Having a more comfortable, ergonomic and balanced shoulder rig has been a key concern of mine since the earliest days of DSLR video. Zacuto are some of the strongest proponents of balanced rigs for large sensor cameras, and their popular Recoil range are among the best known solutions for this. We’ve covered these several times before, but for those who are unfamiliar with the system, it places the camera and lens at the correct position on the shoulder to ensure proper balance. This relieves strain on the operator and makes for better handheld camera moves.
The Recoil rigs comprise of a series of accessories centred around Zacuto’s VCT baseplates and Gratical Electronic viewfinders. The latest VCT-Pro baseplate has a sliding plate for rapid balance adjustment. I’ve been using one of these for a while and really like it.
The new Canon 18-80mm is a great lens with a versatile range (although the modest T4.4 aperture can be a drawback). We previously tested it here on Newsshooter and found that it produces nice images.
Canon’s new ZSG-C10 grip accessory for the 18-80mm offers the ability for the user to control zoom on practically any EOS mount camera, and also start/stop a C-series cinema camera. This is great, but the positioning of the handgrip on the lens, which was ideal with old ENG cameras, is less than optimal if you want to use a lighter cinema camera like a C300 mkII in a recoil position. In the video above, Zacuto demonstrate exactly why this is, and show how they have a complete solution to make it work well on the shoulder.
Key to making this setup work is Zacuto’s grip extension cable and grip relocator. These allow the Canon grip to be moved from the side of the lens, down to a position on the handgrip. Zacuto had to make a special right angled cable for this to avoid connector hitting the baseplate. All clever stuff.
The standard 18-80mm configuration with the grip attached to the lens handles much better on bigger, more conventionally shaped cameras like the ARRI Amira and Sony F55. That said, even with these cameras some users prefer to have the grip relocated to a lower position.
I especially like one of the other the small accessories that Steve and Jens have made for the 18-80mm. They have a rod mounted lens support that mounts to the lens and then quickly clicks onto a single rod. This keeps the lens in place, but also allows it to be rapidly removed if you want to change lens. I think I would get this for addition support, even if I didn’t have a Recoil setup.
In the video Zacuto also tease a new control grip that appears to be made of wood and has a zoom rocker on it. There isn’t too much detail about it around at the moment, but it appears that it will work with a range of servo zoom lenses as well as separate motors. Also in the video you can see that there is some kind of control panel with buttons that sits by the thumb on the handgrip. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out exactly how this all works.
The full 18-80mm recoil kit isn’t the cheapest shoulder mounted solution around, but it is certainly well thought out and I’m looking forward to testing out how well it handles at some point.
For more info visit www.zacuto.com