From the previous post, I mentioned some of the inspirations I had for my rig. Let’s discuss those a little more.
I really liked the ErgoCine design for it’s focus on shoulder mounted ergonomics. As stated on their site, they really tried to emulate the most ergonomic camera design (by general consensus) to date – the Aaton LTR.
They’ve accomplished this by creating a “body” out of milled solid-hard wood (which also makes for a very handsome design). However, I feel that when you add a battery, audio adapter, and other peripherals, the rig can begin to feel cluttered.
This is where the BlackBetty design truly shines. The fully enclosed design really reduces the clutter and streamlines the design. Granted, the BlackBetty was designed around a specific camera while the ErgoCine is designed to accomodate multiple platforms.
I am primarily designing this for the new generation of “block or cube” cameras like the BMMCC or even the new CANON ME-200S-SH.
My goal is combine the two designs, ErgoCine and BlackBetty, to create a unified system by:
- Creating a ergonomic body and integrating cables and perephirals into the interior of the rig.
- Incorporating a centralized power system to 1) increase operating time and 2) minimize swapping batteries on multiple devices.
Additionally, as much as I am interested in creating an Anton LTR type shoulder rig, the compactness of cameras like the BlackMagic Micro Camera, makes them ideal for smaller setups like slider and gimbal work. I didn’t want to necessarily loose that. So one of the key features I wanted to incorporate was a modular design. I decided on a three-module design.
Base Camera Module (Green). I wanted to be able to quickly be able to seperate the camera body from the rig and quickly mount it onto slider or gimbal. This meant that a quick-release mount was going to be crucial. I choose to use a commonly found option in the Manfrotto 577 QR Adapter. This would give me a universal system, that I could use across different setups.
BasePlate Module (Blue). This module will add a 15mm rod baseplate, permitting the use 15mm rod based accessories like a Mattebox, Follow Focus, and grips/handles. This would be ideal for hand-held work. I already had an Ikan baseplate, so i use this.
Shoulder Rig Module (Grey). This module is the key to achieve “cat-on-the-shoulder” ergonomics and conceal most of the clutter. This will also be the most difficult module to construct since this will the the DIY portion.
I hope to create a centralized power system. To accomplish this, my plan is to use Gold Mount battery and plate (something like this) for power and then distribute power to camera and perephirals via P-Tap cables.
Additionally, I want to add a EVF or monitor mount. To best accomplish this and keep costs down, I want to use a 15mm rod system. (this will also allow me to use a 15mm rod top-handle to support the entire rig). The idea for the EVF mount came from Caleb at DSLRVideoShooter.com.
For perephirals that cannot be incorporated into the body, I want to use cheeseplates on the exterior of the body for mounting.
In the next part of this series, I’ll share the next phase – “My K.I.S.S (Keep it Super Simple) Rig Phase 2: The Build.”