While at the Hurlbut Visuals / Letus Master Cinema Series launch in LA, I got some footage of the event as well as interviews with Shane and attendees. It was an awesome event to attend, and the Letus and Hurlbut team really were amazing hosts.

Here’s a quick and dirty docu edit that explains the gear, shows it in use, and offers some instruction on it’s intended use. Watch below.

You can also see a ton of still images and my initial thoughts on the event in this post.

LetusDirect is a sponsor of FreshDV and kindly provided travel accommodations to and from the MCS Launch event. We were not contracted or paid to shoot this video.


8 Responses to “Behind the Scenes at the Master Cinema Series Launch”  

  1. 1 Barry Cheong

    Thanks for shooting this material Matt!

    Wondering if you were able to figure out:

    - How does the cage and camera receive power? Unlike Viewfactor’s system it doesn’t look like there’s an interface that slots into the camera body like a battery grip. Is it an LPE6 to D-tap type cable? Same with power to the cage? D-tap to lemo?

    - With the extra spacing caused by the MCS quick release baseplate how does using a mattebox with 15mm rod support work? Is it a standard height that can be corrected with a riser?

    - Is there support for an HDMI clamp to avoid kickout?

    - Looks like there is an extra plate extending to the back used for shoulder and studio modes that aren’t on man-cam or action-cam. Is this plate attached by bolts? It doesn’t look like that’s quick releasable?

    - Any mention of when individual components would be available for purchase?

    Thanks again!

  2. 2 Tim Park

    Barry, behind the cage is an Anton Bauer Gold mount, which is wired directly into the power cage. There are no exposed wires, so it is a very clean look. To power the camera, you insert a adapter into the Canon’s battery slot, then plug it into the power cage.

    The plate that you are referring to is attached to the rods through a V-mount system, allowed there to be a 3-point attachment. This creates a very solid rig, while still allowing the operator to convert it quickly. I do not remember how the plate attaches to the cage. (I don’t have the rig sitting here with me at home.) More detailed descriptions and photos will be posted on http://www.letusdirect.com/ shortly.

    These rigs will be shipping this November (just in time for Christmas!).

  3. 3 Tim Park

    Barry, I am in the Letus office now and took a bunch of pictures as I assembled the Shoulder Cam configuration. Hopefully this will answer many of your questions.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/mazama.films/LetusMCSPartsAndAssembly

    Official photos will be posted on http://www.letusdirect.com/ shortly.

  4. 4 Barry Cheong

    Awesome Tim! Thanks so much for taking the time to take those photos. That helps a lot. I’m using the Viewfactor cage right now and it looks like the screw hole placement looks identical so it would be great to add these new components to my existing system. It looks like the viewfactor HDMI clamp might even mount the same to the MCS cage.

    Any insight on how the stop/start trigger works? Didn’t see any infrared emitter from the cage body?

    Is the v-lock mount interface industry standard? Will it dock into a Sony VCT plate?

    Are the ports 2x 2 pin lemo’s on the front, 1x 4pin lemo and a 3pin stop/start? All 12v out?

    Is Letus offering an option of V-mount/IDX instead of Anton/Gold mount?

    Thanks again!

  5. 5 Tim Park

    There will be a wide selection of EVF arms to insure that the one you buy fits the EVF that you already own.

    (I neglected to photograph the infrared sensor, so I took a picture just now and added it to the other pictures on Picasa.)

    The infrared start/stop emitter communicates with the camera when the silver button on the back left of the powered cage is pressed.

    The V-lock mount is industry standard, and will dock with the Sony VCT plate. However, since the Letus plate is shorter than the Sony VCT plate, there is no contact with the back stabilizer.

    Front LEMOs: 2 pin, smart-side (processed power, 7.2v-8.4v), 3 pin, dumb-side (infrared emitter).

    Rear LEMOs: 2 pin, smart-side (power input from Gold Mount); 2 pin, middle (power, same voltage as battery); and 4 pin dumb-side (input button to control infrared emitter; can be programmed to control start/stop or some other camera feature).

    (Nomenclature: “Smart-side” is the left side, while “Dumb-side” is the right side.)

    Yes, Letus is offering a V-mount/IDX on the camera interface plate instead of the Gold mount.

  6. 6 Ken Barnes

    Sorry, but the studio rig (especially) simply looks like a whole bunch of loose and fidgety parts just dying to go wrong. Indie pricing? I don’t think so. 3 of the rigs cost more than a DSLR camera body. And all that whooshing about going 55mph through the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest (???) can be done as smoothly by without any of those accessories. The quest for a proper DSLR rig continues imho. I believe the answer will be to get rid of rods and most knobs completely and build a moulded carbon fibre support with as few adjustable parts as possible. Rods belong on a tripod not on your shoulder or in your hands where the potential to get knocked and loosened is too great.

  7. 7 Tim Park

    Thanks for your input, Ken. I have to disagree, as would anyone who has actually handled and used this rig (or any other rig for that matter).

    The MCS platform is not meant for DSLR bodies only, but video cameras too (e.g. Red Epic, Red Scarlet X, Arri Alexa, Sony F3, SOny FS100, Canon C300, etc). As such, it needs to be designed to adapt to whatever is mounted on it. Therefore, rods and knobs are necessary. Even if the platform was made for JUST one camera body (let’s say a Canon 5DmkII since you mention DSLR cams), it would still need rods so it can be adjusted for the different lenses, both because of lens length/girth as well as weight (since it will throw off the center of gravity for the rig). This is why even traditional film camera supports have rods and knobs.

    As for the “fidgety parts” there is only one part on the studio cam that isn’t on the other platforms: the eye-piece leveler, which is very necessary.

    Anyway, all true film & video rigs have A LOT of moving parts, and will probably always be that way: all the EVFs, monitors, remote follow focus, and all wiring that goes with these devices, may look cluttered and unnecessary to the untrained eye, but none of these can be removed or “molded to the rig.” The idea is to be modular and adaptable to the needs of the specific shoot.

    Perhaps your needs are simple enough where you just need a tripod and a camera…no sound, no need for follow focus, no need for a camera crew. But a vast majority of productions need accessories, especially a package that is compact and not unmanageable heavy.

    (BTW, most agree that one problem with the DSLR camera is that it is too light weight, and so hard to hold steady. So if camera ops are going to go “whooshing through the Costa Rican rainforest–which is where parts of “Act of Valor” were filmed, and thus the reference–they will want a platform with some heft.)

  8. 8 Matthew Jeppsen

    I found some fidgety parts for you. This is *actually* a rig I saw last week in Burbank at Createasphere… http://propic.com/2L7

    -MJ