If you want to take advantage of the Panasonic AF101‘s shallow depth of field, there are plenty of professional accessory kits to help improve stability and reduce glare. Manufacturers like Genus and ARRI produce scalable hardware that adjusts perfectly for large sensor cameras, so we’ve had a look at their offerings and picked out a few examples of how to get the perfect AF101 rig.
One of the most important considerations for your setup is ensuring your shots are protected from the sun. Even when using ND Faders – essential for outdoor shooting with fast lenses – UV rays can catch between the two bits of polarised glass in your camera’s lens, ending up with a terrible smeared effect which can often render shots unusable. An absolute must-have to protect against glare is a matte box, which fits over the end of your lens. The MMB-2 Mini Matte Box from ARRI has a filter frame which accepts both 4″x4″ and round 4.5″ filters (included), which can be individually rotated and locked off. You can also attach other accessories for reduced glare like rigid fins or ‘flags’, which come with the basic package.
When it comes to attaching your camera and accessories to your tripod, it needs to be as stable as possible during shooting. The ARRI MBP-1 mini baseplate is made specifically for smaller HD camcorders like the Panasonic AG-AF101, with two pairs of 15mm rods for increased stability when using heavier accessories.
Serious filmmakers might also consider a follow focus for more precision when pulling focus. Acting like a flywheel, the follow focus attaches via gears to the teeth on the lens focus ring, so your hand doesn’t get in the way while operating it. The lightweight ARRI MFF-1 follow focus easily snaps onto your rig and features a plunger mechanism with adjustable hard stops for lenses with infinite rotation.
Genus is another company that offers top quality professional camcorder accessories, and we’ve put together a rig that’s perfect for the Panasonic AG-AF101. It’s based on the setup recommended by Philip Johnston on his HD Warrior blog.
The Genus Accessory Kit is based around a wide angle Matte Box, and also includes a set of French Flags for added glare protection, as well as some ‘Nuns Knickers’ – a flexible ruff to protect from any stray light getting into the lens through the filter trays. This is all made stable on your tripod with the Genus hot plate. It has rails that extend up to 410mm to accomodate more kit, and four screw attachments – 2 x 1/4″, 2 x 3/8″ – that can be tightened by hand so you don’t have to search around for your tools mid-shoot.