Video capable Digital SLR’s now produce amazing high quality HD video with the benefits and advantages of 35mm lenses. However, the size and design of the cameras make them awkward and difficult for use in video and movie production. To allow filmmakers to take advantage of this powerful shooting medium without suffering its inherent difficulties a complete line of DSLR accessories has been created.
DSLRs are so lightweight that they don’t move like a film camera; when handheld, they jitter like a consumer camcorder, instantly marking your footage as amateur. And in many cases DSLRs are ergonomically worse than a camcorder, as they are designed to shoot stills, not video. There are two main steps in adapting your DSLR to handheld video work. One, add weight in order to increase mass and minimize jitter. Two, add a third point of contact to stabilize the camera against your body (and relieve some of the burden from your arms). Because the mirror of your DSLR is raised during video shooting, you can’t use the viewfinder to press the camera against your face for a third point of contact as you would while shooting stills. This leaves you with needing some sort of attachment to adapt a fundamentally unergonomic chunk of metal to your fleshy human form.
Proaim manufactures two different shoulder mounts and numerous rig configurations as well as Follow Focus and Matte Boxes. These rigs are high quality, well made and the best priced rigs on the market.
their offerings may seem somewhat large and overbuilt. However, this is usually not a bad thing as the extra mass and size will contribute further to your DSLR behaving like a “real” motion picture camera, which is not only something you perceive as the operator, but something audiences perceive (perhaps subconsciously) in the camera movements.
In still photography and video, a mattebox is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. It performs essentially the same function as a lens hood and also mounts in front of the lens, but usually includes adjustable fins called French Flags.
Another purpose of a matte box is to hold glass or plastic filters in place in front of the lens. Today, matte boxes are made for DV cameras and HD cameras for the same reasons as for film cameras. Some are supported by two rods that run the length of the camera, while others are supported by the lens itself.
The Proaim Matte Box is designed for the budgets of indie filmmakers, owner/operators, film students and educators, and budget-conscious studios. No longer is there a compromise between quality and cost.
Quality, versatility and price are the hallmarks for the Proaim line of Matte Boxes. They are superbly engineered, versatile and at a realistic price point.
A video camera has an electronic viewfinder that you can adjust vertically to accommodate typical videocamera shooting positions (handheld, on the shoulder, low angle, etc). A SLR film camera, on the other hand, has a fixed optical viewfinder requiring you to press the (much smaller) camera to your face. When shooting movies with a DSLR, however, the camera’s mirror is in its locked-up position, so if you look into the camera’s optical viewfinder all you’ll see is black. Today’s DSLRs offer an electronic solution similar to video cameras: the Live View LCD was one of the first steps in enabling DSLRs to shoot movies, and as a result, the LCD screen is what you’ll use to frame and focus shots
However, there are a plethora of issues with shooting movies on a small, fixed LCD screen; an add-on viewfinder is one way to address (some of ) these issues. A viewfinder usually provides magnification and allows you to isolate the LCD screen from sunlight; additionally, it provides a crucial third point of contact for stabilizing all-too jittery DSLR shots. An LCD viewfinder is basically just a loupe that you attach to your DSLR’s screen (via straps, adhesive, a fixed mount, or magnets). Models vary in their magnification, optic quality, and attachment method.
A Follow Focus is a mechanism that actually adjusts the focus of a video camera or DSLR. Granted, the camera operator could do it without a follow focus, but having a camera with follow focus definitely makes the filming easier.
A follow focus works through a system of gears that are attached to teeth on the focus ring of your camera lens. The follow focus gears feed to a wheel which, when turned by a focus puller, will spin the teeth and thus the lens gear that focuses the image.
Proaim Follow Focus units all come ready to be mounted on a shoulder-mounted system . There are two benefits to this. The first is shoulder-mounted setups tend to make better use of follow focus when mobility is needed. These packages also typically have certain quick release features, allowing the user to quickly take the camera out of the setup and use it for handheld shooting.
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To read about the various rigs, just click the appropriate link above.
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