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Thread: Video Rig

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Video Rig

    Sometimes I will fabricate a piece of equipment from scratch while, at other times, it is a better plan to buy commercially offered equipment and modify it to the way I like to use it. This is what I have done with my video rig. I was seriously planning to build a rig like this for my video camera (it can also be used with a DSLR for video work) but, upon weighing the cost of materials and the time for fabrication aginst a commercially available unit, I decided on this one from eBay.

    Video Rig

    The rig allows me to mount a video light (and an off camera mike when I get one) into a gun and run setup. The rig also greatly assists in stabilizing either my little video camera or a DSLR shooting video.

    I modified the rig by wrapping the two handles with black parachute cord to provide a bit of extra width and make them easier to hold. I added an Arca Compatible clamp so I can remove or switch cameras easily...

    Video Rig

    Finally, I added an Arca Compatible plate to the underside of the rig which allows mounting on a tripod or monopod with an Arca Compatible clamp.

    Video Rig

    I really like this rig and have it set up so I can grab it in a heartbeat. It will stand up on a flat surface for storage and will not tip over easily. Turnng the camera on and turning on the battery operated video light is all I have to so.

    The video light is LED and is very close to daylight color. I have a four CFL bulb soft box and between these two lights, I can set up for video very quickly which is an advantage when our rescue puppies are doing something really cute!

    I also use the LED light outdoors but, only in close-up shots since it is not all that powerful. I have seen videographers who used a frame basically like this with two lights attached for greater power. That is the advantage of the five cold shoe slots on the top of the cage.

    Obviously, this doesn't have a focusing rig for a DSLR but, in reality, I use the video camera for video more often that my 7D. I can use this rig either by viewing with the LCD or through the lens of the video camera.

    Unfortunately, I did not save the website of the person who fabricated the rig. This is a rig very much like the one I am using ( http://www.ebay.com/itm/DSLR-Camera-...item2570409df4 ) but, I purchased mine through a Southern California seller and it was less expensive. The builder told me that he was selling it below cost.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th May 2012 at 04:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Video Rig

    Richard - I've seen these devices on the internet and have never quite understood what they do for the videographer. Manfrotto has something called a Fig Rig that seems to use a similar concept, but is not natively equipped to handle the lights. I do shot a fair bit of video, and there are many days that I seem to be more of a videographer than a photographer…

    The main issue that I see with most amateur video is camera shake; you know that rapid movement of the camera that induces motion sickness in just about anyone watching the final product. Holding a frame like this does not look like it is going to give the videographer an inherently stable, low shake position. I think a fair comparison is the point & shoot camera without a viewfinder that the photographer holds in front of his or her body, trying to frame a shot.

    Just like in still photography, it is ideal to shoot off a tripod, and if you can’t there are proper ways of bracing yourself to minimize shake. For video, I find a decent fluid head with a 75mm ball invaluable. If you have a high enough budget, a steadi-cam type rig can be used for motion shots and shoulder mounts are quite popular as well. I doubt that either a steadi-cam or shoulder mount solution will do much good if you get down to puppy level. I use a tripod whenever I can, and when I can’t I can often rig something up on the spot, or just hand-hold using a good stance.

    My video camera does have a cold shoe (it's on the handle right beside the microphone bracket mount), but, I’ve never actually used it. Much like photography, I prefer working with off-camera lights. I looked at the camera-mounted LED lights, but never went that route because the light output seems to be rather minimal as compared with what I get with a normal “hot” light. Much like on-camera flash, the lighting is flat and uninteresting, so I tend to shoot with my Lowel halogen “hot” lights and use bounce and other light shaping techniques that are not all that different from what a photographer does.

    It's reasonably well balanced, even with the tripod slide plate in place (on the bottom in the image) and it only takes a few seconds to remove it.


    Video Rig

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Video Rig

    One thing that this rig does is add some weight and bulk to the camera. A problem with many of the dedicated video cameras like my Panasonic is that it is actually too small and light to hand hold steady, despite the electronic steadying system built-in...

    The rig also helps to steady the camera because any movement of the rig is minimized then it reaches the camera. Basically, that is also the way the FigRig Works. You have to move the "steering wheel" of the FigRig quite a way before the camera is moved a small amount.

    Of course, there are balancing "Steadicam type" rigs which work in an entirely different concept.

    One of my main uses for this bracket is shooting my rescue dogs and puppies. I like that I can have the camera set up with an LED light mounted and that the rig securely stands up and will not tip over. That way I can grab the rig, turn on the camera and start shooting in a heartbeat.

    The drawback up to now has been that my right hand is too far from the camera when holding the upright handle. I cannot activate the camera without moving my hand which also means moving the rig. I believe that I have solved this program by attaching the camera remote to the right upright handle with sticky-back Velcro. I can now turn the camera on and off as well as operate the zoom lens with the thumb of my right hand.

  4. #4
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Video Rig

    I quite agree with you about the weight. While a heavy camera is more of a pain to carry around, it is a lot easier to hold steady. I suspect that your rig is going to be of more use than the steadicam as you are going to be recording at dog level, rather than at human level. I just have trouble thinking I can hold the rig plus camera out from my arms and get a steady shot. My camera weights 1.3kg/2.9 lb naked. Add the grip, battery and lens, it's up to 2.4 kg / 5 lb before you know it

    There are a number of companies that turn out wired remote controls for video cameras, both for on / off and zoom control. Mine is made by Libec (who also make my tripod). The only thing to be careful about is that Panasonic uses a different triggering mechansim than Sony or Canon, so one has to ensure that the remote is Panny compatible. I think your solution should work, but have found that the wireless remotes are sometimes a bit less reliable than the hard-wired ones. On the other hand, you already own the one that came with the camera, so this is a lot cheaper than buying a different one.

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