How to build a Video Rig with Sony A7iii
On the move I prefer to use the Sony A7iii handheld – the ibis or the ‘in built image stabilizer allows sufficient stability to shots unless it is extreme low light or long exposure kind. Sony A7ii is a full frame camera (24mp) with an extensive customisable menu with recall buttons for a few modes. Its extremely light and intelligent camera. For manual shooting it offers focus peaking which is of great help as also you get Zebra marks to help avoid over exposures. Apart from these there are seven buttons and each can be customized to suit your preferred shooting style.
However, to me the most amazing part is the ability to use vintage lenses like Letiz, Carl Zeiss, Ashai Pentax, Helios, Takumars, Zuiki, Tomoika, Pentacon, Mir, Voigtlander and more.
When shooting videos and in studio I use the below setup. I have described each part and its benefit as also provided Amazon link. Of course I get some money as this links are affiliate links.
I use Vanguard Abeo Pro but with a different three axis swivel head. I keep the Trigger head for the rare outdoor shoots when I need a tripod. You can use your usual tripod but the overall load bearing should be approx 10 Kg. This is keeping in mind the heavy duty Telephoto lenses.
Vanguard Abeo Pro 283AGH a great Tripod for Outdoor shoot – The center rod can be aligned sideways easily for special shots as also for attaching other equipments like xtra flash gun etc. Amazon Link
The KINGJOY Video Head is a good professional head and comes cheap at around 57.00$ – If you have a good Fluid head capable of taking a 10Kg load then you can use that. I removed the regular head and use this to fix the Small Rig rails
Small Rig cage with HDMI cable lock and Arri Rosetta wheel (in the event you decide to affix a side handle) . This is light weight and cones with tonnes of holes to help you affix every damn thing you can imagine. The HDMI cable lock is needed to keep the HDMI cable fixed in position while using an external monitor. Amazon Link
Rails – 16 inch x 15mm rods – its better to buy the longer version as it can support tele lenses just using a lens support which can be fixed on the rails. Amazon Link
Next comes the quick release base plate to fix the camera cage on this rails – I use the small rig base plate as it is sturdy and strong. Amazon Link.
I have also added a lens support on this lens which helps to support large and heavy lenses and Sony lens are heavy. Amazon Link
Quick Camera Detach Plate
You will also need a quick detach camera plate like above to detach the Camera Cage from the rails – for this you can use the Andoer quick detach camera plate and mount the base on the Samll Rig base plate. Amazon Link
I don’t use flash – dimmable LED lights are more than sufficient to shoot with Sony A73- both still and videos. I use the NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power which comes with two colour filters for effects. At hardy 21 USD this is the most ideal lighting solution. The light operate on Np-F970 series batteries and is common between the monitor and backup power. Amazon Link
For the Monitor the current Feelworld F6 provides a 5.5 inch screen with 4K output with touch screen feature plus an option of loading LUT’s to see how it will look after post processing. The Feelword set has an option to be purchased both with and w/o battery and the monitor also provides an output to feed your camera. The NP-F970 batteries comes cheap while provides much longer power. You can even pinch and zoom as also it helps in Focus peaking and Zebra. Amazon Link
There are quite a few over hyped mic but I have checked that most of them are just 5-10% better than the inbuilt system. Unless you are in serious video filming then this Takstar Mic at 22.5 $ and a furry windscreen at 9.99 $ will be more than sufficient.
Microphone: Amazon Link
Furry Windscreen: Amazon Link
Power Junkie by Blind spot is a versatile power tool which comes in really handy unless you want to spend big bucks for V Mount batteries and mounting plates plus overpriced batteries. Just Insert one NP F970 battery and feed your camera, lights, monitor all from the same unit. There are multiple outputs from this little piece of wonder and it can even charge your phone. Keep a spare battery and you can shoot all day. I have fixed it on the left side of the Samll rig cage but you can fix it anywhere. You can even attach a dummy battery to fit in your camera ! Amazon Link
Dummy Battery: Amazon Link
DSTE NP F970 battery: Amazon Link
Neewer Dual Battery Charger with extra car adapter : Amazon Link
Easrlier I have given the basic setup which I currently use and which is sufficient for me. For those who want to invest a few dollars more the video rig can be made to look more professional. This not only will impress your client but also add some more functionalities. The whole rig can be detached from the tripod and used as a shoulder rig. Trasformation is easy and you just need the parts mentioned below.
A Matte Box helps to cut flares while the follow focus ring helps to maintain focus with much ease. The Fotga Matte Box is great and comes with support for 15mm rods and can be easily fit into the rails. Amazon Link
The Fotga Follow ring fits on the rails easily similar to the Matte Box. Amazon Link
Small rig shoulder pad can be fitted to your rails and it serves as good support and balance to carry the entire rig around while doing video shoot. Amazon Link
You will also need the front handles to carry this around. Amazon Link
Apart from this Small Rig has a lot of attachments which helps you to do a DIY Rig – some useful ones are cable clamps – which helps to keep the cables organised, Cold shoe clamps, Cheese plates and Power Bank adapter plates. You can see a small list below.
Cable Clamp: Amazon Link
SSD Mount : Amazon Link
My suggestion would be to start with the basic cage , monitor and light and then move forward with other extensions. I hope this article came to your help. Please use the comments form below to post your questions, if any.