Canadian rig-maker Shape have recently introduced a new baseplate and support system for use with traditional-style professional camcorders. At the heart of the system is a new, lightweight, VCT-compatible baseplate designed to make your camcorder more ‘ENG-style’.
Unlike Shape’s other cinema-style VCT baseplates, the ENGBP baseplate does not have rod mounting or rosettes at the front. It can be quickly attached to – or detached from – a standard VCT-14 tripod plate. There is the option to attach 15mm rods at the rear of the baseplate so that a shoulder support can be added. The idea is to hold the camcorder by its own handgrip and have it out in front of the operator – something that is made possible because the cameras are usually quite lightweight. If you do feel that you need extra support to prevent your arms from tiring, then Shape offer a telescopic support arm or a monopod that go from your belt to a quick release plate that attaches to the front v-wedge of the baseplate.
You can further accessorise the rig by relocating the shoulder pad off to one side using the ENGOFFBRAC so that you can use the viewfinder usually found at the rear of the camera. You can also add a top handle and brick battery/accessory plate if you so desire.
Shape are also offering their own VCT tripod plate if you don’t already own one.
It’s interesting to see Shape targeting this style of camcorder, and it may be an indication that cameras like the Panasonic DVX200, HC-X1 and Sony PXW-Z150 are attracting some users away from DSLRs and larger sensor cameras. Shape aren’t the first to make VCT-style solutions for pro camcorders. It’s also worth taking a look at the long established and inexpensive Genus GAP plate and high end Protech shoulder mount systems if you are in the market for a VCT solution.