In the last few years, the amount of production value that is considered a base-line in the filmmaking world has slowly risen. That is greatly due to the decrease in the price of most pieces of filmmaking gear on the market.
Chinese copycats, cheaper production costs, and many other factors brought us to have some very complex rig setups at somehow a fraction of the budget that was previously needed. Mauro at MAURO’S FILMS has been upping his game gear-wise by showcasing his budget Sony A7III rig, one of the cheapest and most effective rigs you could build right now.
As per all the builds, we can’t avoid but start with the cage. A little scouting around the web will land us on the SALENS M3 CAGE: a little cheap cage (cheap as in 40$ cheap!) with all the bells and whistles.
It has your wide range of mounting holes on all sides and the design is correctly done so that it leaves free access to the card, battery slots, and cable ports on your Sony A7 III. There is even a complimentary cable holder in the box.
For capturing high-quality audio, you can use the small Rode VideoMicro, a compact mic which is mounted on a tilting arm that slides in the hot-shoe.
You could probably do without a tilting mount in a standard configuration, but in case you need to add a windshield to the mic, the task becomes easy simply because there’s enough room for every piece.
To keep the price down, a good solution is to resort to vintage lenses. Most of these come for dirt cheap on the web, but you should avoid the extremely cheap ones.
The real bargain is to look for old top-notch lenses that are still great, have a strongly recognizable look, but which are beautiful at the same time. Mauro is using the Canon FD 50mm f1.4, a wonderful lens, sharp as a razor and with stunning bokeh. If you are having trouble finding one, don’t worry, there are many similar options out there.
Now, what really sets apart this rig is probably the monitor: the DESVIEW R5. In a nutshell, it’s a neat product, with a 5″ screen, HDMI passthrough (it mean that you can feed a signal to an external recorder, a secondary monitor, a wireless transmitter, whatever you need to).
Plus, it has a second mounting screw and a DC in. Best of all, there’s plenty of accessories right in the box: cables and similar goodies.
Furthermore, the DESVIEW R5 brings a couple of functions you would not expect in a cheap product like this, and those are the SD slot to upload LUTs for previewing your footage along with a very nice DC out to feed power from an NPF battery to any other device you may need along the way, your camera included.
This simple, yet effective rig could obviously be a nice starting point to a more complex and complete camera setup, but if you’re on a budget while looking for something simple to start with, you should definitely consider this combo first.