DIY Video and Photography Projects

31Oct Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1080p 60


So Canon’s latest 7D Mark II has arrived (in stock now here) and they’re pushing hard mainly marketing towards still photographers. It’s actually quite an amazing camera for sports and action photos, but some may say it falls a bit short in the video market compared to the new offerings by Sony and Panasonic.

Yet mainly because of the image quality and color that can be achieved from Canon DSLRs, there are still many videographers who just can’t let go of their Canon 5D Mark IIIs. The main gripe has been to at least upgrade to a camera that can add 1080p @60fps to their existing workflow. So much of a need that the latest Canon C100 Mark II at $5K+ was being heavily considered.

But now that the new Canon 7D Mark II offers 1080/60p at just $2149, offers excellent AF in video mode, and also allows you to attach an external HDMI Recorder to capture a higher quality ProRes, this might be a camera to fill that void for another year or two until Canon can finally release a proper 4K DSLR camera.

Canon’s pretty smart about releasing just enough features to make it interesting enough for production teams running around with several Canon DSLRs, but not enough features to step into their high end Cinema market. I know a few people who already have eyes on this camera. For more information about the new 7D Mark II (click here).

Canon 7D Mark II
find-price-button Canon EOS 7D Mark II

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30Oct Magic Carpet – Camera Slider + Motion Control


syrp magic carpet camera video slider motion control

According to the website, the new Magic Carpet Camera Slider from Syrp (starts at just $299) sold out on it’s first release and pre-orders and will be ready to begin shipping by approximately the end of November. What is the Magic Carpet Slider? Here’s a short intro video and product description below.

Product Description:
The Magic Carpet is a simple, portable solution for obtaining buttery smooth tracking slider shots. Designed with a full roller-bearing carriage and quick-release levers the Magic Carpet ensures your time on-location is well spent creating amazing footage rather than dealing with the technical setup of your shoot.

The Magic Carpet also comes motion control ready by simply adding the Genie (vimeo.com/46075511) to the track you are setup to film smooth motion control time-lapse or real-time video.

Either choose from a Short Track (2.6 Feet / 800mm) or a Long Track (5.2 Feet / 1600mm). It’s universal design means you can easily add another length track to your kit and use the same carriage + end caps giving you the flexibility of longer camera movements and portability in one package.

Additional information about the Syrp Magic Carpet – Camera Slider and Motion Control options can be found via the product page (found here).

long track magic carpet slidersyrp magic carpet slider short track
find-price-button Syrp Magic Carpet – Camera Slider

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30Oct B&H PhotoPlus Expo 2014 Show Specials


Web

B&H has dedicated an entire full page of products currently on promotion in honor of the PhotoPlus Expo going on right now. Anything from Instant Savings to Mail in Rebate deals on popular photo / video products such as the Panasonic GH4, EVFs, LCD Monitors, Portable Audio Recorders, LED Lighting and more!

Below you’ll find just a small snippet of what to expect on this deal page, and I encourage you guys to check out ALL of the products currently on promotion while the specials last over at the Show Specials Page (click here).

bhphoto show specialsshow specials bhphoto video photo plus
Read More Button B&H Photo Video Show Specials Page

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30Oct Lexar Professional Flash Media Deals ends Nov 7


If you’re stuck on the Lexar brand of flash media, and you just happen to need more, there’s good news for you. Here’s a long list of current Lexar Flash Media Deals including bundles on the high speed professional models. Anything from Compact Flash, SDHC, SDXC, microSDXC, to that insane Four-Bay USB 3.0 Reader Hub that will help speed up the process of transferring data.

Lexar 4 port USB hubLexar USB Hub
find-price-button Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 – Four-Bay USB 3.0 Reader Hub

Here’s a list of some of the current deals happening now on Lexar brand Professional Flash Media and Readers via Adorama, and discounts end Nov 7, 2014.

*Lexar Professional 800x CompactFlash Cards, 2 Packs
*Lexar Class 10, 200x Platinum II Series Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Memory Cards, 2 Packs
*Lexar 32GB Class 10, Professional 400x SDHC UHS-I Memory Card for Cameras, 2 Pack
*Lexar CLASS 10, Professional 600x SDHC UHS-I Memory Cards for Cameras, 2 Packs
*Lexar 32GB Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card – Pack Of Two $149.95
*Lexar 64GB Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card – Pack Of Two $269.95
*Lexar 128GB Professional 1066x Compact Flash Memory Card, Up to 160Mbps Read / Up to 155 Mbps Write Speed, UDMA 7, 2 Pack $489.95
*Lexar 32GB Class 10, Professional 400x SDHC UHS-I Memory Card for Cameras, 2 Pack $39.95
*Lexar 32Gb HP microSDHC UHS-I Class 10 Memeory Cards (300x) – Two (2) Pack $34.95
*Lexar 32GB High-Performance microSDHC 633x Class 10 UHS-I Memory Cards with USB 3.0 Reader – Two (2) Pack $59.95
*Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual Slot Memory Card Reader, 5GHz 500MB/s, Supports: UDMA 7 CompactFlash, CF 5.0, SDXC, and SD UHS-1 (SD 2.0 and SD 3.0) $29.95
*Lexar Professional Workflow USB 3.0 Card Reader (SD Only) $20.95
*Lexar Professional Workflow USB 3.0 Card Reader (CF Only) $20.95
*Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 – Four-Bay USB 3.0 Reader Hub – No Reader included, must be purchased seperately $53.95
*Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader $22.95
*Lexar 16GB High-Performance microSDHC 633x Class 10 UHS-I Memory Card with USB 3.0 Reader $19.95
*Lexar 32GB High-Performance microSDHC 633x Class 10 UHS-I Memory Card with USB 3.0 Reader $29.95
*Lexar 64GB Class 10, Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I Memory Card for Cameras $43.95
*Lexar 128GB Class 10, Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I Memory Card for Cameras $76.95
*Lexar 32GB Professional 800x CompactFlash Card $48.95
*Lexar 64GB Professional 800x CompactFlash Card $77.95
*Lexar 32GB Professional SDHC UHS-I 600x Class 10 Memory Card for Cameras, 45MB/s Max. Write Speed $28.95

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28Oct Panasonic DMC-LX100 4K Compact Camera In Stock


The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Digital Camera with built in 24-75mm Leica f/1.7-2.8 Lens & 4K Ultra HD Video is available now and in stock! I really want this camera and I think it would be a good replacement over my Sony RX100 which sits in my backpack pretty much everywhere I go. It’s a bit pricey though coming in at $899, but I hear much of the guts are shared with the popular GH4 so the quality is definitely there.

panasonic_lumix_dmc_lx100_digital_camera_1082158
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Digital Camera with built in 24-75mm Leica f/1.7-2.8 Lens & 4K Ultra HD Video

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28Oct FotoDiox First Discount on UltraThin FlapJack LED Vide Lights


FotoDiox wanted to share their most recent discount on the FlapJack LED Light panels, and the discount code is shared in this little video below.

If you’re not too familiar with these lights, check out the two main FlapJack product videos found HERE and HERE. Remember the discount code for these products is FJOL18, and the FlapJack LED Video Light catalog page is listed (here)


FotoDiox FlapJack UltraThin Lightweight LED Video Panels

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27Oct Tascam DR-22WL and DR-60D MKII In Stock with FREE Overnight Shipping


Tascam DR-22WL 2-Channels Portable Handheld Audio Recorder with Wi-Fi, 3.5mm Mini Jack, Connector, 10kOhms Impedance, USB2.0 $149.99
Read More Button In-Stock Free Overnight Shipping

Tascam DR-44WL 4-Channels Portable Handheld Audio Recorder with Wi-Fi, 3.5mm Mini Jack, Connector, 2.2kOhms Impedance, USB2.0 $299.99
Read More Button In-Stock Free Overnight Shipping.

Tascam DR-60D MKII Portable Recorder for DSLR $199.99
Read More Button In-Stock Free Overnight Shipping.

Tascam DR-60D MKII Portable Recorder for DSLR – BUNDLE – with BeachTek SC35 3.5mm Stereo Output Cable, 4 Pack AA Batteries, and 16GB Class 10 Memory Card $209.99
Read More Button In-Stock Free Overnight Shipping.

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23Oct Affordable Quality Sound AspenMics Lavalier Microphone for DSLR Video


So eventually everyone should have wireless audio systems as part of their kit, but a decent set (on sale) can put you back $500 bucks only to capture audio from one subject. When you start placing a LAV mic on 2 subjects, then your costs immediately double up to $1,000 bucks. I recently helped on a project to record from 3 subjects having a conversation, and well let’s just say that was over $2100 dollars worth of wireless audio equipment. I know most people can’t afford to dive in to such expensive equipment right ways, so until you’re at the point where you really need it, there are some excellent workarounds. Here are just two suggested ways to do this.

The easiest, most affordable, and straightforward way is to place a lav on your subject and run a stereo extension cord back to your camera. You can then monitor audio, adjust levels, and not have to worry about syncing audio in post.
10 foot lav extension cord
find-price-button 10 Foot Extension for 3.5mm Stereo

If you can’t have your talent tied down to a cord, you can always place an audio recorder with the talent. I use this technique, and I know many others who also do this with a Zoom H1. It’s under $90 dollars and the audio quality is quite good. You can also use your iPhone as a portable audio recorder with many available sound recording apps. The drawback of course is that you can’t monitor the audio, adjust levels on the fly, and have to sync the audio in post. The benefits are that you can afford to have multiple recorders for multiple subjects and don’t have to worry about the possibility of wireless interference and drop-outs. Some even say that audio may even sound better than some wireless systems, as the recorders can capture the full sound.


zoom h1 recorder aspen mics
find-price-button Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder

So now that you have a few ideas on how to capture audio through a Lav Mic without a wireless audio system, the question now is what’s a good lav for the job? Well in this video I run though a list of inexpensive microphones that all have 4+ Star Ratings on Amazon, and also introduce you to one of my new favorite under $50 dollars.

Here’s how you can use your iPhone as a Portable Audio Recorder with the RODE REC App and an overview of the basic settings you should configure.

I like using DropBox to export my files, but you can also do this via USB and extract the file through iTunes. Here are the steps to do this.

Of course I can’t forget about people who are using Android devices, so here’s how you can use the popular sound recording application RECForge II from the Google Play Store.

If you’re curious about what the sound quality is like when using a Samsung Galaxy S4 as a portable audio recorder, i’ve put this little demo together (below).

Here’s a link to the various Lav Microphones mentioned for your reference. Although they have excellent ratings on Amazon, I found a few small things about each one that should be considered. If my opinion is worth anything, I would personally set my sights more towards the Rode SmartLav+ or the AspenMics Lavalier microphones.

azden lav microphone
Azden Lav Microphone
sony stereo lav microphone
Sony Stereo Lav Microphone
Olympus Lav Microphone
Olympus Lav Microphone
audio technica lav mic
Audio Technica Lav Microphone

Now keep in mind that the Rode SmartLav+ is latest version of this lav mic (don’t buy the old SmartLav). Also the Rode SmartLav+ is designed as a direct TRRS Lavalier, so you’ll need an optional adapter (found here) if you plan to use it with an audio recorder or if you want to connect this to your DSLR Camera. Combined with the adapter you’re looking at about $95 dollars each Lav.

The Aspen HQ-S is the stereo version and will work directly with any camera or audio recorder. If you want to use the HQ-S with your iPhone, you’ll need to purchase the kit that includes the TRRS adapter. The AspenMics are currently available at $45 dollars, so you can basically pick up two for the price of one Rode.

rode smartlav plus iphone lav
find-price-button
Rode SmartLav+ iPhone La
aspenmics lav stereo iphone trrs adapter
find-price-button
AspenMics HQ-S Stereo Lav

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22Oct F&V Metica 7″ HDMI+SDI Plus and SpectraHD 4 EVF


Snapped this photo earlier today. A couple of awesome new monitor products from F&V shipped over and I can’t wait to start shooting with.

I saw these Metica and SpectraHD EVF Monitor products earlier at the NAB show. The all metal casing just feels incredibly high quality, but still extremely lightweight. The Metica 7″ Monitor is available in a few different models starting at just $399 (found here).

Some of the software features you’ll find in each monitor are Software Features Include: Histogram, Vectorscope, False Color, Zebra Pattern, Focus Peaking, Frame Guides & Safety Area, Overscan & Pixel to Pixel, DSLR Scale, H/V Image Flip, Image Freeze, Image Zoom, Audio Columns, Timecode, and more! Here’s a quick video overview from the F&V Website.

fvlight meticametica monitor review
find-price-button Metica 7″ High Resolution Monitors HDMI+SDI

The SpectraHD 4 is a small 4″ high res monitor that can convert signals and is available with a Loupe attachment making it a true EVF solution.
fvlight spectra loupe evf 4 inch monitorspectrahd 4 evf monitor fvlightspectra HD 4 spectrahd
find-price-button SpectraHD 4 Monitor EVF

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22Oct $31 Dollar Sony A7s Cage PreOrder


SONY-A7S-Cage-1518_04

If you’re just looking to mount a few accessories to your new Sony A7s (A7/A7r) camera this new SmallRig Half Cage should give you that added flexibility. It might even be a good little half cage for other small cameras as well. Retail price $62 dollars, but if you pre-order now they’re offering it up for just half the price at $31 dollars (click here).

SONY-A7S-Cage-1518_02SONY-A7S-Cage-1518
find-price-button Sony A7s Cage PreOrder

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22Oct RODE NTG-2 Shotgun and VideoMic Pro Savings


Adorama is currently offering savings for both the RODE NTG-2 Dual Powered Shotgun Microphone and the RODE VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun mic. I checked a few other sites, and indeed there is additional savings to be had up to $60 OFF.

The RODE NTG-2 is a handy shotgun microphone as it is a ‘Dual Powered’ microphone. This means if you have an audio recorder that does not offer Phantom Power, you can simply throw a single AA battery into the mic.

Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone
find-price-button Rode NTG-2 Dual Powered Shotgun Mic

The RODE VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun mic is just one of those microphones that offers great sound for the price, and currently it’s even cheaper. It’s been around for a few years and practically a main piece of gear in any video shooter’s kit.

Rode VideoMic Pro rdvmp
find-price-button RODE VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun mic

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20Oct 30% OFF 8 and 10 inch PVGear 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails


Missed the last FREE 15mm Carbon Fiber Rail Deal? 30% OFF on #PVGear 8″ and 10″ 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails isn’t bad – Limited Time. Limited Inventory (found here).

pvgear 30 percent off sale
find-price-button Limited Time 30% OFF 8″ and 10″ 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails

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18Oct CAMETV 7800 Gimbal Tricks – How Stable Is It?


Earlier today I had a comment about the CAMETV 7800 Gimbal and how people may want the ‘camera over handles’ mode. In this mode you don’t have to raise your arms very high and will have less fatigue. Not exclusive to the 7800, any 32 bit Alexmos / Basecam gimbal can perform various positions and remain incredibly stable. In this video (below) i’m demonstrating just how stable these gimbals can be with the right configuration.

Now I realize the DJI Ronin is the best bang for the buck and it is an amazing system to carry heavy payloads. The main reason I use other gimbals is because i’m typically working with smaller cameras. I don’t need to travel with the bulk, and I don’t need to run around with the weight of the Ronin. If you watched the video above, you can see how even me (small guy) can man handle these all carbon fiber gimbals with just one hand [try that with a Ronin]. Even while switching through all of the different positions, the 7800 remained completely stable.

With this stability in a sub $1300 dollar gimbal like the 7800, you can see why it’s really hard for me to go with a heavier gimbal like the Ronin. Unless of course there’s a need to carry such a heavy payload, i’d rather just borrow a friends or rent one. Otherwise i’m happy to work with a more convenient system. As you can see in my video i’m using a heavier Canon 5D Mark III with Sigma Lens. If you’re shooting with a GH4 or Sony A7s, these smaller lighter gimbals should make your life much easier when you have to pack, travel, and shoot all day.

Now the tricks I show on the CAMETV is not limited to nor exclusive to the 7800. Any gimbal running the new 32 bit software that has a properly balanced camera can operate just the same. It’s extremely time consuming, but i’ll try to do more videos on showing you a step by step process on balancing soon, but if you guys have any questions let me know.

CAME-TV 7800 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
find-price-button CAME-TV 7800 RTR 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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18Oct Unboxing the CAME-TV 7500 7800 RTR 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizers


Here’s a look at unboxing and setting up the CAME-TV 7500 and 7800 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizers. Touching on the newly updated (7500) version, there are very slight changes but mostly cleaning up the wiring, especially around the battery cable. They consider this system RTR, but there is some small assembly to the top handle and of course you need to balance your camera. To see an original unboxing video about the CAME-TV 7500 (click here).

cametv 7500 3 axis gimbal stabilizer
find-price-button CAME-TV RTR 7500 3 Axis Gimbal

Moving on to the most recent Gimbal Product from CAME-TV is the new 7800 Gimbal. Once again CAMETV is trying to offer up an ‘affordable’ Ready-To-Run system and has added more improvements over the 7500 version. The 7800 model now offers a monitor mount, quick disconnect side handles, and a quick release baseplate – which makes it even easier to balance a camera.

What I didn’t show in the video was how to remove the side handles. The side handles can be removed without tools by rotating to loosen the clamp.

cametv 7800 handles
Remove side handles by twisting to loosen clamp

The top handle I suggest removing from the bottom of the dogbone clamp, so that you can better fit the system into a hard case like the Nanuk 945. The interior dimensions are L 22 x W 17 x H 8.2, which fits pretty snug, but still has lots of side space for your accessories (monitor, batteries, cables, tools, etc).

Nanuk 945 hard case gimbal stabilizer cametv 7800 7500
find-price-button Nanuk 945 Hard Case for 3 Axis Gimbal
.

I also suggest getting a better charger and spare batteries if you plan to run all day. I suggest these batteries:

find-price-button 20C 3S 4000mAh 11.1 LiPO Battery

And here’s a charger for these batteries. They charge must faster and keep the batteries working great for a long time:
find-price-button Balance Charger for NiMH/NiCD/Li-PO/Li-Fe Battery

Without spending too much time getting super accurate balancing on my gimbal, the 7800 performed very well right out of the box and without tuning any of the PID settings via the software. While you may not have to dive into the software, I still encourage people to at least ‘understand’ the software.

Now i’m not the only one this week who has unboxed one of the new 7800 gimbals. MDIFilms earlier today left a comment on this blog about their experiences setting up the system with a GH4 camera. They’ve provided a few different tutorial videos below, and interestingly enough they too did not have to tune PID settings out of the box (for their GH4 setup).

While it still takes a lot of patience and understanding how to balance a camera properly on a gimbal, the design improvements CAME-TV adds to each new gimbal make the ‘Out of Box’ experience better each time – while still keeping the systems affordable. The CAME-TV 7800 is available now, and is currently discounted for the month of October, 2014 (click here).

CAME-TV 7800 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
find-price-button CAME-TV 7800 RTR 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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17Oct Huge Discounts on Edelkrone Modula Systems


Edelkone Modula Discounts

If you’ve been a fan of Edelkrone rigs, they are currently offering up some major discounts on the Modula Series. Here’s a look at how the Modula systems can be configured differently.

There are several different Modula models starting from the Modula 3 to the Modula 9+. The most expensive combination listed on their website drops more than $1k off the list price. You can find out more about this deal over at the Edelkrone website (click here).

Modula Series Edelkrone discount
modula series edelkrone
Edelkrone Modula Series
Read More Button Edelkrone Modula Series

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16Oct DIY Gimbal Stabilizer Support Backpack


Earlier this morning I was talking to a friend about the weight of his DJI Ronin Gimbal, and he asked if I had any suggestions about a support system to carry the weight. He mentioned during his research, one of the more affordable options out there was between $649 – $849 dollars from a company called the Atlas Camera Support.

Atlas Camera Support Dual Rods
find-price-button Atlas Camera Support

It’s definitely more affordable than say an EasyRig, but design wise it’s not overly complicated to create something with a similar function. In just a few minutes of thinking about how I would go about this, I had a working prototype using an old camera backpack and a couple of fiberglass rods. Here’s what I came up with.


Look Ma! No Hands! Cheesycam DIY Gimbal Support BackPack

My DIY Design is very simple. A few conduit pipes are tucked into an old camera backpack and held in place with a block of wood. The Fiberglass rods are simply dropped into the pipes and removed when not in use.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (1 of 4)

Here are some additional details that are important for choosing a support backpack for this project. Choose a backpack with a chest clip and a waist belt. A Waist Belt is a must! You can find both of these features in a good camera backpack or sometimes you will find this with a good hiking backpack. These straps will keep the backpack snug up against your body and allow the rods to bend without pulling the backpack away from you. Here’s a couple of backpacks that give you an idea of what to look for.

amazon dslr backpack
find-price-button AmazonBasics DSLR BackPack with Chest Clip and Waist Support Belt

The Fiberglass rods I chose are just common Tent Poles, nothing special. Tent poles are designed to flex and they are also offered in various thicknesses. The ‘thicker’ the tent pole, the more weight it will support, but the harder it will be to bend. You definitely want some ‘bend’ with your pole to absorb any bounce. I picked up a 4 Tent poles for $10 dollars at a sporting goods store. I only used two. I know what you’re thinking – what if they snap? Keep Reading..

FiberGlass Tent Poles
find-price-button Fiberglass Tent Poles – Amazon

These Fiberglass rods have a very thick wall to them, but are also hollow. So to add a fail safe, i’m using 100lb rated Metal Braided Wire Cables running through the poles. If for some god forsaken reason one of these rods should break (which is very very difficult to do), the cable will keep things from coming apart. I’ve looped the cable at the end and ran it back through the rod, essentially doubling up the cable inside.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (2 of 4)

Heavy Duty Ultra Redundant Setup
As i’ve mentioned, if you want to carry a heavier system, you can look for the larger fiberglass rods. Another idea to carry extra weight, and to add additional redundancy is to double up these smaller rods on each side – essentially having 4 rods total. With two fiberglass rods on each side with cables running through, it would manage heavier systems, still remain flexible, and would add incredible fail-safe redundancy.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (4 of 4)

I left about 6 inches of loop hanging at the end for me to attach an adjustable strap to the gimbal. This ‘middle strap’ is so you can adjust the height position of your gimbal. If you want the gimbal higher, shorten the strap. If you want the gimbal to sit lower, lengthen the straps.

adjustable straps gimbal fiberglass rods

This was just a quick 15 minute prototype I whipped up, and now i’m going to clean things up a bit more with a second version. The next version I’ll try to find a slimmer backpack, and I will have the pipes tucked all the way into the backpack (totally unseen). I’m also going to make a new design for the adjustable strap.

So if you can’t DIY this project, go out and find someone to DIY it for you! Of course, there’s always the option of purchasing the Atlas Camera Support, but I do think a backpack makes for a better fashion statement. It’s also comforting to know that my design has a “Fail-Safe looped 100lb Wire Cable” run through the rods adding both strength and redundancy. As always, thanks for checking out this project and hopefully it will help you on your projects while saving you a few bucks. If you have any questions leave a comment.

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