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Header image for article At the Bench: Sony FS7 Rigging Options

At the Bench: Sony FS7 Rigging Options

The Sony PMW-FS7, with its easily convertible lens mount and multiple recording formats, is now being used in all levels of production. There are also a lot of accessories for the camera - but which ones make the most sense for you? In this blog, I show how I like to build the camera for handheld operation and on sticks.

I have outfitted the camera with the Gratical HD from Zacuto, which allows evaluation of the log image and gives the ability to apply a LUT to the outbound SDI. The Gratical HD has a well thought-out placement of function switches. Zacuto also manufactures various mounting options.

On the base of the camera, I went with a shoulder rig from Shape. The unit has 15mm rod support for the front that is fully adjustable. In addition, the platform supports 15mm rods in the back for accessories. The unit includes a telescoping handle with reference marks as well as their extension for the FS7 handgrip. This unit gives you the ability to adjust on every axis. The base of the plate is made to clip into a standard video touch-and-go plate, allowing a quick transition from sticks to handheld. I also installed a Shape top plate on the FS7. This allowed me to use a Zacuto mounting bracket to hold the LCD finder that comes with the camera - this is a great option for an AC to see camera status and pull focus.

The PMW-FS7 Extension Unit is a hub for inbound and outbound signals, including RAW. If you want to capture in RAW, the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ is a great tool. Aside from recording RAW files, the 7Q+ provides a host of evaluation tools, such as focus and exposure. The Odyssey 7Q+ is the external recorder that can adapt to the most popular digital cinema cameras.

Powering on-camera accessories can be a challenge. To handle the power requirements of the camera and accessories, I installed a D-Box from Wooden Camera. The D-Box is one of the most versatile power distribution options on the market because of its modular design. Power connectors can be fitted to the box to match your requirements. In addition, the operator side of the box has a panel that accesses the fuse, so replacing it can be done quickly and easily.

To finish the build I went with Endura batteries from IDX. Their lightweight design provided just the right amount of offset I needed with the stock lens. Also, each battery has a P-Tap connector for 12V DC output - great for powering a monitor or other accessories.

If you want to learn even more about the Sony FS7, check out our upcoming workshops in NY and LA!

Ian McCausland
Camera Technology Specialist, AbelCine LA

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