Welcome to Part II
Testing the completed build. The important part to building a video rig is testing each component either for failure or preventing breakage. You must be able to trust your gear when running and gunning. Cold weather and metal can loosen and I’ve had top lights simply slide and jump out and fall to the ground and hot weather sweaty hands can easily drop a setup. That 1 metre off the ground can do some serious damage.
I don’t know if people realise but getting into video and camera work takes a huge amount of your time and add on top of that video editing . Many years ago all you had to worry about was battery life and recording time limits. Was fun watching 45 minutes go quickly in an interview hoping the last 5 minutes people would end a sentence so you could jump and and ask for a tape change. How good are SSD’s now videographers are so lucky.
Many years ago all you had to do was put a tape into the camera and hit record and tweak the white balance, exposure and contrast in edit. Now the whole process is much more complex with more options in the way your footage looks and feels. LUTS known as Look Up Tables offer endless styles to your footage and can be put directly via the Atomos Assassin and can save time editing if shooting in a particular LUT. The other option is to shoot in a flat profile like S-Log for Sony or V-log for Panasonic that extends your editing leeway even further.
Cable Management – Most cables i like have a 90 degree bend to decrease the likeliness of breaking the connection. If its a straight out cable you’ll find being careful wont cut it and using gear and a combination of fatigue will result in breaking something. Also zip ties or cable holders help reduce breakage. The GH4 and Sony camera are notorious for micro HDMI ports and break very easily it was a breath of fresh air when the GH5 came out with a standard HDMI port.
Power Supply – FOTGA DP500III V-Lock V-Mount Battery Power Supply System Plate can be found on eBay or Amazon prices vary depending on extras like a dummy battery specific to your camera. Mine came with a Sony A series dummy battery and the GH4 one is still on it way. So this issue I had was limited battery on the Atomos Assassin and the chance to set up unlimited & uninterrupted power supply is very appealing. The battery is a V – Mount Power- U 95Wh/14.4V and There are a few other choices with more ranges 130Wh 150Wh 190Wh 260Wh and they extend battery time even further. For now the 95Wh suits my needs but never worry about battery life ever again with this setup.
Vertical grips are from a previous camera rig setup salvaged from the Edelkrone Modula 5 which is discontinued I only wish the actual ends of the grips had 15mm fixings to reduce the weight further but they are very sturdy with the whole piece connected across the two 15mm rods. Both handles can be angled back and forth or point down depending on the way you shoot. Overall the rig is quite balanced. No rattle test was done and SmallRig will win many hearts in this category. Carbon fibre 15mm rods would even take the weight down a little further.
SmallRig shoulder pad is awesome there’s two types I preferred the straight off the back as this setup reminds me of using the Canon XL2 video camera but this setup is far more comfy and well made. Really nice soft padded and fabric you would find on camera bag straps. Very clever. Only thing is don’t expect to hold this setup onto your chest if you wanted that holding position. The aluminium is like a point even though there is some padding but maybe some talk to Smallrig they might come up with another version that collapses the back with a locking mechanism that goes flat and then returns to original position if putting the camera back on the shoulder.
Only thing missing now is the follow focus to this setup. This is a bit of a stretch as the anamorphic focusing is at the very end of the lens. Using the SLR Rangefinder is another hurdle but hopefully the Fotga DP500III QR A/B Hard Stop Follow Focus works as it is possible to switch the wheel on both sides of the unit. Maybe a Part III will be added and include filters.
The tripod I’m using is pushing the limit with weight so I can only recommend stepping up to something bigger like the Manfrotto Nitrotech N8 Video Head with 535 Carbon fiber tripod. but if you have to get a tripod its at the top of the list to not skimp as you want to be confident it wont tip over when working in the elements.
If this has helped give some insight into the joys of video camera work feel free to comment. If you have found a solution to this never ending problem give a shout out below in the comments.
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