Screen protectors not only help to prevent scratches on your camera's LCD, but some also prevent glare when viewing outdoors. It's also something I suggest using before mounting any sticky frame LCD Viewfinders on your camera. The Lexerd brand with TrueVue™ is ultra thin, scratch proof, touch screen capable, has great reviews and is available for most any camera including Nikon, Canon, and even the new Sony NEX-7.
Anyone check out the Gini DSLR Cages for Panasonic GH1 and GH2 cameras? Snug fit, looks nice, but crazy expensive. [Thanks Habez] Gini's DSLR Video cages were recently criticized about the lack of 1/4x20 threaded ports which is most common for adding accessories, and ends up using a different thread pitch. People have had to drill and tap the holes themselves in order to be usable. From the deign, this one doesn't appear to be any different. Maybe i'm wrong about the thread size. Comes with two handles, two monitor arms, and cage. (click here for Gini DSLR cages for GH1 and GH2 cameras).
The great thing about building your own rig is being able to design it specifically for your own needs. Of course most of how we assemble things together are based on what products are available to us. When we're introduced to new products, it opens up so much more possibilities. Industry standard 15mm rails are great for building form and support for your cameras, but here's a new concept that also add more function.
The P&C Swiss Rod has a few inches of 15mm rod on each end, and in the middle are alternating threaded and non-threaded holes. The pass through is designed so that items like a hot shoe can be positioned correctly before tightening. The male/female ends of the Swiss Rod are industry standard and can be used to extend (attach) to other manufacturer rods like Gini, Letus, and I believe even Zacuto, and more. The wide squarish design of the rod also helps nano clamps from slipping.
Even if you're not trying to replace rails on your build, by just adding a single P&C Swiss Rod, you open up totally new mounting options. The 1/4" studs can always be stepped up to 3/8" if needed. Taking advantage of the basic threaded ports, we've also found creative ways to mount the Swiss Rods on light stands or on the hot shoe of the camera to hold many accessories. With several items attached to one rod, the entire rod becomes a quick release system mounted to a simple 15mm clamp. The rods will be available from PhotographyandCinema.com
Seen above is a really basic DSLR rig. Two rods, follow focus, front handle, rear shoulder pad, and top handle. Most rigs you find on the market will have just basic rails and clamps so you can build different shapes depending on your needs. Looking at a standard rig from any manufacturer like Zacuto, Cinevate, Express35, Gini, etc. etc., they don't really offer much as far as mounting an LED light, Portable Audio Recorder, LCD monitor, or Microphone.
I have a video that i'll be posting up soon about a new product that I think some people will find quite interesting, but before posting up, I wanted to see how you guys are mounting additional accessories to your rigs. So, are you adding more clamps? More rods? A cage bracket? Let me know..
DSLR Video Sliders are great, but you're limited to a short run and narrow rails. When you need something that can track for longer movements, then you're getting into track dolly territory. Track dollies are especially handy if you're working on uneven ground (cement, light gravel, short grass). Lay down a 1" PVC pipe or sturdy (yet cheap) Conduit tubing, throw your tripod on a portable folding track dolly and you can get some very effective push / pulls.
The image (above) is from the more expensive Proaim folding track dolly (seen here). For something cheaper, here are two companies (below) that take inexpensive existing folding tripod dollies and modify the casters into track wheels. Both dollies below have swiveling wheel assemblies that can be used on straight or flex (curved) tracks.
The same company making the SteadyDragon stabilizers offers a modded folding tripod dolly with three wheels on each end. The wheels are aligned to roll on the track without derailing.
Opteka has made available a new version of their dual handled CXS stabilizer - the CXS-2 Shoulder Support. The handles swing apart for spacing, but under the stage seems to have support for 15mm rods (to mount accessories like an FF). The shoulder pad fits more like a target shooter, but is upgradeable to support their optional counterweight and belt support system.
Opteka CXS-2 Double Handle Stabilizer 15mm Support
Another interesting little tidbit released is their VB-30 Aluminum triple mount shoe adapter. The VB-30 fits on a standard shoe and makes available three additional shoes for small accessories, led lights, microphones, etc.