GUIDE TO BUYING A RED CAMERA

As of last November, I have been a RED owner. I’ve owned 2 RED scarlet’s and now I have a RED Epic (Hopefully getting the Epic Dragon in a few months). Owning a RED is a VERY expensive choice to make and I think a lot of people don’t realize that going into it. (I didn’t). The memory cards alone cost about the same as an used A7S, so yeah it’s pretty wild lol. I think people get confused and think if they get a RED nothing else matters. Composition/lighting/camera movement just means nothing and the RED is just a beast on it’s own. This is far from the truth and no one should think this if they are considering buying one. Not only does it require alot of attention, it also is a HUGE investment and you should definitely think practical before getting one. Just because you own a RED doesn’t mean your quality is going to soar.

EXPENSES

RED Epic Brain ($9,000) / Monitor ($1500) / Monitor Cable ($100) / Memory Card ($500-$3,000) / Card Reader $150) / Battery Plate ($500) / Battery ($300). These are the bare essentials you need to even just operate a RED. It’s not the run and gun DSLR you are used to. This a fully working cinema camera and your bank account will be sure of that after you buy it lol. This is what I meant when I said you need to think practical before buying one. If all you shoot is rap videos with no lights and 1 location and only make $500-$1.000/video, you should reconsider upgrading to a RED. The GH4/5 and A7S is perfect for these type of “run and gun” shooters.

LOW LIGHT

I upgraded from an A7S when I got my scarlet. I remember being able to shoot at ISO 30,000 and not even have the slightest worry about the shot. With the RED Scarlet and Epic, I try not to go past ISO 800. Low light is not it’s strong suit and low light has never been a great thing on any expensive cinema camera. The whole idea behind cinematography is lighting and when you don’t give your camera light, you won’t get results. The added expense to the RED is that you need to invest in a light kit. I suggest the Aputure lightstorm, it’s a portable 1K equivalent LED and looks great on skin tones. These lights run off the same batteries (V mount or gold mount) that power your RED.

BREAKING EVEN

With any of the gear I own, if I can’t make back the money for it in 2–3 months, I don’t buy it. I never would recommend to go broke over any sort of camera gear, it just doesn’t make sense. Unless you know for a fact buying whatever piece of gear you want will bring in business (which nowadays isn’t much) I would stay away from clearing out your checking account just to be able to say “I own a RED”. The whole idea behind new gear is knowing you can up your price and up your clientele, not do the same shit you are doing. Progression should always come with gear upgrades.

LET’S BUILD

So you read this blog post and you are ready to buy a RED camera, you know that you are ready for the expenses and you are ready to up your value.

Step 1: Finding which camera you want in your budget. The RED lineup goes like this (Listed by cheapest to expensive)

-Red One (shoots 4.5K and 120FPS at 2K Cropped) ($4,000)

-Red Scarlet (Shoots 4K and slow motion at 3K 60fps) ($6,000)

-RED Epic (Shoots 5K up to 120fps) ($9,000)

All of these are great options but it all depends on your price range. Don’t forget this is just for the brain, we still need all the accessories we talked about in expenses

BUNDLES

Most people selling thier RED packages are selling them as bundles with all the accessories you need so you don’t have to worry about buying extra stuff. What you get in the package is “ready to shoot”. This is the ideal route to go and I think it really is the only realistic one budget wise.

Let’s look at a few:

Clearly all of these range in price. The RED is modular which means you can add ALOT to just the barebones setup. Some of these add ons can be a Upgraded fan system,PL mount,7 inch monitor instead of standard 5 inch, extra batteries, etc. The only items you need are Monitor (see your image and change settings)/Battery (Power camera)/Battery Plate (Mount battery on camera)/RED mag(Memory card)/Side SSD Includes port for memory card/EF or PL mount (Mount lens).

Everything comes down to price and knowing what things are worth.

I wouldn’t pay more than $4K for a RED One package / $7K for a RED Scarlet package / $10K for a RED Epic package. Some people on ebay overprice items and it’s CRAZY. Be careful or email me if you have any questions about legitimacy of prices.