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 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.
Here you go, Epic sans vent cover:
Next, plop on the new 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:
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:
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:
The entire process took less than 5 minutes.
Look out, it’s the Franken-rig!
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.