Fedex delivered my Red, #417, on Monday to my friend’s house since I was out of town (as pre-arranged with Red). The plan had been for me to drive over, set it up, and shoot some 4K footage of his kids (twin boys). Didn’t quite work out that way, but read on.
I got over there and started unpacking everything – and there’s lots to it! I had three boxes of stuff from Red.
Three boxes full of promise:
Everything was well padded and packed:
(Clicking any image in this article will open up the full sized original. To open in a new tab in Safari, Command-click on the image)
For starters, well equipping a Red means getting a LOT of accessories. That other even bigger box contained all that stuff. I got (and yes, this is my own personally purchased, not-just-a-review unit Red):
-Red CF module (pretty much mandatory)
-Red 8GB CF cards (4)
-Base Production Pack
-Red Drive (2)
-Red Cheese Plate
-Red Quick Plate
-Red Handle Mount
-Red Handle Left
-Top Handle Extension
-Universal Mounts (2 more)
-Rods – 2 each of 6, 12, 18 & 24 inch lengths
-Bolt Set (2 extra, got 3 extra)
-Focus Hook Set
-exta EVF cable (no EVF yet though)
-Arri 15mm Base
-15mm rod adaptor
-Red Power Pack (2)
-AC power source
-Red Side Handles (4)
Ordered but not yet received due to backorder status:
-Red transport case (laser cut, batch of’em due in March)
I decided to go pretty heavy on accessories – didn’t want to be short anything when working, didn’t want to be stared at with a “Whaddaya mean you don’t have one of those?!?” at any point. So extras galore. So even after reservation money, 10% deposits on accessories, and a discount for being in the first bunch to order (#417), the wire transfer was still about $35K. Yowza. That was with 2 lenses and LOTS of accessories. Even a light rig would still be pushing 25-30K with the 50-150 lens, EVF, battery packs, production pack, etc.
All this means there is a LOT of stuff:
This isn’t even everything, there was an ordering snafu that left me with no LCD in this batch of stuff, as well as I wanted four of the Red Side Handles. But wait, order now and receive:
This is stuff out of the boxes and sub-boxes, which take up quite a bit of space. Here’s a quick overview of stuff unpacked and all the boxes it came in:
So if you are planning on receiving yours, at this time I’d say it would be wise to set aside a day for unboxing and checking off items and making sure you have everything. Interestingly, the only printed manual anywhere was in with the charger (and the batteries had something too). The Red One itself comes with no printed documentation, you need to download the latest one. My camera, which was ready to go at the beginning of February, sat around whilst I was in Spain, then I didn’t get the order finalized until I was in LA in the third week of February, then they got it out to me in a few days. One unexpected surprise – even after making the final wire transfer (which is their preferred methodology of payment), there was a multi-day delay before shipping as accounting, packing and shipping departments did their thing. So don’t expect to get your 2nd day shipped stuff 2-3 days later – more like 5+ working days. Just be ready for that.
And be ready to figure out a lot of stuff on your own or dig around on Reduser.net – the rods, brackets, etc. aren’t explained. There is a picture of the Base Production Pack assembled in the manual, but it isn’t explained. If I hadn’t been familiar with all the parts all along after Red Day Zero, it would be daunting (especially as I’m not a day to day shooter familiar with film style accessories). So Red – a manual, please? I know they are busy and ramping up and small, but to be “real,” these things will be necessary in time. Red certainly assumes you are smart and know what you’re doing (and frankly, if you were quick enough to order a camera in the first several hundred, you probably are and can figure all this out no problem).
OK, lets start getting granular, with the Red One Body itself.
Red One Body
Fortunately, the first box I opened was the Red One itself:
In that box are two more boxes (this nesting will be a trend):
The smaller box has some of the camera body accessories:
lined up nicely include :
a single converter for the DIN 1.0/2.3 connector (aka mini-BNC or mini SDI connector) to HD-SDI. There are four ports that could use this adaptor – the Preview (720p HD-SDI), the two HD-SDI that will handle single and dual link HD-SDI (not fully functional yet), and Genlock (which is enabled at this time). One gets you started, but it two would be nicer to handle genlock as well as monitoring. You might, maybe, someday need all four if you’re doing heavy duty production. Anyway, you also get a Mini-XLR to Mini-XLR cable and a Mini-XLR to XLR adaptor. Again, just one of these – if you want more than one channel of audio, go find another one. A single cable that did this would be nice rather than two parts – but two parts also offers more flexibility, too. You also get a 512MB SD card, which can be used for installing upgrades now, and will hopefully soon be useful for storing, transfering, and loading Looks (more on those later) between camera and Red’s software. You also get a bolt set – 4 (!) different allen wrenches, and a bunch of bolts, including spares (THANK YOU for spares – ya know you’ll need’em!). I ordered two more bolt sets just to be paranoid, and ended up with yet another – so I have plenty of bolts and wrenches to be kept in multiple locations, Just In Case.
Next box – the Red One itself:
It comes with two pieces of custom cut foam and a pad to sit on, so it is WELL protected within the box. Since that box was packed in a larger padded box, the chances of damage in transit are nill. This is good, since this is the biggest part of what I paid for – $17,500 for this piece alone.
Pull that out and you’re looking at this:
…and the Red itself is in anti-stat plastic. Pull that out and you have this funky shiny egg:
…and at last you’ve extricated a Red. Here’s some more pictures of that:
They’ve changed the PL mount since the first 100 (really beta) cameras:
and in the back they’ve added a protective couple of nub/flanges to protect the joystick – BIG improvement:
I’ll do another article on differences between the first 100 and the currently shipping production models, that’ll take some space itself. Recent conversations also indicate that tests done with the beta cameras are so different than what is or will be soon possible that those earlier tests just aren’t very valid any more. Hmm.
Next up – lets look into the accessories:
BASIC PRODUCTION PACK
I’ll have a timelapse video of assembling the camera later, that will show the rods, base plate, etc.
Red Power Pack
The Red Power Pack includes the charger and two batteries. It comes in a well packed box:
and under the bubble wrap is, surprise, more boxes:
Unpacking everything, you’ll find the charger, a cable to power the camera off AC power from the charger, and two batteries:
The charger ships in plastic wrap and is the only piece that comes with a printed manual (probably because everything else changes so fast that it doesn’t make sense to make hard copy manuals):
The default config of the charger is built to ship and pack small and tidy
…but you can flip the base 90 degrees..
…so that it will stand up by itself and not fall over, especially when only one battery is charging. Nice.
Note the two lights up front above the power switch – they indicate charge status with yellow and green lights that can be off, blink, or solid to indicate different states. More niceness.
Batteries ship in these boxes:
…and arrive in an inert mode so that they are safer (see Adam Wilt’s piece on new FAA battery travel regulations)
They are nicely branded with “RED” and a Red logo on them, have a glowing power level indicator on the side – push the button, and 0-5 LEDs light up. Nice and professional. The back is a v-lock like any other professional battery.
Once charged and you push the button on the side, they look like this:
Red 18-50 Zoom
The Red 18-50 Zoom was the first lens that Red shipped. The one I own was one of the first ones shipped (complicated backstory). It comes with end caps (of course) and comes in a box with two foam ends for it to safely travel in:
And here is the lens itself:
More on it later, but there it is. One nice feature – it has the Cooke /i Intelligent hardware built in:
PICTURE OF /i CONNECTORS HERE
This will, once enabled in firmware and software, allow a frame by frame recording of lens metadata – your iris, zoom, and focus settings would be known and recorded rather than have to be inferred by the VFX folks in post.
The Red Drives finally started shipping about a month or so ago, and are available in quantity. It is basically just two 160GB laptop drives in a very rugged enclosure, striped in a RAID 0 configuration for speed. Shooting 4K 2:1 aspect ratio at 24p with the original Redcode 28 codec, you can fit nearly 3 hours of footage on each Red Drive. They mount in the Red Cradle, which is part of the Basic Production Pack, which is absolutely necessary to use this camera.
Comes in this box:
Flip open and you have 3 items – the drive itself in an anti-static bag, the cable that connects it to the camera body, and an external power supply for using the Red Drive as, well, just a hard drive for offloading media.
The drive itself is in a VERY sturdy metal enclosure that is ribbed to dissipate heat:
The back of the unit has 5 ports:
-DC power (for desktop use)
-a positive locking LEMO connector that carries both data and power from the camera
Red had discussed having a SATA port on the Red Drives originally, but that port is now internal to the LEMO connector. SATA is the fastest connection protocol offered, but until someone makes a custom cable, we won’t be able to use it for fastest possible data transfer (hint hint third parties!). Overall this is good – SATA and eSATA connections are flimsy and do not positively lock. The catch is, we need to extract that SATA connection somehow. The pinouts are published in the manual, so all it takes is someone enterprising.
The power supply was something I hadn’t really even thought of before. While you CAN power the device from the power that comes over the FW800 cable (excellent that is does so!), for many situations it’ll be preferable to have external power. The power supply comes with adaptors for all the world’s power plugs. Another example of how well thought out so many of the camera’s aspects are – they proclaim this as a world camera, and here’s another way to be sure it’ll work wherever you go.
You can switch out the plugs ends as needed
The Red Drive slots into the Red Cradle like this:
I’ll talk about the cradle more in the next section, and I’ll be doing some real world data rate tests to see how much footage in each of the 6 possible resolutions and two different data rates will fit on the two different kinds of media.
The Red Cradle solves three problems – where to put the battery, and where to put the Red Drive, and how to balance the camera for lenses of different weights that will shift the center of gravity of the camera.
The Red Cradle comes in this box:
…and is wrapped in plastic, but I’d already taken it out. It sits in the box like this:
Taking it out, it is all one piece, with four major features:
-the rails and cage to hold and protect the Red Drive
-the battery mount
-the battery cable
The mounting point is a mating match to the Universal Mount, with one large round bolt hole and four smaller ones.
It has a double pivot:
…that allows the unit to be positioned and angled in a wide variety of ways.
The cage and rails for the drive itself is in the middle:
The Red Drive mounts along two rails that run down the inside of the cage:
You have to loosen the screws enough to line up the drive’s guides that run down the long sides of the Red Drive:
Once you line it up you can slide it along the rails:
…until it is all the way in to its stops (it cannot fall through out the back):
…then you tighten down the screws, and it’ll look like this:
The battery mount is a standard V-lock, you just press the battery flat against the back of the mount and slide it firmly down and it’ll lock into place. There’s a spring loaded release on the side:
Squeeze and the battery can be slid up and off. This system is secure but not foolproof – if you bonk the battery from the bottom hard enough, it’ll pop off. I did this setting the camera down and caught a chair edge and the battery came off. But the system is dead simple to use – you can get a battery on and off, in the dark, with thick mittens on no problem – great for demanding shooting environments.
The cable that comes off the side of the unit goes to the back of the camera body. Note that the Red Drive’s cable comes off the bottom, this can create some clearance issues, so be careful how you set it up, and especially how you set it DOWN so that cables aren’t being crushed.
OK, that’s good enough for Part 1, I’ll keep chipping away at all this, but there is LOTS more to cover, before we get into the camera functionality itself…