Tag Archives: External Battery Power

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If you're looking to power up a small camera or accessory for an extended period of time, Sony L-Series batteries are a popular choice. It's a very common battery used to power anything from small LED lighting, monitors, wireless video transmitters, etc.

Sony L-Series Batteries are also available in a variety of capacities from small to large depending on your needs and are generally inexpensive. Especially if you don't want to deal with the size, weight, and expense of v-mount (or gold mount) battery solutions, you may want to check out these Sony L-Series Battery Mounts from IndiPro Tools.

While there are existing Sony battery trays that can be modified to use in a similar way, there are a few differences with the IndiPro Tools Sony L-Series Battery systems. The first would be the integrated Dummy Battery. No need to purchase one separately and no loose cable connections to deal with.

The IndiPro Tools Battery Mount comes ready with a 1/4" thread and 15mm clamp mount which makes it easier and cleaner when mounting to any rig. The build quality exceeds that of the cheaper plastic battery trays as well. IndiPro Tools has a rubberized coating, lower profile, metal backing plate, and the batteries lock in rock solid with no play.

So while powering your camera and accessories with Sony L-Series Batteries may not be something entirely new, IndiPro Tools has designed a nice solid streamlined product for those that want a more quality solution. For more information about the IndiPro Tools Sony L-Series Battery Mounts (click here).

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Learn-More-sm IndiPRO Tools Sony L-Series Mounting Plate w/ 15mm Clamp

Other items mentioned
And if you're interested in checking out my previous review about the Swit Sony Replacement Battery (click here).
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Learn-More-sm SWIT S-8972 47Wh Sony Replacement Battery with Meter and DC Out

I'm using lightweight carbon fiber 15mm Rods from PVGear.com, and for the fairly universal 15mm Baseplate seen in the video (click here).
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Learn-More-sm Low Profile 15mm Rod Clamp Baseplate

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I still love the look coming out of the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras, but I'll admit that i'm pretty lazy to take the cameras out as much as I could. The batteries have incredibly short run times, the large camera files eat through SDXC cards, the tiny low resolution screen makes it hard to set focus and practically disappears under bright lights.

For me to solve this, I use an external battery, Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder, and a better EVF screen. This adds up to a lot of parts that I still need to find a way to mount as ergonomically as possible. Throwing a few pieces together, here's what I ended up with.

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Even though the system was relatively small, it was still somewhat awkward. After shooting for a full day, I realized the style of shooting on one particular project did not require the camera operator to move around within a few feet. So I decided a better way would be to split up the equipment, which makes the camera setup smaller, and now offers the benefit of a remote Director's monitor. Here's a video look on my new setup.

blackmagic pocket cinema camera rig

For the camera i'm using a Tilta BMPCC Cage with a Top Handle, mounted on PVGear.com 8" 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails with some short handles.

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find-price-button PVGear.com 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails


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find-price-button Tilta BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC Cage

For better focus and viewing, we're using the new F&V SpectraHD EVF Monitor mounted to an adjustable EVF Mounting Bracket.

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find-price-button SpectraHD 4 Monitor EVF

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find-price-button SmallRig EVF Holder

The shoulder pad is the flexible PNCGear.com Hybrid Pad which can be folded up to use against the chest, or folded down to use over the shoulder.

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find-price-button PNCGear Hybrid folding Shoulder Chest Pad 15mm Clamp

I'm using the HDMI output from the F&V SpectraHD EVF with a 6 foot HDMI cable over to the Atomos Ninja2 Recorder. This now serves both as a directors monitor and an external recorder which is both cheaper and larger than any SD Cards I can afford.

With the Atomos mounted in a CMR Monitor Yoke, I have room to add a 14V Sony BPU battery to power up the BMPCC for hours and hours.

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find-price-button Sony BP-U60 BP-U30 Battery Plate 14V for BlackMagic Cinema Camera

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find-price-button Sony BP-U30 / BPU60 Batteries

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find-price-button Atomos Ninja2 HDMI Recorder

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find-price-button Camera Motion Research Monitor Yoke

I find this setup to be perfect for the type of shooting I do with this camera, but still easy enough to disconnect if I want to run the BMPCC on it's internal battery and record to internal SDXC cards.

You can see in this BTS photo sometimes space is too limited for a tripod, and it's also nice to move the camera around instead of having it completely static. The photo shows the old rig, but I feel my reconfigured setup will now be easier for this type of workflow and shooting style.

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Here's a few first day tests using the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera with @satostudios. The samples may not make sense, but I was sampling different MFT lenses, Canon FD Lenses, and ND Filters for sharpness. Also testing out different ProRes LT vs HQ settings to see how much exposure and color difference there was when I threw a slight color grade on it. There is also a Film Grain Scan thrown over the graded footage so it will purposely appear 'grainy'. I decided that we just have to suck up all the large data and shoot ProRes HQ all the way for the rest of the project.

So while a dual operator setup may not be ideal for live events where you are constantly on the move, this setup can be beneficial when you have time to plan your shots with a crew. It keeps the camera rig small so that it can easily go from handheld, to slider, to tripod, etc. It allows you to work in very confined spaces and fairly ergonomic to switch between low angles or off the shoulder. It may also be easier to pack up your gear into two separate cases without having to break anything down.

Hopefully this may inspire some of you guys to rethink your rigs as well. Remember that this is not limited to the BMPCC. The GH4 can output 4K 10bit from HDMI, Sony A7s requires an external HDMI Recorder for 4K, and even cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III can benefit using recorders that capture to ProRes HQ. Instead of throwing everything on one rig which can quickly get heavy, oversized, and awkward to work with, it may be easier to split up your HDMI recorders, power solutions, second display, and even Audio Recorders off camera.

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Most of the editors I know work off the MacBook pro laptops, so I thought some people might find this information useful. Apple has patented and has been very protective about their MagSafe connector and has even sued a company for using it with an external battery back. Even though the company was purchasing the cables directly from Apple and then modifying it. Instead the company now offers a 'magic box' that splices into your existing MagSafe cable to work with their HyperJuice batteries (found here).

We recently took a trip out to NAB2012 and wanted to make sure we had enough mobile juice for our editor, and found that there was a cable available to work with our Tekkeon MP3450i battery packs that we have so many of. With all the Tekkeon batteries we have, this cable has been working perfectly and would provide us with many, many, many hours of run time for our MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and of course USB power to all of our iPhones, iPads, and other camera accessories. I'm not sure if Apple is going to try and step in again and shut the operation down, but Tekkeon uses a 'recycled' modified cable to connect with select Tekkeon batteries. Hope some of you find this tip useful if you're looking to get some additional run time on your MagSafe powered MacBook Laptops.

The MagSafe cable can be found on the Tekkeon website (click here), and the Tekkeon batteries we are using are available via B&H (click here).

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find-price-button Tekkeon MyPower All Battery for 600 / 900 LED Panels

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