No matter how prepared we think we may be when you go out on a shoot you inevitably wish you had brought that extra something often times it’s the right filter, a wider lens, or the right rig. In my line of work, as a documentary filmmaker I have to streamline big time and be creative with as very little as possible. What the indiSYSTEM Bulldog does for me is allow me that extra little something to give me a variety of shooting styles in one small light weight rig. I can shoot shouldermount, handheld, or put the rig on a sturdy monopod or tripod. The key here is flexibility and light weight compact durability and that’s a big plus with the indiSYSTEM Bulldog. I just don’t have the capacity to carry heavy gear with me. If I’m carrying more than my bike messenger bag and a small gear bag then that’s too much. I’m on the road and out in public and would rather be a fly on the wall out of sight and out of mind than be caught looking like a lost tourist.
Here’s an example of the compact nature of the indiSYSTEM Bulldog. Everything fits in a small 12″ x 10″ x 4″ gear bag with room to spare.
I can set up the complete rig or modify it depending on my shooting needs and it takes me about five minutes to put together. I can then pack everything back up in minutes and fit everything in my little bag. Obviously, you’ll have to find your own bag indiSYSTEM does not provide this with the Bulldog but it goes to show that the indiSYSTEM Bulldog is an essential part of your shoot and one rig that you won’t be leaving behind.
Here are some pictures of how I use the indiSYSTEM BallGrip just so people can get their head around the idea of using this tool. The ball joint is a brilliant idea by Tim Ovel of indiSYSTEM and it really works to help you pull focus while doing handheld shots. This is an example of how one would hold it when using a follow focus.
I use two BallGrips when I want to configure the Bulldog into a Bulldog mini. With this variation I can have something that I can walk around with in a big city or crowd and that gives me the ability to pull focus and the ability to have an extra bit of support on a moving handheld shot.
Here is the setup that I used for a recent test shoot. Since I had pictures of the Bulldog in a warm sunny Southern California beach I thought it would be only appropriate to contrast it in the cold Philadelphia snow fall.
You’ll notice the Blue strap in the picture. That does not come with the Bulldog that is a camera strap that I attached to the BallGrip just as a precautionary measure. If you slip focus and let go of the indiSYSTEM BallGrip you’ll still be connected and will never drop the rig.
It’s important to note that the ideal for this setup to me would be a GH1/GH2 or similiar camera with a small body and a small prime lens or small zoom lens. The best combo that I have tested so far for just point and shoot hand held work would be the indiSYSTEM Bulldog and BallGrip using the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic 20mm lens. For legacy lenses, I find the Contax G 28mm lens with Metabones adapter and SNAP! Gear terrific to use with my GH2 with this setup. I’m still testing with a number of c-mount lenses including the Schneider Variogon 18-90mm zoom pictured above with the GH2. It was a little front heavy and better suited locked to a monopod or tripod because in order to use the lens you have to engage the GH2’s extended tele conversion mode and with handheld camera shake it is a bit magnified. I did however have good success using the Bulldog with the very small Angenieux Zoom Type8x8B 8-64mm f/1.9 c-mount lens. It is probably one of the smallest c-mount zoom lenses and I got one to work on the micro 4/3 system. You can get more info about it here: Angenieux 8-64mm lens.
I put together a short piece using the indiSYSTEM Bulldog rig and indiSYSTEM BallGrip and the Panasonic GH2. It’s called Aloha Winter.