View Full Version : over both shoulders
July 9th, 2011, 09:55 AM
I'm looking for a shoulder/brace support for a 7D that goes over BOTH shoulders, leaving hands completely free for focus and exposure control. Anyone know of such a rig?
I've been searching various fora to no avail.
Thanks for any suggestions.
July 9th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Steadicam with a vest might be the best.
July 9th, 2011, 01:05 PM
Thanks, Robert. As I feared. I'd like to find something more affordable but may have to go that route.
July 9th, 2011, 05:56 PM
You should be able to build one from the plumbing section at the local Big Box hardware store - there are numerous designes out there on the web, and frankly it's so cheap and easy to build something from the PVC pipe/connectors, if you goof it up, you just start over until you've got something worth a coat of paint...
Just threw together a temporary TV stand from the plumbing section myself, it's so easy to do, you just want to go find something else to cobble together!! Plus PVC is lighter than a metal "rig"... hmm, got me some "leftovers"...
July 9th, 2011, 07:39 PM
Just remember that a stedicam is far from "hands-free" in fact most of the time you would be using both hands.
Actually Dave has a great point!! I remember seeing an over shoulder rig built completely from PVC irrigation pipe and fittings and it had a piece over each shoulder and the front section had a chest support so you could really let go and be totally hands-free. There are quite a few rigs made by CineCity in India that you could also modify to make completely hands-free!!
July 9th, 2011, 09:31 PM
Yeah, seen several "yoke" type rigs, that go over both shoulders and have front support, I think someone here had a pretty nifty double shoulder support they made not too long ago...
It's really pretty easy to work with PVC, and there's a nice selection of "connectors" to choose from, and best of all the materials are so cheap that if you screw it up a bit, you haven't lost anything - I've got several nice shoulder rigs, and these scraps are calling me... make another ultra light rig....
July 9th, 2011, 09:53 PM
Here's what you want...it goes on both shoulders and would be 100% hands-free
Easy to make out of PVC tubing and fittings!!!
July 10th, 2011, 01:02 PM
Thanks, everyone, you guys seem to know exactly what I'm talking about---and I SHOULD be able to do it myself....too many toddlers at home to get any handiwork done though. Chris, that rig is EXACTLY what I was thinking. How would I find someone to make me one? Or do any of you guys know someone? Or...I guess I could youtube it and then send a message to someone who has done one for himself.
I'm doing so much follow-focus and exposure adjustment with my 7D lately that I've been pining for this kind of set-up.
July 10th, 2011, 03:10 PM
My kids are just a tad older, and wizards in the shop (pinewood cars were top notch!) - get me a couple more pics, and any mods you want, and we'll tell mom "we're going to Lowe's". Not a big deal to make something like that up, I recognize all the "fixin's" from my trip the other day!
Probably want to know how your camera is configured, what sort of Quick release/head arrangement you'd prefer, stuff like that, but not a big deal if you wanted something built for you, just holler!
July 10th, 2011, 08:39 PM
How would I find someone to make me one? Or do any of you guys know someone? Or...I guess I could youtube it and then send a message to someone who has done one for himself.
I'm sure Chris can make one up and send the how-to instructions to you. He's master of DIYs as far as I'm aware. :)
July 10th, 2011, 09:08 PM
Posting directly to the forum itself, thereby helping *many* people instead of just one, would be the proper thing to do and more in the spirit of what DV Info Net is all about. Heck, I would even turn this into a feature article for the site...
July 10th, 2011, 10:56 PM
That would be my thinking too!!! I saw this ages ago on a site and remembered I had the pic still in "My Pictures" .... As far as I remember the page also had instructions on it but just a trip to the hardware store and buy a few PVC fittings is all that would be required.
From the pic you would need a short length of PVC tube and then I can see 9 x 45 degree fittings, 3 x "t" joiners, 2 x 90 degree elbows and a 4 way joiner for the middle. Just a hacksaw and cut the pipes to length and push 'em all together ... the camera mounting would be a more personal thing but not too tricky at all!!! Once it's all looking good some PVC pipe adhesive would be a good idea.
Making one in Perth and shipping to the USA would be somewhat pricey!!!! I'm sure even with kids to care for a few late evening hours would get the job done!!
Edit: Found the original author site : http://abracadabravideos.com/DIY/DIYpage1.htm
July 11th, 2011, 09:14 AM
That makes it really easy to build - he mentions using "shears", I think there's a set of special ones to cut pipe quick and clean, if they aren't too much, those would be better'n a hacksaw, IMO. Also you can get the same fittings in 1/2" pipe, I see he used 3/4, probably would depend on personal taste, although I'm not sure about those "precurved" parts, might have to poke around to see if those are 3/4" only.
I liked the removable bolts to allow quick disassembly, you'd probably have to sand the ends of the pipes a bit, as I used a rubber hammer to get things to seat completely into the connectors on my project, and the fittings were fairly tight once fully seated. I found a clear glue (cheapest they had) for around $3.50, has a applicator swab in the can, easy to use, keep a paper towel for cleanup and you're good to go.
The telescoping camera mount is a good way around finding the "perfect" height for you personally, would probably save a bit of fiddling.
The most expensive part of the "budget" will be for a can of that "plastic" spray paint to make the rig look nice and finished, all the rest of the bits and pieces are cheap cheap!
July 11th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Every time I read "over both shoulders", I can't help but picture a video camera bra. What could be cheaper than that? Of course, to make the "bra cam" practical, you'd need a hat mounted EVF...
But seriously, it's important to be able to lift the cam off your shoulders. When walking, you want to isolate the camera from your body and use your arms as shock absorbers. Otherwise, you get a hard snap when the feet hit the ground and the hips rotate.
Personally, I prefer a chest cam, like The Event. For a (one or two) shoulder cam to work well, one needs to get the weight back. And that comes back to the need for an EVF. And once you move the weight back, it will be over one shoulder or the other.
I built my first rig with 1" square aluminum tubing, a drill, and some nuts and bolts. Adjustments take rework, but it's a cheap way to find out what does and doesn't work. You can use 3/4" square aluminum tube for handles as BMX grips fit it tight. By testing different placements, you can learn your preference and buy/build something more expensive and practical down the road.
July 11th, 2011, 12:50 PM
Good points Jon -
Unless you're a Zen monk, any chest contact becomes tricky to isolate from breathing - my preference is to add a monopod that sits in a belt support - still hands free if set up right, although I wouldn't "rely" too much on it.
Again, personal preference, but a "two handed" rig allows you to lift the rig off your shoulder/chest/belt if you're moving and get some reasonably stable footage.
"Rig design" depends a lot on the individual, and the weight and size of the camera portion of the assembly, probably why there are so many different commercial and DIY designs out there! Plastic pipe is such an easy medium to work with, and so cheap... that if one design isn't quite what you'd hoped for, you just scrap it and go to a different one!
Primary goals should be to take the strain off the operator, and improve the quality of the footage at the minimum while the operator is standing "still", and preferably also when they move.
July 11th, 2011, 01:18 PM
What is the circumstance that you need both hands free that much of the time? That implies that you would have the camera locked to your body (like the picture shows), which will limit the amount of tilting you can do to the angle of your body. What if you need to tilt straight up or down?
While focusing needs constant attention, adjusting exposure is usually more of a momentary thing and with the Canons, results in a visible shift in the footage, so I would think it would be done in an "off-air" kind of way so it should be OK to let go of the focus knob at that moment. A more useful handheld rig has a center-mounted handle option so that you are holding the camera up from the center of gravity rather than two handgrips. And of course unrestricted tilt.
July 11th, 2011, 05:39 PM
I don't find the breathing thing too difficult if the chest rig is adjusted to hit the top of the chest. It's good practice to learn to breathe through the diaphragm anyway for singing, public speaking, and exercising.
The two things I like about The Event are that the arms naturally pull the camera back into the chest, and that it's easy to pull the camera just and inch or two forward and go low.
I use two handles. I can rest my wrist on one handle and have access to the follow focus. I do get some momentary roll when I need to let go with one hand though. A center-of-gravity handle would help in this regard.
Another consideration is how to carry the rig and camera from place to place. A top handle can be helpful for low shots, but might also be nice when walking about. At NAB, I carried my rig for two days and often put one of the rods between my fingers. By the end of the first day, I had compressed a nerve, lost strength in the hand, and it took a month to heal. Shooting was fine. It was carrying the darn thing that injured me!
Dave is right. It all comes down to personal preference. By cobbling up some crazy ideas and trying them in the real world, you can find out what works for you before you spend the money on something nice and adjustable.
My aluminum rig still works, but it threatens to rip up auto upholstery, is large, isn't easily adjustable, and would never fit in my under-the-airline-seat backpack. The Redrock Event is much friendlier for traveling.
July 13th, 2011, 10:11 AM
I think this may be what you're looking for
Double Shoulder Mount - Handy FilmTools (http://www.handyfilmtools.com/new/product.php?id_product=11)
it makes a lot of sense to me, with weight on the opposite shoulder, you should be able to achieve a really good balance.
I didn't want to buy one to test it out so I got this:
Rod Support (Rail System) with Shoulder Mount for DSLR (eBay item 250844309402 end time 28-Jun-11 02:27:33 AEST) : Cameras Photo (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250844309402&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT)
and bought an extra shoulder mount.I was going to build a dual shoulder mount model but I've come up with a simplier design that feels really comfortable - the good thing about these 'kit' designs is you can alter and adjust as you want.
July 14th, 2011, 02:12 AM
The problem with shoulder-resting rigs for me is that you really need some weight behind you before you get much meaningful contact. A couple years ago I tried a Redrock unit at NAB that had a fair amount of back weight that felt pretty good. I'm not a big fan of adding dead weight though, so I went with the upper-chest rig. It gives solid contact without the weight.
It would be interesting to try a dual, upper chest rig. Rather than resting on the shoulders, it would press into the front of the shoulders. An advantage is that when you move your hands, there would be absolutely no unwanted roll. The dual chest mount would really eliminate left/right sag. That's especially important for relatively inexperienced operators (like me!) I'm getting better lately, but I used to have a tendency to sag to the right...
Anyway, you might try both a shoulder top pad as well as a front pad to see which you prefer - double or single.