Hot off the presses, the newest component is the OConnor Universal Camera Baseplate, which offers a plethora of mounting holes and adjustable height, and can adapt to rapidly developing trends from small- to medium-sized digital cinema “on-center” threaded cameras and standard camera accessories ($620 list). Dual 15mm LWS rod brackets adjust for perfect alignment to the optical lens center, and it can be mated to studio bridgeplates (RED/Element Technica/ARRI) to support large zoom lenses like the Optimo 24-290mm from studio 15mm or 19mm rods.
Also new, from Vitec Group family member Anton/Bauer, the Matrix Cheese Plate (15mm or 19mm rods) takes up the rear, serving as a power mounting point, additional accessory expansion and crucial counterbalance.
THE DSLR AS VIDEO CAMERAWhile specs sound dandy on paper, with each component boasting respectable strengths, the combination forms a bedrock for cinema support. I’ve augmented this OConnor foundation with complementary components to create a dialed-in package that adds power, filtration, sound, light, rods, shoulder mount and monitoring.
My Canon EOS 5D Mark II is housed in a View Factor Contineo 5D powered cage distributing 5V and 12V power from the QR-HotSwap, outfitted with two Anton/Bauer Dionic 90 batteries for increased counterbalance and uninterrupted power throughout. The Contineo powers a Zoom H4n, the new Litepanels Sola ENG and View Factor Origo remote start/stop. A Hot Rod Camera LP-E6 to D-Tap (customized to prevent Dionic 90s from fully draining) powers the new Zacuto EVF Pro, a significant add-on bringing comfortable accurate monitoring for run-and-gun focusing and framing. Compact and flexible, the K-Tek KSWP, KSW20 and KGPS extend the Contineo and O-Box WM “cheese stock” threads supporting the Zacuto EVF, shotgun mic and Zoom recorder. An adjustable cushioned Genus shoulder pad is a sturdy complement without gobbling space. Quality ND filters are a DSLR shooter’s best friend, and I use an assortment of 4×5.65-inch Schneider ND filters and polarizers in the O-Box WM, and trust the consistent color and rapid adjustment of the 4×4 Variable ND, offering 11 stops of attenuation without compromising my desired aperture, ISO and shutter speed—a major deal for docs. Fully dressed, the rig is very impressive, both in looks and function, feeling integrated, not clunky, loose or unbalanced, considering the myriad components.
Built on the solidly engineered OConnor framework, the rig I created is highly customizable. While I don’t normally shoot with all the gear attached, I love for a rig to be up to the task when needed or scalable to a nimble rig with moderate adjustment. Whether it’s OConnor components only or for light low-angle work, I easily can extract the Contineo cage and pop an O-Grip on top with a 7-inch Marshall V-LCD70-ATSC monitor. There are so many options. Weight does add up when completely loaded. While weight can be good, it also can be fatiguing by the end of the day. Finding the correct weight distribution is critical, helped in this case by the ease of modular adjustment, lightening the load whenever possible.
For more information on the O-Series accessories and other OConnor products, go to www.ocon.com.