April 11, 2016 at 10:53PM


So, do I really need a camera rig/cage?

Hi everyone,

I'll try to make my question simple. I have a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Little by little, I'm buying little gadgets here and there to improve my experience with it. I bought a Tascam for sound (I'm still learning how to use it in conjunction with my Rode NTG2, but that's another issue altogether) an external battery pack, etc.

Whenever I see images of serious filmmakers using a camera, I see them holding a complicated looking contraption that I THINK I'm just now realizing is actually a camera rig with all the little bells and whistles on it.

Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding. What exactly is a rig/cage "supposed" to do?


A camera cage provides you with tons of mounting points around your camera and it removes any strain from the camera body. So if you attach a heavy accessory to your camera the cage takes all of the weight and does not stress your camera body.

Good cages can be expensive, but they make it much easier to build-up your camera to make it easier to shoot with. So attaching external monitors, batteries, mic preamps, lights, ect... becomes easy with a good camera cage.

With my GH4 I use a cage to attach a fairly heavy 7 inch monitor to the top of the cage and a couple of Sennheiser UHF audio receivers to the sides of the cage.

April 12, 2016 at 10:32AM, Edited April 12, 10:34AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Axel, I mentioned this in a few threads, but here's the truth... a lot of these guys with huge built-out rigs do it for looks, not for function. If EVERY single part of your camera rig isn't absolutely necessary, and integral to your workflow, take it off. Your cage should be an extension of your creativity, imagine it being a toolbelt for the needs of your camera.

Some cages DO protect your camera body, which can be quite helpful, but they add weight that you don't need.

Even these cheap shoulder mounts can help you get started with a base for your rig: http://amzn.to/1RUzqEu

And don't break your bank getting your first rig together, this type of steel frame is solid enough to build upon and protect your BMCC against falls and bumping walls (in the case that happens...)

Best of luck!

April 13, 2016 at 1:31PM

Jordan Mederich
Documentarian / Filmmaker

That actually makes a lot of sense. When I look at those set ups, i'm like, "What the hell is even going there?"


Axel Roldos

April 15, 2016 at 3:18PM

Once you need to start mounting things to the camera a rig becomes useful. On shoots with bigger budgets, you'll want a larger monitor, the focus puller will need a monitor, the focusing system will need something to mount to, the Director will probably want a live feed from the camera which will require a transmitter mounted on the rig, a battery will need to be there to power it all, maybe you'll need a wireless audio source plugged into the camera, etc. On a larger set, things become much more complicated. That being said, you don't have to have all that stuff when you're the director, dp, focus puller, editor, grip, etc. The rig serves a purpose in some situations, but don't overcomplicate if it isn't necessary.

April 16, 2016 at 10:50PM

Jeremiah Kuehne

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