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How to Rig Your Camera Series: Indie Shooter

  • August 1, 2018
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
How to Rig Your Camera Series: Indie Shooter

Sometimes you don’t want your camera to be heavy and comfortable for your handheld. Sometimes you have to move around, you’re on your own and don’t have a whole camera crew to help you out. So what do I turn to to bridge that gap between a full studio build and my run and gun camera that I can put on my shoulder or run with it handheld? My favourite is the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro build.

As you can see, the camera comes already built up pretty much perfectly. You have your shoulder mount with integrated iris rod mount, your handle, and your eyepiece. I just like to add my lightweight Movcam follow focus unit and I am ready to roll!

What’s really amazing about this setup is that I can adjust my viewfinder very well. I can extend it, I can adjust it up and down and tilt it. They’ve made it perfect for the single shooter. And I am focusing myself, so the ability to turn on peaking that the URSA gives me, is invaluable.

(The URSA has a great adjustable viewfinder)

And if you want to go low to the ground or more creative with your handheld, you can use the super bright, 5” LCD screen that flips out from the side of the camera. The angle of it is also adjustable, so you can go crazy with your shots!

This camera has really been built for the single operator, it has all of the controls on the outside on the operators side. Which means that if you need to change your settings you don’t have to open the flipout screen, you don’t have to take the camera off of your shoulder, you can adjust everything very easily.

(The flipout 5” screen and controls on the operator’s side)

As a single shooter you want to have as few additional items as possible. That’s where the internal NDs come in. You don’t have to carry an extra pouch with your NDs and waste time swapping them by yourself, you can change them with a simple toggle of a wheel. It also eliminates internal reflections that you tend to get when you stack your filters in front of the lens. And they are completely full spectrum, so you don’t have to worry about your IR polution.

The standard Blackmagic baseplate (that also has a shoulder pad for your handheld) is compatible with my favourite VCT-14 Sony plate, so you can snap in to your head within seconds and you’re immediately in your studio mode.

(You can be in studio mode within seconds)

When you think about it, this camera has 4.6K, it has anywhere from 13.5 to 15 stops of latitude, it can do up to 80fps. The high speed is very good, looks amazing. You have internal NDs, the option of both EF and PL mount and it’s pretty much good to go straight out of the box. On my last movie that I shot in Italy (A Casa Tutti Bene), my operator who was shooting all of my VFX plates, shot them with this camera! At $6,500 it’s a great investment. It’s a really powerful tool for that single shooter that just wants to go out there and shoot some great stuff!

 

  • camera rig
  • Cinematography
  • Handheld

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