Using a traditional still camera for video capture is revolutionary not only because it’s unconventional, but also because the relative low cost of shooting with HD DSLRs allows anyone with a little money to shoot stunning footage. Of course, you can spend a small fortune on expensive gadgets that may or may not elevate your production value; however, if you’re shooting with an HD DSLR, you don’t have to compromise the quality of your production because you’re on a budget. There are several companies who seem to understand this concept, and in the spirit of this revolution, there are many manufacturers who make high-quality accessories that will raise your production value without breaking your budget.
The iDC System One combines a modular mountable camera support system with their Gearless Follow Focus for HD-DSLR cameras with battery grips or the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. The System One’s modular platform (or uni-rail system) has the exact proportions as the strike plates used in Manfrotto fluid heads and monopods, making it easy to mount and dismount. For other heads or tripods, the center of the base is outfitted with ¼-20 and 3/8-16 threaded mounting options. With other follow-focus systems, you not only have the expense of follow focus, but you must have a rail system and, of course, a variety of gears, which can add up fast and be hard to put together. The iDC Gearless Follow Focus makes contact to the rubber grip on your cameras lens. Once the two make contact, friction takes control, allowing you to pull focus easily without the hassle of having a gear for each lens. You have the freedom to change out lenses quickly and easily. System One works with most lenses, except for Canon tilt-shift lenses and large supertelephoto lenses. The iDC System One retails for $599. Contact: iDC Photography, www.idcphotovideo.com.
The Redrock Micro nano line of HD-DSLR rigs might be small, but they provide a huge source of stability and support. The nano DSLR line actually consists of seven rigs. The great thing about all of Redrock Micro’s products is they’re all interchangeable and can be easily upgraded, making them a smart investment that can grow with your needs. The RunningMan gives you comfortable stability, providing three points of contact for ultrastable shots in a compact package. The RunningMan puts the camera at eye level, which is perfect if you use a viewfinder. Once you adjust the microBrace to fit your body, you’ll have instant stability. The Low Down is a handle mount that connects to the camera’s shoe mount. It comes complete with an articulating arm that mounts atop the Low Down’s ¼-20 mount, allowing you to mount an LCD monitor or LED light. If you shoot from a lower-than-normal angle at eye level, then the Low Down Deluxe is a great solution. It combines the top grip from the Low Down and two additional handles on either side of the camera for better control. The Stealth, Stealth Grip and Stealth V are ultracompact rigs for eye-level shooting. The Stealth adds extra support to your DSLR, while still allowing you to keep both hands on your camera for operation. The Stealth Grip gives you the maximum amount of support with a minimal amount of gear. The Stealth V (pronounced “vee”) is designed with added stability while maintaining a small size and weight. The extended handgrip allows you the freedom to maneuver the camera more freely and have a relaxed arm position, while still enjoying stability via the body pad. Prices range from $110 to $610. Contact: Redrock Micro, www.redrockmicro.com.
Designed with HD DSLRs in mind, the Genus DSLR Matte Box offers a higher seat to accommodate different cameras or if you plan to mount additional accessories such as audio adapters. The unit can be adjusted horizontally and vertically to give you a perfect alignment with your matte box and lens simply by twisting a knob. Genus has captured the true essence of versatility as you can retract the unit, making it easy to store. Rubber strips on the backplate prevent movement and damage to your camera. The unit can be extended with the addition of extra 15mm rods inserted into the specifically designed threaded cores. The Genus DSLR Matte Box comes complete with a French Flag and 15mm Rod Support System, and a choice of adapter rings from 37mm to 86mm. The Genus retails for $975. Contact: Genus Limited, www.genustech.tv.
With the Cinevate Cyclops, you get to use both eyes instead of having to squint with just one, providing a great solution to checking your shot without having to use a monitor. Looking similar to a periscope, the Cyclops is equipped with a 72mm optic consisting of several bonded glass elements. Cinevate boasts that the optics of the Cyclops are so good it can be used as a +5 power macro with resolution to match full-frame sensors. The Cyclops is completely adjustable, allowing it to accommodate larger cameras like the Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. The Cyclops doesn’t use Velcro®, rubber bands or adhesive to attach to your LCD. Instead, the unit attaches to the ¼-20 at the base of your camera. The unit can be made to fit any camera using Cinevate’s three-axis system. With its 5.5-inch width, it’s easy to achieve critical focus from a distance of more than two feet. The size and shape of the Cyclops also makes it perfect if you wear glasses. Cinevate has made interchangeable front and rear hood elements so the unit won’t become obsolete if you get a body with a larger LCD. The Cinevate Cyclops retails for $399. Contact: Cinevate, www.cinevate.com.