Monthly Archives: August 2010

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Cheap New DSLR Rig from Tony Carretti on Vimeo.

We've been donated many photos and ideas on the 'Dual L Bracket DIY Fig Rig stabilizer', but I believe Tony Carretti here has donated the first video tour of how this thing really comes together. The first idea is to use a a flat flash bracket to join the two together with a quick release plate, but Tony's got a great idea of using a wide flat base from an old Flowpod, so that the camera can stand on it's own. The Canon 550D / T2i is mounted with two Sima L brackets (same that I have), but similar ones are from Alzo or the Adorama L-bracket with 2 Standard Flash Shoe Mounts. For the quick release plate, he's using a Cullman QR. I like how that QR plate is mounted on that Flowpod wide base plate, fits pretty flush. Great job on this Tony and thanks for sharing the video. This gives more of us an idea of how it all comes together to make a decent hand held stabilizer on the cheap.

Not suggested for the Canon T2i, but I think this would be even more awesome with the DIY top handle idea.

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find-price-button Camera L Video Bracket Hot Shoe

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find-price-button Straight Bracket with Two Adjustable Flash Shoe Mounts

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Mixed Martial Arts Madness from alexis wanneroy on Vimeo.

Shot using the a Canon 5D Mark II + Cheap A.S.S.(<--that's an acronym) shoulder support from this article: http://cheesycam.com/a-s-s-implants-how-to/ along with an LCDVF viewfinder, Alexis Wanneroy was able to pull off some pretty stable footage. Not bad for a $20 dollar camera shoulder support.


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I'm still waiting on the other two, but i'll have a total of three Zoom H1's and still my Zoom H4n. I have ordered more Audio-Technica ATR3350 Lav microphones which is a Mono mic (not stereo), and if you're looking into those cheaper shotgun microphones, those would be mono as well. If you're lucky they might already adapt to record in two channels like the Rode Videomic does. Since the ATR3350 Lav mic and possibly some of these other mono microphones records only to one side channel of the Zoom Audio recorder, to save yourself some time duplicating audio tracks in post, you can grab one of these mono-to-stereo adapters. (make sure it's mono to stereo not vice versa) The correct size you'll need is 3.5mm (a.k.a 1/8"). Here's the link to a Mono to Stereo Adapters on eBay.

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Dual Mono Adapter

Another interesting comment that came in suggested the use of a Dual input adapter. This may work to input two mono microphones one for each channel. The Zoom H4n can record 4 channels, two of them mono which needs to be duplicated to both left and right channel in post. Using a Dual input adapter, you might be able to achieve the same thing with the Zoom H1. You may have to depend on using self powered microphones, and also you won't be able to adjust individual levels like the Zoom H4. Curious if that idea would work.

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Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder

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click image to find shoe mounts

Random post. This blog is sometimes used for me to keep tabs on the random things that run in my head. So while i'm out here in Maui on vacation i'm pretty sure i'll forget this little idea. Redrock Micro makes a cool handle that uses the hotshoe on top of the DSLR. For the Canon 5D Mark II & 7D, the hotshoe can be used with a handle, because the body is designed with a beefy magnesium frame. The cheap shoe mounts that I recently blogged about would make a great starting point for my new DIY top handle, and combined with the Double L bracket stabilizer Idea would make a complete lightweight solution that's easily broken down. It's so handy to have a top handle with your DSLR.

By the way, I've been using the Sima L brackets I received with my GoPro HD + Modified GoPro Underwater Housing by EyeOfMine together in the ocean. The Sima L bracket has nothing I can see that will be affected by the water, and I give it a decent rinse when i'm done. Definitely a great underwater stabilizer too. I've also been using the other one with my Canon SX210 IS, and it's like a match made in heaven. The Canon SX210 IS has built in optical stabilization and a crazy zoom. The extra handle off to the side gives me a more comfortable hold to take super steady video footage even in complete low light. I think i've used this Point and Shoot more than my other cameras on this trip, safe to say I overpacked.

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Flycam Nano test run from kaydawgy on Vimeo.

There's quite a few things I find that can be useful with the DSLR community, but haven't had the chance to test it out myself. Vimeo member kayDawgy checked out the FlyCam Nano stabilizer article I posted and decided to test it out. The design looks pretty familiar copying the Glidecam setup, and with the right experience looks like it can pull off some really nice stabilizer footage. Unfortunately, there was little information and even less 'good' video samples of the unit's ability. I think things worked out quite well, and personally this is the best video so far done with the Flycam Nano. It might not be perfect, but from my own experience, it's quite difficult to shoot with a stabilizer chasing a running subject around 2-3 ft. tall. LOL

From the tags of the video, looks like kaydawgy used a Canon 550D / T2i and Tokina 11-16mm lens, which is a killer combination on any stabilizer. I especially love how wide this lens is on the Canon 550D / T2i without having much barrel distortion around the edges. Sometimes that barrel distortion is not so flattering with people. If you have any further questions, you may want to give kaydawgy a comment at the video link here. http://vimeo.com/14534884

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find-price-button The Flycam Nano

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find-price-button Tokina 11-16MM F/2.8 ATX 116 Lens for Canon EOS AF Digital - Tokina ATX116PRODXC

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E1G-Microphone
Under $40 dollar Shotgun Microphone EG1

Just by using a microphone away from the camera and closer to your subject things generally will sound much better. In that case almost any microphone should suffice to getting decent audio. The most popular microphones used by DSLR shooters are the Rode VideoMic and the Senheisser MKE-400.

The Senheisser MKE-400, priced at $199, is said to have slightly less audio quality than the Rode VideoMic, but is favored for it's tiny tiny compact size (unlike the Rode). If you're taking size into consideration, I've had my eye on this particular shotgun microphone from China that runs less than $40 dollars. It can go by the name EG1 or EC-330 and I've been waiting for someone to throw up some type of review or audio test to see if it's even worth the penny. After posting the article on the larger $35 dollar China Shotgun Microphone, one comment comes in reminding me about it. Yup, still not much information out there, but it does look like a good alternative if you want the compact size of the MKE-400, without having to spend the $199. Here's the link to find the cheap eBay EG1 shotgun microphone, so if anybody has any more information, please drop a line. If lack of information drags on further, I may have to purchase one to kill the curiousness.

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thorlabs-ra90-clamp-diy-dslr

click images to view more images at Flickr

Thanks for Mako for sending in images of his DSLR rig using Thorlabs RA90 - 90 degree clamps with locks. These $10 dollar ninety-degree clamps are a great way to start building your different rigs or support structures, but if you take a peek around ThorLabs 'post accessories' you might get some other cool ideas. The accessories they sell work to attach 1/2" rods, and also sell a swiveling clamp that can lock in different positions. Some very cool stuff over at the website. I personally may not have ideas for a DSLR shoulder mount with these RA90 clamps, but four clamps and some 1/2" lightweight pipes at Home Depot would make for a very simple DSLR cage. Since 1/2" rods are the standard for Bike Handlebar grips, it sounds like an easy build with some really cool professional results. Something I just might look into. Here's the link to get you started in Thorlabs products: http://www.thorlabs.com/thorProduct.cfm?partNumber=RA90

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Above: Thorlabs RA90 1/2" post clamp

[Thanks Mako]

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Yet another video where I try to cram as much gear tests into one quick take. Here i'm using the Zoom H1 recorder with Audio-Technica ATR3350 powered Lav mic talking about the Yongnuo RF-602 Flash Triggers. Hey, I might as well get it out of the way since I haven't said much about them after I received the Yongnuo's a few weeks ago.

The ATR3350 lav mic from Audio-Technica does perform very well for something that's only $20 dollars shipped. The Zoom H1 no doubt is an excellent audio recorder that can be thrown into a pocket and carried around by the speaker. The Zoom H1 levels were set to 60, which may not be the most optimal setting, but hopefully gives you an idea of it working in combination with the ATR3350 Lav. The Audio Technica Lav mic records in Mono, but if you're already a Rode Videomic user, that's nothing new. I duplicated the audio channels to both left and right, but as you can tell, it sounds very flat and quite differently than recording in real stereo like the X/Y mic config of the Zoom H1.

I wasn't too happy with the straight drop of mono audio in this video. There's no ambient sound, and almost sounds like a voice over. Well, that also means the LAV was working well by focusing on the speaker. I possibly could have done this video better with a shotgun microphone alone, but if we were in a very noisy environment where you need to be discreet like a wedding, the LAV mic may work best. It's possible to mix the audio from the Camera along with the LAV mic audio, but the IS motor on my 24-105mm lens comes in like a loud grinding noise. I probably should have used a shotgun microphone as a second microphone + Zoom H1 w/ ATR3350 Lav mic and mixed it all together to make things sound more natural.

Sorry guys, that was a real quick rough test before I had to head out to (currently in) Maui, Hawaii. I'm out here on vacation, but also to test some other gear where the scenery is much nicer.

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click image to purchase Audio-Technica ATR3350

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YongNuo Combo Wireless Remote Shutter + Wireless Flash Trigger

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Thanks to Alex for sending this in. I'm sure we've all seen this cheap Shotgun microphone before, but there wasn't much information about it's performance. For around $35.00 dollars shipped, this video test shows that the HTDZ HT-81 Shotgun microphone is still better than using your onboard camera microphone. The microphone states it can also accept Phantom power. There seems to be some issues with a clicking noise during the setup with Phantom power, but no indication if it was 24v or 48v that was used. I'm guessing there should be more tests in this area, but on it's own 1.5v battery source, it performed well for a $35 dollar shotgun. Although it shows good quality sound, there's also no test of how tight the pattern is and what type of noise it can eliminate. It would be good to see this in use outdoors next to a busy highway or something. Here's the link to where you can grab the HTDZ HT-81 Shotgun Microphone for approx. $35 dollars shipped.

[update] There's some confusion going on with these Shotgun Microphones. After a bit of digging around, these Shotgun microphones can go under different names, but the listings show pretty much the exact same specificiations and images.You might find them being pushed as the professional 'HTDZ' series. There are two different lengths, one close to 15" and the other close to 11", but appears to have the same audio qualities. Perhaps the longer one has a longer pickup, not sure.

Here's the generic links to the 15" Shotgun Microphone Listings and 11" Shotgun Microphone Listings which appears to be the same as the HTDZ series being shown in the video above.

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Above: 15" Shotgun Microphone click image to find

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Above: 11" Shotgun Microphones click image to find