Tag Archives: DIY dslr rig


YouTube member TheEthanThompson has a very simple idea on how to use an articulating friction arm to add a bit of extra support when shooting hand held. The arm can be positioned much like a gun stock / target shooter to add an extra point of contact. My guess is you'll need at least the 11" version to give you more room for adjustments, and some sort of brace on the end to work comfortably. A handy little tip to know if you already have an articulating arm. [Thanks Ethan]

Articulating Friction Arm
find-price-button Articulating Friction Arm


Madeline writes in and shares a couple of cool looking DIY projects. First up is a stabilizer mainly made up of Bike parts (looks closely) and a few custom machined rails.


Second on the DIY list is a camera slider that was part of a rowing type exercise machine found in the trash. Talk about eco-friendly recycling and re-purposing.


Pretty cool stuff, which you can find a little more about on the website - Here. [Thanks Madeline]


Ready for a sweet little DIY DSLR Cage? Submitted by Andy Clancy, this cage was put together from an off the shelf light tent kit and a cheese style plate. The main part of the cage originally was a light tent for small product photography. A few bike styled handles on the rails, and the rest should be pretty easy to figure out.


The rails look to be aluminum and can probably be cut down to just about any size camera you own (including small GH2 shooters). Just by looking at how this guy is put together, it looks super light weight, adds tons of ways to stabilize a handheld shot, ability to get some really low shots, and tons of piping to drill mounts or add some cold shoe adapters for accessories (like a monitor). [Thanks Andy]

Screen shot 2011-03-17 at 8.51.57 AM
find-price-button Product Photography Light Tent

The second part for the 'baseplate' was from a Glidecam Camera Weight (Cheese) Plate.

Screen shot 2011-03-17 at 8.51.42 AM
find-price-button Glidecam Weight Plate


YouTube member kimandcris shares a DIY DSLR Shoulder rig build using an IKEA cutting board and some Aluminum tubing. Cutting, sanding, and bending sounds like a tough DIY, but the materials seem to be easy enough to work with. Cutting board approx. $7 dollars. We've got some interesting DIY'ers out there with quite an imagination. [Thanks Cris]


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!!

find-price-button Sliding Camera Rail 2 Way Adjustable with Lock

find-price-button Shoulder Support Pad for Video Camcorder Camera DV / DC


The all too basic shoulder pad on most rigs are not as comfortable as they might appear. The firm silicone pads give wide placement of the rig to the shoulder, but does nothing for comfort. To add extra stability, relieve weight from the hands, and added comfort here are some alternative budget shoulder mounts. First up is a quite surprisingly well made shoulder pad which I believe is from India using the ProAim name. (BTW, this is sometimes bundled with handle grips, but if you contact the seller they can sell you the shoulder mount alone.) It's an all metal shoulder pad with rod adapter and a front chest brace. The contoured shoulder pad with a thick layer of flexible dense foam is definitely more comfortable, and the chest brace helps stabilize the unit futher by 'pulling' the rig back into your body. There is no rear 'hook' so it's not a total hands-free type rig that will remain on the shoulder if you release your hands. I did of course add my DIY counter weight to the rear, and at that time I was able to release my hands while the rig stayed fairly balanced.

find-price-button Shoulder Rig Pad with Rod adapter Body Plate

Last on the list is a very simple setup using the cheap $24 dollar mount. I've had this mount way back since January and have been using it with many different projects. It works surprisingly well, but don't use the crappy offset piece that it comes with. You'll know what i'm talking about when you get one. Of course I didn't get to use it with any Rail system, until the Gini arrived recently.

find-price-button Gini DSLR Rig

The setup there can be placed onto the shoulder and be completely hands-free, which means less weight on the arms. This little shooter that i've assembled is a very solid support to mount your camera, offset, and handles. You only really need one handle, but I have two there mainly acting as a kickstand when I need to set it down. If you've got those firm silicone pads on your rig now, take the cheap $24 dollar shoulder mount out for a test drive, you might be surprised.

find-price-button Shoulder Support Pad for Video Camcorder Camera DV / DC


This is a follow up video showing how I mounted the heavy 4 pound weight I purchased to the Gini Shoulder Rig. With a spare dog bone clamp, a straight hole through both items, I was able to run a bolt and a clamp knob to hold it steadily in place. The original article can be found here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-counter-weight-solution-for-shoulder-rigs/

gini-weight (1 of 1)


find-price-button Aqua Black Vinyl Coated Lace Thru Style Hard Weights - Black


The Gini Rig I posted about in this article is an awesome piece of gear. Definitely something you should look into if you're looking for a solid DSLR shoulder rig. I suggest doing some research on what your options are and compare prices with other gear. Like many others out there, I didn't pay the asking price for the Gini. On a good day the Gini Rig can be had for rock bottom prices, so it's all about patience and just making an offer you feel you would be comfortable with. More on the Gini can be found here: http://cheesycam.com/the-gini-rig-arrives-from-korea/

There was one piece of gear I wasn't so lucky to have with my DSLR shoulder rig package, and that's a good Shoulder rig Counter weight system. Having a balanced rig is definitely going to help stabilize footage and take lots of weight off the hands. I got this DSLR shoulder rig for cheap, so i'm looking for something just as cheap. Aside from the Gini Rig here, there's a million different DIY shoulder rig solutions that could use a good counter weight. Many DIY solutions are even built around PVC pipes, and I don't think you're ready to throw down $100 bucks on a weight. So I began my quest to locate a good solid, cheap, yet professional looking substitute for a counter weight.

find-price-button Vinyl Coated Lead Diving Scuba Belt Weights

I placed this order about a week ago, and wanted to have it in my hands before talking about it, just to make sure it's worth the pennies. It's definitely the solution I was looking for. Very small and compact, with a chemically bonded heavy duty Vinyl coating, and a flat black finish to match your video gear. These scuba weights were designed to withstand ocean salt and hard reef bumps. Simply dropping these weights on hard gravel wouldn't do damage to the coating, it's that tough. There are slits on each side to allow me some mounting options, but as dense as Lead is, it's probably not difficult to drill through either.

[Update] Took a drill to it, it literally drills through like butter. Lead is a very very soft material to drill through. Keep in mind that this is a Lead weight product known to be hazardous if not handled correctly. You should read information about safely handling Lead Metals.

The rounded edge design ensure you're not going to scratch or gauge yourself. The vinyl coating is very smooth and comfortable to handle in the hands and keep the system very clean. These weights are available from 1 pound and increments to 12 lbs. 4-6 lbs is probably a comfortable weight for most DSLR rigs. Now that i've had the chance to handle this product, there's plenty more ideas that come to mind. If you're rocking a super lightweight tripod system but need some extra stability at times, these are much more compact than your typical sand bag to hang. If you're working on that DIY DSLR crane and need to add some weights to the rear, these are much more compact and have a nicer finish than normal lifting weights. The possibilities are endless. So if you're looking to DIY a shoulder rig and are in need of a good cheap solution to a counter weight system, meet your new best friend.

find-price-button Vinyl Coated Lead Diving Scuba Belt Weights