Building a camera rig is a very personal thing. The problem is figuring out where to start—and hopefully not blowing your budget as you put together your wish list. That is where checking out some other filmmakers’ rigs can come in handy.
If you are working with a Sony a7S III or a7 IV and need to find some pieces for your kit I would recommend this video from Arber Baqaj. It details a fairly minimalistic setup featuring quite affordable SmallRig products, which I think is a great place to start as it leaves a lot of room for customization.
Where do we always start when we talk about rigs? The cage. No surprises here as Arber picked up the latest SmallRig cage for the a7 IV, a7S III, and a1 (part number: 3667).
This is actually the second cage they made that works for the a7S III and this one is much better. It’s very durable, has a ton of mounting points, and has some tweaks that make using it a lot nicer, such as a piece that pulls out of the way of the battery door and a design that secures it to the strap mount of the camera.
The left side has a NATO rail on the left side which is perfect for a handle. The wooden one he uses connects directly to this rail and even has a cold shoe on top for putting something like a microphone.
At the top of the cage Arber tossed on another NATO rail. To this he attached a monitor mount which is essentially just two NATO clamps. He uses the Atomos Ninja V and has the SmallRig 2209 Cage attached to it. This has an integrated NATO rail on the base so it’ll just slide right into this mount.
On the right side of the camera cage is an angled cold shoe mount. He uses this for his lavalier receiver since it gets it out of the way.
For complaints, he does wish that the cage itself had a quick release for the camera. No rapid swaps here, you’ll have to unscrew the camera from the cage every time you want to take it out.
I personally can vouch for the SmallRig cage. I think for the price it can’t be beat. Pick up any extra mounting pieces you need for your remaining accessories and you should be set.
I use a NATO rail on the top for attaching a top handle quickly and then have my monitor mounted to that as another example.
What do you think of this minimal rig?
[source: Arber Baqaj]
- Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony a7 IV Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig 3667 Cage (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig Aluminum Side Handle with NATO Clamp (B&H, Amazon)
- Atomos Ninja V 5” Monitor/Recorder (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig 2209 Cage for Atomos Ninja V/V+ (B&H, Amazon)
- Angelbird 1TB AtomX SSDmini (B&H, Amazon)
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