Thread: Scarlet Buying Guide

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  1. #1 Scarlet Buying Guide 
    Senior Member Steve Sherrick's Avatar
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    In preparation for the big news tomorrow, I thought I would try to help out some of the Redusers who may be stepping up from other cameras, or perhaps this is their first big camera purchase. Obviously, the details of what will be announced tomorrow are tightly under wraps, so it's hard to know what will be included, which accessories will be necessary add-ons, etc. So, I thought I'd stay fairly general and assume that the basic package will come with at least the following:
    • Camera Body
    • Batteries and Charger (Maybe 2 batteries)
    • Media (Not a given)
    • Lens (Not a given)
    • Redmote (Not a given)

    To put this in perspective, let's roll back to 2006 when RED first announces RED One and the price point is set at about $17,500. For anyone buying their first major camera, the price was certainly attractive compared to anything else of that quality. Still, for some it was close to the ceiling of what they could afford. Many tried to squeeze by on budgets of $21-23,000. And some maybe did okay with those types of packages, but there were probably a lot of people who realized that to really do it right meant a considerable amount more and a lot of packages probably ended up in the $35K + range. Little bits and pieces add up very quickly, not even taking into account lenses and things like that. Even small accessories tend to run in the hundreds of dollars, so you have to be prepared for that.

    So, here's a friendly list of things to remember as you contemplate your actions tomorrow.
    • Assess what you currently have for accessories and determine what will work with this new camera system and what won't. Budget accordingly, and build in a contingency.
    • Unless your gear is covered under a special home owners insurance plan, you NEED insurance. Don't wait to find this out the hard way. Do research to find insurance companies with a solid reputation in this industry. Be careful of loopholes in certain plans.
    • If you will be doing post production with your footage make sure you have a beefy system. Even at 3K or whatever the Scarlet ends up being, you need some horse power, especially if you want to work with native files and absolutely if you want to use Resolve.
    • If your projects are critical, i.e. a client will be paying you, don't underestimate the need for media. Good protocol is to go to set with more media than you think you need so that you don't run out. If you have a means to backup the media on set, make sure you figure out what your workflow will be for doing so and plan accordingly the amount of media to make that work.
    • Backup storage is imperative to plan out ahead of time. Figure out how much you plan on shooting, then make sure you can afford to back it all up. Trust me, it adds up. I am moving onto cabinet #2 full of hard drives and such. A lot of data. Unless something better comes along, consider adding an LTO 5 to your budget.
    • Repairs. Stuff breaks, gets damaged, make sure you have backup cables, and anything else you can afford to backup. Have some budget for repairs/replacement for items not under warranty.
    • When looking at things like matteboxes, buy once and be happy no matter how much it hurts the wallet. You can spend a lot of time and money chasing after false hopes and ending up with gear that just doesn't work properly. A good mattebox and follow focus should stay with you for a while, even after you move on from your camera. I have used screw-in filters a lot over the years with my still lenses, but I'm moving away from doing that because ultimately there are some thngs a mattebox does better.
    • Don't get sucked into buying things you don't need. Very easy to do, I've been guilty of it. When you have the opportunity try things out before buying make sure to do so. Stop by RED Studios, whatever you have to do. It's easy to go broke if you give into every impulse.
    • If you haven't already, create a business plan. Even if you only plan on doing short films, this exercise helps bridge the gap between your business side and your creative side. Well worth the effort.
    • Remember, as great as we know RED cameras are, at the end of the day it is still a camera. Try not to put yourself in a bad position that will impact relationships, put you in a bad financial position, take away from your child's college education, etc. Calculated risk can be okay, blind faith can get you in trouble.

    Just some things to think about tomorrow to go along with the excitement that is sure to be in the forefront. As I've mentioned in another thread, I can't wait to see what some of you are going to do with these cameras. There is a ton of talent amongst some of the young Redusers. I enjoy watching their work and I know they are going to shoot some killer footage and I can't wait. The list above is merely a guide for those who may not have traveled these roads before. Everyone else, this is probably old news.

    Enjoy the day tomorrow!
    Steve Sherrick
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    Holy Comprehensive Check Sheet BATMAN!!!
    -ZEB


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  3. #3  
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    Thanks for taking the time to write that Steve.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member SeanBrown's Avatar
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    Great job. This is a must read for most people.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Josef Gatti's Avatar
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    Awesome post Steve, has backed up many of my current thoughts - in particular about budgetting around purchasing just a camera. It's only the beginning of it all. Thanks.
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  6. #6  
    What an awesome post...thanks for sharing.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Steve Sherrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Makena View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to write that Steve.
    No problem. Meant to help people avoid mistakes I've already made throughout the years. :-)
    Steve Sherrick
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    Hey Steve,

    How about a posting of: "What's in Steve's Bag"

    You are certainly thoughtful and take the time to share. Would love to hear you take on brand specific components like Matte Boxes and Rail System Configs

    Cheers!
    -ZEB


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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Nick Wernham's Avatar
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    Very good list, Steve. My general policy is that unless the camera comes with a very generous set of accessories then I expect to pay between 60% and 120% of the cost of the camera on extras and any additional support systems I might need (for example: I own a pretty good tripod that I am optimistic will be fine for the Scarlet, but do not own a shoulder rig which I would like to get). If I cannot afford the basic tools (batteries, chargers, media, basic grips, etc.) that are necessary to make the camera practical to use then the camera itself is not a practical investment for me at this point and will have to wait until later.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Mark Phelan's Avatar
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    Thanks Steve. You know, I considered posting a mention along the same line in the thread about my R1 for sale, but decided not to. I'm glad you did make the point here that the camera is the tip of the iceberg. Everything you said is 100% spot-on.
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