work or itís too slow.

    Render time increases alone might put you off. Or the weight (the *brain* is ~4lbs... shootable is closer to 10lbs, maybe 7lbs if you use a battery belt). Tripod needs to be bigger. Youíll be way more physically taxed after 9~10 hours. You wonít be able to fit everything you need for 9~10hr shoot in a backpack (as I presume your current kit does). Hell media offload time will be 4x as long as the Sony. Youíll need at least 4x v-mounts, each probably weighing more than your entire mirrorless rig. The internal mics arenít the greatest and fan noise might be a concern (compared to pullIng sound from the Sonyís internal mics). Boot time is 1min; that alone could crush any docu-style immediacy. And low-light is better on the Sony than dragon... oh and autofocus; the RED has none.

    Also, if youíre only getting a Scarlet-W, you should *definitely* wait for Komodo, as itís a similar price brand-new, has most things built-in, will eventually have continuous autofocus, can get variND (which is huge), cheaper media, way less battery, way less weight, and the Scarlet-W only does 50fps at FF5k while Komodo does 40fps 6k and 120fps at 4K (so presumably 96fps at 5k.)

    I dunno, hate to be a downer, but Iím quite confident DSMC2 will be far more headache than itís worth in the shooting situation youĎve described (which sounds like a sweet gig, FYI), and you wonít be able to make it work half as well.
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  8. #8  
    Member Kerry Lofton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone!! All really good info and gives me a lot to consider.

    Karim- those are definitely some things to think about but like my current A7Riii, rigging up a camera in that dslr style body is such a hassle. I’m hoping to move from that style a bit which is why I’m looking at new options. I could go fs7, etc but like I said, spending that much I may as well drop a few extra thousand and get the camera I want

    Alex - what I do changes. I could be running handheld pregame for all the color stuff with just a side handle and a monitor and then switch to a shoulder rig with EVF for game action. It just depends but sounds like the RED makes that easy with its modular style.

    Sergio - thanks for those good points. My only fear with going with one of those others over the scarlet is having to go dsmc1 which even though still puts out a gorgeous image, is putting me in an almost 2 generation(assuming dsmc3 is coming sometime or another in the near future) body. Also further increases my risk buying something used and older. But I’m open to thoughts on that. Was looking heavily into until my buddy Who owns a RED brought up that point.

    Mike - definitely not being a downer. I came here for honest opinions and for true help, even if that means not getting the camera of my dreams. I understand it it may not work for me and that’s just what I’m trying to make sure before I make a big investment. So thank you for that. A couple things

    - though I travel a lot, I will never have to worry about carrying my own tripods, batteries, etc. I rarely ever shoot on tripods except for interviews. Game action is done on a shoulder rig or handheld. We pack cases for every away game that gets transported directly to the stadium that holds a crap ton of gold mount batteries (which I’m planning on using over VLock) tripods for our Amiras, which are huge as well and I could always use if needed but in 2 seasons with the team I’ve never needed a tripod for a game). Also, because of how I’ve had to rig my Sony up to meet my needs I can’t really fit it in a backpack now. I travel with a giant cinebag that holds just the camera with a top handle and a mic and one lens. Plus all my wires and cables and laptop. But then I have a giant pelican case that I have to carry on top of that with all my rig parts, my smallrig shoulder mount set, my shogun, etc. it’s a hassle to carry, set up and break down. I have to do it that way cause there are no carry on approved bags that allow my rig to fit easily built cause it’s so long and big .I’m sure my setup can’t get any more cumbersome haha I’ve seen the run n gun red cases that will allow me to drop the red in fully built and be ready to shoot in a couple minutes after popping a battery on and powering on.

    I’ve heard of the slow turn on time but I’m not terribly worried about it. There’s not much that happens so fast where I migh have the camera on the ground turned off for day like a tv timeout or some extended pause where I’ll miss something waiting for it to boot up. Football is actually slow as heck in real time sometimes. I did speak with a RED rep who I mentioned this concerned to and he told me about sleep mode which saves battery but doesn’t cost you boot up time. We also have battery runners so I’ll never be without power.

    Same RED rep mentioned he could send me a loaner for a week so I’ll probably do that. Was trying to move quickly because Scarlet W’s are kinda scarce as far as selling goes. Idk if that will change when the Komodo releases which a lot of you brought up. The RED rep also mentioned that. I’m very interested in it as it could very well suit my needs a lot better. I’m just worried about waiting until the end of summer for an announcement. Then having to wait who knows how long for a shipment. Means I could get well into the season maybe even past before the camera shows up and that defeats the purpose. That’s really my only gripe with the Komodo. I’d hate to wait for something and pass up what’s in front of me
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
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    I was thinking of selling my Weapon MG 6k Dragon docu kit... with Kippertie ND filter on Canon mount, RTmotion sidekik focus control on knob and motor, shoulder rig with 3x 480gb media, viewfinder, (bomb evf gen 1), Gratical eye, 5.6'' RED touch LCD. Teradek bolt 500 LT with Cine7 monitor and a lot of goodies for 25000. Or make the plundge and upgrade to Monstro...

    The biggest problem for turnaround is your backup time if you shoot more than 1.5 hours rushes/day. To go faster you could shoot R3D at compression 10:1 and Prores 422 HD to start editing with the proxies.

    See you.
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  10. #10  
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    A used Gemini sounds like the camera for you and if you can't afford that I would say a Dragon-X then Scarlet-W in that order for a few thousand less. The Gemini gives you Dual ISO with the touch of one button on the LCD, which I believe would be very useful for lowlight game shots in locker rooms, stadium tunnels or travel shots at night as players board busses and planes. In your situation, it sounds like you won't have time to set up lighting or travel with lighting kits so having a few extra stops of clean ISO would be a huge benefit for travel documentary and storytelling in my opinion. This is also important with action shots which typically require shooting stopped down with a small aperture for detail to get everything in focus while utilizing high frame rates (which also in turn darkens image) so dual ISO is in play more than you think when the sun starts to go down and you are trying to shoot at F8-F12 and 120fps. I recently filmed a long boarding scene on gimbal down through a half-mile long underground tunnel in which I shot the entire clip at 1600 ISO T8 on Kowa's and had no additional lighting rigged on the car just the small street lamps in the tunnel lighting the entire scene. This shot would not have been possible on most other sensors and Gemini handled it with zero noise and it was so clean I barely had to even grade the image beyond the addition of the base IPP2 LUT. Dual ISO on my Gemini has been very favorable to me on projects that I am a "run-and-gun one man band" and or do not have the capability or budget to go overboard lighting every scene and in these circumstances I have been able to produce a very usable and clean image anywhere from 1600-2000 ISO without the need for noise reduction. What noise you do get is very filmic and almost looks pleasant as if you laid some film grain on in post. Furthermore, Gemini and Dragon-X shoot 5K resolution up to 120fps WS and 150fps in 4k with basically no crop on the sensor outside of the existing +/-1.3x S35 crop factor. A lot of people don't realize both Monstro and Helium have severe crop when shooting high frame rates due to windowing of the 8k sensor down to 5k so if you shoot 120 fps a lot Gemini is the camera to own. Any RED, including the Scarlet-W would be a great camera for your needs, but Gemini is definitely a league up if you can afford one and I know because I came from shooting on Scarlet-W a lot prior to owning a Gemini. Other than a lot of power draw (need a decent amount of v-mount / gold mount batteries) and the slow startup time (30 seconds to boot with some warm-up time on the sensor before maximum image quality can be achieved) there is actually very few downsides to a RED contrary to belief for documentary film work. Many will disagree that are coming from the FS7, C200-C300, or even the DSLR world as they will say that you will have trouble with R3D files and turnaround times and render speeds but that is an issue with the computer and graphics card not the codec. My 2019 15" and 16" MBP chews threw 5k-8k footage in seconds to minutes. Add in a few Samsung T5 2TB SSD's ($320/piece) as releiable mobile editing drives (can have just about 6TB for $1000) and you would be good to go. Only other bridge to cross with a RED camera for DOC work is how to feed clean audio in for live events and that is very easily achieved by mounting a Sound Devices Mix-Pre 3 off the back of a shoulder rig on rails and feed it into the camera which will produce much better audio than any onboard pre-amp sold in any other competitors brand cinema camera with xlr inputs. It actually makes more sense to leave audio out of camera and use a recorder targeted towards maximum audio fidelity which also is then useful in capturing ambiance and doing sound mixing and foley for projects when you aren't running the camera. With today's powerful laptops, graphic cards, and reasonably priced SSD external media solutions, there is really no reason not to be shooting high-bit rate RAW such as Redcode. Anyone that talks down on the RED ecosystem and workflow for storytelling, travel, or doc work is either not familiar with the simplicity, amazing IQ, reliability or simply jealous they don't own the ecosystem. As for Komodo, it's a great camera and I am thinking about picking one upto compliment my Gemini but it's definitely not an A-cam in the realm of slow motion and I would still recommend a Scarlet-W or Dragon-X (if Gemini is not an option) over Komodo for your needs. Plus it wouldn't hurt to get into the DSMC upgrade program so you are ready for DSMC3 next year or the year to follow and you can then update and evolve your gear/career as the ecosystem improves.
    Last edited by Andrew Reese; 05-14-2020 at 07:11 AM.
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