First announced at the end of January, the Ranger is a bit of a departure for the company in that it throws out the modular approach that we’ve become used to with the company’s DSMC2 system and instead packages the usual RED bells and whistles into something far more unified and, well, mainstream for want of a better word.
Though it looks different it’s very much a RED camera under the hood, though. Based around a full frame 8K MONSTRO sensor, the all-in-in system captures 8K REDCODE RAW at up to 60 fps full format, as well as Apple ProRes or AVID DNxHR formats (though these step down to 4K at 30fps and 2K at 120 fps respectively). Handily therefore, it can simultaneously record REDCODE RAW plus Apple ProRes or AVID DNxHD or DNxHR at up to 300 MB/s write speeds. RED’s enhanced image processing pipeline (IPP2) is also included.
The key to the unit though is being able to use it right out of the box. It’s a time saver; productions can look at the rental details and aren't having to sift through a range of modular options to get exactly what they want on that set on that day (or conversely and much worse, find out that they haven’t got exactly what they want on that set on that day). Equally, rental houses don’t have to carry (and support) every single module in the RED range to cover all bases. Ironically for something that’s effectively been spun out of the company’s custom build ethos, it’s all about standardisation.
That said, it does come in at least two flavours: the system is currently shipping in a Gold Mount configuration, with a V-Lock option available next month. Other tech details include three SDI outputs (two mirrored and one independent) which means that two different looks can be output simultaneously; a wide-input voltage (11.5V to 32V); 24V and 12V power outs (two of each - and that 24V one has been long on the list of desired features); one 12V P-Tap port; integrated 5-pin XLR stereo audio input (Line/Mic/+48V Selectable); as well as genlock, timecode, USB and control.
It’s as adaptable as it can be, which is exactly what the rental network wants. There are plenty of productions in this increasingly high budget Netflix era that are shooting globally; being able to hire different Rangers from different rental companies in different locations and know you’re going to be getting exactly the same unit is a huge benefit. Plus, for the rental houses it concentrates the revenue back in their hands once more, rather than distributing it through the sub-rental market powered by the likes of Kitsplit etc.
The Ranger ships complete with production top handle, PL mount with two supporting shims, cables, adaptors, and pretty much everything you need to get it up and running out of the box. It’s a bit smaller than the DXL2 models used to be, but a lot more expensive. The Ranger is being made in small quantities for the RED rental network, and all that integration is pushing its price up well above and beyond what you’d pay for something you could actually buy, which in turn will have a knock on effect on the hire price.
That still seems to be being decided by the rental network. But for what it’s worth, a RED MONSTRO 8K Vista Vision PL shooting kit will cost you $1900 a day (falling below $6000 for a week at a time) and has an insurance value of $108,000. You’d expect Ranger to be in a similar ballpark.