Skip to Content

RED V-RAPTOR XL First Impressions

We have been on the waiting list for the RED V-RAPTOR XL since the day it was announced. Now that it's in office, we wanted to share our thoughts - the good and the bad - about our newest cinema camera.


Watch the Coachella Valley Firebirds Intro Video here.


Video Transcript

Is this what dreams are made of? A machine at the forefront of its industry? A box made entirely from your cinematic desires? with the potential to create worlds beyond your imagination? Is this the one camera to rule them all?

Not exactly, but very few stack up against it.

I'm Josh Kuss with Pritt Entertainment Group and we've got something very exciting to talk about today the RED V-Raptor XL. [Music]

So we have been on the waiting list for this camera since the day it was announced and we are super excited to have it in office finally. I want to go through a couple of the reasons that we chose to go with the XL over just the normal V-Raptor.

Our previous RED was very modular it took quite a bit of time to build things up onto it and that affected client shoots and our own productivity and one of those things that effective productivity was our map box and our ND solution and something that is incredible about the XL is it has built-in internal electronic ND and something really really cool about it is the ability to step down in quarter stops. So, in the past we've just been using ND glass, so you really get what you get when you put it on there. But here we can really fine tune the level of neutral density that we're adding to our shots and really get the exact bokeh that we want for backgrounds which is really, really cool.

The next really big thing that made us choose the XL over just the base model V-Raptor is interchangeable lens mounts. I mean this was pretty much a deal breaker for us we had to go with the XL for this reason we have really nice Canon EF glass in our CN-E line and we've seen definite issues with adapters where our Servo motors for our follow focus will just kind of crank it and you'll see the adapter itself twist a little bit and we don't like that so having something that connects to the body and is super solid is something that we knew we needed.

Our last big reason for choosing the V-Raptor XL is not necessarily against the standard V-Raptor but our previous RED, the Scarlet-W 5k. And that's resolution the V-Raptor XL shoots an 8K resolution where our previous RED shot in 5K. And in the past I've always talked about your footage being evergreen because you have more pixels than anyone's producing right now. You know people are putting out 4K content sure, but you have 5K footage of your facility so that's great. You can use it forever now you could say "oh I have 8K footage of this or that" and and it's going to last you for literally ever. There's almost never going to see something higher than 8K resolution in our lifetime, and that's crazy to think. You're gonna have this footage that just works for you forever.

Another quick note there is that our previous RED in 5K could only shoot in like sub 60 frames per second and the V-Raptor in 8k can shoot up to 150 frames per second depending on the aspect ratio that you choose.

This camera went out on its first big shoot recently. We did an intro video shoot for a hockey team out in Coachella Valley and the crew came back with some stuff that they loved that we hadn't necessarily considered when just looking at the spec sheet.

The first one of those and definitely top of the list is the RED control app and this is an app that allows you to change any setting on the camera just via an app wirelessly. It also provides a quick preview of what's being shot so if you're using a follow focus system this would allow you to also pull focus. It kind of turns our setup into more of a Hollywood style setup where each person really just handles their own task. The camera operator was able to focus specifically on what was being shot the framing of the shot the motion and didn't have to do any setting changes because the director was pulling focus and changing all their settings.

In that same vein, when we go down to like a two-person crew and it's not really realistic for someone to have the app open, there is a nifty side panel that has different settings that you can change very quickly with just kind of up and down buttons. And it also has profiles so each of our users can just say of all of the settings that they want to be able to quickly change and save that to a profile so each time someone else is using the camera they just load up their profile and they're ready to go. It keeps things very nice and fast and efficient.

Another really nice feature that they came back with which was extremely unexpected the three STI outputs on the back are completely customizable. The previous RED could only do one HDMI and one SDI, but those were pretty limited to one of those being a clean feed and now you can basically choose whatever tools you would like to be sent. So if you have a client viewing monitor and they don't need to see any of the tools ,or the record indicator or anything like that you can just send them a clean feed. But if you're sending it to a director, you can send them all the nice little tools that they need. So that again increases productivity and really helps our workflow when we're setting things up for something like a studio shoot where we have a bunch of monitoring happening.

So they loved all these cool little features that we didn't even expect and that is just another kind of cherry on top of this awesome camera.

There were also a few weird things about this camera. You know, nothing's really perfect ever. And and one of those was definitely the monitor. One of the things the crew came back with that was extremely strange is the monitor actually has two different sets of tools and settings that you can adjust so you have your normal RED settings and all that normal menu structure, and RED teamed up with SmallHD to make the new monitor. So all of the SmallHD settings and tools are also in the monitor. So you might find yourself trying to turn off focus peaking through the RED menus when really you have focus peaking turned on through SmallHD which is a little convoluted. And the only reason I can think that they did this is because SmallHD has these cool little saved profiles that you can swipe between that'll leave tools on so if you need to quickly check something you can just swipe over to it and swipe back. And I expect that they could not tie the RED tools into that functionality, and that's why they kept everything on. But the team thought that was a little strange that there were two ways to basically do every type of monitoring on this thing.

Another really strange thing with this camera was as we went to build it for the first time we realized that our old top handle solution was not going to work. There's no good way to get a nato rail on it and therefore we couldn't really clamp our old top handle onto this. So we started looking around and, at the time of filming this, the only option available to us was the RED manufactured top handle, which does have a record button that ties into the system really well, but it's insanely expensive for just a top handle it doesn't have that many features. It's sturdy, definitely, but it just extends off the back of it if you want to add the extensions, but really not worth the $1,700 asking price just to have a top handle.

Last weird thing is it does have a ton of power ports on it, but you can only use them if you're using 24 volt batteries. Which we just built out a whole new battery set with these really cool v-mount batteries but they're all 12 volt. Just strange that the ports on the camera do require a 24 volt battery.

There are so many more things I could say about this camera but we don't want this video to be 30 minutes long. We're gonna wrap it up here I really love the content that's coming out of this thing. I've gotten to see a lot of the footage from the desert and actually that whole piece is finished if you want to check it out it'll be posted here soon on where you can check out more content like this. You can also head over to our socials and follow us there and you'll see even more fun new content coming out of this camera. Thanks for watching we'll see you next time.


Return to Blog