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Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....

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Tom Laughlin
Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 6:55:17 pm

Hello DPs, so I wanted to ask you if you have any suggestions for a matte-box for smaller-sized cameras, like the Sony EX-1/EX3 cameras, or DVX-200, Sony FS700/FS5/FS7, and maybe for DSLR's? On a tighter budget than anything from Redrock, Arri, or Chroziel, I’ve been looking at the "Fotga" DP3000's M1 or M2 matte-box with rails, filter trays, and follow-focus (pic 1) $250-340...



As well as the "Proaim’s" (or Cine-city's) MB600 matte-box with rails (Kit-3) $300-450....



I know on some forums, these brands are probably not very good - compared to more expensive industry matte-boxes, but any thoughts on matte-boxes, rails, and other accessories that you have used? Brands like Fotga? Tilta? Proaims? Cine-city?

Thanks, Tom

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 7:58:22 pm

Surprisingly, I'm not going to trash Fotga gear.... as far as the cheap low-end India- and China-made stuff go, the Fotga gear is actually pretty good. I've owned (and sold) several followfocus systems through the years, still have a pretty darn expensive Redrock FF unit, but the one that I primarily use daily is indeed a Fotga. It's light, very solid, little to no backlash, and it just works very well.

I wouldn't hesitate recommending Fotga for rods/rails, baseplates, FF rigs, or any of that such.

For matte boxes, though, I'd be more hesitant. Usually those India/Chinese boxes (including the Fotga) aren't all that well made, tend to be fairly flimsy sheet metal, and yet still somehow manage to be much heavier than they should. As well as more complicated than they should (especially the swing-away ones).

In your position and budget, I think I'd try a setup that included plates/rods/FF from Fotga, and I'd pair it with a matte box from Cavision. They are one of those companies that makes very affordably-priced stuff, but is still very good. I use a Cavision matte box every day mostly because it is so lightweight (which is more important to me with each passing year). It's not nearly as nice as, say, an Arri box... but it's a fourth the weight (and a tenth the price). Both of which are important to me.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:30:53 pm

Todd, if you were in my shoes (off-brand sneakers with well-worn soles), and you wanted to create an inexpensive but reliable circular slider track for a go-pro or consumer-sized camcorder, what kind of components and makers would you suggest?

Ideally, this would be a half-circle with a 20-foot radius, mounted to spare camera tripods or heavy duty light stands, and a platform for the camera with an adjustable, manual speed control. Camera would weigh less than a pound.
Sliders are not something I've had experience with, but we have a hankering to up our game in the production values area this year. Only, there's no budget for rentals nor a straight-up purchase, so I'm looking at what I can cobble together in my Tony Stark Cave at home, out-of-pocket. I've got RC gear and I know how to wire and re-wire servos to make them continuous. But the other hardware is alien to me.

Not looking to control the camera, just leaving it fixed on the center of the circle, and controlling the speed of the horizontal move.


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Todd Terry
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:38:00 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:38:39 pm

Well Mark I'd have to think on that a bit (I'm actually writing from the beach in one of my rare once-every-10-years vacations), but my first thought was HOLY CRAP THAT'S HUGE.

So, before I put many brain cells to it... you're needing curved track or a slider that's half of a FORTY FOOT circle? With something that very specific and specialized (not to mention gigantic), I do have to ask... what do you plan to shoot with it??? (If you are free to divulge)

T2

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:53:41 pm

I overstated... half of that would be fine. Guess a 10-foot radius. I'm imagining one or two people together, or a person and a piece of furniture like a countertop, desk, or chair.


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Todd Terry
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 9:06:50 pm

Ok that is slightly more manageable, although still big.

When you first mentioned something of that size I was thinking for exterior use, but you saying "countertop" leads me to believe this is for interior use. Is it primarily for on stage use? I'm pretty rarely shooting in an interior location where I have the luxury of even your reduced-size 20-foot across half-circle, virtually all the Interiors I find myself in are much tighter than that, never anywhere near that much breathing room unless in studio.

If you're talking about on-stage work, I'd be more inclined to think of something more conventional like a dolly that rides on the floor or track... rather than a slider supported by bunches and bunches of stands. I'll think on it...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 10:02:42 pm

Location work, where you can't count on a clear floor.

Assume the floors are not free enough for floor track and full size suitcase dollies. The kind of shot I'm imagining is someone doing dishes in the kitchen sink, where the kitchen is an L-shaped island, and the shot comes around from profile to behind them as they turn around. I'm assuming tripods and /or light stands to hold up some tubing or extruded metal, maybe a flexible blade of metal which I can bow with wire and turnbuckles to achieve various curvatures... camera car rides the blade with wheels on three sides, one set motor-driven.

Was playing around with the idea of flexible G-scale model railroad track section and a speed-controlled battery-powered car using rubber friction wheels on the rails.

The other shot I'm thinking of is a person writing or handling papers at a desk and we orbit a half-circle around the person and desk at a distance, then I fake the zooms and framing in post. i want it wide enough for a two-shot, one person standing over the seated person.


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Todd Terry
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 7, 2016 at 10:20:33 pm

Gotcha. I still think your size is way huge. Your 10' radius for a full half circle means track or slider with end points 20 feet from each other.... not many kitchens or offices will accommodate that (not many practical kitchens or offices anyway... those built with wild walls on a stage could of course).

My own curved track has a 6' radius, but it's only about 4' long, not a complete half circle by any stretch, just a little piece of an arc. But with that radius, which is exactly the same as the radius of tighter Matthews curved track, is accommodating for multiple people in frame, especially with wider lenses. I would say with a 35mm or 28mm lens, I have no problem with multiple subjects frame. As I said, I'll think on it...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Tom Laughlin
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Nov 8, 2016 at 3:37:00 pm

Does anyone else have any thoughts on off-brand or on the cheaper "matte-boxes"?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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Tom Laughlin
Re: Matte-box recommendations for smaller HD/4K cameras....
on Mar 9, 2017 at 5:19:11 pm

Anyone use Camtree Matteboxes?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, Utah
digitalchophouse.com


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