Cinevate Proteus rails
When you attach a 35mm adapter to the front of your camera you ‘re adding a lot more weight than the threads on the lens were ever designed to hold. To help support this extra weight and allow you to attach other devices you use a set of support rails.
Most of the 35mm adapter manufacturers supply their own support rails but in general most of them follow a standard 15mm rail specification. These rail systems are also commonly used to support matte boxes, follow focus controls and various other camera mounted items.
Cinevates Proteus rails differ from most of the other manufactures because they use solid carbon rods. Carbon seems like the perfect material for this job, not only is it a lot lighter than steel it ‘s also apparently 75% stiffer as well. Plus there ‘s no denying they look cool!
When you order the Proteus rails there are a few options available which relate to the camera you plan to mount and the amount of gear that will be attached to the rails. The first choice is the length of the carbon rods you want, these are available in 30, 45 and 60cm lengths. I chose to go with 45cm rails because I wanted to keep my rig as compact as possible. They also fit nicely inside my Peli case and Kata backpack.
The Proteus system uses adjustable links that fit between the camera plate and the rail blocks. The great thing about this system is that you can adjust the height of the camera plate by sliding the blocks on the rails thus changing the angle and height of the camera plate.
The Proteus rails come with either standard or smaller ‘Shorty ‘ links which allow the camera to sit much lower on the rails. I originally ordered the standard links for my EX1 and brevis, but i was interested to see if I could use the shorty links to make my rig more compact so I ordered a set of those too. The angle of the longer links can be adjusted to allow the camera to sit lower, but they do not go as low as the shorty links.
The first image below shows the size differences between the standard and short links.
As you can see in the pictures the metalwork is all very nicely machined and powdercoated dark grey. The shorty links are locked into place using allen head bolts making everything very secure once you ‘ve settled on a position for everything. The standard links use a pair of knurled thumbscrews on each link.
The rails connect to a tripod using a plate connected to one of the standard rail blocks. Like all of these blocks it can be adjusted on the rails by simply loosening the thumb screws on each side and sliding the it along the rails. The plate can be mounted anywhere on the rails depending on your rigs balance point.
On top of the links is the camera mounting plate. This plate has layer of cork glued to it to provide some cushion between it and the base of your camera. Interestingly the camera plate has three slots machined into it, this is to allow cameras with an offset tripod mount to be mounted and remain in a central alignment with the rails and brevis unit. The cork only has the middle slot cut out though so you would have to cut this yourself if you needed to use the other slots.
A knurl headed thumbscrew is provided to secure your camera to the plate. Unfortunately the bolt is not secured to the plate in any way meaning that you have to be careful not to lose it when removing the camera. It ‘s a shame Cinevate didn ‘t use the type which inserts into a larger hole at one end and then slides along the slot without falling out as seen in most tripods.
As I eventually chose to purchase a Cinevate brevis adapter I also purchased the Brevis-to-rails mount which slides onto the end of the rails and provides a secure support to the brevis unit. The mount comes with a rather long vertical adjustment bracket that allows you to adjust the height of the brevis depending on the link setup and the camera you use. Because I used the ‘shorty ‘ rails most of this bracket was left sticking out of the bottom of the rails so I decided to do a bit of dremel work on mine and cut the excess off.
I ‘m a bit of sucker for nice looking gear and from these photo ‘s you can see that the Proteus rails really do look the business!
For this review I won ‘t go in to the process of setting up the brevis on the camera, that ‘s already covered in great detail on Cinevate ‘s video university.
Mounting the rig to the rails can be a bit tricky in itself though. The ultimate aim is to have the brevis-to-rails mount supporting the brevis unit without implying any directional force on it. I started by mounting the camera to the plate first and then adjusting the angles of the links so that the camera and brevis unit were parallel with the rail. Interestingly I found that I had to angle the back link to achieve this giving the camera plate a slight backwards slope.
Once everything looked in line I pointed the rig at the ceiling and attached the brevis-to-rails mount to the brevis first and then tightened it ‘s connection to the rail block. It ‘s very important that you check to make sure the brevis is not under any lateral force otherwise it can cause the unit to move out of alignment with the camera.
The shutter and white balance buttons under the EX1 ‘s lens can be awkward to reach at the best of times, when using it on the rails they are made easier to get at by keeping the camera towards the front of the mounting plate.
Overall I ‘m very impressed with the Proteus system, it ‘s extremely well made and works perfectly. Cinevate offer fantastic customer service and are always happy to help should you need it. The other great thing about the Proteus rails is that they are part of an ever growing modular system and can be used in various configurations.
To purchase the rails visit B&H Photo Video