$4300 (2900) budget for monitor and Rig - what should i get? at DVinfo.net

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Canon EOS Full Frame for HD
All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.

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Old September 4th, 2010, 01:39 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: London UK
Posts: 1
$4300 (2900) budget for monitor and Rig - what should i get?

am currently building up my kit to shoot feature news packages / documentaries

am looking for a rig that will include:

place to mount monitor and juicelink box
maybe follow focus
shoulder mount or hand help - what ever would be the most stable and not be too massive to pack away or be too heavy
needs to be able to come off a tripod quickly

am considering the following:

this wouldnt quite leave me enough for the monitor after buying the shoulder mount, counterbalance weight and mattebox filters
http://www.cinevate.com/catalog/product ... cts_id=220

zacuto striker + genus mattebox
redrock micro bundle but not mattebox as its too big


was thinking of the dp6 smallhd (only preorder at the moment) - http://www.smallhd.com/Products/DP6.html

any suggestions would be great!

any feedback from rigs and monitors people are using at the moment would be really useful!

current kit

kata pl220
canon 5d mk2
zacuto z-finder JR with gorrilla plate and frame
canon 50mm 1.4
canon 17-40L
canon 100mm macro is 2.8L
canon 70-200 2.8L is
Tamron 28-75 2.8
miller ds20 + 2 stage solo legs
Manfrotto video monopod

also any suggestions on lenses would be good too
Duncan Sharp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 5th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,448
I'm using a Cavision rails and follow focus system. The rails have handgrips and a shoulder mount. The shoulder mount is one that is more curved, so the front of the mount can press back against the front of your shoulder for more stability than you get with the kind where a pad just sits on top of the shoulder. B&H sells all Cavision stuff, but it's easier to find what you want by going to Cavision.com first. Their matte boxes are decent, but I prefer to avoid them.

Instead of a mattebox I have 77mm stepdown rings on all my lenses. So they all accept the same size filters, same lens hood and same lens caps (I use the metal threaded lens caps). I have one of those big rubber collapsible lens hoods. For wide angle lenses it can collapse down so I don't get vignetting. I don't particularly like matte boxes because the add a lot more weight out on the end of the system, they're a bit of a pain to move and switch lenses, which I do a lot, and the filters are more expensive than 77mm threaded filters. If I need more shading than I get with the lens hood, I have a french flag that clamps onto the rails.

You said you're doing feature news and documentary films. That means zoom lenses probably are better for you than primes. You might want to consider the f4 24-105 L and the f4 70-200 L. I've found that my 24mm Nikkor is plenty wide enough for everything I do. The reason I'm suggesting the f4 version of the 70-200 is that it's much lighter and smaller. The 2.8 versions are heavy and use a collar for mounting to a tripod. That makes changing lenses a lot more awkward. The f4 version is light enough so it doesn't need a collar, though you can get one if you want.

Also, because of the extremely shallow depth of field of the 5DII, you'll probably find yourself shooting at around a 5.6 most of the time anyway. An f4 on the 5DII is still a very shallow depth of field. As an example, I shot an interview recently of a person standing to the side and about three feet in front of a metal sculpture. At an f4 the sculpture was totally blurred out. I shot at a 5.6 to keep it soft but not so soft that I couldn't tell what it was. The resolution of the 5DII is so good that you can increase ISO from, say, 160 to 320 or 640 if you need more DOF and you'll not notice the difference.

But there are times you might want a faster lens, and something like the Zeiss ZE or Canon L f1.4 35mm or 50mm would be nice to have. I have the Zeiss ZE f1.4 50, and my Nikkor 35 is an f2.

I moved from the 7D to the 5DII a few months ago, and the first time I put the 5DII on a dolly and had to shift focus for a dolly move, I realized I needed a follow focus system. I would highly recommend a follow focus system for that camera, especially if you use Canon L lenses--they all have a pretty short focus throw. I use the small Cavision follow focus, the one they show on the DSLR package on their website. I like it because it's smaller and lighter than the Redrock. However, I got Redrock ring gears for all my lenses. Cavision has made follow focus gear for big broadcast cameras for years, and their ring gears are still mostly Canon or Fujinon pitch. They only have one size of cine pitch gear. I wanted to stick with the more standard cine pitch in case I ever wanted a different follow focus system--since the Cavision is fairly cheap I was not confident about its quality. Turns out the quality is excellent, and there's no backlash. It's small enough so it stays mounted on my rails system and everything fits into the Pelican case I got for it.

Another thing about the Redrock gears I like is that they stick out from the lens, so the circumference of the gear is bigger. The standard drive gear that comes with the Cavision is also small enough so you have a very nice gear ratio, meaning you get a nice, long focus throw. For example, on both my 35mm Nikkor and Zeiss 50, I get slightly over 2 full revolutions of the follow focus knob from CU to infinity. That beats the hell out of the slightly more than 180 degree turn of the naked lens.

Obviously if you want a follow focus system, you need the rails and handles and shoulder brace. There are lots of systems out there. I like Cavision because they've been around forever and you get good value for the money. I also like Redrock because all their gear is very nice and solid and, while more expensive, still reasonably priced.

I do not like the shoulder pads that just rest on top of the shoulder. You get a lot more stability pressing back against the shoulder. You start adding all that counterweight out behind the rods, you increase size and weight to the point that you defeat one of the reasons for having a small camera.

I also use Manfrotto quick release plates on everything. I have one base on my tripod's quick realease plate, the top plate on the bottom of the rails; and I have another top plate on the camera and the base on top of the rails (attached to the Cavision quick release). By having multiple Manfrottos, I can yank the camera off quickly if I just want a handheld shot with only the camera, or I can yank the whole rails/follow focus system off for a shoulder mount shot, or I can simply put the camera on the tripod if I don't want the rails and all, like when I'm wanting to minimize weight on the end of a jib. The top plate on the systems I have is around 5" long, so it's easy to slide the camera quite a distance fore and aft. This makes it easier to engage the follow focus gears when switching lenses without moving the follow focus rig itself, as well as balance the camera.

Redrock sells a nice articulated arm with 1/4"-20 threaded spuds on each end, and a clamp that fits around the rails so you can hang a monitor or sound recorder that way, instead of putting it on the camera's hot shoe via a hotshoe-to-1/4" adapter.

One more thing I have is a marksphototools.com bracket/handle. It bolts to the bottom of the rails and stays there permanently (the Manfrotto QR is actually on the base of the handle's bracket). That gives me a nice solid handle to carry the package around with. The handle also has a cold shoe on top and on the side, so I can use it for mounting a monitor or recorder as well. I think Redrock and also Ikan sell a method of attaching a handle to the rails system--similar to the device that holds the articulated arm I mentioned, but built to attach a handle. If you have room on your rails, this would be lighter weight than the arrangement I have.

You might also want to look at Ikan's Elements. They have a gazillion ways to configure things. However, you may find that after you get rails and follow focus, you don't want too many handles and all. That weight can really add up.

I'm just giving you my opinion here based on what I'm doing at present. I'm not married to any particular brand of gear--I just get what seems decent at the time and fits within whatever I want to spend at the time. If I don't like it, I sell it and get something else. I don't use a monitor when shooting. I have the Hoodman crane setup for an LCD viewer. I like the way I can flip it up if I want to watch playback with another person.
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