Express35 knocks $100 dollars off the Inline Shoulder Rig today. The inline rig gives you room to work with a monitor or EVF off to the side while keeping the majority of the weight closer to your shoulder instead of way out in front of you (which can wear out your arms). The 8" rods on this rig will give you room to work with a Follow Focus or Matte Box. I believe there may be some discounts available for the optional top handle and tripod mount if you're looking to build up a bit. [Thanks Chris] Find more information about Express35 products at http://express35.com.
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
Rigs are often compared to Lego systems, since they can be assembled according to your imagination. It's hard to justify the cost of industry standard 15mm rigs if all you need it for is to stabilize your camera. You can already do this with a few broomsticks and duct tape.
It starts to make more sense once you start to involve mounting audio accessories, lighting accessories, monitors, evf solutions, follow focuses, and matte boxes. Especially since some of those items require rails to mount. Clamps and rods also make it easy to redesign and customize size and shape depending on the individual. You can grow with a starter set of rails, or you can shrink down from a large rig. Not to mention the benefits to traveling. A large set of rods and clamps can be packed up pretty nicely. Lastly, there are many who just want the pure aesthetics of it.
Here's a closer look at the inline version of the 'EVENT' DSLR rig from Express35. There is so many good things about this rig, but overall you'll find the price is the best part. Express35 stabilizers are made in the USA, and it's quality rivals many of the top local DSLR Stabilizer brands, and yet pricing competes with the cheapest of over seas rigs.
This particular EVENT rig is designed for EVF or LCD Monitor use by keeping the camera in line over the shoulder. You can also use this setup with cameras that have Flip out LCD screens. The contoured shoulder pad wraps behind the shoulder (doesn't sit on top), and the counterweight that sits low balances the rig out even more. With the dual rods on the counterweight, you can offset this if you feel you need to shift it over more to one side. I prefer to have the weight adjusted to sit lower. You can also just shoot without the counterweight, and still have plenty points of contact for stabilizing your camera.
Normally you'll see adjustable handles with some rigs, but those could have a tendency to reposition (slip) under weight. The Express35 XL HD handle is one solid piece which really adds to the whole stability of the rig. The 13" length and 4" offset design of the front handle makes it extremely comfortable to operate with less strain in your arm. There's a few optional pieces I suggest to really get this rig going. The optional top handle makes it easier for me to lift the rig on/off my shoulder or to hold the rig in a position for low shots. The optional tripod mount obviously makes it easier for you to get into tripod mode for some fluid panning (or just docking the rig). The 90 degree accessory rod clamp with stub makes it easy to attach or detach a 1/4-20 accessory. In this case i'm using a friction arm with Zacuto EVF with the rod clamp.
The only other item I'm looking to add is a second handle. It's not necessary to have a second handle for stabilization when shooting video on this rig, but the second handle will allow me to place the rig on the floor without falling over. If you decide to look into Express35 gear, make sure you put in a good word about this Cheesycam blog. To find out the exact pieces that come with the EVENT, and optional accessories, check out Express35.com.
Now that the SmallHD DP4 and Zacuto EVF have made electronic viewfinders for DSLRs (somewhat) affordable, you'll see some popularity around straight inline shoulder rigs. Popular DSLR rigs used an offset to place the entire camera in front of the operator. Although DSLRs are light weight, once you add a few items like recorders, lights, microphones, and follow focuses, you're managing a few pounds over the hands. Pretty tiring and less stable.
Like conventional video cameras, the straight inline rigs align all of the heavy weight over the shoulder (better on your back) and less outwards over the hands. Only the EVF needs to be positioned in front of the operators eye. Straight inline DSLR shoulder rigs + an EVF can help you towards building a more balanced, stable rig, not to mention overall lighter on the hands. If you're not looking into an expensive EVF, you can still offset an inexpensive small LCD monitor (as seen above).
Instead of dropping a few grand with a Redrock config, there's a few similar rigs you might want to look into over at Express35. These straight inline shoulder rigs are bundled with a comfortable contoured shoulder pad and counterweight. These are well designed for EVF or small LCD monitor use. (seen above). You can find those rigs at the site (click here). If all you're looking for is a DSLR baseplate, Tripod Mount, and a basic rail set for your Follow Focus, there's also a weekend sale on the basic rail set going on right now too found here.
Not sure how many of you remember this article I posted a while back about the RigX bundle from Express35. I asked Chris to put something like this together to work with the cheap shoulder support to offset rails. The offset has been revised since the 'prototype' version I received, to add more functionality.
It's been pretty quiet about the RigX since because that bundle has been moving so quickly, it can't seem to stay in inventory. Well here's your chance to get it in the next few weeks, but you have to get on the list. It's available for pre-orders, 'first order in first order out'. This is an offset design that moves the camera's LCD to line up any viewfinders you might be using.
Together with the inexpensive shoulder support, this combination gives you a solid shoulder rig for a budget price with everything you need as the foundation for future items like a Follow Focus, Matte Box, and other rail mounted accessories. You can find the pre-order webpage here: http://express35.com/rigs/rig-x/
Looks like Rod's been busy, but it also looks like he's been saving - some cash. This is originally a short review of the Express35 RigX DSLR shoulder bundle, but i'm catching all kinds of cool budget gear over the entire rig. RigX was a project Chris designed after I mentioned about adapting to rails to my cheap shoulder support. The version Rod is showing here might be an earlier version of the RigX bundle as I believe there's some new redesign around the baseplate. Don't quote me on this, you might want to check in with Chris over @ Express35 first. Or sometimes he comments in the articles. More info on the RigX can be found here: http://express35.com/rigs/rig-x/
Besides the RigX rail system, he's mounted it to the cheap $24 $30 dollar shoulder support. This small setup looks super lightweight but very functional. Fast off the shoulder and fast onto a Fluid Head. Rod's also got a Zoom H1 over top with hot shoe shock mount, Sescom cable with splitter from Markertek to feed audio directly into a Magic Lantern loaded T2i, and one of the cheapest follow focus systems - the D-Focus. Rod's got a bit more information over at his Vimeo page which you can find here: http://vimeo.com/19856612
If you aren't following @express35 via Twitter you might have missed the sneak peek. Looks like this adjustable camera base should be the missing link for those looking to add more vertical height to the camera position. This is a missing component with most rigs which were compensated with battery grips + quick release adapters. One nice thing is that it's both the Camera base and the Tripod mount. With the Gini rig I received, I had two seperate plates. Now it's just a matter of pricing, and hopefully bundled with the RigX components that were used on the cheap $24 dollar shoulder support....