If you've ever had a hankering to turn your DSLR or Blackmagic camera into an ENG style rig, then a new crowdfunded device now for sale from a company called Loggers Lunchbox may well be what you've been looking for.
The RNG (Run-N-Gun), by St. Louis-based Loggers Lunchbox LLC, is essentially the frame of an ENG style camera that allows you to attach your existing camera in front.
I have to confess that, at first, I thought it was a bit odd. However, the more I think about it, the better I think that it is. The RNG is a much neater solution than many of the 'Frankenrig' systems out there. The RNG is a fully featured system, comprised of an aluminum frame with multiple accessory mounting holes, XLR audio inputs and outputs, phantom power switches, audio level controls by way of rotary knobs, 1/4" headphone socket, audio meters, integrated headphone speaker at ear level, top carry handle, VCT-14 compatibility, RF Receiver mounting plate, 4-pin XLR power input, BP-U60 battery plate (with an option for V-mount or AB) and more.
A lot of thought appears to have gone into this rig and it would indeed appear to give most of what you would expect from an ENG camera for your DSLR.
Is it a silly idea? No, I do not think so. The rig is compatible with a wide range of cameras and it certainly looks far neater than having wires and other bits and pieces sticking out everywhere. It should also be remembered that a version of the Blackmagic URSA can be purchased to offer almost exactly the same functionality to this device.
A good value?
Users will still need to add a viewfinder and, at $2499, the RNG may strain budgets. If you were purchasing a camera from scratch, it may well be more economic to look at buying an all-in-one solution.
However, for people who already own a camera and who get asked to do multiple types of job, this may well be a useful option to have. Consider that the cost of fully rigging up a camera using other systems could cost just as much and still not have the functionality that the RNG offers, such as the ergonomic placement of audio controls and inputs/outputs.
It has clearly been built to last, and the manufacturers claim that it is rustproof and splash proof, thus offering some decent weatherproofing (your camera may be another matter, however!) and durability.
It is conceivable that such a device might incorporate extra features in the future, such as built in preamps. In fact, the makers claim they are considering offering on board audio recording as an option.
There will clearly be those who cannot see the point of such a rig. My own opinion is that products such as this could offer a way to easily upgrade existing cameras. If camera manufacturers considered the connectivity and design of their cameras a bit more thoughtfully (given the prevalence of external recorders and the like), a rig such as the RNG could make camera upgrades easy.
Consider that cameras of all levels are getting better and better. A rig such as this could mean a useful market for low cost cameras that are dedicated to the picture and piping an image through, with the audio feed, levels adjustments and the video recording all coming from the RNG.
Certainly, it looks a bit odd, but in design and functionality (when joined with a camera body and lens), the RNG resembles a complete camera system. Opinions are sure to vary, but it looks to be very strongly built and, importantly, it offers ergonomic and industrial strength connectivity for mics and other equipment.
Does the RNG make sense for your workflow? Please let us know what you think in the comment section below!