Rigging Gear Specific to the Atomos Shogun

In this lesson I’ll go over a few rigging options required by the Atomos Shogun specifically.

One of the cool things about the Shogun is that it ships with a ton of important accessories. I’ve found these particularly helpful:

  • XLR to Hirose breakout cable
  • P-tap battery adapter
  • AC power outlet (otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to carry out all the tests that I did!)
  • supposedly unbreakable HRPC case

The stuff that it doesn’t ship with is what annoys me:

  • No sunhood, though the new one is coming at a $70 price point.
  • Stupid male P-tap adapter – who makes male to male P-tap cables?
  • The AC power adapter is so short that on a medium height tripod it doesn’t touch the ground!
  • Poor battery, though you can get a 5200 mAh battery now.
  • Poorly designed foam cutouts – it’s a large wastage of space.
  • Atomos’ exclusivity with Datacolor

Let’s address these issues.

Battery power

This is an important problem. There are only three general solutions:

  • AC power – really impractical with a short cable. You’ll need an extension cord and a hook to support it on your tripod.
  • Anton Bauer/V-mount batteries – probably the best solution, but increases weight, size and price.
  • Use multiple batteries – it’s what most users will opt for.

For those looking at Anton Bauer and V-mount solutions

Since you need a male-to-male P-tap (D-tap) cable, here are your choices:

  1. Switronix Coiled PowerTap Cable ($71) – 4 feet
  2. Laird male-to-male P-tap adapter ($38.95) – 3 feet
  3. Dolgin Engineering male-to-male P-tap cable ($49.95) – 3 feet – this is what I bought, because it was cheaper with shipping.
  4. Anton Bauer PowerTap Open End cable – ($27 x 2) 3 feet – you’ll need to solder two of these together.
  5. D-tap connector ($8.79×2 incl shipping) – I bought these as well, as backup incase the Dolgin didn’t work. Of course, you’ll need to buy wire and solder it yourself (Don’t do it if you don’t know what you’re doing!)

I’m happy to report that the Dolgin cable works fine, and I am able to power both my A7s and the Shogun on just one Anton Bauer mount battery. The “half-disadvantage” is that neither the A7s nor the Shogun can predict remaining battery life. I say “half” because the battery itself has an indicator, so I’m okay.

Seriously, the cables are just connectors wired together DIY style, and then resold:

dolginjoint

If you know how to do it yourself, that should be the best and cheapest option. If you don’t want the inconvenience, do what I did, or buy the Switronix that plugs directly into the Shogun.

A 130Wh (9000mAh) battery should drive both A7s and Shogun for 2.5 hours (tested on my battery). Each hour needs about 3500mAh (using both the A7s and the Shogun).

For those looking at cheap battery solutions

You can buy original Sony batteries, but they are expensive. You can also buy Atomos branded ones but they are made in China as well.

If you’re in the US, the best bet is to buy a few Watson NP-F975 7800mAh ($60) batteries. Each one will give you about 2 hours of use. You’ll need at least three (I suggest at least four, one as backup) for a full-day’s shoot. To charge them, go for the Watson Duo LCD Charger ($79.95) which should charge two batteries in about 4 hours or so. It also has a USB charging port so that could come in handy.

Sunhood DIY Hood

The Atomos sunhood is reported to cost about $70, which is insane. I made my own out of two plastic covers from a folder (box file) and spandex (Lycra) stockings:

offside

I call it Lawrence of Arabia. And it doesn’t even cover the heat vents. Total cost: $5. You might want to replace spandex with velvet and velcro. Actually, I’m working on a better-looking option with plastic on all four sides.

My advice? Don’t waste money on a sun hood. Make it yourself or use a black cloth.

The above image shows what the Shogun looks like when switched off, with a direct backlight on it. This image is the same with the Shogun switched on:onside

Obviously, it gets better if you stand between it and the sky:onbehind

This DIY project is so easy you shouldn’t bother buying whatever they’re selling for $70.

HPRC Case Foam

The bottom layer has all sorts of cutouts for unnecessary accessories. Who would want to carry multiple power plugs all the time?

The case shipped with the Shogun is the HPRC 2400, and for cubed foam, it costs about $45. You can also purchase a lid organizer for $24.40. I’ve also read that you can use Pelican 1450 foam which is only $25.

Atomos Spyder

Unfortunately, the general consensus from serious color professionals and developers is that the Datacolor Spyder (all versions, including 4) are unreliable for color critical calibration. Some units are fine, but it’s a total crapshoot on whether you’ll get a decent one, and the odds are stacked against you.

It is even more unfortunate that Atomos has tied up with Datacolor so you can only calibrate the Shogun with the Atomos Spyder ($149). There is no choice, so I can’t make any recommendations in this regard. If possible, try before you buy!

Do you need the Spyder? No. Color calibration of monitors takes into consideration ambient light. On an external monitor like the Shogun, you’re going to be using it in a wide variety of lighting conditions, with different light levels and color temperatures. You’ll have to carry a laptop with the software in the field along with the Spyder4 and calibrate it for each shot. Hardly practical.

And don’t even think of calibrating it in the studio or home and then taking it outdoors and expecting it to work. Pointless exercise. Save your money and don’t buy it.

Action Pack Offer (July 1st to 31st only)

For existing Shogun users, Atomos will give you 50% off on the Action Pack ($240 originally, but you get it for about $120). The Action Pack includes:

  • Sunhood
  • Matte LCD protector
  • Armor bumper – extra protection for your Shogun
  • Travel case

Here’s the offer:

shogun_action_pack_june_2015

 

For more offers in your area, go here: http://atomos.com/offers/

Click on the link below to the next lesson or head over to the main menu (above). If you need help with something, feel free to send me an email. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

FAQs

These are important topics raised by subscribers that shed more light on this lesson.

Q. How much does it cost to replace a cracked Shogun screen?

A. From a couple of readers: $300 approx. Don’t hold me to it, just passing it along.