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As photographers and videographers involved in serious videography, you have probably seen or searched for a camera cage. Along with such vital accessories as external microphones, video lighting, and filters, a camera cage can simplify your workflow.
So, you won’t get better video from a camera cage, but using a camera cage can allow you to be able to capture the best video footage possible. We will cover three questions. What is a camera cage? What are the benefits of camera cages? How do we use a camera cage?
Camera Cage? What’s That?
A camera cage is a mounting system. Shooting high-quality video, you have likely found yourself wishing you had more spots on your camera to attach certain video accessories. An external video light competes for mounting spots with your shotgun mic or external monitor.
We could use a bracket for some of this, but a camera cage offers a couple of extra features. Stabilization and specialty mounted tools are part of what makes camera cages good ideas for shooting advanced videography.
As an example of a basic camera cage usable for modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the Ikan Stratus cage has the shape and functionality that make camera cages beneficial videography tools.
You’ll notice that the camera will fit inside the main body of the cage, and the cage itself is then used to mount all the other useful accessories you want for smooth video recordings. Nothing actually fits on the camera, eliminating stress on vulnerable camera parts.
Benefits of Camera Cages
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An immediate benefit of using camera cages is extra stability. Using interchangeable lens cameras for videography gives us great video recording capabilities. But since most of these cameras were designed primarily around still photography, the form factor doesn’t lend itself to holding comfortably and steadily while shooting video.
One of the benefits of camera cages is that it instantly changes the form factor to something more appropriate to video. Additionally, the cage gives you mounting points that balance the sometimes heavy accessories used in serious videography.
Accessories like a video monitor would put a lot of stress on the built in accessory shoe on the camera. And then it takes up the spot you want for a shotgun mic. The camera cage solves that problem, too.
How to Use a Camera Cage
Using camera cages automatically transforms your production thoughts to a different level. Whether that’s a higher level or not depends on how you make use of the tools at your disposal.
A camera cage doesn’t actually do anything on it’s own. It’s what allows you to do smoothly and effortlessly that’s the important thing.
Going back to the Ikan Status camera cage, if you add a lens support and follow focus system, you can mount the entire rig on a quality video tripod and perform advanced video techniques with ease.
Follow focus is a technique used to keep the subject in focus while dollying or tracking the camera. In larger productions, this is a separate job from other camera operations. In our one man studio operations, we need a little help from well designed accessories.
The bottom rods and added lens support also give us a steadier platform for lens filter systems and matte boxes. Matte boxes are a staple of serious video and cinematographic production to control lens flare and for other optical tricks used in movie production.
Camera cages like the Ikan Stratus also mount and unmount rapidly and securely from tripods with quick release systems, making them ideal for rapid changes of point of view or to change from a static view to an immersive view.
While using the camera cages as handheld devices, the top handle gives a much more comfortable way to hold the camera rig for better, smoother video footage.
Create Better Video Footage
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As I said at the start, using camera cages, or any other photography or videography tool, won’t make you better. But certain tools and accessories lend themselves to easing our workload and giving us a better workflow.
Having a better workflow for videography often results in freeing our mind to be more creative and also it helps keep us focused on important aspects of our craft such as exposure, composition, and lighting, which does tend to result in better work from us.
So, in a way, I guess we could say that some accessories and tools help make us better videographers. But only if we already know what makes great video, great stories, and something others will like watching.
Camera cages don’t do anything other than hold stuff for us. But sometimes, that’s all we need to free us up to make better videos.