Meet The RED Camera
If you’ve ever watched the behind-the-scenes of indie films or YouTubers such as Linus Tech Tips and MKBHD, chances are you probably know what a RED camera is. I’m no YouTuber or professional videographer, but I’ve always been interested in cool tech like this and I really wanted to get one to call my own.
But get this. The RED camera, at least the model I was interested in getting, is $25,000. No, that’s not a typo. For the price of a decent car you can get your hands on one. And that’s just the body ALONE, not counting the other overpriced modular parts needed to start shooting video with it.
So what does a girl do when she wants a nice camera to start filming PC builds with, but is short about a couple hundred kidneys to afford one? She starts looking for cheaper alternatives. After asking around a bunch of my more video-geeky friends, I managed to put together what I’d like to call, the Poor Man’s RED Camera.
The Poor Man’s RED Camera
This rig is basically a Sony Alpha 7S Mark II body with a whole bunch of extra additions to give you that RED experience without going bankrupt. Attached to the main body is a 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom lens, part of Sony’s higher end line of G-Master lenses. A Smallrig cage protects the body and adds extra mounting points for additional accessories and increased modularity. A 5-inch 1080p monitor sits at the top and gives me a better live view of what the camera sees and helps with framing. Providing extra power to the camera and monitor is a massive 177Wh Maxoak V Mount battery attached to a JTZ DP30 V Mount power supply for a whole day of recording without having to charge or swap batteries. All that is held together by two Smallrig 10-inch 15mm rods. The total cost for everything, including cables, adapters, mounts, and all other smaller support pieces and accessories not mentioned came to just under $6,500. But wait, the title says “Poor” Man’s RED Camera. How does ending up with a $6,500 alternative translate into “poor?” For that, we need to look at the actual RED camera.
The Actual RED Camera
RED Digital Cinema’s WEAPON HELIUM BRAIN costs $25,000 for the body itself. Don’t be fooled by the image above; that’s not all the $25,000 comes with(Plus that image is the lower end RAVEN). Add a decent lens for $2000. Add the screen, that’s $3,000. The V battery mount is another $2,000. The V battery itself that goes on the mount is $500. The RED MINI-MAG, their ridiculously expensive proprietary storage costs $850 for 120GB. That’s the price of 25 64GB cards for a total of 1.6TB worth of SD cards for my camera. Add the overpriced handle, overpriced cables, and all other overpriced mounts and accessories and you’re looking at $40,000 for everything, and that’s just the bare minimum to set up what I would consider a decent workflow.
But Isn’t The RED Better?
Definitely. The 8K Helium sensor on the RED is better than the one in my Sony, but it’s not $34,000 better. Sure, $6,500 sounds like a lot, but you’re getting the performance and quality that goes with such a high price tag. There’s expensive, and then there’s overpriced. The RED camera, while great, falls more into the overpriced/overkill category and should only be bought if you’re doing high-end professional work or have buckets of money just sitting around.
Just watch the video below, it was taken using the Poor Man’s RED Camera. It’s not a perfect video, and if you’re one of those pixel peepers you’ll probably catch my mistakes but I managed to fool a lot of my video-geeky friends into thinking it was shot with a RED camera(obviously skipping past the title that showed the name of the camera).
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