Our Filmmaking Camera Rig

We’ve had loads of comments asking about the camera rig we used to shoot our short film The Asylum Groove.

In this video I am going to break down the rig. If you haven't seen the short film yet you can find it here.

The camera we used was a Sony A7s mark 1, which is the camera we use to shoot all of the film look videos.

We shot the film in 1080p using a cine 4 flat picture profile to give us a little more dynamic range.

Everything was contained in a Tilta cage, the one with the wooden handle which makes it easier to press the record button.

The camera is powered by our custom dummy battery setup, which gives us about a full day’s worth of power.

If you want to find out more about the battery we have a video about it here.

For the film we used a set of vintage lenses. We had a 35mm, 58mm, and 85mm.

The entire film was shot at F8 as we wanted people to see everything that was in the background as the location helps to tell the story. If we opened up all the way to F1.8 the background would have been a lot softer, losing the detail you get at shooting at F8.

Shooting at F8 was a decision we made after looking at the reference images from films like Thousands Cheer and one flew over the cuckoo's nest both which have a deep focus.

To help keep focus we used a PDMovie wireless follow focus system which was powered by a D-Tap battery.

We have a video review coming very soon all about the wireless follow focus and how we powered it. 

Everything was mounted via the Titla rail mounts to a pair of 15mm rods. The camera was mounted as far back as possible to help balance the weight, and the rig rested on this Small Rig shoulder mount.

Sticking with the shoulder rig, we had a set of handles mounted to the front, which were also from SmallRig.

Small Rig are not sponsoring this video we just really like their products, but we DO have a video all about SmallRig here.

This setup was very versatile. I used it on my shoulder, low down resting on the floor, also on a slider and a tripod. Everything worked so we did not have to take anything apart during different setups.

We had a PerGear 7 inch monitor mounted to the camera via a magic arm so we could quickly adjust it depending on the setup.

We also have a full review about this monitor here.

The main reason we used this monitor was because it had an HDMI out. This meant we could take the feed from the camera to the monitor, then backout to another monitor which was used by our 1st assistant camera, Rob. This stand was set up with an Atomos Shogun monitor and used to pull focus with the PD Movie follow focus controller.

I’m not going to take credit for setting up the camera on the shoot, this was done by our 1st and 2nd ACs, Rob and Adam. This was made possible by communicating with the camera team before the shoot so they knew exactly what I needed from the rig.

We also used a mixture of other people’s equipment like a Konova slider, a steadicam and various grip and AC equipment.

We haven't always had all of this equipment, we started off shooting on handy cameras, then moved on to shooting with a Canon 600d with one lens, and the same shoulder rig we used on this film.

We’ve built up what we used over the past 6 years of working on many different jobs, and a lot of the equipment we used on the film was borrowed from others who worked on the film.

Not all of this equipment allowed us to capture a better image, a lot of the equipment we used simply let us save time, like the wireless follow focus as there was someone dedicated to that job. Any equipment that can save you time during a day and a half shoot is super valuable but your most valuable asset is your crew, so chose them before your camera.


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