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Old July 29th, 2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800/D800E

Hi

I spent the last month planning shifting to the Nikon system, specifically the D800/D800E, and put together a full list of my choices for rigging the camera for heavy professional use.

These notes were put on my blog, as a guide for the newbie wanting to know how to properly rig a full DSLR system.

Here's the main menu: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800 or D800E (Part 12) | wolfcrow

Since then, I'm considering the BM Cinema camera. The guide tries to cover everything under the sun, but I'm sure I've left out quite a few important requirements. Remember - it's just a primer.

Suggestions for improvements are definitely welcome and appreciated.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800/D800E

A pretty comprehensive guide you have put together there Sareesh!

A few little things I think are worth mentioning:

You do not really mention the benefits of a steadycam system. It really is a specialised tool and is used for a certain purpose, as opposed to being an all-around hanheld solution. I think you need to highlight this and provide examples of where and why a steadycam would be a suitable solution.

Regarding waterproof housings, it is worth mentioning the difference between underwater/dive housings and sports/splash housings. Dive housings are built entirely for underwater use. Their design often relies on high water pressure to keep the housing watertight (ie the deeper you go, the more watertight they become). They are nuetrally bouyant so if a diver lets go of it for a moment it will not sink or float away. These housings may also use optics that are optimised for underwater use, which leads to focusing/magnification issues above water. Filter use is also a consideration in their design in order to compensate for loss of red light underwater. These housings are also usually very heavy and unsuitable for many uses above water such as on boats.

Sports housing, on the other hand, are designed for use on or near the surface. They are great for snorkelling, boating, water sports, swimming pools, etc. These housnigs are designed to be waterproof without the aid of additional water pressure, and also to be used in large surf without leaking. They are positively bouyant, meaning they will float to the surface if dropped. As a result of the requirements these housings are generally lighter than dive housings and do not include as many bells and whistles such as lighting fixtures or filter holders.

One other omission (as far as I could tell - please let me know if I missed it!) is the use of monopods. DSLR video is the perfect vehicle for using a monopod for film-making - the small camera size allows for unique opportunities not afforded by larger camcorders. They are a very versatile tool not only for stabilising a shot, but also performing unique video moves such as a combined dolly/tilt shot. In my opinion a good video monopod like the Manfrotto 561BHDV is a much more versatile and valuable tool than a DSLR shoulder rig, espescially for all-day shooting. It takes the weight off your body, allows you to operate the camera more easily (try hitting record while simoultaneously pulling focus with the other hand on a shoulder rig!). Plus they give you the ability to do very smooth pans and tilts, while still maintaining the organic handheld-swaying-motion look when necessary. They also have a very small footprint, unlike some shoulder mounts where you can easily knock over someone or something behind you with the counterwight!
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Old July 30th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #3
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Re: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800/D800E

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
A pretty comprehensive guide you have put together there Sareesh!

A few little things I think are worth mentioning:

You do not really mention the benefits of a steadycam system. It really is a specialised tool and is used for a certain purpose, as opposed to being an all-around hanheld solution. I think you need to highlight this and provide examples of where and why a steadycam would be a suitable solution.

Regarding waterproof housings, it is worth mentioning the difference between underwater/dive housings and sports/splash housings. Dive housings are built entirely for underwater use. Their design often relies on high water pressure to keep the housing watertight (ie the deeper you go, the more watertight they become). They are nuetrally bouyant so if a diver lets go of it for a moment it will not sink or float away. These housings may also use optics that are optimised for underwater use, which leads to focusing/magnification issues above water. Filter use is also a consideration in their design in order to compensate for loss of red light underwater. These housings are also usually very heavy and unsuitable for many uses above water such as on boats.

Sports housing, on the other hand, are designed for use on or near the surface. They are great for snorkelling, boating, water sports, swimming pools, etc. These housnigs are designed to be waterproof without the aid of additional water pressure, and also to be used in large surf without leaking. They are positively bouyant, meaning they will float to the surface if dropped. As a result of the requirements these housings are generally lighter than dive housings and do not include as many bells and whistles such as lighting fixtures or filter holders.

One other omission (as far as I could tell - please let me know if I missed it!) is the use of monopods. DSLR video is the perfect vehicle for using a monopod for film-making - the small camera size allows for unique opportunities not afforded by larger camcorders. They are a very versatile tool not only for stabilising a shot, but also performing unique video moves such as a combined dolly/tilt shot. In my opinion a good video monopod like the Manfrotto 561BHDV is a much more versatile and valuable tool than a DSLR shoulder rig, espescially for all-day shooting. It takes the weight off your body, allows you to operate the camera more easily (try hitting record while simoultaneously pulling focus with the other hand on a shoulder rig!). Plus they give you the ability to do very smooth pans and tilts, while still maintaining the organic handheld-swaying-motion look when necessary. They also have a very small footprint, unlike some shoulder mounts where you can easily knock over someone or something behind you with the counterwight!
Excellent tips, John. Thank you very much for sharing. I'll add a monopod.

Great point about splash rigs. Do you have a suggestion for a good sports housing rig?
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Old July 30th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800/D800E

For off the shelf DSLR sports housings, Aquatech are the go-to brand. For more specific purposes, SPL offer custom-made housings, and are pretty much the industry-standard for surf photographers.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 03:07 AM   #5
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Re: Master Guide to Rigging a Nikon D800/D800E

Thanks, I'll check them out.
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