March 11, 2016 at 5:21AM


Minimum shooting equipments for BM micro cinema cam

I plan to get the micro cinema camera when it gets out. And I would like to get some help on buying the minimum set of equipments for the camera to work. Thanks in advance.

My goal is to learn how to shoot a short that creates the feelings Ex Machina delivers.

This is a list I've complied so far:

1. A BM Micro Cinema Camera

2. A Metabones speed booster
Denny on the BM forum points out that the NIkon one is better as it doesn't consume battery, but I thought that a bunch of batteries are needed anyways, so maybe the Canon EF one is better as it has electronic control?

3. A Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens
As someone points out on Amazon, this is like 3 primes in one but cheaper. So for what I wanna shoot, do you think I need any other lens at all?

4. A Wooden Camera cage for the Micro (which is out before the camera)
Denny on the BM forum explained this would help relieve the strain off of the camera to eliminate mount rational play. It sounded reasonable, even though I do not understand what rational play is (I will dig into it later).

5. Mics
Someone recommended me to buy both of these two mics: Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone and Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder.
Do you think they're needed based on what I plan to shoot?

6. A Slider
I understand I need a slider for pushing in and pulling out, can someone please recommend a slider to buy?
Also, what else do I need in order to mount the cage on the slider?

7. A monitor
Is the BM Video Assist the best option here?

8. A ton of batteries

9. A tripod or monopod?
Do I absolutely need either or both? Based on what I wanna shoot?
If so, can you please kindly recommend one (or two)?

10. A glidecam?

11. Anything else?
Obviously there are other things missing on this list, can you please let me know what they are?

(I'm gonna tell my wife I borrowed all these things from a friend, while I use all the money I secretly saved all these last few months.)

Thank you very much for this.



Jan, it's great to see somebody ask a question when first they have done some research. It's a refreshing change from "Yo! I'm thinking about buying X or Y. What you think?"

And you have correctly identified a shooting style you want to explore, prior to getting wrapped around the axel with respect to equipment. Which is also very smart.

First things first: camera support and lighting. Your camera support defines what kinds of shots you can get or not get, and your lighting determines how those shots are going to look. A slider is a poor-man's dolly; a gimbal is a poor-man's steadicam; and a tripod is a tripod--great for shots you want to lock-off, but terrible for shots that need the energy of a motivated camera. A monopod is an interesting hybrid that lets you pause with steadiness between camera moves. The good news is that at the low end, used sliders and tripods and monopods are damn cheap at camera stores. Many people cannot give them away, so Craigslist is also an option. Consider a Manfrotto 504HD head on any reasonable sticks. Monopods don't need fluid heads. Cinevate Atlas sliders make a good second-hand choice, but be advised that a slider needs support, too, and the longer the slider, the more important it is to support both ends, rather than the middle. If you are lucky to find sturdy, level tables near your set, fine, but otherwise you will need a pair of C-stands sooner rather than later.

Speaking of C-stands--they make great support for lights. Proper lighting is the prerequisite for making things look cinematic. When you don't light, you will get flat images that make you doubt your camera. When you do light (key, fill, rim, others), you get that 3D look that makes people want to see more. Lighting, of course, is about more than just getting more photons to hit the sensor: you need high quality light (high CRI), you need directable light (meaning you can point it without too much fuss and bother), and you need shapeable light (meaning you can focus, diffuse, or otherwise control the character of the light). The quality of your lights should be commensurate with the quality of your lenses and your sensor. Spending more on your camera and lenses will not compensate for low-quality or non-existent lighting; rather, it will accentuate just how badly you mismanaged your lighting budget.

Sound is also a key foundational element, and I think it's wise to invest in a Zoom H6, which will let you add additional audio sources as your scenes and sets get more complex. The NT2 is a credible shotgun, though there are of course better ones when you are ready to get more serious about sound. But again, sound quality depends almost more on the location and pattern of the microphone than the mic itself. There is no magic microphone that will compensate for lazy or bad mic placement.

Finally, on the camera and lens front: I think you could be more than happy with just the Sigma, a speed booster, and the BMD MCC. The sigma lens is great, the BMD camera is what it is, and by having an imaging platform that largely works, you can focus your attention on the things that really matter for filmmaking: story, set, acting, costume, makeup, dialog, lighting, sound, and great cooperation among all who participate in creating the final product.

March 11, 2016 at 6:18AM


You wrote:

"A Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens
As someone points out on Amazon, this is like 3 primes in one but cheaper. So for what I wanna shoot, do you think I need any other lens at all?"

The sigma is a good start, but shooting open is not for the faint of heart!
I would add a 50mm for close up shots.

I would stay away from a glide/steady cam with such a light camera, a good gimbal is all you are going to need.

You absolutely need a tripod (a monopod is not much of a help keeping a steady shot).

Most importantly, depending on your experience and needs the BM micro may not be your best option.

March 11, 2016 at 9:37AM, Edited March 11, 9:48AM

Cary Knoop

If you are serious about the Sigma and the speed booster.......I would still look at the GH4 and the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph. Lens and save money on the speed booster.
Primarily because of the larger sensor, smaller crop factor and its outstanding battery life.
Then instead of a monitor, I would hook up to a Video Devices PIX-E5 5" 4K Recording Video Monitor or something similar. Low cost-high capacity storage.
If your're running and gunning.......I would definitely use a lens with optical stabilization.
A mono-pod stuck into a belt pouch is what I use to be mobile. But a good tripod with a fluid head is also a must.

March 14, 2016 at 3:14AM, Edited March 14, 3:22AM

You voted '-1'.
Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker

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