Thursday, December 22, 2011

DIY Camera Stabilizer Shoulder/Fig Rig Cage - First Look

I have finally built it!  Well for the most part anyways.  (Pics below) I must still glue everything together and paint it black, but its together.  Once I finish gluing the pieces and they dry, I will get out and do a test run to see how it performs.  Maybe even go all out and create a dinky action short!  Ha!  But back to business... I have designed this rig to allow for multiple applications.  With this you will be able to use it as a over the shoulder rig, but instead of some awkward one sided setup, it will put the camera directly in front of you and allow for easy adjustment of the focus ring.  I have also made it possible to remove the shoulder handles/weights so it becomes a cage shaped fig rig.  Allowing you to get your steering wheel shots.  But not only that, since its a cage you will be able to turn your cage to the left or right and run along side your actor in a forward direction instead of having to side step.  Assuming you have an oscillating screen or small mountable monitor...Or you are just that good and can run and "know" your actor is in frame ;).  Now I do not have them myself, but if you so choose you could install rails as well and within the cage.

What are the benefits of a cage over just open on top?  Well there are a number of them.  With a cage you will be able to mount your shotgun and portable audio recorder in convenient places for yourself, and even lights!  A cage will also give you the ability to add light deflectors for your lens on the front by simply attaching it to the front rods or do the mounting deck.  Protection!  If you drop your camera with other rigs, most likely your lens is sticking out beyond the rig it is attached to and will result in nearly instant destruction.  But with this you will at least know that your camera is completely surrounded by pvc, which will take most of the punishment assumably with at least flat surfaces.  Weather elements:  Something I hope to test out, is making a rain over that will drape and attach over the cage with possibly a plexiglass window for shooting out and a large cover extending from that to protect the operator as well.  I would love to actually be standing In the rain and snow and not have to worry about damaging my camera, yet getting cool weather shots. 

Another little thing I added was the thread screw for the camera.  I have created it so the screw will stay as part of the rig without falling out but you can turn it form the bottom instead of spinning your camera in circles to tighten it.  Plus its really easy to attach with how its setup.  You will see soon enough though how I did it.  For now though, here are a few pics of the rig with my camera attached.  Once I figure out what the best method is to glue the pieces together, I will record a video of the basic DIY portion so I may share it with the rest of you.  My guess as to how much it will cost is kinda dependent on how far you yourself want to take it.  But the very basic design should be just under $20 and that is without the weights attached and simply having pvc rods with foam rest on your shoulders.  This is doable but may make you tired faster holding your camera and how much gear your attach.  With everything I have it might be more like $35.  Thanks for reading and feel free to share this post with others.  I will do a second posting when I actually create the DIY video.  Merry Christmas everyone!

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