Mast Studio Cine Makura live review
Recently I stumbled across a product while trying to buy a Cinesaddle. The only reason I found this product is that I ordered a Cinesaddle from a company that sells them here in Japan only to find that they had not updated their webpage and they are not. had not in stock. This led me to cancel this order and see what other solutions were available.
This led me to a new bespoke business in Japan called Mast Studio which not only manufactures unique custom carts and rails, but also a product called the Makura Cinema. Makura in Japanese means pillow. The Cine Makura does essentially the same thing as a Cinesaddle. The reason the Cine Makura came into being is that the owner of Mast Studio wanted to see if he could create an alternative that wouldn’t cost as much money as a Cinesaddle.
The Cinesaddle is an iconic product and it was invented by cameraman Mike Young decades ago. It was at the time a revolutionary product, despite its simplicity. It was quickly adopted by the TV and film industry and custom-made large Cinesaddles were even designed for use with large Imax cameras. Like many great products, it was invented out of need, and despite the advent of camera stabilizers and gimbals, they are still in use today.
As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The fact that Cinesaddle’s original design hasn’t changed in decades, and most alternative products still use the same fundamental design, shows how well thought out the original was. Over the years, countless products very similar to Cinesaddle have appeared, some better than others. This brings me to Cine Makura.
So how is it different from a Cinesaddle? Well I’m glad you asked. Basically, it’s designed to do the exact same thing, which is to prop up your camera when you need to place it on the ground or anything else for that matter. Any news, documentary, wildlife or wildlife cameraman or cameraman will know the benefits of a Cinesaddle and how it makes a great seat or makeshift pillow when one isn’t available!
The biggest difference between a Cinesaddle and the Cine Makura is the material they are made of. A Cinesaddle is made of canvas, while the Cine Makura is made of ballistic nylon, which is the same type of material that Think Tank uses for most of its cases. This material is super strong and durable.
The biggest advantage of ballistic nylon is that it is easily washable. Mast Studio chose ballistic nylon for the same reason so that users can open the Cine Makura, remove the beads that are in separate bags, and then wash the bag. You can put the Cine Makura in the washing machine and clean it after it gets dirty. Cinesaddle or other similar products are always put on the ground, saved on airplanes, or placed on surfaces that are rarely so clean, so being able to clean one easily is a big deal.
That’s not to say you can’t clean or wash a Cinesaddle, because you can. However, at least in my experience, ballistic nylon is easier to clean than canvas.
Overall build quality
The Cine Makura is very well made and solidly built. Not only is the bag made of ballistic nylon, but it also uses YKK zippers.
If you are unfamiliar with YKK zippers, these are Japanese made zippers that are used on all Think Tank bags and cases. They are renowned for being the strongest, most efficient zippers available. I have never had a single YKK zipper break.
I also like that the color of the Cine Makura is dark gray. This means that he doesn’t stand out or draw attention to himself.
The Cine Makura has a fully detachable adjustable shoulder strap. On a Cinesaddle, the shoulder strap can only be detached from one side of the bag. The great thing about the Cine Makura is that there are 6 attachment points with steel rings that allow you to place the shoulder strap in different ways.
These fixing points also allow you to attach the Cine Makura if necessary. My only small complaint is that I feel like the steel rings on these mounting points could have possibly been a bit bigger. For some tie-down straps, it may be difficult to put them on.
The Cine Makura also has a small pocket on one side of the bag, although this one is not zipped. This pocket is not too deep, however, you can place a camera battery or something similar in it. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend doing this as I feel the pocket isn’t deep enough to do it safely.
If I had to be picky I would have liked the pocket to have its own zippers or at least velcro. I say this because I don’t like to put things in open pockets.
Just like some of the Cinesaddle models, you can open the Cine Makura and place items such as a smaller camera inside if needed.
The additional advantage of the Cine Makura over a Cinesaddle is that the zip section can be opened on three sides. With the Cinesaddle, you can only open the front side. This makes it easy to remove the logs and also allows you to simply use the lower section if you need to bring your camera closer to the ground.
Inside the Cine Makura, the beads are located behind another layer of ballistic nylon. While they’re reasonably well protected, I would have liked to see another set of additional zippers so they aren’t exposed even when you fully open the Cine Makura and lay it flat. Again, this is a minor complaint, but just something that I hope to see improved on in future versions.
With products like this, it all comes down to usability. If a product is done well, it does not matter if it does not perform well for its intended use.
The Mast Studio Cine Makura does its job and it does it well. As a camera support platform, it is easy to use and provides solid results.
I have used the Cine Makura on a variety of different shoots and am very happy with it.
It also works well if you want to place your camera on the Cine Makura and use the camera strap for certain types of handheld work.
The shoulder strap has a good range of adjustment so that you can position the Cine Makura at the height that suits you best.
My only real complaint and I have found this to be the case with the Cine saddle as well, is that the shoulder straps always dig into your shoulder. This is especially true if you are using a fairly heavy camera. I would have liked to see a more comfortable shoulder strap, although it was an optional accessory.
By saying that you could easily buy something like the PortaBrace sturdy suede shoulder strap with camera clips and tie it up.
As far as durability goes, it looks like it will easily withstand the rigors of field use, however, I haven’t had this product for so long so can’t offer a realistic long-term rating.
Overall I’m very happy with the purchase and it’s good to see a slightly more modern take on an iconic product.
Pricing and availability
The Mast Studio Cine Makura is available in four different versions. Below are the prices:
Just for your reference, Â¥ 39,800 equates to around $ 343. To compare. the Cinesaddle Marsupial Cinesaddle Camera Mount costs $ 395.
Mast Studio does not have contact information in English. If you are interested in anything that they are selling let me know and I will do my best to convey your request.