A DP took the RED Raven out for a real-world test drive. He was, in a word, impressed.
My wife and I run a production company called CELADORA which specializes in cinematic corporate films and music videos. We put down a deposit on a RED Raven for our business but really wanted to spend some time with one before making the full payment.
My first impression was how small the DSMC2 brains are—this camera is incredibly small and lightweight.
We rented the camera from a friend—Jacob Schwarz at Mystery Box—for one day. We wanted to put the camera through some real-world shooting scenarios, so we set up a variety of scenes and found some locations and models to volunteer. We shot 5 different scenes in one day; needless to say, we were moving pretty fast.
We shot the footage using two Canon L lenses—24-70 and 24-105—and a basic Arri light kit with some 4x4 flags. Our total production cost was about $400 with the camera rental and lighting/grip. We didn't hire any crew members, so it was just my wife and me on set with our talent.
We shot at frame rates of 24, 30, 48, 60, 120, and 240fps and ISOs ranging from 800 to 2850. Some of the noisier shots in the video were likely shot at higher ISOs.
Shooting with the RED Raven felt just like working with any of the RED cameras.
In post, I exported ProRes proxy files from Red Cine X because it seems that Premiere doesn't support the Raven's R3D files natively yet (the camera is also capable of recording these proxies internally along with R3Ds, which I would have done had I known Premiere doesn't support it yet).
I then cut the footage together in Premiere, then exported an XML into Davinci Resolve where I linked the clips back to the R3Ds. I graded the footage in Resolve then round-tripped back to premiere to cut together the music and sound effects.
Overall, we really enjoyed shooting on this camera. Even in a run and gun situation it performed really well and was easy to use. My first impression was how small the DSMC2 brains are—this camera is incredibly small and lightweight. Of course, when you build it up with expanders and modules, it gets bigger. We were shooting with the base expander and Redvolt XL module.
Shooting with the RED Raven felt just like working with any of the RED cameras. All of the menus and software, usability, buttons, etc. are very familiar. That's saying something, considering the low price point of the camera.
The only thing you have to be aware of is the smaller sensor. It gives you a little bit of an awkward crop, so we had to be careful with how we were using lenses and framing things. For example, shooting 24mm looks closer to a 35mm because of the crop, but the warping and space compression is still that of a 24mm. Not a deal-breaker, though; just something to be aware of.
Lastly, the camera shoots at 120fps in 4.5K and 240fps in 2K. 'Nuff said. That's awesome. Overall, I was very impressed with this camera and can't wait for mine to arrive in the mail.
Here's more information on the Raven, including specs and price.