RED Offers One Time Back Door Raven Upgrade

If you’re one of the Apple faithful who bought the exclusive 4K RED Raven Cinema Camera, you may have realized the platform is somewhat of a dead end, upgrade wise. Well, RED Fire Chief Jarred Land is offering a one time, unofficial “back door” upgrade of your Raven Brain model to a 5K Dragon-X Brain. And that could open your camera up to a future. But there is a catch.

OK Raven owners. My back-of-the-RSH-store tradeup to Dragon-X is ready but the renovation of RSH isn’t… so, we are just going to go ahead anyways and do it out of one of the offices at the studio for the week Feb 11th to Feb 15th. This is not an official option and will not be extended past that week. Just as a reminder, its $8500 Raven brain to Dragon-X brain. – Jarred Land, Facebook

Jarred Land’s back door “Unicorn” deal will run from February 11-15th at the RED Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles. The price to swap your Raven brain for the 5K Dragon-X sensor will be $8,500. The Raven has a 4K sensor, which isn’t IPP2 supported, so by purchasing the one time Dragon-X upgrade, Raven users are bringing their rigs into the IPP2 universe and that could mean future upgrades will be possible.

Consequently, since the RED Raven only came with a fixed EF mount, Raven operators will also have to buy the lens mount of their choice, presumably being another EF mount, but a PL, Nikon and even a Leica mount are also available. The advantage here is that you will be able to swap out mounts as needed, rather than being committed to a single EF mount.  The cost of the mounts start at $700 and go up to $950.

So at the end of the day, you’re looking at lay out over about $9500 to make the switch.  But as Land says in his Facebook post from last Friday, this is a one shot thing, and users have to email him at to arrange the upgrade.

Moreover, while the upgrade is available to any customer globally, it must be done in person at the studio by the owner, or someone they have commissioned to act as a go between. RED will not do any shipping or accept any camera shipped to them for the upgrade. It must be done in person.

Land also stresses that the RED Raven Upgrade is not an “official” program. That leads me to wonder if there is a warranty available on the swap, or if you’re rolling the dice on that as well. I would imagine that RED will warranty the Dragon-X Brain, and the mount purchased for the camera, but it will be separate and limited in scope. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask just to be safe.

But you have to act fast and email Land ASAP. The Raven to Dragon-X program is only available until the 15th, and Land says that after that, it will disappear forever. Much like the Unicorn.

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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