Outside of the shallow depth-of-field and relatively low cost, what attracted me to the Canon 5D MkII was it’s tiny form factor. Initially, it was easy to shoot video anywhere. But it’s less than ergonomic design did offer up some challenges. And as my use of the camera increased, I found that I needed to bolt on various and sundry accessories to get it to work efficiently.

I have several rig versions depending on what/how I am shooting at the moment. My favourite is the ManCam (a la Shane Hurlbut) that offers excellent balance, a small footprint and a quick change from hand held to sticks. This set-up also allowed me to get into really tight spaces when a shot required it.

A rig that I have been working on for a year is a shoulder mount and studio version. This hybrid rig will be much more complicated and will definitely eliminate the tiny, inconspicuous form of the 5D. The loss of a smaller form factor does offer some gains, though. First, this rig will now give the 5D a much more cine-like form and will make shooting hand held much more comfortable. Second, it will provide the director, AC and client visibility to what the operator is shooting in real time.

At the heart of this rig is Viewfactor’s Contineo Powered Cage. This cage offers multiple accessory mounting points, three 12V lemo power sources, start/stop trigger (what a Godsend!) and Anton Bauer plate with a single DTAP connection. The connectivity offered by this cage will allow one to bolt on a wireless FF, Zacuto EVF, Teradek Cube or Marshall Orchid, an additional monitor, etc. all in a small, albeit heavy (approx. 15lb) package.

Shoulder to sticks use is a quick swap with the help of an RRS quick release clamp and plate. And depending on how you attach all the accessories, it is very balanced. In the real world, time is money and this relatively expensive rig (for an inexpensive camera), will help you make the best use of your shooting time. Essentially, it will pay for itself on a couple shoots and will reduce one’s blood pressure by a few points.

I will see how well this rig performs in hostile environments like shooting rally cars during a thunder storm. Heat, torrential rainfall, flying rocks and a 1300kg road rocket should offer up a good challenge.