Building a Camera Rig in 21 seconds with Falcam accessories
Shooting with a system camera is popular: the image quality is superb and the price is relatively affordable. But achieving the perfect shot can sometimes be a challenge. A camera rig offers comfort and efficiency here, but screwing a rig together can be a time-consuming task that eventually becomes frustrating. Fortunately, there are innovative camera rig accessories that address this annoyance. We show how quick and easy setting up and taking apart a camera rig can be, using a small, lightweight setup that is perfect for videos when travelling and run-and-gun videos.
Small, lightweight system camera setup: suitable for travel and run-and-gun videos
The small, lightweight system camera rig we will build next works especially well for small to medium-sized projects for clients and for YouTube videos and other social media content. But you can make the rig as compact or complex as you like! For this rig, we use Falcam brand's F22 rig accessories. You can tweak this basic rig here and there, as the accessories needed sometimes also depend on the type of shoot. But this is an excellent base to get started with.
Why build a camera rig?
A camera rig not only looks impressive, it also makes your workflow a lot more efficient. This is because a camera rig allows you to hold the camera better. This gives you more control over the camera, allowing you to shoot sharper, more stable videos. A good rig will also allow you to shoot better from awkward angles.
"We use the Falcam F22 system to bypass the pain point - endless screwing - of rig conversion."
Different rig accessories affords you the flexibility to adapt to your specific needs. Building a suitable setup for your specific requirements is something you have to experience by trial and error. Fortunately, you have the flexibility to customise a rig. We use the Falcam F22 system to bypass the pain point - endless screwing - of converting a rig. After all, building your rig has to be quick.
Het Falcam F22 system
With the Falcam F22 system, you basically only need to screw in once: during the first set up of your rig. Once your accessories have been made compatible with the system, you then always attach them to your camera cage with one simple click. By keeping the release button pressed, you can remove an accessory just as quickly.
"A push to install, a press to remove"
Because every F22 accessory fits on every F22 mounting point, you can also easily convert the rig to optimise the camera for the next shoot. So you won't lose time on set building up your rig. As Falcam puts it, "a push to install, a press to remove", which is actually true.
Compatible with other rig cages and accessories
You can also make your current rig components compatible with this very fast system. So, for example, if you already have a Top Handle from Smallrig or an accessory from another brand, you can also make it compatible with Falcam's quick-release system. In this case, you mount a Falcam F22 quick-release plate on the ¼" screw hole of the accessory and it is immediately compatible to place it - without screwing - on the Falcam rig.
If you already have a camera cage, you can use the Falcam system by mounting a Falcam Quick Release kit (2531) or a Five position plate (2538) on the camera cage. Now you can devise and build a rig at your leisure so that on the film set all you have to do is click the accessories onto your camera cage.
To build a camera rig, you need a camera cage. On the camera cage, it is easier to place accessories on your camera. For this rig, the camera cage for the Sony A7 III with a Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III VXD G2 lens is used. There are a total of 12 different Falcam camera cages available for the Sony FX3/ FX30, Nikon Z6/Z7, Fujifilm X-T4, Canon R5/R6 and most Sony A7 series cameras, among others.
You secure the Sony camera with the UNC ¼-inch thread. In addition, the four rubber anti-slip pads and the raised ledge keep the camera in place. At the bottom, the camera cage has an F38 base plate and it is Arca-Swiss compatible. There is also an F38 connection on the side(s) of the cage, allowing you to use the camera vertically as with an L-bracket.
Attaching accessories without screws
The Falcam Camera cages feature multiple Falcam quick release interfaces and a number of UNC 3/8-inch screw holes and UNC ¼-inch screw holes. The camera cage is compatible with all accessories of both the Falcam F22 and F38 Quick Release System.
"Even converting the rig to vertical filming for TikTok or Instagram is faster."
This Quick Release system makes it easy to click a top handle, side handles, an external monitor, a microphone and other accessories onto the cage. Building your rig with the Falcam accessories is much faster because you don't have to screw on the set. It also allows you to quickly convert the rig to shoot vertically for TikTok or Instagram.
Falcam Top Handle
A handle on the top of the rig is an essential part of the setup. It allows you to easily handle the camera, and it is comfortable while filming from low angles. You should be able to hold the Top handle comfortably, here an ergonomic pre-shaped grip is preferred.
The top of the Sony A7 III cage has an F22 quick release plate with three positions. By holding down the grey button on the Top Handle (2550), you can slide it right over the interface and place it on one of the three positions. If you release the button, the top handle is directly attached to the cage. On top of the handle, you can also attach other accessories, such as a monitor.
Direction of the Quick Release plates
You mount a Quick Release plate on the accessories you want to use. Here, the orientation of the plate is important. The underside of the quick release plate has four paths that determine from which direction you can place the plate on a Base plate. So when mounting, you need to think for a moment which direction makes sense for you.
Arri location pins
You can screw two Arri location pins onto the Quick Release plate. These small pins are included. Many accessories have these locating holes and prevent the F22 quick release plate from rotating in relation to the accessory. If your accessory does not have these holes, the rubber on the quick-release plate ensures that rotation is kept to a minimum.
Side Handle grip
Another handy way to hold your camera comfortably is a Side handle grip (2565). An extra handle on the side of your camera allows you to hold the rig with two hands. Basically, you only need one, for the left hand. With the right hand you hold the grip of the camera body. Although you usually mount two - one on each side - as this gives a better user experience.
"You can convert a right grip to a left grip and also adjust its height."
With at least a left grip, you can also hold the camera more comfortably if you want to change camera settings with your right hand. You can convert a right grip to a left grip and also adjust its height. If you have a camera cage from another brand, you can use a Side Handle grip kit (2549) to make it compatible with the Falcam system.
Quick installation of the side handle
Slide the Side handle grip onto the F22 interface on the side of the camera cage. The grip fits any F22 interface so you can also place a grip on the bottom and top of the camera, for example, if you want to shoot vertical content.
External monitor and pan head
An external monitor is practical for determining composition and checking focus and exposure. The monitor on this rig is the Desview R6 UHB 5.5" On Camera Monitor. This is Full-HD 1920x1080 IPS panel monitor with a 2800 Nits touchscreen. A monitor should at least support the use of a LUT and have auxiliary functions like False colours (exposure is most important). Which NPF battery to attach to the monitor depends on the durations of shooting.
Using the Falcam Pan Head kit (2543), you easily place it in front of the Top Handle. You can articulate and rotate the Pan Head, allowing you to position the monitor's screen precisely so it can be seen properly.
Microphone with cold shoe adapter
Half the experience of a video is, of course, the audio. A microphone to capture the sound properly is a necessary accessory. If you've recorded videos before then you probably already own a microphone. For this setup, a shotgun directional microphone was used. For the microphone, you have the option of screwing it onto the cold shoe of the camera cage.
Though it's even quicker to place it on the F22 interface on top of the Side Handle grip. You then also have a bit more space next to the Top Handle. For this, you need a Cold Shoe Mounting Base 2532 to which you easily mount your microphone. Now you can click the microphone directly onto the F22 interface.
"It is even faster to place it on the F22 interface on top of the Side Handle grip."
If you have a Side handle grip from another brand, you can use the Cold Shoe Mounting Base kit 2533 which also includes an F22 QR plate. You mount the quick release plate on the microphone and the Mounting Base in the desired location on your rig.
Other accessories to tweak
You can mount the basic accessories in a lot of different ways. For instance, you can switch from horizontal to vertical by placing the grips under and on top of the cage. In addition, you can expand the basic setup with extra accessories. This really depends on the shoot, or what you yourself feel comfortable working with. Two recommended accessories are a video transmitter and a lighting option. Of course, you can also add other extra accessories, such as a follow focus or a matte box, for example, to achieve a specific look or effect.
If you work for a client who likes to watch along, then another wireless video transmitter is an important addition to your rig. Clients love having their own screen to watch footage. For yourself, it's nice because then the client won't be trying to look over your shoulder the whole time. This is more common in a studio, but it also prevents a nervous client who wants to look back at every take immediately during a run and gun shoot.
Mounting the Video Transmitter on your rig can be done with various accessories. This can be done with a Falcam F22 Base Plate kit (2531). Or you can opt for a Pan Head kit if you want to be able to position it better, like with the monitor. You can also opt for a Cold shoe Pan head (2541). If you want to film without eyes watching, the Falcam system makes it easy to remove.
Whether you want to add lighting to your camera rig depends on the shoot. Some videographers try to avoid light sources on their rig, but sometimes you can't escape it and it is necessary to use additional light. You can use an LED panel for this, for example. You can also mount an LED panel on your rig in various ways. With a Dual head QR Monitor Mount (2559) this goes very well, but you can also opt for a Magic Arm (2974). With a Magic Arm, you have the most flexibility in positioning. Falcam has Magic Arms in three different sizes/lengths: 3-inch (3091), 7-inch (2974) and one of 11-inch (2975).
"With a Magic Arm you are most flexible in positioning."
The choice of which Led panel to use is of course free, on this rig the Zhiyun M40 Fiveray was used. The nice thing about this panel is that it turns on instantly when you turn the orange knob. It also emits a bowl of light. Only criticism is that it does not come with a diffuser as standard. There are many brands that make LED panels, so you can decide which one you want to use.