At NAB 2012, Blackmagic Design shocked us all with the announcement of their new Blackmagic Camera. A company originally known for post-production software and hardware like DaVinci Resolve and UltraStudio 3D had everyone buzzing with the news. The Blackmagic Camera shoots RAW format, has 13 stops of dynamic range, has a 2.5K high resolution sensor which also down-converts to 1080p capture in 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps, it takes off the shelf SSD drives, has a touch screen LCD for camera settings, is fully compatible with extremely high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mount lenses, and is available at a price point just below $3,000.
Since the announcement at NAB, our design team has been hard at work designing rigs to compliment this camera. “Designing rigs for this camera was no easy task. It was reminiscent of designing rigs for the DSLR’s but with a few twists”, says Product Designer Jens Bogehegn. Steve Weiss, Product Designer, goes on to explain, “DSLR’s and BMC ergonomics are very similar. You essentially have a camera that has to be held in front of your face to see the video. Using our knowledge and years of experience designing DSLR rigs helped us immensely when we got our hands on the much anticipated BMC camera. After much testing and consulting with other users, we were able to come out with several Blackmagic Camera Rigs and accessories that will satisfy any shooting style.” Watch Jens and Steve explain the new rigs.
This unique rig design is totally new and designed specifically for the Blackmagic Camera. It’s extremely light so as not to add any weight to an already somewhat heavy camera in handheld configuration. This rig starts with our Blackmagic Top Handle and adds a set of 7″ 15mm rods. The rods can be used to mount a follow focus or other accessories.
The handle can slide along the 5″ Z-Rail to achieve optimal balance. The handle can also be positioned over the lens or behind the camera with the flip of a lever. The handle itself is built on a threaded 15mm rod and can be extended or have lights, microphones or other accessories mounted to it. The rod clamps can slide anywhere along the 5″ Z-Rail or be taken completely off with the flip of a lever. They can be adjusted to accommodate standard lightweight 15mm or Arri wide 15mm spacing. This is a great starting kit for tripod or low mode shooting!
Blackmagic UltraLite Rig Photo Gallery
The target shooter was originally designed for DSLR shooters, but we found it to be a great, simple handheld rig for the Blackmagic Camera since the BMC is similar to a DSLR in form factor. The camera attaches to the Zacuto Gorilla Plate and gives you three points of contact – the gunstock on your chest, one hand on the camera, and one hand on the lens. With this kit, you utilize the LCD screen on the Blackmagic Camera.
Blackmagic Target Shooter Rig Photo Gallery
This is a dual handgrip rig that also uses a gunstock against your chest giving you 3 points of contact. With the flip of two levers the handgrips are adjustable. The handgrips can be situated in the down position so your arms are against your sides or can be flipped up so the handgrips are aligned with the camera creating a cage style rig. A shoulder strap can be around your neck and attached to the handgrips for push style shooting.
The handgrips can slide anywhere along the 12″ rod for individual comfort. The entire camera can move left and right along the 12″ rod aligning the camera screen directly to your face with the flip of the lever. You can quick-release the entire rig from the baseplate and camera for a quick transition to a tripod. With this kit, you will also be utilizing the LCD screen on the Blackmagic camera. If you are looking for an easy way to pick up the camera and rig, we suggest adding the Blackmagic Top Handle.
Blackmagic Striker Rig Photo Gallery
This rig is a simple tripod rig that is ready to be accessorized! It starts with the Mini Baseplate with 12” rods and then adds the Horizontal Zwiss Plate where you can mount your v-mount or 3-stud/gold mount batteries, articulating arms for monitors, wireless plates and much more. With this kit, you can start with the basics and add whatever accessories you need to make the kit work for you. The rods are standard 15mm lightweight spacing so they can accept any 15mm lightweight follow focus and matte box.
Blackmagic Tripod Rig Photo Gallery
The Stinger is a shoulder mounted rig. It uses the same Mini Baseplate and Horizontal Zwiss Plate as in the Blackmagic Tripod Rig, but it adds the Zacuto Shoulder Pad with 7” rods and our Zgrips V3 short handles. This rig is an in-line shoulder mounted rig so we suggest using either an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) or slightly turning your head and using the BMC touch screen. We don’t recommend using an offset rig because it is unwieldy to control and wants to tilt and dip.
The Horizontal Zwiss Plate can be positioned vertically for shoulder mounted work or mounted horizontally for tripod work. This kit also includes the Blackmagic Top Handle for easily picking up the rig and positioning on your shoulder or tripod. The rods are standard 15mm lightweight spacing so they can accept any 15mm lightweight follow focus and matte box.
Blackmagic Stinger Rig Photo Gallery
For shoulder mounted work, we recommend using a Zacuto EVF with theBlackmagic HD-SDI to HDMI mini converter. This still is the most cost effective solution on the market with the greatest amount of flexibility. It has been tested and adds no additional lag to the EVF’s picture. Using the converter with the Zacuto EVF gives you an extra HDMI loop through to feed another HDMI monitor. The Blackmagic HD-SDI to HDMI mini converter takes the HD-SDI in from the camera giving you an additional HD-SDI feed to another HD-SDI device, like an outboard recorder or monitor. When adding the cost of the Z-Finder EVF pro and the Blackmagic HD-SDI to HDMI mini converter, it becomes one of the least expensive HD-SDI EVF’s on the market. It has many other features as well:
1. You can use the Blackmagic HD-SDI to HDMI mini converter for other uses besides the EVF. It’s a very handy device to have in your tool kit.
2. You can use the Z-Finder by itself on the back of a DSLR or the back of the BMC screen for checking critical focus at specific parts of the screen.
3. The EVF is much smaller and lighter than other EVF’s on the market which is critical with a slightly front heavy rig. The HD-SDI converter mounted in the back of your rig takes a lot of strain off too many cables coming off of the EVF. EVF’s should not be considered video distribution devices, it adds too much tugging to the front of your camera and eyepiece.
Above: Shoulder Mounted Rig Options