My video setup: Canon HG10 with 35mm adapter

~ 04 February 2010 ~

Canon HG10 with 35mm adapter and other equipment

Update: I’ve switched to a Canon 7D.

I’ve had a penchant for filmmaking ever since I was a little kid. I’ve never had the right equipment, though. I’m trying to finally change that, while still trying to stay within budget.

The photo above shows the setup I’ve been piecing together over the last few weeks. I haven’t shot anything with it yet, but I’ll give it a good run in a couple weeks when I film the Colosseo letterpress poster being printed. We’ll see how it goes.

Two years ago this would have been a killer setup—it’s similar to the setup Benjamin Reece used to shoot “Fifty People, One Question”. Nowadays, a Canon 7D or similar is probably the way to go for those of us doing indie-style film stuff. Check out this fantastic video shot with a Canon 7D:

I’ve had my HG10 for a while now, and I’ve been able to do some decent shooting with it (see “Roma Italia”). I’m not ready to make the step-up investment to a 7D just yet. So I’m doing what I can with the HG10, while making sure much of what I’m purchasing will also work with the 7D at a later date.

It’s taken quite a bit of research to piece all of this together, so I’m documenting my equipment here for those of you searching for something similar:

Check back in a few weeks to see some of the video I’ll shoot with it. Fingers crossed it turns out okay.



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1   Chris Enns ~ 04 February 2010

Love it!

See - now you need some freelance video listing on Authentic Jobs! :)

2   Timothy ~ 04 February 2010

Awesome setup! I’ve delicious’d this, and will likely use it as a source of reference. I plan to buy get something similar together to do some interviews with.

Thanks for the post!

3   Cameron Moll ~ 04 February 2010

@ Chris Enns: I’m sure this setup may encourage me to consider that :)

4   Dave ~ 04 February 2010

You are too modest… I think your “Roma Italia” video deserved an embeded Vimeo slot in the post.

What is the story behind all the locks at the end?

5   Angela Jude ~ 04 February 2010

Nice! I’ve got a very similar setup but with a Canon HV20. No video light or grip (yet). I do have it hooked up to a nice indiehardware stabilizer though.

6   Cameron Moll ~ 04 February 2010

@ Dave: Right next to the Trevi Fountain, there’s a really tiny chapel with a gate in front of it. On this gate there are literally hundreds of locks. I believe this concept was inspired by a movie of some sort. Suzanne and I purchased and signed a lock to add to this gate, leaving our own memento behind in Rome.

@ Angela Jude: Mind sharing what the indiehardware stabilizer does?

7   ben smithson ~ 04 February 2010

Cool! Good luck, and good for you! I’m kinda getting my rig together piece by piece. Love that video is a fun hobby. Not sure if I’ll ever make money freelancing… but that’s okay!

8   Scott NellĂ© ~ 04 February 2010

Do you have any thoughts on the Canon T1i? I feel like if you’re ultimate goal is the 7d, a T1i might be a decent intro for someone who’s just getting started since it’s cheaper than a camcorder like the S100 and you can skip the DOF adapter, saving a couple hundred more bucks. And you might be able to keep your lenses when you upgrade to the 7d (haven’t looked into this, so I don’t know for sure.)

9   Cameron Moll ~ 04 February 2010

Scott, I’d not even heard of the Canon T1i before you mentioned it. Great to know there’s another option out there.

However, a quick Google search leaves me concerned about the following from this review:

While the Canon Rebel T1i can capture 1080p resolution video, it does so at 20 frames per second, which makes for some not-so-smooth video. The 20 fps frame rate is particularly troubling when panning.

Looks like you can see the panning issue in this sample video.

10   Sunny Thaper ~ 04 February 2010

Hey Cameron, does the HG10 automatically flip the image from the DoF adapter for you? I have an HV30 and without hacking it, I had to buy a flip module style DoF adapter.

11   Cameron Moll ~ 04 February 2010

No. Check the notes on my Flickr photo (just click the photo on this post). You’ll see I had to hack it too, and I’m sure it’s not nearly as nice as your hack.

12   Angela Jude ~ 04 February 2010

The indiehardware stabilizer smooths camera movements and shakiness. Essentially, its a homemade steadicam. Once it’s all balanced out it provides pretty smooth shots. Got mine off ebay!

13   Wayne Dahlberg ~ 04 February 2010

Great post, rig setup. I’ve also been bitten by the HD bug and found myself with a shiny new 7D & a Plus membership on Vimeo. Reece’s 50p1q was the spark for me wanting to get that film look as well. It’s so amazing that our kids will have crystal clear, film quality hd videos of growing up, versus the 8mm or crappy vhs. Home movies have been redefined.

That grip is amazing. I could sure use that shooting at the skate park. It’s funny, I knew the videos you’ve linked here and on twitter just by the video thumbs.

Can’t wait to see the letterpress footage.

14   Blake Johnson ~ 04 February 2010

I watched the Roma Italia vid and thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife did too. I love that Explosions song!

15   James Archer ~ 04 February 2010

Nice rig, Cam. I like the scorpion tail on the back! ;-)

16   Michael Locke ~ 06 February 2010

Just beautiful. I’m jealous. I’m still waiting on the wifey to approve an upgrade on my original Flip video camera to the HD version.

17   Sean ~ 07 February 2010

I recently bought the Canon HG20. Your post has me thinking about how I can do more with it. I wasn’t even aware that you could adapt 35mm lens to a camcorder.

Very very cool.

18   Mark ~ 09 February 2010

I have a similar rig that I just used to film a short film for a 24-hour filmmaking contest (shameless plug: It does great at creating that shallow depth of field but I’m lusting after the beautifully simple 7D, so I’m getting ready to put my whole rig up for sale.

It’s a shame you’re not still in Utah because I’m always looking out for collaboration partners!

19   Alan ~ 10 February 2010

It’s been all over the video blogs yesterday and today, but the Canon T2i was just released which will give you all the 1080p 24p beauty of the 7D, but for $799…most your equipment will work with it too.


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