Redrock ultraCage expansions
I have been using Redrock Micro accessories since I first got in to filmmaking with the Canon 5D mkII. They were one of the first companies out there offering support solutions for HDSLR filmmaking, which we all found out became essential due to the, shall we say "less than ideal" ergonomics of the HDSLR cameras.
I’ve since started using a variety of digital cinema cameras on my productions – as have many filmmakers who started out with HDDSLR. While these cameras offer the functionality of a camera meant for shooting video as well as a price point that has only recently become attainable for most lower budget productions, these cameras often still lack in the ergonomics department. That is to say that while many of these cameras have the proper internals for video, their external designs are still simply not conducive for building out a cinema rig with the proper support. So it’s nice to see that Redrock has continued to expand their line of support solutions to include these digital cinema cameras that are also in need of modified ergonomics. These also happen to be some of the sleekest, most refined cage systems out there, both in build quality and also in the way they are thought through with things such as built in power management and the ability to attach a variety of accessories.
You may have seen my review on the ultraCage | blue earlier this year, which was launched in tandem with the Canon 300. The C300 is an amazing camera. It has all the bells and whistles of a proper digital cinema camera, but it’s body design, while lightweight, is not easily useable with standard support accessories and definitely needs a little love when you are going to put it into an actual production – as opposed to a solo handheld shoot.
The base of the camera is awkwardly shaped and there are additionally no threaded holes for mounting accessories on support arms. The ultraCage | blue solves this problem with a baseplate that is made to specifically support the shape of the C300 baseplate and provide a standard rod to lens height, as well as multiple 1/4" 20 and 3/8" 16 mounting points. The ultraCage | blue also has additional accessories such as the powerPack, which can be powered by an external battery, such as an Anton Bauer, and has 3 power outs, two 12v regulated, and one variable 5-12v DC. This means that everything on your rig can be powered from a single source. I can’t tell you how much grief this saves – not to mention that it’s industry standard in the cine world to power an entire camera and its accessories of a single power source whenever possible – both in terms of convenience, and weight.
There is also a rear chassis that extends your cage, adding 48 more mounting points and a place to attach the backPack, which can hold whatever external battery you are using for power, or for external recorders, FIZ controllers, wireless etc.
Now Redrock has extended their line of ultraCage systems to include baseplates and cages for the C100 and BMCC cameras. The C100 is similar to the C300 baseplate int hat the bottom is shaped the same, but the uprights have been reconfigured to fit the new curves of the C100 body. Also like the C300 cage, the C100 cage can use the back chassis system.
The BMCC cage is different from both of these, as it is machined to fit the odd size and shape of the camera (you can read two of our reviews on that camera HERE and HERE). This cage is slightly more customizable, as you are able to buy many of its components as standalone options. There is the baseplate, which will give you the standard rod to lens height, as well as a top plate that converts the three mounting points on top of the camera into 14 mounting points, and a hot shoe mount. The show mount can then be utilized to attach the top rail mount. The full cage for the BMCC does not add any width to the camera, and has been machined to include vents that allow the camera to properly ventilate. Once this is attached you can then attach the uprights, which gives your even more mounting options and allows you to mate the cage with the back chassis. Both the BMCC and C100 cages can be used with the powerPack to provide power to the camera using the correct cables.
Of course there are many out there who still shoot on the Canon 5d mkII/mkIII, and their is a cage system for you too. As I mentioned above, these cameras are in the most need of support. The ultraCage | blue DSLR provides a baseplate that fits the bottom of most DSLR’s and provides an opening beneath the battery door so that you can swap batteries without taking your rig apart. There is also an option HDMI wire lock that locks in your HDMI mini connection and provides a more solid full size HDMI connection when you are using video out for an external monitor (As I am sure many of you have experienced, the HDMI connection is not the most solid and can come loose quite easily). This is a KEY accessory.
There are also uprights with multiple accessory mounting points, and a top mount that provides 15mm top rail support and allows you to attach the back chassis support. The powerPack can also bemused with this iteration of the ultraCage | blue system. However, Redrock does not currently sell a cable to power the Canon cameras. However, they do sell a pigtail for the variable voltage out not eh powerPack which can be spliced with a Canon DR-E6 – so powering your camera off the rig is still an option.