Bright Tangerine makes some very nice rigs. The quality is top-notch. It wasn’t a surprise when I started putting the KASBAH System together that I was impressed with the design. Especially the shoulder pad and grips, which is the root of the KASBAH System.
At Cine Gear 2022, I visited Bright Tangerine, and they showed me the KASBAH system plus some extras on a Sony FS6. Check out the video below.
Building a Shoulder Rig
When a camera isn’t designed for shoulder use, like 90% of cinema cameras are not, you face the problematic task of building one. I have tried too many times and spent a lot of money doing so. The best advice I can give is to get the camera balanced first. This usually means having the lens mount just over the shoulder. The camera should sit on the shoulder without holding it. If it doesn’t, your arms will tire quickly, holding it in place, making the handheld footage shakier.
The next challenge is if you need to go to a tripod quickly. This requires either the tripod plate or a QR plate attached to the bottom. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because the shoulder pad is where the tripod plate would go. So you see, the challenge is real, and building out a shoulder rig is a personal journey, as most of them will not be a universal solution. Also, an EVF is usually needed unless you can see a monitor from 4″ from your face. An EVF also adds the third point of contact. Shoulder, hand grip, and EVF together help stabilize the camera.
Bright Tangerine KASBAH System
With that, I have a few Bright Tangerine KASBAH System components to try out. I don’t have everything I would need to complete an entire rig, but I can see it is pretty easy to do, and the Sony FS6 rig I saw at Cine Gear was very comfortable. I have a C200, and this camera doesn’t have the versatile EVF loup design. A 3rd party loupe such as the Zacuto C200 Z-Finder ($595) can be used on the LCD screen but again—more bits and trial and error.
Made For Comfort
The shoulder pad & hand grip are created using Digital Light Synthesis (DLS), a process pioneered by Carbon that uses oxygen-permeable optics & programmable liquid resins to form a unique matrix structure with an infinite number of density zones. Yeah. This isn’t your basic foam or rubber here.
The open structure allows air to flow through them, so sweat evaporates quickly to keep your hands and shoulder nice and cool. Bright Tangerine states it is highly durable & sturdy, capable of being used in extreme conditions. The pad is easy to clean with water and is UV resistant.
The included mounting bracket allows the pad to connect to the rear of the LeftField 15mm LWS baseplate, with the riser providing clearance when using an ARRI standard balance plate.
Two Shoulder Pad Positions
Versatility is the name of the game for building out a shoulder rig. With the KASBAH, You can put the shoulder pad behind the LeftField Base Plate or under it, depending on how the balance is for your setup. Typically you want to get the camera’s lens mount over your shoulder as it will balance better. This will make it less fatiguing as you don’t have to hold the camera up. This all depends on the lens used. A smaller stills prime weighs less than a cinema zoom. Also, if you use larger batteries, this will add more counterbalance to the back.
One feature I like is how fast and easy you can go from the two positions. It locks in with a single hex screw that stays in the shoulder pad, so you won’t have to find it in your bag. The big plus here is you can move it and not be stuck with only one option for the position making it more versatile with different camera sizes and weight distribution. Something to note to take advantage of the rear mount option the Leftfield baseplate is needed.
Balancing With Rear Rails
The shoulder pad kit includes a 15mm rail mount that attaches to the shoulder pad with two hex screws. If your camera is front-heavy, add rails and mount a battery that can power external devices or some kind of weight. Unfortunately, a counterweight is needed for most cinema cameras that are boxy.
KASBAH Hand Grips
The adjustable KASBAH Hand Grips have a single rosette for attaching to an arm. Its toolless design makes it easy to attach.
The grips are made of the same material as the shoulder pad. It has a nice amount of firmness and breaths, so they won’t get slippery if things get a bit sweaty on set. I like the feel of the grips.
With three adjustable points. You can extend the arm out wider and adjust how far in front the arm goes and the position of the grip for comfort. The rosettes lock down tight and are easy to position. I like the large round locking knobs. It’s very easy to get them tight and adjust when needed. Some of the small ratcheting types are a bit clumsy. The feel of these grips combined with the mount is superb.
I think you could use the grips with other systems that also have the ARRI standard Rosette but using the Bright Tangerine KASBAH 15mm LWS/19mm Studio Handle Kit is a good option, as it all works seamlessly together, and as the name implies, you can use it with 15 LWS and 19mm studio rails.
KASBAH Dovetail Riser
As I mentioned, the shoulder pad can be positioned on the back or under the LeftField Base Plate. If you generally use the shoulder pad in the rear position, by adding a KASBAH Dovetail Riser, you can quickly mount the rig to a Dovetail. All this is dependent on whether you use a Dovetail system.
It quickly locks into the riser and has the full range of the Dovetail to balance the camera on the tripod.
Adding the LeftField 15mm LWS QR Universal Baseplate Core
Since the shoulder pad is a standard ARRI dovetail design, you can attach it to any compatible ARRI dovetail.
Adding the LeftField 15mm LWS QR Universal Baseplate Core and the Bright Tangerine Dovetail plate to the system opens up more possibilities, such as a quick way to remove the shoulder pad and replace it with a QR plate for your tripod or other support. This is essential if you don’t use a dovetail system on your tripod.
When using a shoulder rig, an EVF is usually needed, especially if you are farsighted. I can’t have the stock C200 LCD 3″ from my face as I need to wear reading glasses, and that distance is too close. If you are like me, you will need to add an EVF or a way to get the LCD farther away so you can focus on the screen. This requires more kit, unfortunately, but that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Bright Tangerine AXL EVF MOUNTS is a good option. Matt reviewed the kit, and you can read all about it here.
The KASBAH System gets the camera comfortably on the shoulder. From there, you have several Bright Tangerine cage and mounting accessories options to assemble a workable, comfortable shoulder shooting system.
I like the Bright Tangerine KASBAH System. In a world of rigging, it offers some fresh options to make shooting on the shoulder more comfortable. The grip with the open-air flow design and soft squeezable material is a good upgrade from what I’ve used. Bare metal handles are the worst in a grip, and rubber is sweaty. They thought out the user experience here, and we users reap the benefits.
Good Place To Start
The KASBAH kit is a starting point as it requires a bit more hardware to get the camera in a usable position, such as an EVF or monitor that is extended out. Bright Tangerine offers several options for different cameras to mount an EVF.
Balancing a camera on the shoulder that wasn’t designed to do so is a lot of work, and there isn’t a one size fits all option. It’s more like trial and error, but Bright Tangerine has several options to choose from, depending on the camera used. And you can easily integrate other hardware with their system.
I do feel a cage is needed to get more mounting options around the camera, and a top plate would also be highly recommended. Depending on how much kit you want to mount, a minimalist approach is also good, as it keeps the camera setup lighter.
Bright Tangerine products are not inexpensive. They are designed with care and made to last. I appreciate the build and feel of their products. Below are some of the kit options. You can also purchase individual components.