Shane Hurlbut, ASC Master Cinema Series

Over the past three years, my team and I have shot two feature films, 20 shorts and over 100 commercials on the DSLR platform, using Redrock, Zacuto and Cinevate rigs.  All of them performed well, but none of them seemed to fit me, my soul and how I liked the rig to feel on my shoulder or how it converted like film cameras.  I was missing that motion picture camera familiarity.

As a direct result of this exploration, Hien Tu Le, owner of the Letus Corporation, and I have been designing and engineering a new line of gear that gazes into the future of the DSLR platform.  This equipment is designed and priced for every filmmaker to enjoy, no matter what your budget.  Whether you are lensing a wedding, documentary, music video, commercial or a full length feature, this is your form factor.  Together, we are professionalizing this workflow based on how the industry masters have been shooting for decades, by marrying 20 years of movie making experience with four years of DSLR photography into one powerful gear system.

DSLRs are never going away, In fact, the platform is just getting warmed up. In the fall of 2008, it was our first glimpse into the future of camera technology with the invention of the Canon 5D.  Everything will shrink to the point where it will be just a sophisticated chip on the end of a wonderful piece of glass.  The new DSLR’s that are coming out in the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012 will rock your socks off! We are embracing all of them with our rig technology.

The owner and gear engineer of Letus, Hien Tu Le, his incredible team and I have designed a rig series that allows your camera to morph from one form to another effortlessly.  There is no other system out there that uses film production as its bench mark.  Video is still a baby whereas film has brought about decades of development and we have capitalized on these that fit the platform.

Why buy the Master Cinema Series over another rig?  SPEED — this system converts and creates more set-ups in a day than any other rig.  WHY?  Experience and understanding on what it takes. QUALITY DESIGN — we have incorporated the best from the best in the motion picture world. With a lifetime guarantee on the rig, we stand behind the product. BATTLE TESTED — I think that speaks for itself, we roll out in extremes.  QUICK TO CONVERT — the MCS baseplate is the lynch pin, you snap in and out. Fast and efficient; time is money.  FORWARD THINKING — this system is designed to grow with technology, advancements, new cameras, you name it.  But the precursor to this is that film has been around for almost a hundred years and that system is still what drives the production end of things and the Master Cinema Series is film.  No matter what Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc., develop in the future, this gear set will conform to fit. It is future proofed.

Why design a rig? There are plenty out there.  We waited and after four years of everyone making rigs, pieces and parts to turn the camera into a DSLR, which it already is, we designed gear to turn the camera into a system that looks and feels like a 35mm Motion Capture device.  So, whether you are using Still glass or Cinema glass, the Letus Master Cinema Series Rig is balanced. It puts the power back in the hands of the Cinematographer / Operator. You are now one with the camera.  Our forward thinking design incorporates EVF technology to shrink your footprint. We have also adapted this form factor to handle Cineroid, Zacuto and the Small HD DP-4.

This is a system, one that has taken the best from Panavision and Arriflex and molded it into a form factor that works with the DSLR platform.  It deals with all the quirks and cons, as well as balancing a rig that fits your soul.

Our goal is to inspire filmmakers globally, with a form factor that will push your creativity, expand your scope and increase your speed. We’re turning a still camera into a movie making machine. Turning a still camera into a movie making machine.

ADVANCED FORM FACTOR FOR FILMMAKERS

 

Action Cam

Action Cam

Man Cam

Man Cam

ShoulderCam

ShoulderCam

StudioCam

StudioCam

59 Comments
  1. Dave Creu 4 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    After having produced a spoof of how ridiculously large and expensive the DSLR rigs have become, I have to admit…I like this system. Short, sweet, and to the point; borne from extensive testing and experience in the world of 35mm digital capture. I just may be a taker this time. Thank you for such a great attitude, and we wish you the best!

  2. Wade Yamaguchi 4 years ago

    This is an amazing development in support systems for DSLRs. Thank you Hurlbut Visuals for pushing this platform forwarding and inspiring filmmakers around the world! I’m actually in the market right now to get a support system, any idea on the price point yet?

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Wade Yamaguchi, Thank you so much for the kind words. This is a global revolution. Visit mastercinemaseries.com for all pricing info.

  3. Albert ayzenberg 4 years ago

    SOOO SICKKKKK!!!!!! Can’t wait to buy it and test it out! Thank you!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Albert ayzenberg, thank you so much for all the excitement. Yeah baby!!!

  4. robo3687 4 years ago

    its nice to actually see someone supporting the dslr platform and encouraging its use. I only hope people start to take them more seriously and treat them with a bit more respect from now on.

    All too often these days you get groups of people (professionals as well) looking down on and dismissing people that want to use dslr’s to make their stories come to life, calling them toys and ‘fads’…and it’s even worse when you see people actually give up or be discouraged by these people…

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      robo3687, I could not agree more. Film, HD, 5D, a iphone if it perpetuates the story and characters I am using it.

      • Eric Diosay 4 years ago

        Yep, use what ever works for the story. Always good to see your continued evangelism and support. Congratulations on a successful launch!

  5. Sebastian Kubatz 4 years ago

    Hey Shane,

    this looks amazing.
    Do you actually have any information about the release of the Letus Follow Focus?
    I’ve ordered it about 3 Months ago and still no word on final shipping dates.

    Please let me know if you have any more information on that.

    Thanks a lot,
    Sebastian

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Sebastian Kubatz, I had Letus revamp the whole gear box with Panavision gears so it will be another month but worth the wait. Thanks for your kind words and support.

      • Sebastian Kubatz 4 years ago

        Thanks for the information Shane.
        To bad there is no official statement from Letus itself.
        I’ll hang on another month if you say it’s worth the wait.

        All the best,
        Sebastian

  6. Matt Short 4 years ago

    This system blows away everything else. Here’s a short video from yesterday’s launch party – http://vimeo.com/30612570

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Matt Short, Matt, thank you so much for the amazing coverage of the event. You captured the essence of the event. You rock, thank you for the kind words.

  7. Oli Kember 4 years ago

    Looks lovely, super thought out and professional. Congrats!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Oli Kember, Oli thank you so much for your continued support and kind words, that made my day.

  8. Baron 4 years ago

    Hi Shane, congrats on the launch and new range of accessories. Both you and Letus are industry leaders in your respective fields and it’s exciting times for all of us.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Baron, thank you so much for all of your support. Yes exciting times are coming in November.

  9. Diesel 4 years ago

    Please expand on the design of the shoulder cam (and the others, if possible). What are the relevance of the huge baton type handles? I don’t get it! It seems as if the shoulder mountable versions are so smushed length-wise.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Diesel, the Shoulder Cam has been shrunk to the length of an Arri 235. This is the ultimate handheld camera. The DSLR is now on the middle of your shoulder not out in front with all the weight on your arms. It is now perfectly balanced for the first time without using tons of counterweight making the rig ridiculous long. The baton style handles give you the ability to grab high, middle or low. I operated my 35mm camera by crabbing the mattebox, those t-handles simulate that ability and so that you are one with the camera and not a tourist.

  10. Oli Kember 4 years ago

    Oh and my god Act of Valor looks amazing! I can’t wait to see it. Another massive well done sir!

  11. Jon 4 years ago

    Hi Shane, Thanks for leading the revolution. You are really taking things to the next level. These are the rigs we’ve been waiting for!
    You said it would be about $6900 for the whole system (all 4 configurations) but I don’t see this option available for purchase on the mastercinemaseries.com website or Letus’ store. Only the individual configurations are available. I think many of us are going to want the buy the whole shebang so we can go between the various setups as needed. Looking forward to getting this system in my hands!

  12. Matt Kimber 4 years ago

    Shane,
    after watching some of the videos here and seeing the new system it’s clear to me you have an amazing grasp on what’s needed to get the job done. I’m curious how large of a role your “Elite Team” played in designing the system.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  13. Marko 4 years ago

    FINALLY! The reason why I haven’t invested in a ton of support gear is because I haven’t felt like any one company was intentional about their product and future products, they were only being reactionary. Finally it seems you and Letus is being purpose driven with the goal to make cinema products for DSLR shooters. Can’t wait!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Marko, you are exactly right, because it is the future of image capture.

  14. Mike Chenoweth 4 years ago

    Great group to partner with, Shane. The Le bros and Aaron are a great team!

    Interesting to see “competitors” now come out to voice their thoughts on the new rigs. You’ve shaken the ground in innovation! Love the new system!!!!!!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Mike Chenoweth, I love Hien, Aaron and the whole Letus team. They have morals, values and believe in passion, inspiration and innovation. They are just great people.

  15. Andrea 4 years ago

    My compliment on Act of Valor. Amazing!!! I hope to watch in Italy cinema too.
    and now I can’t wait to invest my money in your terrific gear.
    At first sigh It seem very useful and the most attractive I’ve ever seen before.
    I can only sell a few pieces of competing firms to get yours.
    Can’t wait too
    Ciao Shane

    ps. I’m the Marine contest winner :)

  16. Nance Flynn 4 years ago

    Shane, I LOVE the leveling arm! I want one!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Nance Flynn, Hi Nance, I know you would love that!!! ha ha

  17. cyb- 4 years ago

    the 1dx wont fit ;)

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      cyb-, we already have a cage built for the 1DX as well as the announcement on November 3rd. We are all there protecting your investment.

  18. Alec 4 years ago

    I think the true quality is in being masterfully integrated and bringing the whole camera support, soup to nuts, under one roof where you can have a single point of contact for all your needs. Truly a great bunch of equipment by the looks of things, and it’s hard to argue with a system that’s been designed by a very active, highly skilled, shooting team.

    Couple of questions: The cage appears to power the camera through a pigtail inserted into the grip of the camera where the battery would normally go. What’s the likelihood that you’ll have a pigtail for Nikon cameras? Right now there’s a real dearth of products available to power Nikon-based systems off of something like an Anton Bauer or VLock battery (read: there aren’t any at all).

    Also, what’s the net gain of having the top mounted rails attached to what looks like a horizontal dovetail?

  19. Love the design, looks like great kit I’m gonna check this out.

  20. Draganche 4 years ago

    I will not comment much, I will say only one thing…this is going to rule the world!
    Thanks Shane for everything!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Draganche, Thank you so much for those wonderful words. Rock on!!!

  21. federico 4 years ago

    Hi shane, i’m really interested in your system but I have some doubt, I was just ready to buy the o’connor o-grips o-focus mini and o-box have you tried them? How they go on your kit? I risk to unbalance everything? I like the modular arm attachable on the mattebox. I would like to know also if there are any difference between your cage and the viewfactor one? and do you think that a system like that could be used on something like a sony f3 or other video camera or it’s only for dslr?
    thank you!

  22. KahL 4 years ago

    So I had a chance to check out the Shoulder Cam at the Photoplus Expo today.
    Let me tell you, without any exaggeration, this was THE BEST shoulder rig I’ve ever used. You can feel immediately that it was created by a filmmaker, for a filmmmaker.

    The rig is very tight and not super widespread or elongated like so many others I’ve experienced and while it feels hefty, it’s just the right amount when mounted on your shoulder. It’s a nimble setup and I don’t have any fear of maneuvering around with it one bit.

    I would gladly fork over the dough (or be sponsored lol) for this rig. It’s completely worth every penny and I’ve never seen the worth of a full rig like that until now.

  23. Matheus Oliveira 4 years ago

    Looks awesome.

  24. Aleksandar 4 years ago

    Hi Shane, Respect for all your past work as an artist.
    My observation for the MCS is that an element is missing. 19 mm studio BP where you can add big zooms and then it will be like you said a UNI rig for all systems ( except 3d ). For now the LWS will do for about 90% of the production. Do you plan to manifacture adapters for 19 mm studio, because its really in need to be complete?

    Best Regards

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Aleksandar, I cannot thank you enough for your comments. I talked with Hien the engineer and designer and we are going to make that happen. That way we can play with the big boys for a third of the price.

  25. Bernardo 4 years ago

    Hi Shane, i have a question round in my head. ¿Why the cam rigs and other accessories, like monitors, follow focus, etc, etc, are very much expensive than a camera like 7D and 5D? Both of these cameras has very complex technology that involves several resources and developments year after year, (i´m thinking the Chip, the shutter, auto focus system, bla bla bla). And in another hand, the supplies for cameras are built in a easiest way than a cameras are, but, for the people, cost much more money.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Bernardo, The camera is the cheapest part of the equation. It is a still camera, you need to accessorize it to make it cinema ready. All these things are essential to roll out with a focus puller and a client that wants to see what you are shooting. To make a camera cinema ready for cheap it will cost you about $10,000.00. It’s not cheap I agree, but that is the way it is with High end HD cameras. You buy a Red Epic for $40,000.00 and then the accessories package is another 35K. I have tried to price this MCS platform so that indie filmmaker’s have the cheapest professional tools on the market.

  26. digifruitella 4 years ago

    I’ve been following this blog on and off, and just looked through some of the articles that you wrote, Shane. This looks amazing indeed.

    btw, Bale went overboard that one time! your work on Salvation was sweet, more up my style in terms of visuals.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      digifruitella, thank you so much for all of your support. I am glad you are enjoying the articles. It is a labor of love. What happens on the set is suppose to stay on the set. Isn’t their a commercial campaign about Las Vegas with this slogan. Ha HA :)

  27. Alex Huberfeld 3 years ago

    Shane you said “This equipment is designed and priced for every filmmaker to enjoy, no matter what your budget” Its not in my budget of $600 for a rig?

  28. Alex Huberfeld 3 years ago

    So sorry shane i wasnt meaning to say it wasnt affordably priced i was just confused as to what you were saying. I know your passionate in everything you do and thats why you took it to heart when i seemed to be attacking your product and im sorry also i appreciate you taking the time out to answer everyones questions. I have a question for you i was looking into A 3.5 inch rca monitor usually for a gps but if do you think i could use it as a monitor for focus or put on a viewfinder of some sort and use it as an evf.

  29. Alex Huberfeld 3 years ago

    i would pay like $30 for the monitor and $60 for the cineroid viewfinder (its seperate from the cineroid evf) and thanks for the offer for the 7 inch marshall bt im looking for something smaller like 5 or 3.5 inches So would it be a good evf. This is a great frugal idea for a evf…i wouldnt light off of the moitor only for framing and focus and since im using a t3i Hd isnt even important because once your rolling it switches out anyway.

  30. Alex Huberfeld 3 years ago

    i would pay like $30 for the monitor and $60 for the cineroid viewfinder (its seperate from the cineroid evf) and thanks for the offer for the 7 inch marshall bt im looking for something smaller like 5 or 3.5 inches So would it be a good evf. This is a great frugal idea for a evf…i wouldnt light off of the moitor only for framing and focus and since im using a t3i Hd isnt even important because once your rolling it switches out anyway.

  31. Alex Huberfeld 3 years ago

    i would pay like $30 for the monitor and $60 for the cineroid viewfinder (its seperate from the cineroid evf) and thanks for the offer for the 7 inch marshall bt im looking for something smaller like 5 or 3.5 inches So would it be a good evf. This is a great frugal idea for a evf…i wouldnt light off of the moitor only for framing and focus and since im using a t3i Hd isnt even important

  32. visualMED 3 years ago

    Hi shane
    this is just got my attention the letus system I mean the (rig set) the price is f*****king awesome and the build quality is rooocke I was just about to brought a different system but now ( street right to this system ) no more

    thanks so much for you push in this technology forward

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      visualMED, there is no other system that even compares to this. It blows the competition out of the water. Can you help me spread the word, PLEASE!!!!!!

  33. Mike C 3 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    Looking at various diagrams and photos of the shoulder mount, the follow focus looks really tight with the viewfinder on the same side. Is this setup purely intended to be used with a whip? If not, is it a bit crunched for space? Would love to see an example of someone pulling focus as the camera operator with the shoulder rig.

    Thanks!
    Mike

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Mike C, the system was designed after the Panavision system, which I feel is the best camera SYSTEM in the world. The follow focus is very close to your cheek and my focus pullers have been pulling that way for years. You can use it either way, by hand or snap a whip into place. But for me I choose remote follow focus, which is what all focus pullers are moving towards now, they want to be able to pull off of a sharp monitor, or not be attached to the camera in any way because of how light it is.

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