October 23, 2015

RED RAVEN Will Now Be a 4.5K 120fps Camera Starting at $6K

RED RAVEN Brain Only 1 Cropped
RED has decided to upgrade the specs on RAVEN well before the camera is set to hit shelves next year.

Apparently RED's Jarred Land and Jim Jannard came together and worked out a way to squeeze just a bit more resolution out of the camera, by increasing the sensor size from 20.48mm to 23.04mm (a little over 2.5mm wider in the horizontal direction):

So Jim and I just had one of those Epic all-nighters working away in Stage 4... 

Now it is morning.

and now Raven has become 4.5k.

23.04mm x 10.8mm

No additional cost to you.... just to us. 

Brought to you by the wonderful engineers @ RED.

Enjoy.

There's no point going over everything the RAVEN can do as it's already been written in detail in the previous posts (including the fact that this is really a camera costing well over $10,000 when all is said and done), but here are just some of the resolutions that we can expect now with updated specs (there are many more variations possible, including 3K and 2K):

  • Sensor size: 23.04mm x 10.8mm, Diagonal: 25.44mm (Previous RAVEN spec was 4K DCI and 20.48mm x 10.8mm)
  • Max Resolution: 4608 x 2160 (this is roughly correct based on 4.5K 2:1 of the DRAGON sensor)
  • 4.5K up to 120fps 
  • 4.5K Full (2.13:1) — 1.62x crop, 4608 x 2160, 23.04mm x 10.8mm
  • 4.5K WS (2.37:1) — 1.73x crop, 4608 x 1944, 23.03 x 9.72 mm
  • 4K DCI (1.9:1) — 1.87x crop, 4096 x 2160, 20.48mm x 10.8mm
  • 4K HD (1.77:1) —1.96x crop, 3840 x 2160, 19.19mm x 10.8mm
  • Price: $6,000 body only, packages including media coming in around $10,000

I'm mostly using RED's numbers from their Cinephotography tools as that is the easiest way to see resolutions, crop factors, and everything else all in one. There is a slight discrepancy between 23.04 and 23.03, as that is what Cinephotography tools states for DRAGON, so this might be a rounding issue or it does, in fact, have a .01 difference in size. As a result, those resolutions above may not be perfectly correct, but they are about as close as you can get.

We don't know what RED is doing for the RAVEN sensor, if they're just taking 6K DRAGON sensors and only using a portion like they did with SCARLET MX and SCARLET DRAGON, or actually making a physically smaller sensor. The most financially sensible method would be to just use 6K sensors that didn't pass spec at 6K but can work at 4.5K, and it would likely save a ton on R&D. This is also a way for them to increase specs without changing the physical sensor. 

It's worth noting that the horizontal resolution is now the same on both the RED RAVEN and the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K. Is this intentional? Maybe not, but they definitely didn't want to get beat on resolution with a cheaper camera, and Blackmagic still has a taller vertical resolution of 2592 compared to 2160 on the RAVEN, which means that URSA Mini 4.6K is capable of 16:9 at the full resolution, whereas the RAVEN has to go down to 4K UHD in order to get 16:9. 

There is no question this makes RAVEN a more interesting camera. You're getting a wider FOV at 4.5K, but you do miss out on 4.5K HD (since the sensor height won't change), which I think would have made this an even better update. If your project is shooting 2.40:1, this new update will make you very happy, but if you planned on shooting more standard aspect ratios like 16:9, this won't make much of a difference, and it doesn't give a ton more room for any sort of reframing and keeping the project at 4K.

What About SCARLET DRAGON & The Rest of the RED Line?

Jarred Land also mentioned to some RED owners that there will be something for SCARLET DRAGON. We don't know if this will be an upgrade path into some sort of middle of the road WEAPON camera, or maybe upgraded specs, but there will be something. To me this is necessary based on how RAVEN is significantly cheaper but has better specs in a lot of ways, including frame rates and compression ratios.

Here's where things could potentially get really interesting for the product line. RED has a huge hole between RAVEN and WEAPON. They really should just drop prices on current products in order for their line to make more sense. SCARLET MX is a 3 year-old camera using 5 year-old technology, and it's not nearly the camera that RAVEN will be, though you do still get interchangeable mounts. To me, that's a terrible way to differentiate the product line, and SCARLET MX should be the true budget camera for a couple thousand dollars. 

RED SCARLET DRAGON

EPIC MX is also in a strange spot. It's better than SCARLET DRAGON in terms of resolutions, frame rates, and compression ratios, but the image from SD is much more pleasing and rolls off better in the highlights. It doesn't make any sense for EPIC MX to still exist in the lineup, because it has relatively similar specs as RAVEN, but RAVEN should look much nicer. If they're not going to drop all MX products, they should at least drop prices, and I think the most sensible thing would be to get rid of EPIC MX, drop the SCARLET price to nothing, and then introduce the middle of the road camera/upgrade it seems like they're teasing. 

Hopefully we won't have too long to find out, especially for SCARLET DRAGON owners who may have only had their cameras 4-5 months after RED made a big push for DRAGON upgrades before NAB. RED has done a good job giving upgrades that other companies really aren't doing, but when the upgrades cost more than a new camera, it's not really that enticing, especially for anyone who owns a DRAGON camera right now. You can buy a couple RAVENs for the price of a WEAPON upgrade, so the company really needs to reevaluate which markets they are catering to, and whether the upgrade programs still make sense as-is. 

With all that said, if you've got a RAVEN pre-order on the way, you just got a better camera for no extra cost.      

Your Comment

40 Comments

Joe...
Clearly you answered your own question.
The sensor size of Raven is 23.04mm x 10.8mm.
The sensor size of Epic/Scarlet/Weapon is 30.7mm x 15.8mm.
They claim it's a Dragon sensor, so obviously it's a cut portion of the larger sensor.
We DO know, and it's NOT a sensor that wasn't up to par.

October 23, 2015 at 10:03PM

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The reason I say this is that for them to just change this so late in the game is a big deal. Sensor size and active area are two very different things, and they very well could be stating only active area, as the sensor in the RED ONE MX was only ever 4.5K, yet it was capable of 5K in the RED EPIC.

October 23, 2015 at 10:49PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Wrong. The Red One MX had a different sensor than Scarlet/ Epic MX.
It might be the "same" sensor, only smaller, but it's a different size.
24.2x12.5 vs 27.7x14.6.
If they were the same size, what would keep the Scarlet from shooting 4.5k at a usable frame rate? Or the Red One from shooting 5k at 12 fps?
Difference was, the Red One had more horsepower than Scarlet, but a smaller MX sensor.

October 24, 2015 at 11:52AM

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Actually it One MX has the same sensor exactly as Epic and Scarlet MX, but many pixels were only used for look-around are never got to be recorded. But... The Red One Mx OLPF is different than Scarlet and Epic, and the innards on all three models are very different and make a significant impact on not only specs but image quality.

October 26, 2015 at 8:22PM, Edited October 26, 8:22PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

It's the same exact sensor, they only list the pixels they actually used to record an image.

October 27, 2015 at 9:37PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Also I'm pretty sure that RED said it would be Dragon from "here on out".
That probably means that they are just selling off the rest of the MX line, allowing people to buy them then upgrade them later if they so choose.

October 23, 2015 at 10:06PM

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Jarred Land stated very clearly that SCARLET MX would continue to be a part of their lineup:

The Raven doesn't replace Scarlet, It's a new category in our line up. Raven is a younger, hungrier, more "spirited" member of the RED family with a bit of a chip on his shoulder ready to take on the entire sub-$10k market with images that you will be incredibly proud of.

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?136117-4K4ALL&p=1546555&view...

They may very well just continue to sell them until they don't exist anymore, but it's still a part of their lineup at the same price, and they have completely ended all DRAGON upgrades for both SCARLET and EPIC — that was one of the reasons for the big push at NAB.

October 23, 2015 at 10:53PM, Edited October 23, 10:53PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Umm... Obviously he's talking about Scarlet DRAGON. Not Scarlet MX. That is very evident.

October 25, 2015 at 4:12AM

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No he was absolutely referring to SCARLET MX as he was responding to this exact post:

4k on scarlet MX is 22,1mm, 2mm more than Raven. Maybe people should buy a Raven and still keep the scarlet. It's a nice B cam. Selling the brain would not make a lot of money and let's not forget that many great movies were shot @4K on MX and they looked great.

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?136117-4K4ALL&p=1546530&view...

October 27, 2015 at 9:41PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

4.5K new sensor, 3.5 lbs makes me think twice about my ursa order. Hope it's not delayed past Jan or I just might have to go red.

October 23, 2015 at 10:35PM, Edited October 23, 10:35PM

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Anthony F. Marino III
produce shoot edit
328

I'm just bummed about the fixed lens mount, that was always one of my favorite features of the red series.

October 23, 2015 at 11:44PM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
617

Agreed, if the mount was more flexible I'd consider selling my FS7 for it

October 24, 2015 at 4:21AM

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R. Chan
74

If you do that, just remember that the $6K advertised price of the Raven is a bit deceptive. You'll have spent $10K EASILY just to get to the point where you can even shoot anything with it. And you'll spend even more in the long run since, among other things, suitably fast C-Fast cards are currently about 1/3 the price of Red Mini-Mags and dropping in price all the time, while Red Mini-Mags are proprietary media used only by ONE camera system and therefore their prices are pretty dang static.

Also, the 4.5K sensor is still only 2160 lines of vertical resolution while the Ursa Mini has 2592, so it does still have a fairly significant resolution advantage (and a notably larger sensor size). Not that either of things are the most important parts of the camera or anything, but if this announcement is what has you reconsidering they're good to remember.

October 24, 2015 at 9:36AM

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David West
Filmmaker
1260

Still a much better camera than Ursa mini and much more reliable. Resolution is not important past a certain pint, although field of view is.

October 26, 2015 at 8:24PM, Edited October 26, 8:24PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

Better and more reliable? Considering that the camera you're touting isn't even out yet, and the other is only out in a tiny number, your statement has zero credibility.

October 29, 2015 at 7:56PM, Edited October 29, 7:57PM

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David Gurney
DP
2145

This is fantastic news but I agree. Tragic there isn't a corresponding increase in vertical resolution to match the ursa. I love the scope aspect ratio but for most commercial/corporate work im in 16x9. Scope will be great for short films on ef glass, music vidz n mini docs utilising wide screen. C'mon Red how about some vertical res? I think we may now start to see Blackmagic dig into Red sales in a way we hadn't seen before. They are a more tested brand now, producing stellar images for their prices on far more affordable media... I do not like their lack of olpf though. Red is softer as a result but don't ever see aliasing/moire... and redcode rocks. Its exporting and editing so much faster for me now on the current adobe cc

October 24, 2015 at 10:01AM, Edited October 24, 10:06AM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
773

red dragons image quality is awesome but realistically you would need around 12k-15k to run this system with proper accs. Without a proper super 35 mm sensor this is not a sound investment for a indie filmmaker with all these new cameras coming out everyday, not at this price point.

October 24, 2015 at 10:08AM

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This is great if you're already invested in the RED workflow.

I wouldn't mind getting a RAVEN as a B camera or alternate camera if the color science matches with the other camera's.

October 24, 2015 at 8:01PM

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George Nelson
Director / Cinematographer
225

Finally, a competitor to the Kinemax.... oh wait, that things 6K.

October 24, 2015 at 8:45PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1918

4.5k mhnn... Where Have I seem something like this before? Oh yeah URSA. This seems to be just another marketing campaign.

October 24, 2015 at 9:17PM

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Edgar More
All
1155

This is good news for Rental houses!

October 25, 2015 at 12:55AM

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Rayhanur kabir
Director, DP
279

Nah, I doubt this camera will rent. Definitely more aimed at owner-ops. Anyone that has budgets to rent cameras could easily get an Epic for cheap enough.

October 27, 2015 at 1:01AM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1328

I think you will probably land 90% more jobs with this in your arsenal then with a Kinemax or Ursa.

Agencies fucking love RED and most of them are very skeptic to new cameras.

The question is if it is worth the price.

What cameras out there have a similar sized sensor?

October 25, 2015 at 6:34AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1188

Yup, my thoughts exactly. The Red name is worth more to most than experience nowadays.

Down here in South Florida, an ursa or kine camera will not get you any jobs/pay, no matter how good your reel is. The camera is what matters to people nowadays, most think it does the DPs job for them.
People want Red badly and are willing to sacrifice a lot for that.

October 25, 2015 at 9:03AM, Edited October 25, 9:03AM

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In my market (Montreal/NYC) most high rate DPs own no cameras at all and rent whatever is preferred by them/the job/the clients. A camera may be a good investment if you can rent it to yourself often enough to beat depreciation, but it only "gets you work" at the very lowest end of the market.

Most of our clients don't even know that we own some of the gear we shoot with, and don't care As long as we charge prices similar to a rental house why should they care?

October 26, 2015 at 8:29PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

If you light, the Epic MX is a much better camera than any Dragon based product.

Shadow roll-off is better, the OLPF works better (Dragon OLPF has smudgy bokeh issues, albeit mild) and it has no artifacts like sensor smear, gate shadow etc. all Dragon products have these, albeit Weapon seems to have solved the CMOS smear issue. I simply don't like Dragon's look. There's something about it that isn't sexy to my eye. Maybe it's the bokeh smear issue, maybe it's the hard crunch down toward black in darker zones - I'm not sure yet. It just has something to it that I find repelling. I much prefer the look of Red MX products and the Alexa, with Sony's F55/65 a close third. These all allow much more ability to lift shadows in post than Dragon does, except with its Low Light OLPF, which makes horrific pink orbs around bright lights seen in frame. Epic MX and other brands of high end cameras are all in a comparable league, some 4 years later.

Dragon is best if you shoot using natural light during the day and no crew, and you don't know how to grade or cannot pay for someone who does. Quick solutions in Resolve can make up 100% of Dragon's color advantages and if you light and shoot a lot of night work then shadow roll-off is much more of an issue than clipped highlights.

Epic's 5K field of view is HUGE - you see that advantage in every frame. Raven's 4K and 4.5L is much smaller.

And... Unless you are shooting for IMAX release, 6K is a useless waste of data vs 5K.

All in all, at least for what I do, the Dragon "upgrade" was not actually a step forward. I really don't think everyone is better off with a Dragon sensor over MX. I am not alone in thinking this.

My fingers are crosses the Red Nuclear Blast or whatever douchey frat-boy name they come up with for their next sensor will actually be better, not just unneeded additional pixels and all kinds of new problems.

October 25, 2015 at 6:31PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

Exactly.

October 26, 2015 at 12:55AM, Edited October 26, 12:55AM

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Daniel Mimura
DP, cam op, steadicam op
2308

I agree MX has a different look.
AND Weapon may not have been the best name.

One thing to consider for Raven is that its 6K price includes A LOT more (and some less) then RED's past offerings.

Raven's Body includes:

Brain
Lens Mount
Top Plate
Side SSD
WIFI
Built in Stereo Mics
Quieter Accoustics
Offers Full Sensor ProRes + RAW
AND weighs well under a pound less then just the EPIC Brain by itself

...BUT, you can't even turn on RAVEN w/out also buying a rear "expander" to connect AC power or attach VM/GM Batts.

Where-as Epic comes w/ just the Brain...
no lens mount
no way to insert media
no wifi
not top plate
no mics at all
louder fans
better ergonomics
NO PRORES PERIOD - RAW Only
AND weighs well over a pound more (1.5 lbs extra) BEFORE adding the above

BUT you could at least plug an AC cord into it. =)

All-In-All, Raven is the closes camera offered by anyone that is both a complete system AND offers a powerful user customization experience.

Is MX better then Dragon?
Technically speaking, NO it is not.

Does MX have a unique look some prefer (and are more familiar w/)?
Sure... not too unlike how some prefer Fuji over Kodak.

If you like a look, and know how to work it...
Awesome, more power to you my friend!

Do I miss MX?
Sometimes, but then I just drop in the Low-Light OLPF and in post the look is pretty darn close, if not cleaner/brighter

But Raven uses the new STANDARD OLPF!
Yes, but it looks heavily skewed towards the Low-Light OLPF.
(Should make many happy).

Food for thought. Cheers!

October 26, 2015 at 8:23PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1280

The lowlight OLPF would be fine if it didn't have those awful pink orbs around lights in frame - I shoot a lot of lights in frame, so for some this is not an issue. Gate shadow is another problem present on non-weapon Dragons and not present on MX. Then there's cMOS smear - supposedly fixed in Weapon, but is it?
And Standard OLPF still smudges bokeh - and this bugs me. It makes all lenses look way cheaper than they are if you shoot wide open.

As far as ProRes is concerned, a $500 SDI recorder solves that problem without issue - and a $1000 one will even give you file names and time code that match the R3D.

October 26, 2015 at 8:36PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

Oh, have you used the STANDARD OLPF? =)

I haven't gotten around to picking one up.

IMO for the LLO, pink orbs only show up if stopped down more then some tend to prefer due to the diffraction principle that degrades IQ for all lenses and camera systems past F/T/16

Frankly, I kinda dig the purple orbs I've seen in example photos and video... But I tend to not stop down past 11~ish thus I've never seen it in my footage.

Gate Shadow is present on all cameras, but just like rolling w/ any film camera, I keep direct light out of the gate UNLESS using anamorphics.

Sure, adding an external prores recorder is an option for most cameras.... but its another Savings and Workflow aspect that is included in the 6K base price.

I've seen CMOS smear in, well, every CMOS based imaging system, to some extent or another. I've even seen it in photos off of canons. The only difference w/ MX is Dragon is more sensitive and cleaner in general and thus the inherent problems w/ CMOS sensors is more obvious. As a tech goes, I suspect RED has pushed CMOS near the limits.

Moving forward, I suspect imaging engineers will developer new non-cmos based sensor tech. I just hope RED doesn't have to do it on their own again, not too unlike when they had to explain to the whole world that 2K is not enough.

October 26, 2015 at 9:22PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1280

better ergonomics*

*My bad, this was intended to be under the Raven list of included features.

October 26, 2015 at 10:32PM, Edited October 26, 10:32PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1280

Robert Ruffo, after having read many of your comments on Reduser over the years, I think a clear pattern of you worrying about and trying to protect your investment in your Epic MX has emerged. The most recent example being your RELENTLESS bad-mouthing of the Dragon sensor on Reduser and various other sites I've run across

It seems to me you're deliberately trying to sabotage Dragon in an effort to prolong the viability of your MX at every chance you get. Perhaps you're now concerned that once Raven gets out in the wild at an entry-level (for RED) price, Dragons will be even more prevalent than they are now, leaving the demand for your MX in question. You, and those who may agree with you, are obviously entitled to your opinion about Dragon's shortcomings. However, the frequency and manner with which you've aggressively and doggedly attacked Dragon leads me to believe you've done it for very selfish reasons. Everyone reading your comments, especially those thinking about buying Raven, should at least be made aware of what seem to be ulterior motives on your part.

October 28, 2015 at 7:04PM

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I'm still waiting for footage from the 8K, even a frame grab. I like what Mark Toia said, "4K is so old fashioned now": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghk2Ig084QI

October 26, 2015 at 12:49AM, Edited October 26, 12:55AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1918

Really? And yet many huge blockbusters are shooting with 2.8 K Alexas, without issue. Why exactly would anyone need to shoot so much more resolution than human eyes can resolve, except in very unusual post applications?

October 26, 2015 at 8:38PM, Edited October 26, 8:38PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
326

Well that's really the ONLY reason to do so.
Considering many studios love the Red for VFX work, it's perfect for those applications. Everything else, meeeeeh' not so much.

October 26, 2015 at 9:35PM

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I'm finding my corporate clientelle is loving the ability to pull reasonable enough resolution frames for stills use in print and online. For this reason th red becomes very handy for me

October 27, 2015 at 12:22AM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
773

It took 3 days for someone to bring up Arri in a post about Red. Is that a new record? Usually it's within minutes.

October 26, 2015 at 10:37PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1918

Oh, you also threw in that "more than the human eye can resolve" thingy too.

October 26, 2015 at 10:38PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1918

BUT THE RAVEN SENSOR IS 9MP. NOT 19mp like the Scarlet/Epic/Weapon Dragon.
Heck even the Scarlet MX is a 14MP sensor... does this not mean anything?

October 29, 2015 at 4:37PM

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The Raven is a 9MP sensor the Scarlet Dragon is a 19MP sensor.
So of course the Raven can do better compression.... Theres less then
half the data to compress lmbo.

October 29, 2015 at 6:37PM

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