RED Raven Camera Unboxing

I felt like Bryan Cranston was looking over my shoulder, “There she is!”

Like in Refn’s Drive, as I unboxed the new RED Raven camera, I felt as if I was in the vicinity of something packing ungodly power, cloaked in an inconspicuous body — though certainly sexier than a Chevy Impala.

It’s serial #373 and today was the day.

The camera shipped from Anaheim up to San Francisco in a plain Jane, unmarked cardboard box — I’m guessing as equally suitable for porn and weapons, as it is for digital cinema cameras.

There’s not much to add here, aside from some initial observations of the RED Raven 4.5K camera:

RED Raven: First Impressions

  • Raven feels beautifully engineered in the hand — you know that feeling when you handle something that feels special?
  • The brain is the brain, nothing more, everything else needs to be attached.
  • The included case is quite nice — reminds me of something Pelican would make. Robust. Convenient handles. Wheels. Should make for easy, reliable transportation of the Raven.
  • Base I/O as seen on the back does come pre-attached.
  • A hex wrench (included and RED branded too!) is used to attach 2 bolts each for the 4.7-inch monitor and top handle.
  • Speaking of the top handle, it’s tiny and underwhelming, and certainly doesn’t provide confidence (I’ll likely replace it with a proper one that RED offers).
  • On the other hand, the Outrigger handle which I bought separately, feels superb and can start/stop record — similar to the Canon C100 side handle, but without the additional joystick and dial controls.
  • I haven’t received my batteries yet, so for now I tested the Raven using the included power brick.
  • Two fans on the top briefly kick into high gear (kind of like how they do on a graphics card in a PC) when booted, before settling down.
  • Boot time is relatively fast, maybe 20 seconds or so, but not as quick as a C100. This shouldn’t be an issue at all.
  • The touch screen and menus systems seem a breeze to use.
  • I didn’t read any manuals. Nor are any manuals included. I prefer that anyways. Digital is way to go, best for all of us, including the environment of course.
  • There’s freakin’ mounting holes everywhere.
  • I was surprised to learn that the package does not include a mini-mag reader. Don’t forget to order one if you haven’t shot RED before so you can transfer files to your computer (kind of important that).
  • Yes, an official RED sticker is included.

That’s about it so far.

As I previously wrote here on Stark Insider I pre-ordered the Raven the second the order page went up (9/24/2015). The overall price did push my budget to be sure. I was initially planning to get a Blackmagic URSA Mini. But when the entry-level Raven came within breathing distance of the BMD camera, I knew it had to be RED. So I fumbled like a crazy person, foaming at the mouth, and entered my credit card info. When I received confirmation, my heart slowed a bit. Then, I was like, what exactly did I just order?

Here are the photos for your unboxing pleasure.

RED Raven: Unboxed

Now the pressure is truly on.

Time to shoot some videos.

A camera is, after all, just a tool. In this case, I feel, a very special, and “battle-tested” tool to be sure, but nevertheless ultimately at the mercy of its operator.

My plan is to make as many mistakes as possible. To shoot, shoot, shoot. Hopefully, to learn as I go.

I’m not quite ready to sell my Canon C100 II yet. I love that camera for run-and-gun. And, who knows, maybe I won’t be able to get the swing of shooting on RED, or maybe it just won’t suit my needs. We will see.

Test video coming soon on Stark Insider. Just know I’m no pixel peeper. Nothing wrong with that of course. I just prefer to have my wife dress up as Harley Quinn and run around Union Square in San Francisco on a chilly evening. It beats flowers, cats, empty streets? We at least attempted that when I first met the Canon C100 II:

Now what will it be for RED Raven?

Stay tuned. Stark Insider. Shot on RED. Mercy me (and you).