Hi and welcome to the steadicam forum.
Steadicam operating is a skill that takes long hours of training in order to get your first good shot, so i'm not sure that the approach of "I'm not planning to work as a full-fledged steadicam operator per-se, but more for use on specialized projects that I'll be DPing" is not ideal. From experience, when you are operating you spend so much time focusing on your gear, your framing, balance etc that I find it hard to work on lighting a set properly at the same time.
You might be better hiring an operator with all the necessary skills, gear and cables to come for the shot. You will get to keep your focus on getting the best image out of the camera and lens while the operator will worry about framing etc...
Now, if you still decide to go ahead and buy a steadicam Zephyr.
The zephyr is a good rig for the Red epic even with full accessories, but before you buy I would strongly recommend that you take a workshop to discover the craft.
Learning with a professional is crucial to avoid taking a bad posture and injuring yourself. Look on the right side of the forum for a workshop ad otr google if there is one near you http://www.thesteadicamworkshops.com/ I did one before buying my Zephyr and I am going to another one week long this time in two weeks.
Also you should get the Steadicam Operator's Handbook http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/024082380X along with the EFP DVD http://www.steadicam.com/steadicam_efp_dvd.html These two (book and DVD) are your best tools of reference.
You will need at the very least:
- Batteries and charger (get the matching system that your camera V-mount or A/B)
- A wireless follow focus (Bartech, Axis 1, RTmotion, Preston, ... I would stir away from the Red Rock Micro, had bad experiences with it) With Lemo connector to power it from the sled and a cable to trigger the camera from it (pretty expensive tool but since you can't touch the camera while shooting, everything needs to be wireless.)
- A wireless Video (Paralinx Arrow, Teradeck Bolt, Boxx ...) (not cheap either)
- A low mode bracket (you don't need the kit, only the F-bracket, the other part is to clamp the top handle of a camera, not useful on a red)
- A light stand to place your Docking bracket
- I got a Lemo to female p-tap adapter for the Zephyr to plug any accessories that comes my way.
When you fly the Red Epic/Scarlet, I like to keep a battery on it's back Dionic HC or V mount for balancing purpose.
Best of luck.