I’ve spent the last few days looking into cages, HDMI locks, & anti-twist plates. All three are important pieces of gear when shooting video on your DSLR. First off you need to protect your camera and lens when you’re out shooting. And there are a lot of options. Most rigs have a basic mount with 15mm rods for your camera plus accessories like a follow focus, matte box, field monitor, audio recorder – whew isn’t DSLR video fun and expensive? Anyway, that basic mount should also enclose your camera somehow to prevent on-location dings. And those enclosures should have mounting points for all that stuff I described.
Next your enclosure should have some kind of HDMI cable lock, when using a field monitor or EVF. I’ve been shooting and yanked my own HDMI cable out and not only does it interrupt your shooting, but if you damage your HDMI connector your camera is really screwed.
Lastly are anti-twist plates. When you hook up a follow focus to your DSLR that torque needed to turn the lens can cause your lens and camera to move a bit if your camera is only mounted by a single 1/4″ thread. That movement will certainly show on your video.
So now that I explained the need for those three things, I’ll share my
obsession research I’ve put in trying to find a cost-effective solution. Every DSLR rig starts out with one item, the mount plate and rails, to which you can add on to. The FOTGA DP500 II system is one solution I own and it’s good quality for the price. But it’s not enough protection for the camera.
One protection solution is to mount C-shaped 15mm brackets around your camera. This does protect your investment, but it doesn’t offer that many mounting points for gear.
The best way to protect your gear and add lots of mounting points are with a cage. There a few types of cages. Some fit snug around your camera and are all metal, and others are made with top and bottom plates attached with 15mm rods. Sometimes the plates are made of metal and other times they are special reinforced molded plastic. Below is the CPM Cubed Cage 3 ($560) next to the ProAim Rapido Cage ($200).
The CPM is very versatile, but there is no HDMI lock or anti-twist. That QR plate is a special molded military-grade plastic, but I have experienced a bit of camera twist with a follow focus. The Rapido has a HDMI lock but no anti-twist plate. You might be able to find a very thin anti-twist plate to add to this. You need thin because if you raise the height of the camera, I don’t think the HDMI lock will align with the cameras HDMI port any longer. Whew. What a headache this all his.
So what did I do? I really really had my eye on the ProAim Rapido but for me twist is as big an issue as HDMI locking. But I settled on this iDC Photo Video SYSTEM ZERO Camera Plate (I think I got Amazon’s last one, but they have one for Nikon) with HDMI Cable Stabilizer for 5D Mark III:
At $139 and free shipping from Adorama I do feel its a bit pricey. But it’s the simplest way to add anti-twist and HDMI lock to the CPM cubed cage that I already own. See the bar in the back, and the pin on the right? The pin will go in a hole on the bottom of the 5Dmk3 and that plus the bar should stop any twist. Plus it accepts a ProAim or Zacuto (with adapter) viewfinder. And it was the most versatile, as I can use it on a tripod without a cage. I’m not 100% sure yet, but I believe the HDMI lock can be removed.
Note that Zacuto has a similar attachment that you can mount to a Zacuto gorilla plate, but it really just holds the Zacuto cable from the sides and bottom. Meaning that it mostly protects your HDMI cable from being pulled out of the camera, but it may not protect it from being pulled up and out.