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Thoughts on a lightweight run & gun DSLR RIGS


exomonkeyman
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Hello the EOSHD.

A big portion of what i do is run and gun filmmaking (Behind the scenes/making of/FilmmakingMusicVideos) etc etc.

And this often means (for me) I set my camera up on the floor out of way and trying to just be ready to film in a matter of 1-2 mins. Jumping from location to location, in and out of cars quickly, Ideally not having to sit there for 15-25 mins dismantling rigs and rebuilding rigs.

  1. ME + my A7RII + a Samyang VDSLR lens gives me tons of confidence that i get visually appealing shots, add a small rig on that with a top handle and shoulder mount i can get even better shots while only adding 2-3 mins to build times.
  2. But.. i need better sound badly!. so i add a ZOOM H6 (could get a rode videomic GO) Things start getting much heavier your rig starts to become even more clunky, and expensive. Time setup goes up by 2 mins and you then need cable maintenance and battery maintenance.
  3. So i add my brand new small hd 501.. things get even heavier and a lot more clunky.. and expensive, more battery maintenance and cable maintenance along with loosing the ability to jump in and out of cars because the rig is now very clunky and in the way and the monitor is very expensive.

I guess my biggest fear is (which has not happend thankfully) i'll end up in situation where were moving on from A to B and everybody's waiting for me because i'm still packing everything up because iv'e some how simply taken too much gear and gone overkill. I hate the idea of going over kill on taking too much gear. But i also thrive on wanting the best possible quality and balancing a fun easy to use efficient productive rig to a rig that actually becomes counter productive.

 

Anyone here been in the same spot? People love using small HD monitors but apart from making a film... i have found no benefit for the extra weight price tag$$

What rigs do you use? Post some pics love to hear your thoughts and take inspiration from your rigs!

P.S

Samuel

 

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I do run n gun a lot.  Not sure what your situation is, but I'm typically covering 1 subject.  As such, I put a wireless mic on him/her and then the receiver on my camera.  

Lately it's a EM5II with the battery grip adapter.  Good set up in that I can monitor the audio signal and the whole "rig" is small.  Also:  Simple.  No breakdown.  No set up.  No tripod.  I just carry my camera with me and shoot.

Shotguns are fine and all, but they need to be be near the subject to be effective.  Otherwise it's just an expensive mic that's not located properly for capturing clean audio.  If it's a necessity to go with a shotgun, (sometimes the situation demands it) I get an audio operator to boom pole it.  

For the most part I'll pick up group conversation audio well enough from the lav the subject is wearing.  On occasion I've run two wireless mics and I just let it record outboard and carry that pack in my camera satchel. 

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53 minutes ago, mercer said:

How's the juiced link work? Does it really help to get useable audio?

Yes, much better than any in camera solution obviously. As fuzzy writes you need to be close enough though, otherwise Sennheiser g3 lavalier is the way to go. I also have the Sony PCM-D100 which is probably better than the H1. The juiced link solution is not much worse than the Sony.

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The do-everything rig is usually kind of overkill, especially sticking a mic on top of everything else.

I opted for a really solid rails & baseplate setup (fore and aft legs between the tripod and camera plates) with a Manfrotto style release (since their release plate is widely available, it's on all my stuff from the rig to the tip of my crane). I have a rail clamp that holds the HDMI cable and camera-in (1/8), just 6" female-ended cables; that way I have a full-size HDMI out. With the NX1, I don't use the loupe, the EVF is fantastic on that thing. Sometimes have a follow focus, sometimes not. Handheld I keep the FF knob near a front handle when possible.

With my Nikon, I have the Kamerar loupe which uses the Manrotto baseplate (so that's the camera baseplate) and the loupe pops on and off. I use front handles and shoulder mount that go on the rails, the fronts are wide enough that the whole thing can go on an off the tripod in seconds. I can attach the audio recorder (DR 60D) to the setup when there's no shoulder mount; I don't ever stick a mic on the camera - if I need audio for handheld, the DR goes in a waist pack for the boom op and I get a camera out cable if we can stay close. If not, the internal mic is good for synch. I have a manfrotto mount on my steadicam, so the cables come out of the jacks, the camera comes off the rails, and onto the steadicam. I keep it balanced for my wide zoom. Both the Nikon and the NX1 have audio I can use for editing if they're fed a preamped line source from the DR and if I get all the gain setup properly. The DR has a good limiter and also records a minus-6 track, and for some edits I'll need to either pop in a bit of the minus-6 for spikes, or just use the audio from the DR.

I'll stick a monitor on the hot shoe if I'm on sticks. It's all pretty fast to go from handheld to sticks to steadicam, just seconds. But I don't mess around with on-camera mics and can't think of a gig where they wouldn't understand a couple hundred bucks for a boom op (I just trained a musician/friend who has good ears and a good brain to boom, he likes the extra cash). If you're recording audio, it might as well be something you can use in the edit. For synch audio, if you want to skip the camera mic, get a cheap little lav mic with an in-the-case battery, and chop the cable down to a foot or so, tape it to the front of one rail... or something.

There's plenty of times I can have a recorder mounted to a boom stand with a mafer or something, and have a mic ready to place and aim to grab quick interviews.

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On 2/15/2016 at 6:33 PM, exomonkeyman said:

Hello the EOSHD.

A big portion of what i do is run and gun filmmaking (Behind the scenes/making of/FilmmakingMusicVideos) etc etc.

And this often means (for me) I set my camera up on the floor out of way and trying to just be ready to film in a matter of 1-2 mins. Jumping from location to location, in and out of cars quickly, Ideally not having to sit there for 15-25 mins dismantling rigs and rebuilding rigs.

 

This is a good post. Your issues are similar to my field documentary group. We have tried many different camera types, various rigs etc.  I loved my Canon 5D Mark III and Zacuto EVF  Pro, but it was too slow to assemble and too fragile. As you well described, in fast-paced field environment, just 3-4 extra minutes is a long time. Then every time we changed sites it (a) Had to be torn down and packed, or (b) Balanced on a car seat or get somebody to hold it.

I now use an A7RII, Zacuto Marauder mini-rig, and Rode VideoMic Pro on the hot shoe: http://store.zacuto.com/marauder/ I can unpack it and be shooting in about 60 sec. We also use the Panasonic AG-DVX200, usually on a monopod. It is likewise very fast to set up: http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/dvx4k/

For really fast run-and-gun, we just accept on-camera shotguns. If we have a few more seconds (e.g, a 30 sec stand-up interview) we use a clip-on Bluetooth wireless mic which is faster than our Sennheiser G3 lavs. The BT mic is available from Canon as the WM-V1: http://amzn.com/B004JNXDH6 or Sony as the ECMAW4: http://amzn.com/B00JWU6WWO

If we have more time we'll use the Sennheiser lavs, or boom-mounted Rode NTG-2/3, etc. However I generally don't like boom-mounted shotguns on fast-paced field shoots as they require a separate trained operator, it's more stuff to set up, and another thing sticking in the subject's face which inhibits their spontaneity.

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Ah, my type of shooting. My rig is still in the process. The NX1 is a beast for documentary (with its ois kit lens). But I do prefer having a pistol grip gimble stabilizer with it, just in case. 

- Samsung NX1 (with kit lens or 45mm)
- Pistol grip stabilizer
- Rode VideoMic Pro
- Currently use a rented Sennheiser G3 with Zoom H6, but plan to switch to JuicedLink Little Darling (which acts as a recorder in itself with bracketed audio recordings) when it is released. 

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Hey dude, I shoot a lot of the same stuff as you. Run-and-gun, documentary style, and I totally feel your pain. Since you have such little time to set up, I can't recommend the Rode VideoMic Pro enough. It's super lightweight and has a +20db switch on the back, allowing you to turn the recording level in the camera way down and let the microphone do all the work. This gives you much cleaner audio by removing the "hiss" that is caused by the camera's preamp. No, it's not the same as clipping a mic onto someone and using an external recorder, but it's really high quality audio with a lot less moving pieces to worry about and a super quick setup/breakdown, plus you don't have to waste time syncing the audio in post. 

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