RIGS AND CAGES
3. KEEP IT MINIMALIST
“One of the most common rig set-ups is a baseplate with a built-in, or bolt-on, shoulder pad, so using the camera is stable”
TOP IT ALL OFF Cinema cameras, which are often bigger and heavier, benefit from larger rigs. These often include top-plates, so you can attach mics, EVFs and other accessories
Not every job requires a camera dressed up with all the bells and whistles. Especially when using a smaller mirrorless or DSLR, part of their attraction is their small size. But handling can be improved with a rig or cage to allowyou to bolt on just the accessories you need. These are typically custom-made for the specific camera, and popular brands are SmallRig, LockCircle, Zacuto, Vocas, Shape, 8Sinn, Tilta, Wooden Camera and Movcam. These typically have a cage that goes around the camera, with various mounting points and coldshoes to take accessories you might need. Typically, these include top or side handles, clamps to stop HDMI or USB leads being jerked out, mounting points for audio kit, USB drives or batteries. Some offer monitor cages to securely fasten a small monitor/recorder to the top or side. On one minimal SmallRig cage for a Sony A7S III, we counted 26 of the standard 1/4in-20 mounting holes on the cage, and a further 21 when the top handle is attached, but you have to cover some of these holes with the Nato plate to mount the handle. The main cage has a pair of Arri 3/8in-16 anti-twist mounts, with four more on the handle and four standard 3/8in-16 mounts. With mix-and-match capabilities, there is a huge amount of choice to get your camera set-up just right for you.
2. FULL CINEMA CAMERA RIGS
When it comes to larger and heavier cinema cameras, especially when fitted with cinema prime lenses, a larger rig works best. Some of the best names to look out for are Vocas, Bright Tangerine and Shape, as they make customisable solutions for all sorts of cameras from the main manufacturers. One of the most common rig set-ups is a baseplate with a built-in, or bolt- on, shoulder pad, so using the camera is comfortable and stable. Often, these come with an adjustable grip arm, allowing your right hand to activate the grip controls, while your left hand focuses manually,
uses a follow focus, or holds on to a second grip for more stability. The choice is yours. Some of these cinema rigs also work with a large, quick-release baseplate system. The bottom half is fixed securely to the tripod head, then the camera can be fixed to it and removed in one fast action, with the release of a lever. This exposes the shoulder pad for quick handheld use. The camera can be speedily clicked back into place on the tripod when a solid base is needed. These large rigs often have different top-plates, with lots of mounting options for mics, an EVF or other accessories, too.
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