Film & video

Tutorial: How to Build Your Camera Rig Step by Step

Are you looking to take your cinematography skills to the next level? In this tutorial, Merlin Showalter, guides you through the process of building a camera rig using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.

Join Merlin Showalter, a seasoned Steadicam operator and cinematographer, as he walks you through the process of building a professional camera rig from scratch. In this comprehensive tutorial, you'll learn everything you need to know to assemble a robust and versatile camera setup, ideal for capturing stunning footage.

Building a professional camera rig requires a thorough understanding of each component and its role in the overall setup. Here's a detailed breakdown of the essential parts you'll need:

1. Gather Your Components
Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary components for your camera build:

Camera body (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K)
Camera cage
Top handle
Base plate
15mm rods
Battery plate
External battery (V-lock battery)
SSD for media storage
External monitor (SmallHD 503)
Articulating arm
Wireless video transmitter
Follow focus
Prime lens
Matte box and filters

Tutorial: How to Build Your Camera Rig Step by Step  4

2. Assemble the Camera Cage
The camera cage provides the mounting points for all your accessories:

Attach the camera cage to the camera body using screws on the top and bottom.
Ensure there is minimal wiggle by tightening the screws securely.

3. Add the Top Handle
For easier handling and additional mounting options:

Mount the top handle using the cold shoe mechanism on the camera cage.
Ensure it's snug and secure.

4. Install the Base Plate and 15mm Rods
The base plate and rods will support various accessories:

Attach the base plate to the bottom of the camera cage.
Insert the 15mm rods through the base plate, aligning them for the follow focus and battery plate.

5. Attach the Battery Plate and Power Supply
To power your camera and accessories:

Slide the battery plate onto the 15mm rods at the back.
Secure it and attach the V-lock battery.
Connect the power cable from the battery to the camera.

Tutorial: How to Build Your Camera Rig Step by Step  6

6. Mount the SSD for Media Storage
For recording media:

Attach the SSD holder to the camera cage.
Insert the SSD and connect it with a USB-C cable.

7. Set Up the External Monitor
For better monitoring:

Attach the articulating arm to the camera cage and mount the monitor.
Connect the power and HDMI cables from the camera to the monitor.

8. Add the Wireless Video Transmitter
For remote monitoring:

Attach the wireless transmitter to the camera cage.
Connect the HDMI output from the monitor to the transmitter.

9. Configure the Follow Focus
For precise focusing:

Pre-set the follow focus position.
Attach it to the 15mm rods and align with the lens.

10. Mount the Lens and Matte Box
To complete your camera setup:

Attach your prime lens to the camera body.
Mount the matte box and insert any necessary filters.
Optionally, attach the French flag to the matte box to block unwanted light.

Building a camera rig requires attention to detail and understanding each component's role. With this guide, you're now equipped to assemble a professional-grade camera rig. For more in-depth tutorials, join my online course, 'The Art of Camera Movement' and enhance your cinematography skills.

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