One of the most attractive aspects of RED cameras is modularity. The latest DSMC2 camera models are especially flexible, enabling minimalist to “everything but the kitchen sink” configurations that are only limited by your imagination. Since the RED DSMC2 platform provides a blank slate to build a camera, I inquired of my coworkers to see how they would build out their RED camera from the myriad options offered here at B&H. I’ve also included my own thoughts at the end.
For owner/operators looking to purchase a RED DIGITAL CINEMA camera, B&H Photo Video offers several pre-bundled camera kits, one each for the RED RAVEN , SCARLET-W, and RED EPIC-W. While modularity is a hallmark of the RED system, each of these kits provides a base upon which you can start building a complete camera package. If you already own a RED DSMC2 camera BRAIN, or are looking to accessorize your camera for a specific shooting style, check out the RED accessory kits available at B&H Photo Video. In ascending order, from basic to deluxe, you have the DSMC2 Base Accessory Package, the DSMC2 Handheld Accessory Package, and like a two-tier box of chocolates with all those extra flavors, the DSMC2 Studio Accessory Package.
If you’re looking to round out your existing kit, here are just a few popular RED components, and RED-compatible third-party items available at B&H Photo Video. When you’re ready to shoot, grab your camera using a DSMC2 handle; you can view your frame with a RED Touch LCD, and extend the position of the LCD/EVF using a Wooden Camera Pogo cable. You can mount your DSMC2 camera with a variety of Tilta and Wooden Camera cages and support kits. On the post-production side, offload your footage using the RED MINI-MAG RED STATION, or choose the G-Technology MINI-MAG reader to integrate with an existing Evolution workflow. Add XLR audio inputs to your DSMC2 Brain with the Wooden Camera A-Box, and keep spare hardware on hand with the RED DSMC Bolt Kit.
Moving on to a more fleshed-out kit, start with the DSMC2 BRAIN and lens mount of your choice. The beauty of the DSMC2 system is that accessories are compatible with any DSMC2 BRAIN, so let’s take advantage of this. I like the DSMC2 V-LOCK I/O EXPANDER—it provides me with options for powering the camera, as well as SDI and HDMI outputs. Although I like the DSMC2 Sidekick controller, which mounts neatly on the side of your camera and provides full menu control, I prefer to have a right-hand grip. The DSMC2 Side Handle provides Start/Stop, focus and iris control with compatible lenses, a menu button, and a navigation pad. Of course, you will need an LCD, so I suggest the DSMC2 RED Touch 4.7” LCD. To get the most out of you monitor, you will want to mount it on a flexible arm and not directly on the camera, so pick up the DSMC2 LEMO Adapter Pack.
The DSMC2 Universal Handle is my choice for top handles; it is smaller than the standard Top Handle and, thus, will clear larger batteries. To carry your camera and the above accessories, I’d go for their DSMC2 Package Case because it comes with precut foam that will fit most of the above accessories. No need to suggest batteries and chargers—with the DSMC2 platform, battery info should be available in your EVF, even from standard batteries. Although having an LCD is nice, an EVF has its advantages. The RED EVF (OLED) w/ Mount Pack simplifies mounting the EVF on your camera. As far as recording media, I like the 480GB RED MINI-MAGs, quicker to offload and turn around. Get four and that ought to be plenty, plus, these can travel either four in a case, or two in the previously linked case. For Mounting on a tripod, you will need a camera-specific mount for your camera. Once you have that, you need either a Quick Release Platform, or add in a 19mm rod clamp with the DSMC Quick Release Platform Pack. This lets you use your 19mm rods and accessories such as follow focus units, lens motors, and matte boxes. For more power distribution options, you can look at the Tilta ESR-T01 rig, for a cage and power output options.
I’m going to go a little off the beaten path with my suggestions. At B&H, we just started carrying OMOD equipment from Teradek (who recently acquired OFFHOLLYWOOD’s product development division), and with the modules and hardware available, you can build yourself a pretty formidable and versatile DSMC2 camera. I know if I were building a RED DSMC2 kit for myself, OMOD equipment would rank pretty highly on my personal consideration list.
My favorite two of the three expander modules that Teradek offers are the OMOD COMMAND+ and OMOD COMMAND RT+. The main advantage of these expanders is the innovative wireless connectivity for streamlining your on-set workflow. First, Wi-Fi connectivity allows a DIT to create and adjust monitoring LUTs actively that can be output through the three onboard SDI outputs. Second, an integrated Ambient ACN module enables wireless timecode and sync with Tiny Lockit or Master Lockit. Where the COMMAND RT+ differentiates from the COMMAND+ is its lens control capabilities. Owners of RTMotion or Teradek RT lens control equipment can utilize the COMMAND RT+ to control focus, iris, and zoom motors for full wireless lens control.
The third expander module is the OMOD XLR2. While this module doesn’t have the nifty wireless connectivity options of the COMMAND modules, it offers many conventional camera connections and functions that many operators, myself included, would deem essential. Dual XLR audio inputs can accept mic, line, or AES signals, and level adjustments for those inputs, as well as the headphone output, can be made on the fly using the physical controls on the operator side of the module. Standard SDI and HDMI outputs are available for your video monitoring needs. It’s also worth mentioning that all three Teradek OMOD expanders have RED-standard LEMO and rear pogo pin connections for power, either through a power supply or through an additional DSMC2 module.
In my mind, assembling a RED camera is part of the fun of shooting with one. You get to customize the camera for your specific shooting style, or even from job to job. RED provides many accessories, and has opened the playing field to approved third-party manufacturers (like Wooden Camera, Tilta, G-Technology, and Teradek). How would you configure your dream RED camera? Which camera would you get, and why? Start the discussion in the Comments section, below!