Getting the Most Out of BlackMagic Cameras: the Gini Rig

As I mentioned in my review of it, the BlackMagic Production Camera 4K is a great camera, but it requires additional investment in equipment to make it work well in a real production setting. A good rig is strongly recommended, as you will need to attach an extra battery and monitor (the built-in touchscreen is mostly useless when shooting outdoors). Also, the camera is made of aluminum and has no handles or grips, which makes handling it without a rig really tricky and risky.

By the way, all this also applies to the previous BlackMagic Desing model, the BM Cinema Camera.

There are a lot of shoulder rigs out there, but it’s difficult to tell which one is good without trying them out. On my two recent shoots with the YouTuber GakAttack, I had the chance to use the BMPC 4K on a BMCC EXtreme (BMCC EX) shoulder rig from Gini Rig. Even though this is a moderately priced model, I had a good experience with it – it is well built and easy to handle, so I can easily recommend it. It is not the best shoulder rig out there, because of its somewhat simpler functionality, but it might just be the best deal.

In the near future, I’m going to review a rig from Lanparte – a better set-up than the Gini BMCC EX, but also much more expensive.

Here is my video review of the BMCC EX

To purchase or find out more about the BMCC EX, click here.

The company right now offers a 35% discount, but only to the first fifty buyers. Use the discount coupon code “TomAntos”

The Gini rigs can also be found on Gini’s Amazon Store and

I also have a video review where I cover other recommended equipment for the BlackMagic cameras.

Here is a list of all the accessories mentioned in the video

Blackmagic Approved SSD 480GB on Amazon and

SSD Docking Station on Amazon – also similar products on

Lilliput 7″ Field Monitor with SDI input (cheapest monitor that will work with the Blackmagic Cameras) on Amazon and

SDI Cable to connect the monitor to the Blackmagic cameras on Amazon and

LEE 4×4″ Neutral Density Polyester Filter Set at B&H and

ikan Sony L battery adapter for Blackmagic cameras at B&H

Sony L type NP-F97 Battery at B&H and

Sony L Battery Charger by ikan at B&H and

Articulating Magic Arm 11″ on Amazon and

Articulating Magic Arm 7″ on Amazon and

Articulating Magic Clamp on Amazon and

Camera Mounting Plate for 15mm Rails on Amazon and

Mini Ballhead with 1/4″ and Flash Shoe attachment on Amazon and

Follow Focus Gear Ring on Amazon and

9 thoughts on “Getting the Most Out of BlackMagic Cameras: the Gini Rig”

    1. This is the Lanparte mattebox… check out my next post about the whole rig including the mattebox.

  1. The linked SSD drive (Sandisk Extreme II) is NOT approved by Blackmagic and is known to have problems.

    1. Perhaps you should check your “list of approved drives” since I got this drive after talking to Chris who works for Blackmagic Design. He himself recommended this drive. I’ve used it and haven’t had any problems when using it with my Blackmagic Production 4K camera.

      1. Hi!
        According to this list:
        it is not supported. The list is the same for all the cameras and updated quite recently.
        In this forum post:
        Tony Rivera from Blackmagic explicitly mentions not to use this drive. If I recall correctly, the problem with missing frames was only occurring with HFS+ filesystem, not exFat, so it may very well be that your setup is perfectly fine.

        I do not mean anything disrespectful, as a matter of fact I very much enjoyed your reviews, thank you! Just needed to point out that fact.

  2. Tom,

    I am trying to get the Ikan battery configuration working that you have listed. I bought all of the items, charger, batteries, ikan adapter, and am using it on a new BMPC 4k. For some reason, the camera will not power up using only the batteries. Am I missing something? Is there a trick to getting the unit to work correctly? The adapter piece doesnt go all the way in as they shipped it to me – seems the metal piece is about 1/4 longer and sticks out some. Did you have this same issue or did I just get a bad unit? Advice needed.

    1. The Ikan battery will power the camera but you also must have the internal battery charged up. Alone the ikan adapter doesn’t provide enough amps to keep the camera going. The plug I don’t know if you have the right one or not since I can’t see your rig. The one I bought at BH Photo fits perfectly with my camera.

  3. Tom,

    Thanks! I depleted the cameras internal battery to test whether the external battery was working. Now I understand! Is there a good way using the IKAN set up to determine when the externals need to be replaced? Im guessing once the internal battery starts to lose power? Thanks again for your help. Based on your advice and video I have also purchased a Gini Rig for my camera and a SSD dock. Thanks again!

    1. When you plug in the battery you should see a little “lighting bolt” icon on your battery in the bottom right corner of the screen. That’s telling you that the internal battery is getting charged. That’s who you know that you have the DC adapter plugged in or an external battery. When that icon is just a regular battery with no lighting bolt inside it that means the camera is running off your internal battery only. So if you plug in the Ikan battery but you dont see the icon on ur camera change to “charging mode” the that means your external battery is dead or close to it.

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