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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 CineAlta
4K EXMOR sensor with SDI, slow-motion recording.


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Old July 24th, 2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

I am definitely in the market for a base plate and some rods. I'm using Canon lenses via the Metabones adapter, and I don't feel comfortable having some of my longer lenses (specifically something like the 70-200mm) hanging off the adapter without any support to take the weight off the adapter.
I don't foresee myself using my FS700 as an ENG style camera very much and will probably mostly be on sticks, but there will be times when I need to go handheld. So, I figure as long as I am getting a base plate and some rods, I might as well get something with a shoulder pad in the back and handles in the front for "hand held" use.

I thought I had settled on the Movcam cage/rig kit. It seemed versatile and compact and good for my needs. Like I said, I shoot mostly on sticks (probably 70% of the time), and often as a "one man band" and in small compact places (kitchens, etc.) so I didn't want something that was big and bulky.

But, after demoing the Movcam rig, it's obvious that if you want to use it on your shoulder, you really need an EVF to make it work because of the placement of the LCD screen (if you put this rig on your shoulder the way it is designed, the LCD is actually behind your eyes, which isn't much help). Originally, I was hoping to be able to mount a 5" or 7" monitor to the front and side of the rig, but the Movcam rig is so compact that the monitor would end up being about 2" from my eye, which is less than ideal.

I'm not totally opposed to investing in an EVF, but my budget is somewhat limited, and because I shoot more on sticks than "hand held", I would prefer to invest in a nice monitor over the EVF.

So, I'm kind of back to square one.

I think my best bet is going to be a "mutt" rig combining a Zacuto base plate and Shape rods/shoulder plate, etc. with an "offset piece" that offsets the placement of the camera off to the side of the shoulder plate, so that the LCD is in front of your eyes. The LCD/loupe isn't totally ideal, but for the amount of "hand held" I'll be doing, I think it will be fine. This set up definitely isn't as "sexy" as the Movcam kit, and less compact, but more practical.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what other people are doing and if anyone has any suggestions, etc.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 11:42 PM   #2
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

I bought the Movcam rig and have been very happy with it. I also picked up a Zacuto EVF since I already had a Z Finder on my Canon 5DM3.

I really think that trying to use the built in LCD or Viewfinder in the manner that you described would be very cumbersome and tiring. I have also found that the LCD in not very reliable when compared to an EVF or a monitor (I have the SmallHD DP4).

The Movcam is also great for mounting my follow focus and the mount points on the handle are great when used with Wooden Camera Hotshoe mounts. I can put two wireless receivers, the noga arm for the EVF on the camera with no problems. I did find that I had to add 4" extension rods so that I could use the follow focus on my longer lenses. I will try to post some photos of my setup early next week when I have more free time.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

Yeah, I really had my heart set on the Movcam rig, but when I realized I'd have to pay another $1300 or so for an EVF in order to be able to use it with my camera, I kind of lost interest.

I need a monitor more than I need an EVF. I can't justify buying both right now. I understand the limitations of the LCD and using it with the loupe, but I think I can get away with it for the amount I would have to use it. I also have a 5D with a Z-finder, so with the "offset" piece, I will be able to use this rig with my 5D and Z-finder without having to use an EVF on that.

I think the Movcam cage is great if you want to do the EVF thing.

And, if I decide I need an EVF in the future, I can also get rid of the "offset" piece and buy one.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

W/hat about the SmallHD DP4 EVF which also works as a monitor? They are only about $600 or so?
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Old July 31st, 2012, 07:35 PM   #5
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

Here is the set up I ended up going with if anyone is interested.

Zacuto base plate and rods and Shape handles and shoulder pad.

I added a Vocas offset piece so the shoulder pad is offset to the right and the LCD is in front of my eyes. This way I can use the LCD with or without the loupe. It's not ideal, but it works. I can always add an EVF later if I want.

I also added a quick release plate to the base plate so I could easily pop the camera off if I want to set it on a table top, etc.

The shoulder pad and handles are easily removable if I just want to be on sticks.

It's definitely not as sexy as the Movcam rig, and definitely "bulkier". I wish I could have made the Movcam system work for me, but this does the job.
Also works with my 5D, which is nice.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:52 AM   #6
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

Definitely feeling your pain. I can see why this can become an all-consuming passion.

Having ascertained that:
- The kit you use is the kit you bring with you
- I like to travel fairly light
- I have GOT to have a rig I can put down safely
- I don't want to shift away from the Manfrotto 501 adaptor

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I'll probably go with a mish-mash of stuff:

- The front bit and 60cm rails from Half-Inch-Rails
- The Proteus baseplate from Cinevate to hold the camera
- The shoulder pad and bumper from HIR (basically rubber squidgy things)
- An HIR contraption at the back that can take an optional V-Lock and/or my PIX220
- My existing Noga Arm and Zacuto Z-finder up front

But, if I were starting afresh, I'd be going for the KinoTehnik evf (Kinotehnik - LCDVFE: Overview) perhaps - although it is a big SoB compared to the Zacuto, and the Zacuto is already in the camera bag.

The 3ality Technica Micron for FS700 Micron for Sony FS700 almost took my money - gorgeous, but it's another baseplate, and there's no rear counterbalance.

For all its simple, brutal, strong 'Isombard Kingdom Brunel' engineering, the HIR can be split into 3 bits, thrown in the tripod bag to live on hard tack and grog rather than being pampered with the camera and lenses, and the camera can either go straight to tripod, into HIR, or in the HIR, go in the tripod. And if I have to switch cameras (my EX1Rs or my DSLR), the rig can take it.

Trouble is, the HIR system is a bit of a Mechano parts bin experience at the moment. No one simple do-it-all solution, mainly because - as I found out - the world doesn't work that way. Pic below was a first try, PIX mount to be modified and there's no shoulder mount (or cabling) yet. Your mileage will vary!
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Last edited by Matt Davis; August 1st, 2012 at 07:24 AM.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

I'm more than happy with my Tilta system.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #8
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Re: Thoughts on rigs/rods/stabilization?

Notwithstanding Mr Glencairn's extreme happiness with Tilta, just thought I'd mention that I'm a lot happier today now that I've found the 'middle bit' for my rig:

SYMPLA Variable Plate (3-axis Adjust) With QR Camera Plate MVA515W - | Manfrotto

To be honest, I think I'm getting the same 'stirring' that most (ahem) Gentlemen get when trying to assemble their first Hifi system. The wife is convinced that this is my 'mid life crisis' moment where most men would buy a sports car. And so we get S35 'rigs'. (hangs head in shame for a bit, then moves on).

And it really is cheaper than a Lotus Elan ragtop. ;-)
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