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Old August 7th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #1
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Cat on shoulder style for C300

Having had a play with the C300 I thought it felt a bit like the body of an Aaton (without a mag fitted) and I remembered a rig made for the 7D. Seems they had the same idea.

Ergocine Lion and the Canon C300 @ Matt Workman Cinematographer
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Old August 7th, 2012, 07:24 PM   #2
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

RIght idea, but too literal. No reason that real estate should be taken up by a block of wood, when there are many possible accessories that could achieve the same level of counterweighting. Clockit box, transmitter, remote focus receiver, wireless mike receiver, onboard monitor...where would you even start to add stuff to this?

I designed a third generation version of my DSLR baseplate about a year ago that revolved around a "virtual mag" back end, with battery, power distribution center and various plates for velcroing modules and components as required. Everything on 15mm rods (separate from the front facing rods for lens accessories). The whole thing telescoped in and out to achieve perfect counterbalancing. Unfortunately my machinist went AWOL, I got busy, my DSLR jobs (thankfully) dried up and I moved on, and a lot of those ideas have since appeared in a variety of commercially available rigs, although none exactly as I had envisioned. But from the beginning I've been championing one battery for all accessories, everything modular and adjustable, long and low.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 01:37 AM   #3
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

I think the idea is that you bolt the accessories onto the plates fitted on the side, but given how many bits get added these days, you could also run out of space. Although walnut is a great looking, tactile material, it does also limit the design.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 07:00 AM   #4
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Over the past 20 years I've cringed (literally, from the pain) as video cameras have drifted off the shoulder and into the hands out front. That makes no ergonomic sense at all, especially as one gets older and those cervical discs start to bulge (and they will). Muscles will protest in agony!
So these guys are onto something. Actually they're rediscovering the plain truth of keeping the camera over the shoulder with a lower center of gravity even behind the shoulder blade.
But...why make it out of wood? It looks unnecessarily heavy, not to mention fragile if it's dropped. Anybody know how much this weighs? Or the cost?
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Old August 8th, 2012, 07:35 AM   #5
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

You can get the details etc here.

ergocine

I'd imagine the camera would come off worse than the wood, I believe it's walnut.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #6
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Since I asked "where would you add stuff to this", the pictures in that link answer it. And I think they show that it's a haphazard affair of attaching things to the sides, to the top...again, I think the overall design is a cute idea but I don't think it's real-world practical. In the film days, especially shooting with an Aaton handheld which was generally in a doc situation, there weren't as many bolt-ons as there are now. I'm sure there are those who keep their configurations simple enough that this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but I know for me it wouldn't make sense.

Below pic is from last year--in this instance all but one of the components at the back would still be required if there was a C300 up front.
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Cat on shoulder style for C300-1d.jpg  
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Old August 8th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Yes, the orginal Aaton design comes from a simpler time. I suspect there's a method of getting the best of both worlds, with a neat piece of industrial design that looks and feels good, but allows the logistical attachment of accessories. Unfortunately, probably most manufacturers' products don't come in standard sizes.

I guess that's why Arri and Panavision survived over the years by putting together systems, rather than just cameras.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

[QUOTE=Charles Papert;1747468]Since I asked "where would you add stuff to this", the pictures in that link answer it. And I think they show that it's a haphazard affair of attaching things to the sides, to the top...again, I think the overall design is a cute idea but I don't think it's real-world practical. In the film days, especially shooting with an Aaton handheld which was generally in a doc situation, there weren't as many bolt-ons as there are now. I'm sure there are those who keep their configurations simple enough that this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but I know for me it wouldn't make sense.


Great picture Charles. I wouldn't like to have that lot on my shoulder.

The main drawback of the ergocine for me , aesthetics and weight apart, is that the hardwood camera shape blocks off the viewfinder, leaving one dependent on either the canon or thirdparty lcd.

For me, one of the joys of using the C300 is the ability to strip it right down and film handheld using the viewfinder. With an image stabilised lens such as the 17-55mm f/2.8 its possible to achieve a really pleasing camera movement.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #9
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Although, I wouldn't want to use the C300 for a sustained handheld shot. It's closer to the Canon Scoopic in concept than a camera you'd want to use for a long dialogue scene or interview.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #10
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Since I asked "where would you add stuff to this", the pictures in that link answer it. And I think they show that it's a haphazard affair of attaching things to the sides, to the top...again, I think the overall design is a cute idea but I don't think it's real-world practical. In the film days, especially shooting with an Aaton handheld which was generally in a doc situation, there weren't as many bolt-ons as there are now. I'm sure there are those who keep their configurations simple enough that this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but I know for me it wouldn't make sense.

Below pic is from last year--in this instance all but one of the components at the back would still be required if there was a C300 up front.


Crazy picture Mr. Papert!

That franken-rig in the photo looks about as un-ergonomic a tool as you could imagine. How are you supposed to hold it (for long periods)?

I often wonder when I see images like that, when you consider that the cost of accessories often far overshadows the actual DSLR in the middle of it all, why the crew didn't just rent a better camera to begin with and do away with all the workarounds? I kind of always thought the whole benefit of a DSLR was the size and cheap cost.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 04:31 PM   #11
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Re: Cat on shoulder style for C300

Simon and Mark: that was actually studio mode--for handheld we added the O-grips and possibly lost the 8" AC's monitor. In terms of ergonomics, that is actually a perfectly good form factor, because it sits on the shoulder, just as the Ergocine unit does.

The key to good ergonomics in a handheld camera is to me that it is balanced so your hands don't have to support any weight. I would much rather have a 15 lb camera on my shoulder than a 5 lb camera in my hands. Some might think that a shoulder cutout is critical. I feel that it is fine as long as the camera is actually balanced in the center of the cutout. I've long eschewed the aftermarket rigs that jack the camera up needless inches and added a shoulder pad that is way back from the center of gravity. You want the weight low and centered, and this eliminates both of these with little gain. With these setups I used a simple memory foam mousepad wrist support with velcro on the bottom; I could stick it directly under the CG of the camera and away we went. One thing that wasn't available at the time was a good viewfinder solution, but I had made a simple coroplast box around one of the loupes that turned the DP6 into a good but oversized viewfinder (when the SmallHD guys saw this at NAB the previous year, it led them to the DP4 viewfinder design). But: it really wasn't much of a burden to shoulder. I would suggest quite similar to the Aaton 16, to be honest!

As far as the benefits to DSLR's being cheap and small, I personally felt that the cheap part was the real key (along with, at the time, best light sensitivity of any large format camera--I used the 1DMKIV). Even with a few add-ons, the camera package was still much less than that of any large sensor camera available at the time (body and lenses being far cheaper rentals). You have to remember that prior to the F3 and later C300, there weren't any cameras that did what this did short of the high-end ones like Alexa and F35. I shot three network pilots that year with this setup and was able to use the savings elsewhere, such as the lighting package.
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