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Working Within a Budget

Now that you've been introduced to the major kinds of gear, you're probably asking, "But what do I really need?" Ultimately, that depends on two factors: how much you have to spend and what kinds of projects you want to do with your camera.

If you're simply buying the RED for personal projects that may not see a major release, you can get away with a very minimal package. You need the body and an EVF or a monitor (you can get away with having one or the other). You could hook up an inexpensive HDMI-equipped prosumer HD monitor for your viewing—of course, you'll give up accuracy, but it's better than nothing. You can find less expensive tripods, but be certain they are rated for at least 40 pounds so you don't have problems balancing the RED. For optics, try the RED zooms and/or primes. Or grab the Canon or Nikon mount, and go with still lenses. You need a set of batteries, a charger, and either CF cards or a RED-DRIVE to record to. You could be set up for less than $30,000, excluding a postproduction/editorial system.

Moving up a few notches, I'd first look at monitors. Spring for the secondary onboard monitor and then grab a good studio monitor with waveform and vectorscope, which are useful for getting a proper exposure (covered in more detail in Chapter 6). Next, upgrade your tripod and work in some focusing and mounting accessories.

Optics are probably the most expensive investment you can make. A complete set of professional cinema primes with a matching quality zoom can run you upwards of $200,000. Remember, you can always rent lenses on a per-job basis. If you're not using your camera regularly on paid jobs, the price of cinema lenses may be too great to ever recoup. As with everything, plan and look before you leap into a full RED package.

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