DIY

Adding a Belt Clip to Tascam DR-40 Portable Audio Recorder

D.I.Y. Easy Rig for the DJI Ronin Gimbal

Just made an "easy rig" for the   #djironin   gimbal - blog post coming soon. @DJIGlobal

Just made an "easy rig" for the #djironin gimbal - blog post coming soon. @DJIGlobal

How to Add a Second 1/4"-20 Screw Hole to Your Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Sometimes you just want to throw the camera and a lens on a tripod, and keep it simple.

On occassion you also must modify equipment to make it do what you want, which is why I figured I'd post this simple fix for mounting the Zacuto QR Dovetail Plate directly on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (or Production Camera), so you can use the quick release systems like the Zacuto Tripod Adapter, Kessler Kwik Release or Really Right Stuff.

This also allows you to quickly swap the camera body and lens to your jib, gimbal or slider without having to take apart rigs, get screw drivers involved or any other BS you don't need to be doing when a client is standing over you looking at their watch.

 

Step 1.

Set your camera somewhere stable. I used thick cloth to pad it in my workbench vice.

Step 2.

Locate your Blackmagic Cinema Camera's set screw and then grab a 1/4-20 tap, and a tap wrench - or do as I did if you don't have one of those, and put the tap in your electric hand drill, and use that as a tap wrench. Be extremely careful and don't even bother to actually press the button on the drill. Just use the drill like a screw driver to get it started.

Step 3.

Go back and forth a bit to get the tap in there slowly. A drop or two of oil or WD-40 can help lubricate the tap and make it a little easier to get it going.

Tapping threads.

Tapping threads.

Step 4.

Now you should have a second tapped hole, which can still function as a set screw hole because it hasn't been enlarged really.

2x threaded 1/4-20 screw holes on bottom of Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

2x threaded 1/4-20 screw holes on bottom of Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Step 5.

You should now be able to mount your Zacuto QR Dovetail plate (or Kessler or Really Right Stuff) without it twisting on you. This should allow you to easily move your camera around without having to use anything but quick releases.

The second (big) screw is just for illustrative purposes. You'll need another small head one or else it won't fit in any of the quick releases. Zacuto will sell you one for $12...WHAT? :-/

The second (big) screw is just for illustrative purposes. You'll need another small head one or else it won't fit in any of the quick releases. Zacuto will sell you one for $12...WHAT? :-/

On a tripod.

On a tripod.

On a DJI Ronin Gimbal in about 10 seconds.

On a DJI Ronin Gimbal in about 10 seconds.

You can even do this on rods if you mount your quick release plate to your baseplate.

Kessler Kwik release on an old Zacuto Universal Mini Baseplate.

Kessler Kwik release on an old Zacuto Universal Mini Baseplate.

Quick release camera body from tripod to gimbal, jib, slider, etc.

Quick release camera body from tripod to gimbal, jib, slider, etc.

You can purchase this quick release system here:

Modifying a Switronix GP-S Battery Plate for Use On Cheese Plate

switronix_pb70

The Switronix PB70 is a relatively small and affordable V-Mount battery, that has some clever features like 1/4"-20 mounting holes built into it as well as a second quick release on top of the battery for accessories. (or mounting directly to a camera body, which I find to be pretty goofy)

Universal Version

Universal Version

BMCC Specific Version

BMCC Specific Version

We have the Switronix PB70 V-Mount Batteries and decided to go with a Switronix GP-S V-Mount Battery Plate to mount on a cheese plate, for use with the BMCC rig. This is in comparison to the BMCC specific version of the plate, that comes with a built in BMCC cable, and costs a lot more.

I wanted to be able to use the plate for all future cameras, as well as the BMCC we are using currently, without having a cable hanging off the plate if its not compatible with one of our future cameras. All that is needed is a different D-Tap cable to adapt to any future camera, as opposed to having a hard wired BMCC power plug hanging off.

After watching Caleb Pike use this battery plate on a cheese plate with no problem, we figured it would be as simple as bolting it on the cheese plate...that was not so.

As usual, it was gear surgery time...The issue with this Switronix GP-S battery plate is that it has pre-installed screws sticking out the back for mounting directly to a camera body like the RED Scarlet/Epic or Sony F55. This doesn't allow the plate to sit flush an a cheese plate, and even if it did, they would probably short the device out if the two terminals touched the cheese plate in any way.

The general consensus was "just break the tabs off," but I wanted to preserve the potential for using this with the back pins in the future, so I removed the screws and bent back the metal tabs without breaking  them, taped them off with good electrical tape so they couldn't come in to contact with anything, and then put some more tape on it for good measure. Sealed the case back up and it works perfectly now.