Filmmaking 101: Hack Gives Your DSLR The Performance Of A Canon C100

Can this Frankenrig turn your DSLR into a mini C100?

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Even though Canon recently dropped the price of the C100 to around $3000, and you can get the Mk. II for around $5500, neither doesn’t shoot in 4K like its bigger brothers, or the Panasonic GH4. Why shoot in 1080p for a few grand when you can shoot in 4K for less with the GH4? Well, audio could be one reason. But with a little extra hardware, users can get the same audio performance and turn their GH4 into a mini C100 that shoots in 4K.

I love the C100, it’s a great camera, but kind of expensive compared to the GH4. – Caleb Pike, DSLR Video Shooter

The heart of this hack comes from the JuicedLink Riggy RM222 micro pre-amp, which can give users the ability to add XLR-based microphones and perform all the duties of a solid pre-amp before the signal even gets into the GH4.

“The problem with the GH4 is that its preamps are pretty poor,” says Pike. “I love the Juicedlink pre-amps. This will really take the (GH4) to another level when it comes to audio.”

To that end, he proposes putting the GH4 into a cage, much like the C100, which has a preamp and XLR connections built in, and then substituting a JuicedLink preamp. “You need a cage of some sort with some 1/4-20 threads on top,” Pike adds. And then adds a NATO handle and rail in order to not only mount the handle, but also the JuicedLink preamp itself.

Here’s what you need:

  • Your Camera, what camera doesn’t really matter, Pike is using his GH4
  • Cage
  • Wooden Camera Nato Handle
  • 19mm Rod Sleeve and Screw
  • JuicedLink Riggy RM222 micro pre-amp
  • OPTIONAL: Shotgun Mic

This is where I have to say I’m not much of a fan of his specific solution. The Wooden Camera Nato handle has a 19mm hole in the front and Pike adds a screw adapter to it for mounting the JuicedLink pre-amp. Then, he’s able to use an XLR-to-3.5mm minjack adapter to run the pre-amp signal back into the GH4 from the microphone.

“The setup provides insanely clean audio to the camera,” Pike adds. But from where I’m sitting, that preamp could conceivably get in the way. Granted, he’s using the Pre-amp Micro, but I just don’t like how beefy it is on the end, and you can forget about doing any kind of follow focus.

Pike does admit the kludge is kind of wonky, but the basic premise of the design is sound (pardon the pun). But the advantage of the Nato rail handle is that you can spin it around to get the preamp out of the way and not only that, you can then use the handrail for actually hand holding the rig. I’m going to try it with my cage to see if I can duplicate his setup and get similar performance into my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and my Canon DSLR. I’m betting I can.

You can check out his video below, along with his write-up at DSLRVideoShooter here. Find the JuicedLink Riggy RM222 here.

About doddle 16414 Articles
Doddle is a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news.

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