Sorry things have been quiet here, but i'm working on packing up for CES (Las Vegas) this week. I want to travel light, so I minimized the amount of parts on a lightweight shoulder rig setup. It's mostly Express35 rails and clamps on the Cheap Shoulder Support by going straight inline, but I still really wanted an 'offset' for the LCD ViewFinder. I just happened to look through random parts in the studio and this Macro Rail works awesome! It's an all metal bracket that adjusts through gears and can be locked into position. These rails are designed to mount your camera to slide forward, back, or mount the camera for side to side adjustments. Now I have mine mounted under the camera, but if you choose to mount your entire set of rails over the adapter, that will also work. Why didn't anyone think of this before? It's perfect!!
Here's a basic setup of rails, HD Handles, base plate, and Adapter plate from Express35.com. I emailed Chris about how I like using the cheap $24.00 dollar shoulder support, but you have to be somewhat inventive to create an adapter for offsetting it. I was surprised to hear back that as an experiment Chris setup this horizontal bar to adapt the rig and to offset it. It's extremely solid, and also an inexpensive way to adapt the two instead of using more expensive rods and clamps. This is not a final design in any way, but nice to see that he's willing to adapt to other accessories we choose to use. A few others have expressed interest in how to do this, so if you've got questions, hit up http://Express35.com or follow Chris via Twitter @express35.
Ooops! Looks like prices are slightly going up. Might need to change the name.
Shoulder Support Pad for Video Camcorder Camera DV / DC
The $24.00 dollar shoulder support with Rod mounts are getting a few questions as well as the recent Quick Release adapter posted on this blog. Here's a look at how i'm using these recently purchased items with my gear.
First a quick look at the cheap Quick Release adapter. It's not a standard QR adapter with a 1/4x20 thread already tapped in. Instead I run a beveled screw through the top of the adapter and place a bolt underneath. To keep the quick release adapter from shifting around I also used thin double sided tape between the adapter and the stage of the flycam nano. To prevent the nut from coming loose, I also have a washer + lock washer.
Second common question i've been getting is how to mount rods to the cheap $24 dollar shoulder support. To get the basic foundation setup, you'll need an adapter plate. This type of plate is commonly used under a rod rig so that it can be placed on top of a Tripod of Fluid head. When purchasing a basic set of rods or any rig, find out if one will be provided. If not you can buy one separately here: http://express35.com/tripod-mount/1054/
After mounting the adapter plate to the shoulder support, I can then position any set of handles, build up an offset stage, have support for a follow focus, matte box, etc. You can also find a basic set of rails with DSLR base plate, and Tripod plate here: http://express35.com/rail-system/295/
Gini Rig on $24 Shoulder Support w/ Varavon ViewFinder
For anyone who's ever asked me about a good inexpensive starter DSLR rig taken right off the shelf and ready-to-go, I would have to say my first response was 'Express35.com'. Today news dropped in about Express35's new DSLR Shoulder Rig Lite. Ideal for small camera setups like the Canon T2i, Panasonic GH1, GH2 + follow focus. It's a simple combination of important features with high quality parts that make this an excellent rig for light weight camera work. Of course this is also a good starter foundation for later upgrading and adding additional parts - should your gear list grow. Earlier Lite Rig versions from Express35 did not include the more expensive HD Handles (which i'm a big fan of) but is now available in this setup. Check it out here: http://express35.com/category/rigs/.
Thanks to Darius for reminding me about these once in a while sales from Ikan. Periodically Ikan will have a 48 hour blowout sale discounting very select items from 30-50% off. Sounds like a great deal, but here's the other catch. Those very minimal select items are also on sale in minimal limited quantities. Today the IKan Friction Follow Focus shows up on the sale page starting with only 15 available at a discounted price of 30% off. If you're looking for a simple, modular, fast to mount follow focus that doesn't require different sized lens gears for each lens you own, today could be your day.
I've been playing with the one I have for a while and although it can be mounted in many different ways, I find it works best when using the rod adapter mount, and put onto the new Gini Rig that I have. If you don't have a basic rail mount, you can find a cheap base set over at Express35.com.
The Express35 Duo Rig Configuration became wildly popular when ENDmedia shared their video review found here: http://cheesycam.com/express35-fig-rig-config-endmedia/. The video really showed that this setup proved to be really a lightweight, functional, tiny footprint stabilizer. The Duo setup was great, but if you're looking for that solid third point in stabilization, Express35 has now released a killer DSLR stabilizer 'Trio' setup.
The new 'foot' or 'pad' accessory added to the Duo setup can act as a shoulder rest or moved slightly for a chest pad. This adds a bit more to cost, but a whole lot more in functionality by adding that all important third point of contact. Most DSLR rig setups are built around a single design and don't easily function when broken apart. The nice feature about this configuration is that for the smallest footprint, the third point can be removed and the rig still functions as an excellent DSLR Stabilizer. Very nice modular thinking here. You might not find this new configuration on the website, so here's the direct link http://express35.com/run-n-gun-trio.
As usual you may want to drop Express35.com a comment that you found the information here. It never hurts..
Brendan Cusker over at ENDmedia caught a few posts on Cheesycam about the new Express35 rigs showing up in DSLR world. In the description of Brendan's video he states he needed a run and gun type stabilizer that will allow him to shoot in clubs along with support for a Follow Focus system. Working with owner Chris over at Express35, here's the configuration they came up with to suit his shooting style. It looks like handles off to the sides provide principles of a Fig Rig stabilizer while keeping things quite compact. Bottom rails on the rig are there to support the 'future' Follow Focus system. This looks to resemble the popular Redrock Micro Captain Stubling DSLR bundle, except that even after a Follow Focus system this custom ENDmedia / Express35 rig will only be about 1/3 the price.
[Update] This rig is now offered with a shoulder pad, upgraded HD Handles, upgraded knobs, and optional counterweight.
I showed off the limited edition $99 Dollar shoulder shooter before, but I think this may be the first official review regarding the larger Express35.com shoulder support rig. Great job Josef! These aren't designed to be Steadicams as a walking running type rig, but Josef seems to have that movement down and it looks very stable. Not to mention that black on black.....on black looks damn good for a rig setup.
The price beats out those 'once popular' Korean rigs and Hong Kong rigs too. Express35 possibly has the cheapest available rigs and accessories in the US, yet still designed with high quality materials. These types of rigs follow exact standards, so adding additional gear from MatteBoxes to Follow Focus systems should mount with ease from any manufacturer. This seems like the best starter rig for anyone looking into a shoulder mount stabilizer. After seeing this review, I knew it would spark some interest, so I Twittered Express35.com to see if there's a special offer on the table for Cheesycam Readers. Here's the exclusive offer available now, but you gotta drop the blogname and thank Josef for hooking you all up.
Free accessory clamp (Mono Clamp) + Free Shipping in the USA exclusive Cheesycam deal with purchase of the shoulder rig.
There you have it, was already a deal before the deal. You might also want to Follow Express35.com via Twitter too so you won't miss out on those short lived specials.
On another note, for a limited time Express35 just posted up the DSLR Shooter I reviewed a short time ago. The shooter gets an upgrade to Black on Black and there's only 6 available. It's not back down to $99 bucks, but the black coating should make up for that difference. Sorry the Free Shipping + Free Clamp doesn't apply to this shooter.You can find the new DSLR shooter here.
I received the $99 Dollar DSLR Shoulder Shooter from Express35.com today. It was late when I got home, and didn't get to test it out with all my Canon cameras, but I did quickly throw on the Sony NEX which seems perfect for it. I have extra clamps which I was able to mount my Rode VideoMic and my Zoom H4n.
This is a great start to an excellent event coverage type rig for me. Very lightweight and very stable when holding it. Some things i'm looking to improve upon this lightweight setup is to replace the Rode Microphone with something hard mounted, not with a shock mount.
I also want to replace the Zoom H4n on this rig with the new Zoom H1 (once it ships). This would make it extremely light. Also I may add a very small LED light if I happen to be shooting in a Night Club scene.
The Sony doesn't allow me to adjust Aperture manually with the current lens. There is a Canon FD mount adapter that will allow me to use those older Canon FD manual lenses on this Sony, so that should fix that problem. I'll see if I can get one of those to finish it off with a nice FD 50mm. Check out the Canon Lens to Sony NEX adapter.
Soon i'll get some footage up of a Canon DSLR on this $99 Dollar DSLR Shooter, unless someone beats me to the punch. As of now I love the look of this shoulder rig on this Sony NEX, and the rig seems to be the right size for it.