Canon EOS R5 Ultimate Cinema Rig

September 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

In my seemingly never-ending quest for the perfect mirrorless hybrid stills/video camera, I have found, at least for the moment, nirvana in the form of the Canon EOS R5 camera and the following plethora of cinema rig-building accessories.

I use the R5 and 5DS R for stills, and I wanted the R5 to perform a dual role. For video, I shoot mainly interviews and related b-roll, and have tried to keep my approach to capturing subject-matter simple. It’s a bit ironic that, in order to arrive at simplicity, I’ve had to navigate a lot of the complexities and idiosyncrasies of this camera to actually make the end-result seem natural and effortless.

The R5, at its best, is a high-megapixel full-frame wonder-of-a stills camera, with incredibly responsive eye-detection autofocus and impressive low-light performance; at its worst —a hot running, power-hungry, fidgety, unbalanced quasi-video gadget. Arriving at a place where this camera can intuitively and ergonomically perform well as a reliable professional tool in the video domain required some trial and error. Building a lightweight versatile cine-style rig was key.

What follows is a brief description of my component choices and how/why I use them, in order to help you gain insight in designing a rig and camera system that may best suit your needs.


Base & LWRS

The SmallRig Camera Base Plate w/15mm Rod Clamp and SmallRig 4" aluminum rods offers the most flexible system versatility, provides a flat, balanced footprint and, when combined with the SmallRig 15mm quick release base adapter, gives the operator instant on/off camera attachment.

This is the heart of my rig system build-out.

Cage, Top Handle & Accessories

Beginning with the SmallRig CF half-Cage, I added a basic SmallRig NATO rail adapter to accommodate a Nitze Lil Stinger NATO handle w/quick-release. All told, in this configuration, there are over 40 mounting points to add various accessories. A SmallRig wooden handle attached to the 15mm rods completes the Base/LWRS via an Arri rosette clamp. Worth noting is that the wooden handle is more than just for good looks. It provides extra purchase in wet conditions and is warmer than steel or aluminum when used in colder environs.

On-Board Video Monitor

I chose the Atomos Shinobi 5” 4K HDMI Monitor. It is very sharp, bright and lightweight, and offers an extensive array of touchscreen features (focus enhancers, scopes, frame lines, anamorphic de-squeeze, LUTs, etc.). I have also added the Atomos Accessory power adapter to enable powering from my on-board battery and use a coiled Micro-HDMI to HDMI cable for mounting versatility when on/off the SmallRig monitor mount/EVF bracket.

It is important to note that the Shinobi comes in two flavors; HDMI and SDI. Get the SDI version should you need to add a piggyback client monitor output from this device. Also important to note is that the SmallRig CF Half-Cage provides one of the most solid (and essential) locking mechanisms I have encountered to-date to secure your tiny, Mini-HDMI cable end to the camera.

Power

It was important to me that the entire rig be powered by a single power source that wasn’t too large or too heavy. The CAME-TV mini v-mount batteries offered the best solution, include (2) D-Tap and (1) USB outlets, and provide 99Wh and 6875mAh, which can power the entire rig for about 5-hrs continuously. I keep (3) batteries in rotation.

Adapting to this powering option is via a Nitze power distribution/v-mount quick-release adapter mated to a  Niceyrig battery mounting cheeseplate. The Nitze houses (2) D-Tap and (2) DC jacks. Cabling is via a coiled D-tap power cable w/LP6N dummy battery (shown in blue) to power the R5, and a short DC TRS power tap cable for the Atomos Shinobi monitor.

Lens Accessories

I use the Schneider-Tiffen Series 9 filter adapter and Rubber Wide-Angle Lens Hood on all my Canon RF lenses (shown above with the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L IS USM), mainly because I had already invested in Series 9 filters. With the 15mm rod system, of course, you can add a matte box and/or follow focus system of your choice.

Sound

I use a Tentacle Sync E MkII time code sync box w/quick-release mount (read my separate blog/review) for all of my important sound recording needs. The accessory quick-release is an elegant aluminum mounting bracket solution for your cage or rig, and it takes the place of the standard Tentacle-included Velcro option providing a surer connection to camera. Tentacle provides a short 3.5mm audio cable with their Sync E’s, but I prefer a 3.5mm coiled audio time code cable (shown in red) for extending my mounting options.

So, that’s it for the moment. The thing about these rigs is that they constantly change with one’s needs. After much trial and error, however, I feel that this route is proving the most useful. Stay tuned!


~ Brent

 


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