Camera operating can be tricky in its own right, but when it comes to being a one-person band, where you’re in charge of both camera and audio, things can get pretty tricky.

With the DSLR craze, building a full-scale camera rig can sometimes seem ridiculous. In some instances, doing so can defeat the purpose of shooting with these cameras, especially if you’re a guerilla. If you don’t have permits and are stealing shots, you wouldn’t want to draw attention to yourself with one of these DSLR cages. However, in a conventional shoot, DSLR cages can be highly helpful.

What is most important about having a DSLR cage?

The main thing is its numerous 1/4 – 20 threaded ports on the cage. This works well in adding your gear to the cage. What is the best way to do that? It’s with a Noga arm or a friction arm. The standard size is 7” and 11”. They work very well with monitors and sound recorders – like the Zoom H4N and Tascam DR100.

The reason for adding the gear to the cage is the most critical factor. You want to see what the camera is shooting, your sound levels, and your remaining battery life without having to move and look in any other direction. This information is important because if things get hectic and you start to run and gun during the shoot, it is easy to forget things – like hitting the record on your sound recorder!

Remember – it can be the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality. You want to have a mental checklist before the scene plays out. Make sure everything is up and running. That’s why having everything in front of you is the best way.

All of this may seem simple now, but it can be a different story in the field and on set. Your goal is to prepare for hiccups with a DSLR cage, and more importantly, having your gear visible all at once is a real lifesaver.

Simple, I know, but it’s a significant thing to remember.

You can check out more of Joseph Ort’s Filmmaking Stuff at Shadowmind Productions.

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