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Connection Accessories to DSLR

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Ala Mctoom
Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:06:18 am

Hi there.

I'm new to videography so please be patient with me. I just bought a 7d camera and I'm planning to buy its gear and extra stuff like field monitor.

I'm not sure how to connect those stuff to the camera. For example, how to connect a monitor to my system. Using certain arms? How can I make sure they fit and not be mistaken with wrong dimensions or something like that.

When do I use the plates and rods? How does the whole thing work? Many thanks on advance.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 12:41:04 am

Start with looking at a seller of accessories such as RedRock Micro or Zacuto- those can give you pre-configured gear and DIY ideas.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Ala Mctoom
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 1:17:30 am

Thanks Noah.

But even after I checked the different rig I'm still not sure how is it possible to connect the monitor to the camera rig system.

Anybody?


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Bill Davis
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 3:31:55 am

Ala,

Nearly every DSLR (including yours) has a simple 1/4-20 threaded mount on the bottom. It matches the threaded mount on the bottom of all camcorders (camcorders typically pair it with a small optional "guide pin" that can be screwed in if you don't want to use it.)

Nearly every system for add-ons comes with matching threaded mounts. Even if your particular "rails" system or mounting option does NOT come with a matching threaded screw, you can easily use one of the very common photo equipment mounts like the ubiquitous Bogen 143 BKT mounting bracket that screws onto the bottom of the camera and then allows you to mount the result to most stands and rails.

It's NOT complicated.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Ala Mctoom
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 6:39:35 pm

Bill,

Thanks for the reply. What I understood from you is that most of available systems share a standard threaded mounts. Now for instance, what would you do to hook a Zoom H4n recorder + Marshall field monitor to a 7d Camera? What do you need (rods, clamps, etc...) to assemble this system? Are they all 1/4?


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John Fishback
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 7:12:11 pm

As you can see here, the Marshall monitor has a ΒΌ-20 mounting hole which will work with standard mounting hardware.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.2, Motion 4.0.2, Comp 3.5.2, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.2)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Bill Davis
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 3, 2010 at 6:43:50 pm

Ala,

There's actually a level beyond your question that's important. It's a personal preference thing you have to address before you decide how you're going to build your shooting rig.

Some folks take what I'll call the "CAGE" approach. That's to use one of the many rails based systems to build a cage that surrounds the camera off of which they hang extras - mics, an H4n, a small monitor like the Marshall. Wireless receivers, etc. The benefit is that this ENTIRE shooting system can mount and unmount from a tripod or jib and all the functioning pieces stay intact. For "run and gun" work this is often a preference.

The other approach ("Freestyle?) is to mount your components separately. For example, to forgo the "cage" entirely and mount your external peripherals like the monitor and audio receivers and whatever to the TRIPOD and leave the camera itself unencumbered. In this configuration, you can pull the camera and go shoot stills or a quick MOS video shot without dragging along the much bigger rig.

The big difference, in my way of thinking is that in the FREESTYLE config, all the peripheral equipment stays ORIENTED to the operator regardless of where you point the camera.

Think about it. If you're shooing a podium presentation in a ballroom, and someone stands up in the crowd behind you - and you decide to PAN 180 degrees to follow the action - it's often a REAL HASSLE when the CAGE also swings your monitor and audio meters and everything else into a position where you can't operate them without dancing around your tripod like a whirling dervish. This is particularly a hassle if you're using something like a spider pod or other elevated shooting platform.

Neither setup is "right" or "wrong" they're just different and so I think you need to decide how you're going to shoot, before you decide how you're going to mount.

After you decide that, you can start collecting magic arms, Mafer clamps, or cage rails as you see fit.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Ala Mctoom
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:42:59 am

Bill,

That was very enlightening. I'm not sure why there is no website that illustrates the whole DSLR configuration process step by step for 101 filmmaking wannabees. The field is still very vague. You have to dig within forums and waste a lot of time to get what you are looking for.

Thank you!


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John Fishback
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 4:23:14 pm

I believe that camera has an HDMI out. You'd connect that to your monitor. Marshall and others make small monitors with HDMI ins.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.2, Motion 4.0.2, Comp 3.5.2, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.2)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Ala Mctoom
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 2, 2010 at 7:36:58 pm

Thank you John.
I think I got the whole picture.


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Richard van den Boogaard
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 3, 2010 at 11:09:04 am

Instead of working with a field monitor, you may consider having a Zacuto Z-Finder attached to the back, unless of course you have multiple people that need to see the image you're recording.

I use Manfrotto 394 quick-release plates to attach my cameras to my tripods and monopods. You might consider the purchase of a cage (powered or non-powered if you have lots of things to connect.

As for the Zoom H4N - I carry it in my pocket with the receiver for the mic attached. You do have to check regularly if audio is recording properly.

Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant

Branded Channels
W: http://www.brandedchannels.com


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Ala Mctoom
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 4, 2010 at 1:44:01 am

I decided to forget about the monitor for now and get a proper Z-Finder based on your advice. Thanks!


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Bill Davis
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 4, 2010 at 9:53:40 pm

Ala,

Again, be careful here.

SOME people swear by the Z-finder solution. Personally I rejected it early.

The BIG advantage is that used with the typical RAILS system or with any kind of shoulder brace, shooters greatly like the fact that the Z-finder or equivalent gives the camera another point of stabilization when it's braced on your face. And the better 'stick on viewfinders" with good optics can give you a clearer picture of the camera's existing monitor. The Z-finder is certainly in this class. All well and good.

BUT - I personally fine MUCH more utility with an external mounted monitor. Why? A few reasons.

First and foremost, the Z-finder has to be semi-permanently affixed to your camera body. Manufacturers of these have changed mounting system multiple times in their brief history, with velcro, and various glue-on retaining stages in use. My personal feeling is that Camcorder manufacturers won't take too many more product rev cycles to respond to DSLR's encrochment into their space and have true camcorder models with the imaging power of today's DSLR with proper audio, white balance, and other sub-systems that make DSLR video more difficult than it needs to be today. If so, then investments in DSLR systems will be VERY hard to recover. Particularly investments that ONLY work with a particular form factor or design.

An external monitory will likely NEVER lose it's utility. Today you might hang it from a DSLR, tomorrow you'll use it as a jib monitor, or on a steadicam style rig, or as a client monitor on set, or as a second monitor for a 2-camera setup.

The point is that a flat screen monitor is WORLDS more flexible than a single purpose DSLR viewer.

Also realize that any loop style monitor REQUIRES you to shoot handheld unless you DUMP the very device you just paid for. And particularly with light weight cameras such as DSLRs, my personal experience is that one in ten thousand shooters have the muscular skills to truely, properly control a small DSLR to control the "shakey cam" look.

Also, the COST of some of the viewfinders, the Zacuto in particular, are VERY steep. That's not saying the engineering and design aren't worth it. Perhaps they are. But at HUNDREDS of dollars typically - for a product that my next camera switchout may make functionally useless - well, lets just say I'm hesitant to commit my own money to that path.

Just more to consider. It's totally your call. And it depends on how deep your pockets are and the style of shooting you decide to emphasize.

For what it's worth, anyway.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Mitch Ives
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 7, 2010 at 2:53:48 pm

Bill (as usual) makes a series of good suggestions. What you're going through is typical and there is no one right answer. For my part, I'll add the following:

1) I went the cage route, and then abandoned it. Too slow to remove things quickly and the problem with threaded holes is that things loosen easily when bumped, or through the simple weight of the arm, etc.

2) Went back to a Zacuto rig. Everything that mounts uses mini-clamps and can be adjusted or removed in a heartbeat. Way better solution.

3) Like Bill, I like the monitor on the tripod in many cases, for the reasons Bill mentions, and I like it closer for critical focusing. Depending on the situation, I may even use a 17" monitor.

4) I don't use HDMI. I built a powered converter that converts to HD-SDI, as it can support reasonable cable lengths. It also allows two HD_SDI outputs... one for producers, etc. I'm past the days of enjoying them looking over my shoulder or being in my lap looking at "MY" monitor.

5) I do use a Z-finder. They are invaluable when going portable. I would never try to focus off the LCD without one. I don't have a single shot out of focus in several days of shooting. Having recently edited some footage shot by others I wish they had been using one.

There will be no convenient place for you to have all this explained. It's part of the cost of admission. Besides, what I like may be unsuitable for you. That's why we have choices... Guinness & Coors, blonds, brunettes, redheads, etc...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.
mitch@insightproductions.com
http://www.insightproductions.com


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John Frey
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 4, 2010 at 12:37:15 am

I recently designed and built two 'cages' out of aluminum alloy, one for each studio location. Did a lot of measuring for 'adjustability'. I wanted to be able to mount two cameras - 2 DSLRs, 2 small HD video cams, 1 of each, whatever. The rig needed to include 2 shoulder braces (quick release), and have adjustable quick releases for both camera mounts and the rig itself, so that it could be quickly snapped or unsnapped from the tripod for handheld or shoulder mount work. I am in the midst of a motorcycle racing 'SloMo' HD project and wanted to shoot with both a powered zoom (small HD cam at 1080p) and a DSLR at medium wide at 720p 60. I shoot the riders coming at me into the turns and powering out to the straights. I am certainly not trying to shoot the whole race, just the dynamics in the turns and occasionally the straights. I am shooting my fourth race next weekend and so far, this setup has worked really well. I now have remote buttons for both cams and the Zoom H4n on the right handgrip with either a wireless lav, shotgun or the Zoom buil-in mics feeding out of it to both camera mic inputs simultaneously. Am getting great footage with this system. Total cost per rig (aluminum, grips, hardware and cold shoe mounts, and heli-arc) was less than $125.00, not including video and audio hardware and my labor.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Michael Sacci
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 4, 2010 at 7:43:33 pm

You should never post this type of info without some photos. I want to see this rig!


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John Frey
Re: Connection Accessories to DSLR
on Sep 6, 2010 at 12:45:23 am

Michael, follow this link. I posted a few pics on my 'test mule'. Ugly, but functional. When it is resting on my shoulders, I can let go with both hands and it stays put - a little chest brace pad, at the sternum, does that. In this particular instance, the Panasonic GH1 DSLR is on the bottom position with the Panasonic TM700 on top. Am using a lightweight tripod for this. Sold the Sachtler and Vinton, but have a bigger Manfrotto if necessary. Cannot use the GH1 wired remote and feed it audio at the same time - same input. Tester 13, the amazing guy that hacked the GH1, is supposedly working on that - what a guy!

http://www.digitalwestvideo.com/content/field-production

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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