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I’ve been struggling quite a lot recently with purchasing accessories for my RED Epic. Two reasons for this: 1) the Euro is extremely weak against the US dollar and the UK pound, and 2) some aks are outrageously expensive. 500 buckaroos for a slab of steel with some holes drilled into it? You can’t be serious!

After a lot of googling, I bumped into a Korean company called Gini Rigs. It offers a variety of aks, including shoulder mount rigs, for mostly DSLR use. Among their products is a very elaborate-looking shoulder rig for RED Scarlet which is built around Gini Rigs’ Epic/Scarlet cage. The cage includes a baseplate, a top plate and four arms connecting the two plates. It gives Epic a huge number of additional mounting points and protects the camera body a wee bit as well.

Now, I know some aficianados of professional camera aks would be quick to point out that accessories coming out of Asia are usually of sub-standard quality. I’ve read several horror stories involving various cinema gear originating from India and China, certainly. (But Gini Rigs is Korean — and I’ve had very good experiences with Korean companies and people in the past.) Then there’s the copyright issue which has recently raised its ugly head with RED suing Wooden Camera. As a journalist I support copyrights… but I also feel there’s a limit to everything. I won’t go deeper into that here.

Despite the horror stories, I decided to learn more about Gini Rigs’ Cage. Found it on US eBay with a “Buy It Now” price of $1055 + $65 for shipping. Wooden Camera sells their NATO Cage for $1095 and it includes an LW 15mm Bracket for 15mm rods which sells for $160. RED’s own DSMC Tactical Ribcage Pack is $1050 — but it comes without a baseplate.

So, at first glance Gini Rigs’ Cage isn’t any cheaper than competition. But eBay allowed me to make Gini Rigs an offer for the cage so I thought “why the heck not?” I offered a stupendously low amount as a starting point for the haggling that was sure to follow. Imagine my surprise when only an hour later I received an email telling me the offer had been accepted! I’m not one to kiss and tell so I won’t disclose the exact amount I paid. Let’s leave it at “ridiculously cheap”, OK?

PayPal’d the money over and a few days later got a message telling me the cage had shipped. The message included a DHL tracking code. Three days later DHL’s website reported that the package was in Finland and about to be delivered to me the same day. Wo-hoo!

DHL rang my doorbell less than two hours ago and handed me a suspiciously small and light padded envelope. No worries though, because it included all parts of the cage. I proceeded to install it on my Epic right away and snapped a few photos of the process to liven this story up a bit.

That's all of them.
That’s all the parts of the cage. The screws you can see on the top plate were actually in a small plastic bag with the word “GIFT” written on it. Well OK, but I did expect the kit to include all the required screws in the first place.

First step: remove the vent cover.
Remove vent cover.

Here you go, Epic sans vent cover:
Epic with its top off. Oo-er!

Next, plop on the new top plate:
Unfastened top plate
The screws in this photo have not been tightened yet at all. When tightened they sit deep enough not to cause any mounting problems.

Next, attach arms:
Compatible with Wooden Camera's baseplate!
This is where I got another nice surprise: Gini Rigs’ arms are compatible with Wooden Camera’s baseplate. This is essential because I use Wooden Camera’s LW 15mm Bracket for attaching the mattebox & follow focus, and the Bracket is not compatible with Gini Rigs’ baseplate (or the other way round).

Attaching arms to top plate:
Untightened screws again in this photo
One thing to note here: the arms are not symmetrical. One end is slightly larger than the other. Larger end attaches to the top plate, smaller one to the baseplate.

Ta-dah! All done:
Ready for action!
The entire process took less than 5 minutes.

Look out, it’s the Franken-rig!
Bua-ha-ha-ha!
Yeah, I’m just messin’ with ya. But thanks to the large number of mounting points it’s easy to build a rig for any purpose.

The cage design has some nice features, such as additional 1/4″ mounting points on the front and back of the arms (although the screw holes are quite shallow so you can’t attach anything heavy to them), ventilation slits above the fan exhaust and a proper gap for signals of the wireless transmitter. The baseplate has no shortage of mounting points either: a total of 18 on the sides and 5 on either end. I also like how the “lip” of the top plate does not protrude much over the edge of the camera body; some other designs feature a “lip” so large it prohibits the use of Allstar’s A-mount System.

I’m extremely satisfied with the cage so far. It feels very solid, very well built and the machining appears to be top notch quality. For the price I paid it offers extraordinary value for money.

Update: Forgot to add a link to Gini Rigs’ official store: here you go.

Long wait is finally over.

I'll let the image speak for itself.

3D-videoprojektorien testejä

Olen tässä aikani kuluksi ja paremman tekemisen puutteessa (hah!) duunaillut 3D-videoprojektorien testejä DVD Plazan blogiini:

Sony VPL-HW30ES
Epson EH-TW6000W
Optoma HD33

Lisää on tulossa; työn alla on ainakin neljä testiä.

I’m not dead & news

How time flies, aye? Things have been quite hectic around here since I was headhunted to work for a company which is attempting to launch Finland’s first 3D TV channel. More on that later.

As for “hobbies”, I’m currently hard at work testing the latest generation of home theater 3D video projectors. Related to that, I will soon (ahem) post a review of a brand new piece of cool technology which will certainly be making waves in home theaters all around the world.

Don’t forget to drop by every now and then.

Review: Zotac ZBOX HD-ND22

Zotac’s ZBOX is a deceptively tiny nettop PC built on the combination of Nvidia’s ION GPU and Intel’s Celeron SU2300 dual-core CPU running at 1.2GHz. It offers low power consumption, flexible installation options and good connectivity, including built-in WiFi (b/g/n). View full article »

In brief: Killzone 3 in 3D.

Someone (thanks, Riina!) was kind enough to send the new Killzone 3 for PS3 to me. I’m not a big fan of FPS games on consoles, simply because I’ve played years and years of FPS games on the PC using a mouse and a keyboard. I was never very impressed by the hugely hyped Killzone 2 either, so I was in no hurry to try this one out. Not until I remembered Killzone 3 supports 3D. View full article »

I’ve been testing various 3D video projectors for a few months now. A couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought a JVC DLA-X7. The salesperson was kind enough to throw in two pairs of JVC’s 3D active shutter glasses and an IR-emitter, also by JVC. View full article »

Sardiinikalastuksesta elävällä saarella asustava nuori keksijä kyllästyy kalaruokaan ja keksii koneen, joka tekee vedestä parempaa murkinaa. Masiina riistäytyy tietysti hallinnasta ja uhkaa haudata koko saaren pikaruokaan. Visuaalisesti herkullinen ja sydämellisellä tarinalla maustettu animaatio viljelee nokkelia popkulttuuriviittauksia ja vitsejä, joista harva lässähtää pannukakun tavoin. Hilpeän harmitonta viihdettä koko perheelle.

Kuva (2D)
Tiedostoista teräväpiirtomasteriksi siirretty kuva näyttää liki täydelliseltä. Kauneusvirheenä on mainittava joidenkin väriliukujen lievä juovittuminen. Karikatyyrimäisten hahmojen silmissä, hiuksissa ja vaatteissa on kosolti pikkutarkkaa detaljia, samoin kuin taivaalta satavan ruuan tekstuureissa. Uhkean yltäkylläinen ja usein liiallisuuksiin sortuva väripaletti loikkaa ulos ruudulta. Tavallista jyrkempi kontrasti saa seuraa pikimäisestä pohjamustasta. Kelpaa demomateriaaliksi. View full article »

This bad boy arrived practically without warning. It’s a JVC DLA-X7, a 3D Full HD video projector. Price range? ~7 000 Euros, give or take. Unfortunately I can’t test numberswiki.com

its 3D capabilities yet as it didn’t come with an IR emitter or active shutter glasses. I should receive both sometime next week.

JVC DLA-X7 3D D-ILA

Ostin pari kuukautta sitten Thomannilta muutaman PAR-kannun, joiden valonlähteenä toimii liuta ledejä. Ajatukseni oli testata, miten tuollaiset varsin edulliset (~50 euroa) LED-kannut toimisivat videovalaisimina. Thomannin tuotekuvista ei vaan käynyt ilmi se, että kannuissa ei ollut ainuttakaan valkoista lediä. Sen sijaan niissä oli punaisia, sinisiä ja vihreitä ledejä 50 kpl kutakin.

Onneksi olin ottanut samaan satsiin myös DMX-valokontrollerin. Sen ja spektrofotometrin avulla pystyin löytämään kullekin kannulle RGB-tasapainon, joka tuotti varsin puhdasta valkoista valoa 6500 kelvinin värilämpötilalla. Ratkaisu oli kuitenkin kaikkea muuta kuin täydellinen. Ilman diffuusiofiltteriä ledien tuottaman valokeilan reunalla näkyy päävärien sävyjä, vaikka keilan keskusta onkin vitivalkoinen. Kannuja ei voi tuosta syystä laittaa kovin lähelle valaistavaa kohdetta. Diffuusiofiltteri auttaa RGB-värien sekoittumisessa ja valokeilan pehmentämisessä, mutta ohuinkin suodatin syö runsaasti kannun ennestäänkin varsin vaatimatonta valotehoa. Lisäksi suodatin sotkee spektrofotometrillä säädetyn RGB-tasapainon.

Päätin kokeilla kannuja ihan käytännön tilanteessa ja valaista niillä kohteen, josta minun piti ottaa valokuva Hifimaailma-lehdessä julkaistavaa artikkelia varten. Ja koska tarkoitus oli testata kannuja nimenomaan videokuvauksen yhteydessä, päätin kuvata kohteen RED-kameralla.

Valojen asemoinnissa ja säätelyssä meni leppoisasti pari tuntia. Lopputulos ei ole täydellinen, mutta saa kelvata. Valmiin kuvan näkee Hifimaailman numerossa 8/2010, joka ilmestynee marraskuun puolivälin tietämillä.