Monthly Archives: October 2010


Above - Ted Ramasola's DIY Follow Focus from

I've seen many versions of a friction based Follow Focus, most of them designed similar to the IDC FF. Above, is a very early example found at the forum posted by Ted Ramasola. It's been a good foundation for other ideas, and many people have refined it into their own.

Macro Rail available via Amazon

Using the same idea with Canon Lens rear caps and a skate wheel, it looks like is busy working on a DIY friction based follow focus with a simple way of mounting camera and adjusting the FF to fit different sized lenses. Using an inexpensive Macro sliding rail for XYZ adjustments and a tweaked metal L bracket, this looks like it could be a simple weekend project. Check out the video below from Vimeo member Mathieu Bujold.

These Macro rails are available via Amazon, but if you're looking for something at half that price, you can locate them via eBay. Here's the style Macro Rail that is used in the video: Macro Focus Rail Slider for Canon Nikon Sony Panasonic

click image for pricing on Macro Rail


Here's another excellent example of a focus pull technique with the Stage Zero Motion Controlled Timelapse dolly from Dynamic Perceptions. Each week there seems to be lots of new and exciting additions to the Stage Zero dolly and MX2 controllers. More support for additional camera makes to be remotely triggered for a completely programmable no touch timelapse solution from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Panasonic. According to the Dynamic Perceptions blog, these new motion controlled Timelapse dollies are currently open for pre-orders with an expected delivery date of December 10th. You can keep up or catch up with all the news, instructional videos, and my favorites - more sample motion controlled Timelapse videos over at the website:

Dynamic Perceptions Stage Zero Motion Controlled Timelapse Dolly


Now that Panasonic has announced the GH2, i'm sure this is going to open up a market of new Panasonic shooters. If the GH2 shares the same form factor and weight as the GH1, this might be a Panasonic GH2 video camera stabilizer worth looking at. I posted an earlier article on this website with Vimeo member Choon Ean showing off some Hague MMC skills with a GH1, but here's another one that should sell it as a capable GH1 / GH2 steadicam. Lots of panning and full on jogging shots while maintaining great results in this video. Remember, this isn't on flat smooth ground, but more on an uphill run in some uneven terrain. Good job showcasing the product on this one.
[Thanks - Choon Ean]

The Hague MMC can be found here: Hague Mini Motion Cam Video Camera Stabilizer
click image for pricing on Hague MMC


Canon DSLR and Lens Combination Rebates

Just a reminder that if you or anyone you know is planning on grabbing a new Canon DSLR, there's some rebate incentives going on. This rebate isn't something to go out of your way, but if you're looking to dive in to a DSLR purchase for the first time, it might save you a few bucks. From the Canon Rebate information, the deal comes in if you grab a flash or lens combination with a new DSLR body purchase. Both items must appear on the same receipt, purchased in the same day to qualify. Canon has listed all their top DSLR bodies for this rebate, incuding the new Canon 60D. Most of the lenses to qualify for this rebate are quite expensive, but if someone asked me which combo deal might be worth it, i'd probably suggest grabbing a Canon T2i or 60D + the Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM. There's a list of items that state Instant Rebates, so this doesn't look like a 'Mail in Rebate' deal. More information can be found on some special links displayed over at the B&H website: List of items that qualify for Canon Rebate deal



Here's an interesting camera mount for the RC Helicopter hobbyist. This is being sold for the 'Camera Stand' only, but was designed to adapt to different small 450-500 sized helicopters. Images show cameras as small as the GoPro HD Hero up to small HD Camcorders. There's also a tilt mechanism shown in the listing, but i'm not sure how that ties in to the controls. Here's the link to the Camera Mount Stand: Camera Mount Stand for 450-500 Sized Helicopters

Click image for Pricing

I'm not at all experienced in RC Helicopters, but there are some over seas 450 sized helicopters ready to fly running for around $200 bucks that might be able to complete a fun GoPro flying rig. I've never flown an RC Heli, but I can imagine the damage it can cause to ones camera. For myself, I might be willing to practice on something as robust like a GoPro (those things have fallen from space and survived), but not sure if i'd ever have the huevos to fly a full Canon DSLR on a RC Helicopter. Fly at your own risk... Here's the link to the cheap 450 Sized Helicopters: RC Helicopter 450 Kit ready to Fly - Just needs Batteries

Click image for Pricing


I'm a Microsoft guy and work on a PC probably 99% of the time. As i'm typing this i'm working on a Lenovo X300, a PC system that was the rival against Apple's first Macbook Air. This PC laptop is super thin, super light, and runs everything I need for mobile computing. For processor intensive and graphics work, that's all done on a home desktop system. Sure I own an Apple iPad and an iPhone, but neither one gave me the needs required for backing up photos from a shoot, editing a quick video clip, or posting up a new blog post when i'm travelling. This PC laptop running Windows 7 and an SSD hard drive is my go to system when i'm on the go.

Now comes Apple's new Macbook Air at a cheaper price than it's earlier version, and also smaller and lighter. Specs looks like it's got a lot more performance features added too. Running all solid state flash storage, and a ton of batteries all built into the unit, this thing can be on stand by for 30 days without a charge. I would say more than half the system board area was reserved for the batteries alone. Unlike the iPad that fit some needs, and failed in others, this new Macbook Air runs a full Mac OS and has a full QWERTY keyboard. With it's flash based storage system, it's instant on just as fast as the Apple iPad.

There's a discussion about an article over at the B&H Photo website that this new Macbook Air netbook is something Photographers and Videographers could find handy. Many of the new cameras are using SDHC media, only the 13" Macbook Air has a built in SD card reader for backing up photos without a card reader. They also claim that it should run Final Cut Pro - maybe not fast, but well enough. It's available now in both 11" and 13" models, with options from a 64GB to 256GB internal flash storage. Looks like only 2x USB ports are available for external devices, and nothing about Firewire being mentioned. What do you guys think? Anything interesting here at this price? The laptops aren't designed to replace true work systems, but does this suit the Mobile Media market?


The cheapest new Macbook AIR 11" here:

Most expensive new Macbook AIR 13" here:


John Hwang decided to tackle Hal's DIY PVC shoulder support and provides a timelapse look into the project. With not too much more than a simple Hacksaw, this project was completed right in the living room floor. There's a fun test run at the end complete with sound effects. Of course there's nothing to show it's true stability or how this rig can further be loaded up with accessories, but it looks like a solid foundation that should perform well for a first time rig. This would definitely be something to look into for you GH1, NEX, and PEN fans. You can't complain for a $5 dollar project. [Thanks John].

If you're looking to get cleaner, more accurate, and straighter cuts into your PVC projects, check out these twisting PVC Pipe cutters running under $8 dollars. You clamp the unit to a PVC tube and just give it a spin. Continue to tighten and spin until it's cut all the way through. Very simple, and you won't break a sweat. Found here: PVC Pipe Cutter
click image for pricing on PVC Cutting tool



You won't find many of my DIY's using PVC, but here's one I think is worth mentioning. Submitted by Hal Robertson, I think it's a project just about anyone can tackle in an afternoon and an ice cream budget. If you're like me, they have the exact same parts available in at least Copper Piping, which I would personally use over PVC. Of course metal pipes are a bit more expensive and requires a little bit more tooling to work with.

This simple design has a few nice features. The double seperated rails keep the rig from rolling off the shoulder, and the angled brackets to the rear provide a shoulder rest and a counterweight mount. There's a crap load of photos, and If you want to check out the complete set of parts, and build instructions, head on over to Hal's blogspot: Hey Hal, why isn't on your BlogRoll? LOL. [Thanks Hal]


Here's a perfect example of "Why Didn't I Think of That???!". I talked about the Yongnuo remote LCD viewfinder a few times and ordered one myself. Article found here: I've used it for the Palo Alto adapter to do some Painters Pole Photography so that I can frame a shot and fire the camera's shutter. I've also tried to use it as an EVF - Electronic View Finder, but the pixel resolution wasn't suffice for focusing when magnified by a Loupe. So other than PPP photography, it's been on the shelf.

Recently GoPro released firmware to allow Live View video from the GoPro HD to an external monitoring. Since the GoPro doesn't have an LCD (yet), framing a shot is always hit and miss. I've had the Yongnuo + GoPro items on my shelf for months now and didn't think to use them together. Well Cheesycam reader Renato Longona writes in today with a video showing the two being used together. This Yongnuo is a lightweight, inexpensive, portable battery powered LCD monitor perfect for something like the GoPro which has no LCD. I really enjoyed using the built in Timelapse feature on the GoPro, and now i'll be able to accurately view what's going to be captured. Pure genius! [Thanks Renato]

The Yongnuo Live View Remote Portable Battery Powered LCD can be found here: Yongnuo Battery Powered Remote LCD Viewer

Click image for Pricing on Yongnuo Remote LCD

Click image for Pricing on GoPro HD Hero