April 7, 2014

New from RED: SCARLET DRAGON for $14.5K, DRAGONColor & 4K 3G-SDI Module

1396867330What would the NAB show be without some sort of announcement from RED? This year we've got a slew of news from the company, including Scarlet Dragon shipping info, a 4K broadcast module to send out up to 4K 60fps over 4 3G-SDI ports, Epic-M Monochrome details, new color science and even a handy RED-specific multi-tool. Hit the jump for the details.


Scarlet DRAGON

Attempting the quell the rumors of Scarlet’s discontinuation, this RED announcement should be encouraging for Scarlet owners. Here’s some footage from the regular Scarlet and Epic that Jarred Land posted as a reminder of the DRAGON predecessors' quality (download the 2k ProRes here):

Since RED isn't allowing the video to be embedded yet, check it out over at the RED forums.

  • $14,500
  • “Likely” shipping in June
  • 6K FF: 12 fps
  • 5K FF: 48
  • 4K FF: 60
  • 3K FF: 75
  • 2K FF: 120
  • 5K 2.4:1: 60
  • 4K 2.4:1: 75
  • 3K 2.4:1: 100
  • 2K 2.4:1: 150

New RCX with Dragoncolor and REDgamma 4

Potentially the most important of RED’s announcements today, this ushers in the next generation of Graeme’s color science that the RED cameras rely on. Here is a little bit that's new with the REDCINE-X:

Updated: New look and feel.
Added: DRAGONcolor and REDgamma4.
Added: Advanced Dragon Debayer (A.D.D.) with HDRx and motion support.
Added: Support for camera generated markers.
Added: CUDA support.
Added: Ability to filter wav files from the browser.
Added: Rating can now be applied to both clips and frames through context sensitive keyboard shortcuts.
Added: Rating a frame now automatically creates a frame marker.
Updated: Default keyboard shortcuts for rating, video out and L/R stereo toggling have been changed.

DSMC Firmware v5.2.8

  • REDLINK Module support (wireless networking and wireless hand controller)
  • 4K Broadcast Module support
  • Switchblade Module support
  • Dragon Monochrome support
  • Scarlet Dragon support
  • Public REDLINK Control Protocol support
  • DRAGONcolor (Dragon only)
  • REDgamma4 as default gamma
  • 4 User Calibration Maps available (Dragon only)
  • Calibration map programming time optimized (Dragon only)
  • Added frame processing (Dragon)
  • Increased max exposure time to 1 sec (Dragon)
  • Rack point UI enhancements
  • Optimize color science updates
  • Clean format transitions
  • Video markers support
  • Video markers / regions in playback
  • Pre-trigger added to trigger mode
  • Burst mode capture
  • Updated UI theme
  • 6:5 formats added for full height 2.40:1 2x Anamorphic de-squeeze
  • Horizon line UI overlay
  • A-X track toggle in preview and playback
  • Added additional supported lenses
  • SSD fragmentation detection
  • Added Exposure Assist

RED 4K Broadcast Module for DRAGON

RED 4K Broadcast Module 2RED 4K Broadcast Module 1

Designed for broadcast professionals, this DRAGON-only module is due to make a lot of people happy who have wanted to use their RED cameras in broadcast environments.

Since RED isn’t allowing the videos to be embedded yet, check it out over at the RED forums.

  • $6950, availability TBD
  • Live uncompressed YCbCr 4:2:2 video feed
  • Up to 4K / 60 FPS via Quad 3G-SDI
  • BNC ports for timecode and genlock

RED Switchblade-M


An alternative to the touch-screen REDmote, this machined-aluminum attachment goes in place of the side-handle and will be helpful for camera assistants who want information on the side.

  • $950, availability TBD
  • Side-mounted tool-less camera control interface
  • OLED

DRAGON Epic-M Monochrome

DRAGON EPIC-M Monochrome

The Fincher-tested Monochrome camera finally has price and shipping dates.

  • $31,500
  • Shipping April 28th

REDlink and REDLINK Development Kit


This is an open protocol that allows 3rd parties to control the camera via the REDLink module or via Serial/Ethernet. This could be a useful tool for controlling the camera when on a Movi, a crane or other rigs where the camera is not immediately accessible. Foolcontrol is an example of a 3rd party utilizing the REDLINK SDK.

Since RED isn’t allowing the video to be embedded yet, check it out over at the RED forums.


  • $395, shipping now
  • Integrated THC wireless lens control

REDMAG 1.8" 240GB

This new faster SSD is replacing the previous REDMAG 256GB. Also, all media purchased from RED in the past 6 months and in the future will come standard with a 1 year warranty.

  • $1,450
  • Shipping in 6-8 weeks
  • Includes 1 year warranty.

RED Sidewinder Multi-tool


This is a custom tool that covers all the standard screw sizes found on RED equipment, with threaded holes to carry spare bolts.

  • $28 (tool-only) or included in the DSMC Bolt Set ($50)

Carbon RED Mini-Mag Side Module + Magnesium Mounts

RED Magnesium Canon Mount

Carbon mini-mag side modules can now be ordered with all Carbon Dragon orders. Red is also expanding their Magnesium mount options for Carbon Dragon owners to Leica, Canon, Nikon and PL mount.

  • Side modules shipping by the end of April

Phew! That's it for now from RED. Stay tuned for more NAB announcements throughout the week and join the discussion in the comments below.

Link: Recon -- REDUser Forum

NFS's coverage of NAB 2014 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel and Limelite. Subscribe to the No Film School YouTube channel for the latest video updates direct from NAB, as well as filmmaker interviews, tutorials, and behind-the-scenes features.

Your Comment


The Dragon Scarlet is arguably going to be better than an Epic MX. You get a few more FPS on the Epic but you have the old sensor...not a bad deal if they deliver on time.

April 7, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


You still preparing to sell the EPic once 4k comes down to the smaller cams?

April 8, 2014 at 12:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


sell everything

April 7, 2014 at 3:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


You meant sell everything RED right?

April 7, 2014 at 3:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Mark, I understand you handled the AJA camera at NAB. Which is looking the hotshot camera to you so far ? I guess there's much more coming. Do you think Canon will pull out a white rabbit ?

April 7, 2014 at 3:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Canon definitely have something coming. For whatever reason they didn't hit the go button today.
Their booth is quite quiet because of that!
The CION is (I keep repeating) so effing sexy. It feels 'real'. Does that make sense?
Compared to any of the under $20K cameras we've seen since 2007 its in a different league in terms of ergonomics. You just immediately wanted to shoot with it. Can't wait to see full-on footage.
The BM is much more plasticky and looks like it would die on a 4 week jungle shoot. BUT, does have a lot of great features and I'd be happy to shoot with it. The 10" LCD is amazing. How long that door would last though.....:-)
The A7S freaks me out as its so small. But the projected footage did look great and as an ML 5D3 guy, it has a lot of offer me as a 'cheap' way to integrate 4K into my personal work. The 'matching' ATOMOS recorder is REALLY nice and the two together aren't as weird ergonomically as you might think.
However, so far my socks have really been blown off by whats going on in LED lighting. I know, not as sexy as cameras, but just amazing fixtures perfect for indie/ENG/drama all the way up to replacing 12Ks with units you can plug into the wall. That's the REAL revolution on display here.
So in my Xmas wish list, I'll take a CION with a new Zacuto EVF and a van FULL of LED lighting please.
IRL I'll probably wait to see what Canon/Panasonic drop at @$5k mark then make a purchase.

April 7, 2014 at 3:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Thanks Mark. Nice to hear an on-the-floor take in addition to the press releases.

April 7, 2014 at 3:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Thanks Mark, much appreciated !

April 7, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Thanks for the on floor details, can you be more specific about the brands of LED lighting that impressed you? Maybe some more details in terms of output and performance?

April 7, 2014 at 6:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Thanks! Great roundup of what we've seen so far.

April 7, 2014 at 7:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Another perspective from the floor, Cion looked a little unimpressive. Dynamic range was lacking, at BMC levels I would say. Easier to swallow that at 3k then 9k. AJA also says only AJA branded ssd's will work on the camera. There is a point where you have to wonder what part of what's being offered here isn't something that a scarlet wasn't offering 3 years ago. Only bringing this up as AJA is next to the Red booth. I'm no fanboy of either company but I really didn't come away excited.

Only thing I've seen on the show floor that really blew me away was A7s 4k quality. That camera is going to be one sneaky mothetfucker. Very comparable image to the f55s nearby.

April 8, 2014 at 11:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

Carlos D

Fellow comrades of the craft, wake up. You had the camera you needed to make that thing you wanted to make 5 years ago. Turn off your internets, go outside and come back with the works of your hands.

And bring me some of these new cameras because I want to play with them ; )

April 8, 2014 at 11:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


That was so incredibly inspiring and wonderful.

April 9, 2014 at 4:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor

Are you SURE that short was shot on Scarlet Dragon? I can't find that explicitly stated anywhere. All I can find is it was shot on two Scarlets and an Epic, with no mention of Dragon. Am I missing something?

April 7, 2014 at 3:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Agreed - no one said this was Scarlet D material.

April 7, 2014 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Yeah, it's actually not Dragon footage, just regular Scarlet / Epic. I've updated that.

April 7, 2014 at 4:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

Micah Van Hove
director, producer, dp

If that first footage turns your crank, then good luck to you.
The highlights are effing terrible. That same exact footage shot with Alexas would look better.
I still love the EPIC DRAGON. But persuading clients to use it is VERY tough.
RED needs a serious design/workflow rethink, or its about to be the Saab of cinema cameras.

April 7, 2014 at 3:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Do NOT mock Saab, they have still STRONG cult following around the world : )

April 7, 2014 at 3:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Mate, I have owned 3 of them, and had the pleasure of shooting a launch film for them in Gothenburg once.
I LOVE Saab.
What I meant is that RED may end up as ONLY a niche brand, that then blands out to compete, then dies :-)

April 7, 2014 at 3:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


aaaaand then i can haz one for cheep, no? trolol

but srsly; i'd take one cheap if it's 'dies out out' :P

April 9, 2014 at 10:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


delivered in 2019

April 7, 2014 at 3:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


4K Broadcast Module for 7000 dollars ?

or to be more specific, couple of standard 4K video connectors = price of next Blackmagic 4K camera with few accessories.

Same feature that comes stock with every Sony F55...

April 7, 2014 at 3:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Yeah, I'm not sure any EPIC owner actually wants to hear about the F55......
Even ALEXA owners get twitchy.

April 7, 2014 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Sony F55, can't rate it any higher, fits into so many scenarios. Currently my favourite camera.

April 7, 2014 at 6:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Well Dragon has more range and resolution then either for less money...So you know there is always THAT lol

April 7, 2014 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

brian merlen

It's a matter of taste, but I'm pretty sure if you shoot anything in low light situations, you'll become a Sony F55 camera advocate like I have. I've seen a few samples of Dragon, but only a few have been superior. But a few have been superior. What's up?

May 1, 2014 at 10:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Oh dear... that Scarlet Dragon footage looked horrendous...

April 7, 2014 at 3:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Because it isn't.

April 7, 2014 at 4:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


That is not Scarlet Dragon footage, Jarred Land showed this to prove that regular Scarlet footage is still good, this in response to rumours of Red killing the Scarlet.

Link: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?114945-NAB-2014-Speaking-of-...

April 7, 2014 at 4:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

Raphael Wood

That video wasn't from the scarlet dragons though.

April 7, 2014 at 4:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


I used DRagon last week and an Alexa XT, Dragon is decidedly less nervous more soft.
All agree.
The colors are better, now I'm seeing too ADD and the new science of color ..
Sorry folks, but now is the best RED camera.
Decide on the quality of a video vimeo is not very professional.
Maybe tomorrow Arri introduces the new camera.

April 7, 2014 at 4:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


I am excited about the scarlet dragon, however, as a current scarlet owner I think the upgrade price of $10,000 to the Scarlet Dragon, considering brand new is $14,500, is disappointing to say the least. Why would I pay $10,000 when for $4500 more I can get an entire new camera? Come on RED someone over there has to take a look at this considering the new Blackmagic camera with PL mount comes in at $6500??? Requires no additional add-ons etc. Lets learn from Blackmagic and drop that upgrade price to something more reasonable like under $5000. I can sell my scarlet rig and buy two of the new BM cameras. I know the two cameras have their own pros and cons but the pros are out weighing the cons. Come on RED help me out

April 7, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


14500 is brain only, more like 18000 with PL mount and side SSD.

No additional add ons? off the top of my head $1K+ CF cards, V mount plate and batteries

April 7, 2014 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Same here. The upgrade price is what I initially payed for the camera. That is not the price of an upgrade, but the price of a new camera - except you won't be getting another camera.

April 7, 2014 at 6:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


You can sell your scarlet and end up spending around the same as the upgrade cost for an inferior camera
or upgrade for 9500 to a superior camera:

6K for timelapses. 5K for motion work. REDCODE raw much better and constantly improving color science. 16.5 stops of DR. Lower noise floor etc. etc.

Seems like an easy choice to me.

April 7, 2014 at 6:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


There is only going to be cheaper 4k cameras all the time now. If Red is out of the budget, then get the alternative. I think the Dragon range and resolution will trump everything though, but sure cheaper cameras will still cost less, even if the suns black and you can't format in camera and whatever else is wrong with the IQ lol

April 7, 2014 at 8:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

brian merlen

It's not about what camera you get for the price. It's about the promises that was made to us when we originally bought our cameras. Red-fans keeps defending Red, but fact is, Red should just admit things had changed and they can't deliver the upgrade they set out to. It's the constant denial that makes it a bitter pill to swallow. Don't get me wrong - I love my camera and the images it produces and that won't change, but part of the reason I could defend to buy such a expensive camera was the possibility to initially upgrade it (which was originally gonna' be 6-12 months after the release). 9.500 is not the price of an upgrade but in these days the price of a new camera. Upgradable system my a**.

April 8, 2014 at 10:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Jesper, I understand the frustration. The upgrade is not like what we think of when upgrading most everything else. It's the cost of a new camera. But, that's exactly what you're getting when your camera comes back. A Dragon Epic/Scarlet will have on-board RAW recording, color on par with anything else out there, resolution greater than everything else out there except F65, DR greater than everything else out there and frame rates greater than most everything out there. Honestly, what other camera is going to give you all of that for less than $9,500? There isn't one. If you think the upgrade price should be less (and I wouldn't mind that one bit), that limits your choices even more for alternatives from other companies in terms of IQ at the same price.

Compared to the ACTUAL current/near-future market and NOT expectations, your Dragonized camera will basically have no equal for the money. Yes, some form factors and individual features may me better on other cams for certain things, but pound-for-pound, there isn't one other camera you can spend $9,500 on and get the sheer image quality you're going to get out of an upgraded Scarlet MX to Dragon. If there is, please tell us all what you think that is. It's unfair to judge RED or any other company based on your wants and not the actual state of the marketplace. If you think your money is better spent on an F55, URSA, CION, GH4, DB, A7s, C?00 or BM/P/CC/4K, then by all means, make the switch. You'll be happier for it. To me, Scarlet Dragon is a hard cam to beat overall. That doesn't mean it will be a huge success, but it does mean you'll be able to get some damn good pictures out it.

April 8, 2014 at 12:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


yep- that's why sold my Scarlet last month.. they screwed us all big time. They promised an upgradeable camera- instead they gave us a horrible trade back program. They said a yr ago that the Dragon Epic would sell for $24,000. That's a year ago-- should be worth no more then $20,000 now. So why would I pay $19,000 to upgrade my Scarlet into an Epic Dragon? Better off selling your Scarlet now- use the proceeds to buy a cheap 4K option, and wait a yr for Dragon Epic's to cost $18,000.

I got $11,500 for my Scarlet package- I'd strongly suggest selling it. The frame rates on the Scarlet Dragon are purposely limited- and not worth $18,500 (14K plus 4.5K accessories). It's not an upgradeable camera when the upgraded sensor costs more then a brand new Cion camera. It was a good scam. we all got scammed by RED.

It should've been a $6,000 upgraded sensor charge. RED got greedy. It'll be a year before everyone is offering comparable 4K for under $8,000.

April 7, 2014 at 9:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

steve d

Red will have a real hard time competing in this market against the major manufacturers. Arri has sniffed this out by moving onto the super-expensive 6K+ dMF models (if true). Otherwise, a 4K prime time TV (and, with that, an independent film) quality camera is now practically a commodity. $40K last year. $10K this year. It's been nice knowing ya, Jimbo.

April 7, 2014 at 4:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Keep dreaming. RED isn't going anywhere any time soon.

April 7, 2014 at 5:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


DLD, you say this all the time and I still don't know what makes you think RED is going to be in trouble. RED doesn't make cameras for the people looking to begrudgingly spend $5K on a full blown camera system to shoot their projects. Their mission was always to be a suitable replacement for 35mm film. You have to look at them in terms of productions that have the budget to shoot 35mm in the first place, not the expectations of the 3K for $3K crowd they (regrettably) created. Yes, they try to cater to smaller productions and requirements, but their main focus is on modest-to-big budget filmmaking, where that extra refinement in image quality is going to be valued. Whether they achieve it may be open to debate but their goal is to provide top-of-the-line images for much lower prices than the rest of the top tier they see themselves in competition with.

People were wondering where RED was in the Oscar nominations for best cinematography last year (as if it really mattered). Do you honestly believe the CION, URSA, BMPC4K or F5 are going to make that list before something shot with Dragon does? One of the main reasons Alexa produces such desirable images is the 7 or so stops of DR above middle gray. Dragon provides at least 7 as well. Combined with much better color handling and higher frame rates, you've got a formidable package that will show its maturity when stressed. CION is 12 stops total. I have a hard time believing that any DP is going to go backwards and dump Alexa or Dragon and lose at least two stops of DR because the camera is only $9K. Scarlet Dragon should make its IQ benefits apparent in highlight retention alone. If 14 stops of DR were easy to produce at such affordable prices, every cam maker would be doing it. Since they're not, $14,500 is a bargain to get 15 from the Scarlet Dragon.

Epic MX still gets considerably more big movie gigs than F65 and F55/5 put together. I don't see that changing now that Dragon has arrived, which is a much better camera than MX in everyone's estimation. I just don't understand how RED is in a bad position when their main target audience is actually using their cameras in impressive numbers to great effect with over $1B in box office revenue. The sub-$10K cameras announced in the last two years, including today, will NEVER come anywhere close to achieving what Epic MX has since its release, even if you don't count The Hobbit. How that spells doom for RED is beyond me.

April 7, 2014 at 6:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


To be clear, I meant Dragon has much better color handling than MX.

April 7, 2014 at 6:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Brian, Red is now going against companies with tens of billions in sales and, off this NAB, that "35mm" look can be had for $6K-$10K, not $40K. How many sub-$10K camera will Red have? None? You get my point.
Plus, the accessories have been providing the profit margin for Red and the ever dropping cost of off-the-shelf media will sap that portion off the ledger quickly as well. Look at this as a long distance race. Red has been the proverbial "rabbit" (aka a pace maker, term borrowed from dog racing). Rabbits are needed to serve as a target for the eventual winners but they soon drop out of the race. Red was that rabbit for half a decade but now the pack has caught up to it. At some point, its market share will dwindle and the profits generated by the product sales won't be able to cover the overhead. Jannard can hold out a while due to his personal wealth but, unless some revolutionary product is in the pipe, Red is not going to weather this 4K storm.
I won't even mention that the company and its management have a questionable reputation and a lot of tech buyers have been looking for a reason not to buy Red to begin with.
PS. Varicam is priced at $55K. Good luck to Panasonic with that model. I doubt even Codex will save that ass.

April 7, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


DLD, I get your point but I don't think it's valid. Who are the companies with tens of billions of dollars to which you're referring? Sony? Panasonic? Canon? Name me one time in the history of any of those companies when they didn't intentionally cripple a lower tier product as to not hurt sales of their higher tier products? N E V E R. In order for what you're saying to happen, these companies would have to abandon their entry-to-mid level cameras and drastically reduce the price of their top tier cams to entry level prices to have the effect on the market you're predicting. It's not going to happen. The pricing for the Varicam 35 should tell you that. And like I said earlier, 12 stops of DR eliminates AJA's CION from the Alexa/Dragon arms race. Who's left? Besides, if the economics worked the way you say for the "S35 look," the Canon C300/500 should've knocked the Epic out of Hollywood by now.

If Panasonic can move the Varicam 35 at that price, RED really doesn't have anything to worry about.

April 7, 2014 at 8:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


What about Arri? If Red is dead what about Arri? WHAT ABOUT QUALITY? Red and Arri will be fine and no one wants a black sun and aliasing crap like you get on these shitty 4k cheap cams, believe me I hope they are good, but relative to Alexa and Dragon, they just don't end up on top. At the end of the day all that matters is the image, that's it. Price be damned

April 7, 2014 at 9:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

brian merlen

that would make sense if RED just didn't recall all their Dragon cameras last week because of color science issues... you make it as if the RED Dragon is some staple, established product, next to the Alexa- it's not. Remember last year when RED was at NAB with engineers installing the new sensors in their "clean room".

The problem with RED is they were selling people into buying a concept-- a camera body that would always be upgradeable. It was a lie. When you charge Scarlet / Epic owners $9,500 to upgrade a sensor-- the same price as a new 4K Cion, the same price as 3 Panasonic GH4 cameras (with interfaces)- that's not an upgrade program. That's called bending over your owner base.

And the Scarlet Dragon is not $14,000- it's $18,500 when you add on the accessories. Sorry, it's a good camera- not worth $18,500. Do you know that RED purposely limits the Scarlet Dragon so it doesn't compete with the Epic?

Every other camera is now doing what RED promised-- upgradeable hardware body. I for one want to be an owner of a company that stands behind their word. If it takes an extra year for them to catch up to RED, i'll stick with them-- rather that, then be with a company that bent us all over.

April 7, 2014 at 9:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

steve d

@steve d. You wrote:

"that would make sense if RED just didn’t recall all their Dragon cameras last week because of color science issues"

Do you have a link to a source for that info? I'm not aware of any recall that happened last week. Or, are you referring to the OLPF swap, sensor calibration and color science tweaks that RED announced 2 MONTHS AGO and is old news that was covered right here on NFS - http://bit.ly/1jNzNxi - and discussed ad nauseam?

April 8, 2014 at 10:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


brian merlen : "Price be damned"

That's a nice ideal. But most everyone has to think about price. Many of us will be going with GH4, and BlackMagic, and a couple others, for our 4K.

April 8, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


brian they've been doing color science tweaks now for a year... the recall was last month (not last week), but just as of two weeks ago, dragon owners were complaining on REDs blog that certain colors weren't filming correctly- requiring additional tweaks. It's a great work in progress camera-- but after a year of delays, there trying to sell it at the same price. it's a joke, as lots of companies are on the verge of catching up at prices a fraction of RED.

And now that everyone knows RED's upgrade program is a lie (i.e. charging more for a sensor upgrade then the entire camera actually costs), i think most people realize, they're not the company to go with any more.

April 11, 2014 at 11:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

steve d

@steve d. Please see my response to Jesper above. Dragon is a year late, no question. But in that year, what camera has come out that would make Dragon's specs and performance seem lackluster? $9,500 is still very competitive (even for Scarlet Dragon) considering what you get from any other camera maker. If anything, we've seen the image improve over the last year. I didn't care for the first moving images we saw from Dragon. The improvement in IQ since then is significant - and that was under the old color science. RED just released the new color science that's been specifically tuned for the new sensor, CFA, new OLPF and electronics and also addresses the overly saturated reds that one user complained about. All the issues people have noted were basically from early adopters on pre-release cameras. The vast majority of people haven't taken delivery of their Dragon cameras yet.

You said you sold your Scarlet rig. What are you going to replace it with that costs less than $9,500 but matches the image quality of Scarlet Dragon? No one has answered that question yet. You can kinda get something comparable to Scarlet MX for less than $9,500 with better color performance but it either won't have the resolution or won't have any higher dynamic range. Anything you buy that costs less than the Dragon upgrade price is going to constitute a set of compromises that more or less amount to a cross-grade from Scarlet MX, performance-wise. When considering everything that was probably important enough to you to buy a Scarlet MX in the first place, the cheapest camera that meets that criteria and comes closest to Scarlet Dragon at the moment is the F5, which is $16,500 for the body and no 4K. CION, which is unproven and not available yet, will probably give you better color than Scarlet MX in a more ergonomic package with the same resolution but with no more dynamic range than MX, no on-board RAW and for roughly the same price as the Dragon upgrade - remember, that CION shoulder pad is extra.

I'm not trying to sell you or anyone else on the Scarlet Dragon, especially if it doesn't meet your specific needs. For example, if you routinely shoot in low light, the C100/300 or one of the many smaller chip cameras with built-in noise reduction are going to be better suited for that task. Specific scenarios like that aside, I just want to know why you think there's a better overall choice of digital cinema camera out there for less money than the Dragon upgrade.

April 13, 2014 at 6:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


I appreciate that you're speaking above my own experience level, but if you look at the "bazooka to a knife fight" analogy which Red themselves coined, now in 2014 someone else has brought along a grenade, another a pistol, a Samurai sword, an axe, a sling to use against Goliath, and Arri are even developing a WMD (the 65mm sensor), so someone somewhere has to scramble for cover in Red's own analogy. The Dragon sensor is late and now entering a crowded arena, so it would be ironic if that someone was Red.

April 7, 2014 at 6:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Saied, you make a fair point. I try to look at it based on who's using what and why. The RED ONE, despite its faults, was on par in most ways, and surpassed in some others, what was currently available at the time in the digital cinema space…for far less money. All people see nowadays is the less money part and mistakenly think that's the whole enchilada. It's only HALF the equation. When BMD, AJA, DB, Sony, Canon, Kinefinity, Panasonic or whoever else comes along makes a Dragon equivalent in the ways THAT MATTER MOST to higher tier DPs for a whole lot less than RED is charging, then you'll have a scenario where RED falls victim to its own disruptive philosophy. Until that happens, cheaper boxes with substantially lesser specs aren't going to make a dent in RED's business, especially with Dragon being easily within reach of anyone with a halfway serious budget.

It kind of reminds me of how everybody thought they were going to make an iPod killer back in the day with cheaper hardware units that may have even surpassed the iPod in some areas. But, they totally neglected the other half of the equation and bundled them with crappy, overwrought jukebox software where Apple had (then, unforeseen) grand and glorious plans for iTunes' deceptively simple and clean interface. The hardware AND software front end made the system work. Where are all those other players now? Dragon's tardiness hasn't cost them much in terms of other 4K cams, given what's been announced recently. And the arena is not very crowded because there are primarily only three types of cams that make movies in the space RED most successfully competes in - 35mm film, Alexa and RED Epic/R1MX.

April 7, 2014 at 7:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


the choice for me would be RED Dragon, the form factor is decisive for me.
On gimbal and octocopter give stunning images.
As for the pictures I agree that Dragon is much more clean our Alexa and also the color is better.
We're going in the direction we RED, we'd like to take the Carbon.

April 7, 2014 at 5:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Got to put the carbon fiber in my hands at CES, it was surreal how light it was.

April 7, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Its incredible isn't it?
And the other cool thing is last week I had a guy whose a bit of a dickhead showing off his (admittedly nice) RED DRAGON in the office.
Very casually I said' oh, didn't go with the carbon fiber then? Oh well'.

April 7, 2014 at 9:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


you rat. ;-)

April 8, 2014 at 10:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


I'll still have an Amira with a side of fries, please.

April 7, 2014 at 6:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


really lol? i wanted one, but for that price i can't justify it

April 7, 2014 at 9:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

brian merlen

Let's get this straight - if the argument for which camera to use involves your own personal finances, or the difference between having your uncle do the set design VS. having money to pay a professional, or the need to have the camera ready at a moments notice when all the actors have days off from their real jobs - all of which are choices real filmmakers have to make at some point, either because they're broke or because of their chosen aesthetic and/or working philosophy - then RED Dragon vs Blackmagic whatever or AJA or C300 becomes a real question (especially when factoring in the post costs).

If, however, your budget allows the choice of camera (and post pipeline) to be a purely aesthetic question - one of Image Quality, feel, texture, footprint, movability, low-light capabilities and post malleability - I think it comes down to the Dragon and the Alexa for the vast majority of people, with a few oddballs going with a Sony or a C500. Whether or not a 6000$ camera can do 90% of what a 50k$ camera can do, is irrelevant when getting that extra 10% means just a 1% bump in the budget.

It depends on the project, but personally I would most often go for the (carbon) Dragon in such a dream situation:

a) It has a stellar image.
b) It's relatively compact and light, fit for a Movi and some very close quarter shooting.
c) It offers arguably the greatest leeway in post out of all the big dogs. Has astounding resolution, very "thick" color information and an industry best dynamic range which can be further expanded with the onboard HDR function. (The way Fincher shoots Dragon, framing for 5K and filming in 6K, making massive room for reframing and stabilization, yet still nicely oversampling his 4K final output - that's incredible control to have after you've shot).

April 7, 2014 at 8:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


What makes ZERO SENSE to me is when people try to tell me Red or Arri have something to worry about from a cheap 4k camera. Do you really think that? Is James f*cking Cameron going to wake up and say "jolly I just need to use a black magic cinema camera"? C'mon what are you on? Its great that the prosumer and hobbyist markets finally have access to technology professionals have been using for almost a decade now, but you gotta be bat sh*t crazy to really think a prosumer camera will replace an Arri, or a Dragon on a major production. I CANNOT WAIT FOR the 65mm Arri! because I am not a brand following loser and am capable of buying good cameras from multiple sources (should financing allow since the Arri will be hella cash)! so forget this partisan stuff or camera class warfare because major productions will always pay for the best, and thats what we want to shoot if we shoot Red or Arri (or high end Sony/Canon). WE WANT THE BEST

April 7, 2014 at 9:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

brian merlen

If production companies wanted the best camera on each shoot, they would still be using 70mm film. Of course price factors into it, and so does a DPs desire to try out new technology.

The last episodes of House MD and Californication were shot on a 5D Mark III. That was a year ago. if you don't think smaller cameras are being used on major productions, you're crazy. RED Dragon cameras just got recalled btw. People said the same thing about digital cameras as a whole- "you have to be bat shit crazy to think a real production would use an unproven digital camera over film". I'm pretty sure you were one of them.

Yes, as soon as the quality and consistency get a little better-- real production companies will use cheaper cameras. It's only a matter of time before the sub $10,000 cameras are so good, you'll see hundreds of films a year shot on them. Will some high end productions insist on shooting on 35MM or using a $90K 4K Alexa? sure.

And no- i wouldn't be surprised at all if James Cameron shot on Black Magic camera in a year or so.

April 7, 2014 at 9:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

steve d

I don't know why so many commenters wanna bet on the 1%, movies are shot on the best tools available, unless its the best tool, then top filmmakers will not care. Films are still shot on film even though film is "dead"

April 7, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Brian and other Red ladies and gents, here's how I see the market shaping up for the next few years. Needless to say, I could be wrong but nonetheless.
1) The big budget features will use film, F65, Alexa I/II, Varicam and a working Dragon, depending on a DP's or director's preference. On these big features, reliability is going to be very important and Red has low marks here. So, even if you think that Red will have more than a 10% market share, there aren't enough major features made globally to sustain any company. In other words, 50-100 cameras might suffice ... and they are already made.
2) Big budget/scripted TV - the upscale US/Japan/Korea markets that are already converting to 4K will go to F65/55/5, Varicam 4K, AJA Cion, Canon 4K (whenever it's out) and the Alexa leftovers. Everywhere else around the globe still in 1080p, Arri and Sony will dominate, especially if there are a bunch of perfectly working Alexas sold off in the US/West. Epic Dragon may find its way into the various studios on some days but, wherever the cost becomes a major factor, it'll be Cion, F5 and Canon 4K.
3) Major internet streamers/lower tier cable - an offshoot of the above - a lot of F55/5, a lot of Cion (they will have problems with the supply, as there's too much expected demand), a lot of expected Canon 4K, a few FS700 with Q7 or even GH4's and A7s with Shogun. Scarlet share? I would say, negligible. Its full working rig leaves it at the high end of the spectrum financially and that niche has long gone Sony's way.
4) Independent film/local TV/web/corporate/weddings/personal - probably not enough funds to purchase Cion with its PL mounts/glass. So, high end consumer grade and hybrid photo equipment is the king here - FS 700 with Q7, A7s and GH4 with or without Atomos Shogun, Canon 4K, Nikon 4K, JVC 4K and all BMD lines. Numerically, this category is the largest but the profit margins are thin while the quality can be quite excellent.
If you divide by the generated revenues, Category 4 will have ~ 50+% of the total, Category 3 25%, Category 2 15%, Category 1 - 5-10% with the rest spread out to high end advertising. Red is competitive in performance only in the top two categories but lags behind in quality and reputation. When you think about it, it had the 4K digital market all onto itself for quite some time and its market penetration has not been that huge. The list of major features where Red One or Epic has been the primary camera is not long. Ditto for TV, Sharknado notwithstanding. Now the company is facing major competition from all corners and all comers. This is why I don't think it stands a chance.

April 8, 2014 at 4:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


DLD, I'm going to make my points by mentioning a certain camera company as little as possible. You seem to be putting a lot of faith in the CION (without footage or track record, no less) and you may be right about its success. FWIW, I think Alexa set a standard for image quality that has A LOT to do with its 14 stops of dynamic range and, more importantly, the distribution of those stops. People have gotten used to seeing 7 stops of range above middle gray from that camera. It's the sweet spot. A 12 stop camera isn't going to all-of-a-sudden set the world on fire because it has 4K in the Alexa form factor. It's like the iPod analogy I drew in another post. If 12 stops were enough to dethrone Alexa, the C300 would've done it. Most people clamoring for global shutter and high frame rates over beautiful highlights are fooling themselves, methinks.

When people compare footage from the CION and the $995 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and see the same or better highlight retention from the BM, it's going to make the CION look a little silly, despite its otherwise professional feature set. Any production that can afford to shoot (on PL glass) and post in 4K will have the budget to use something with better actual or perceived IQ. The CION will fall short compared to every camera that achieves the magic 14 stops of DR Alexa has already established - I count 8 so far. It may have an initial big push but I think that will be followed by a fairly quick cooling off period when producers wonder why their shows don't look quite as refined as their competition's shooting on the 14 stop cams. You can pretty much nix Category 2 for that cam and any other 12 stop cam going forward.

That still leaves the Varicam 35, F55/5 and whatever Canon does next. The F55 is starting to get a little traction and may have a pretty decent showing in scripted tv/web applications. I could be wrong but I think you're way off on the significant adoption of GH4 and A7s for all but a few of your Category 3 productions. Yes, Wilfred is shot on the D800, but that's one show out of how many? Those two will see most of their use in Category 4 but, being the type of product they are from the companies that make them, they will constantly be replaced by newer models and have a much shorter shelf life than the higher tier cameras. Basically, they'll be treated like throw-away consumer products because competition will be too fierce at their price point.

I know the FS700 and Q7 seem like a killer combo on paper but I have my doubts about how popular it will be. My gut tells me the FS700 just doesn't check a whole lot of people's image quality box. It's capable of some nice images but people never seemed all that knocked out about it for whatever reason, aside from the high frame rates. My Spidey sense tells me the FS700 is not long for this world. If it does manage to stick around, it will languish until they finally put it out of its misery. If it hasn't made a move by now, it's probably not going to happen by the very logic you put forth in all your recent arguments - there are just too many other choices coming out. One of my points is an attractive price isn't everything

I guess my other point is you're very analytical and practical about your predictions but they often seem to lack a certain FEEL, for lack of a better term. You seem to intuit based solely on price, availability, features, etc. but ignore a lot of the intangibles. You seem very "by the numbers" in that way and make a ton of sense and your arguments are very well thought out but something still seems incomplete about your assessments, at least to me. Your categories and breakdowns don't "feel" right to me. Then again, maybe I'm full of shit. Either way, a camera's existence alone doesn't guarantee its success. Most of the cameras you put in your categories aren't even available yet.

One last thing: your estimation of how many projects shoot on RED is way too low. The lists on their website are by no means comprehensive. I've alerted them to a few projects they didn't know about. Plus, there are tons of music videos, tv commercials and miscellaneous other projects where that info just isn't readily available. You see RED footage a whole lot more than you think you do.

April 8, 2014 at 10:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


What I don't understand is the number of people out there who are just dying to see RED fail. I don't own a RED and have never shot with one, but regardless, I can't read a single thread involving RED where someone doesn't come with gallons of vitriol to throw around.

April 7, 2014 at 9:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


its just fluff, but either way it;s marketing perfection. the arri vs, red vs. whatever else thing is creating tribes. thats marketing 101. pretty funny though…you'd think people want competition around. do they really want red to fail? really want only alexa to choose from? of corse not. everyone just needs something to hate. personally I don't give a damn. I like the alexa, but I own an epic. it fits my job description better. i couldn't throw an alexa in a backpack and go snowboarding with it. but hell, I liked my arri s too…and for that matter, like my 5d3, and my stupid go pro...and still have a windup bolex! whatever, who cares about the red/alexa bickering. view it as entertainment…because most people haven't even held either, haha.

April 8, 2014 at 12:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


So glad to read that from someone who's actually owned and worked with a wide variety of cameras. I've had people insult me because I come from the "So long as the footage looks good, I don't care who made it" camp.

April 8, 2014 at 3:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM



April 8, 2014 at 9:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Guys like me could probably forget about it if it had not been for J.J. putting out the Red camera and challenging the cosy monpoly of the existing players. This new range of NAB goodies at prices which even I can consider are largely due to him. Otherwise it might have been, hey, Panasonic GH4 for $100,000, body only - "only" fifty thou extra for YAGH !
But over time Red did seem to grow quite arrogant in their language. When Sony launched F5/55, they behaved like a kid stamping their foot. The attempt to destroy the Sony cameras in their boxes evoked to me the early projector wars from the days of Edison. I think negative comments stem from that period. Recently, I sense a change in the Reduser forums, a more measured and reflective outlook, acceptance of others, and even constructive criticisms.
Of course, I'm just commenting as a reader, and users at the higher level probably see things differently. I feel slightly naughty considering the very companies which were forced to change by Red instead of Red, but I certainly don't wish them failure.

April 8, 2014 at 4:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Yeah, I would agree that if there was anything that did put me off by RED as a brand it would be the way they went for the aggressive marketing style. I feel that their brand would be much more approachable if they would make, as you said, more measured statements and maybe weren't as in-your-face with some of their designs. Having said that, I still think that the footage I've seen from the Dragon sensor looks lovely and definitely an improvement over the older sensor, but I still think the old sensor wasn't anything to sneeze at either.

April 8, 2014 at 5:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


no, the negative comments come from the fact that RED tricked hundreds of people into buying a Scarlet camera, misleading them by saying that the camera was forever upgradeable. When the upgrade finally did arrive, a year later- the upgrade price cost 20% more then the cost of an actual brand new Scarlet. For Epic owners, the sensor upgrade price of $9,500 wasn't lowered even after taking an entire year to actually fulfill the orders.

Imagine buying a new computer from Apple for $5,000 and they said the processor would forever be upgradeable- then the first upgradeable chip was offered out at $6,000. Talking about getting bent over.

So yes, many of us don't like RED. Others tucked their tales between their legs-- and paid $19,000 as part of a terrible camera buy back program. The reason RED is going to fail is because they screwed over their user base, and the cameras aren't good enough to get people to switch over from Alexa and Sony F65

If they were smart-- after their sensor was in their 8th month of delays, they should've brought their prices down to $6,000 upgrades. Instead they got greedy, now they're paying the price.

April 8, 2014 at 10:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

steve d

If you walk around loudly telling everyone within earshot you're the son of God, and then it later transpires that you're the Son of Sam, people are going to snigger. It's human nature.

April 8, 2014 at 11:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


It is one thing to give speculative claims but when you are finally actually selling things... it is borderline fraud...

Right this very moment, from red.com netstore, for Red Dragon item:

"RED DRAGON sensors have a native dynamic range of over 16.5+ stops, giving you a huge advantage in challenging lighting conditions."


Neither Sony F65 or Arri Alexa is claimed to have more than 14 stops of DR, still they both surpass Red Dragon camera in real-life measurements.

April 9, 2014 at 6:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


Three important factors to consider:

1) very often these days, the DP is not given the option to choose his or her own camera; the studio and producers make that deal before the DP is hired, and they get the job on a "take it or leave it" basis.

2) producers are very conservative and superstitious as a rule, and they go with "what just works." Keeping the post workflow smooth and trouble-free trumps just about everything, including a perception of quality.

3) camera cost is meaningless, because all major TV series and studio features RENT their cameras; they don't buy them. Package deals are rampant. Even Red owners are whining that there are desperate owners renting full Epic packages for $500 a day, which is destructive for people who've invested $100K+ in a camera package with lenses and mounts.

It's interesting to note how much of an iron grip Arri has on the American scripted TV production business right now. I know this frustrates Red zealots, but the reality is, the Alexa looks great and works well. And for those who need 4K, the F55 is another fast and simple workflow. I think Red is getting nipped at the low end by a dozen cheap cameras like the Canon C300 and BMCC, and killed at the high end by Alexa. That leaves the vast middle, and again, with prices being what they are, I'm not sure that's a factor anymore.

April 9, 2014 at 4:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


It's a matter of taste, but I'm pretty sure if you shoot anything in low light situations, you'll become a Sony F55 camera advocate like I have. I've seen a few samples of Dragon, but only a few have been superior. But a few have been superior. What's up?

May 1, 2014 at 10:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM


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June 26, 2014 at 8:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM