View Full Version : AC-130 DIY Shoulder Mount Rig
February 14th, 2012, 06:14 AM
My first rig is sorta complete for the first camera and works very well indeed and on it's own is very lightweight. Essentially it's 2 x 1/2" parallel aluminium tubes around 24" long with a neoprene shoulder pad on the back end. On the top faces of the tubes I have a piece of flat bar to mount the camera,. Underside in the front is a similar bar that takes my ENG spring rod and waist belt to take the load off the front end. I then have a piece of 1" square tube with handles go you have an alternative grip ..the tubes actually go thru the square tube...offset and under the camera mount is a 1/4" aluminium plate with a 1/4" tapped hole and that takes the tripods quick mount plate so I can slip the entire rig onto a tripod too!! Instead of mounting my radio mics on the camera I made a quick mount with two bars that hold the receiver .... the nice thing is that you can split the camera from the rig but also use the whole lot on a tripod ....shoulder mounted I use the LCD for framing and focus.
Thought I would share with the AC130/160 owners but it would also work nicely with an HMC150!!
February 15th, 2012, 08:24 PM
Looks good Chris.
I don't use one much, just use a monopod.
Do you think you need both handles on the front, or say, just one for the left hand, and use the camera handle for your right hand?
February 15th, 2012, 11:46 PM
It worked for the first time today with a Real Estate shoot... Yep I didn't use the right handle at all!!
I put it there to sorta balance the rig and it might be useful at weddings when you are filming a 3 minute song or event where zoom isn't needed.
I'm doing another post about a few questions I have so your input would be appreciated on that...didn't want to mess around with this thread!!
February 18th, 2012, 02:44 AM
This is the final prototype for now!! I have offset the pad at the back by about 3" and the camera is a bit further back too. The hood on the LCD helps a lot and it's just 4 pieces of foam board glued with a hotglue gun.
So far so good...I've shot around 7 hours on this rig but might make a few more mods on it or even start from scratch!! At least it's quite usable and the radio receiver sits just outside the camera battery housing. On the 2nd cam which is the one for wedding ceremonies there are two receivers and also a switching box under the receiver brackets so I can switch from the second radio mic unit to the Rode mic after all the reading have been done and grab some useful ambient audio.
February 18th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Chris, looks very nice. Question I have is where did you get the foam pads? Did you cut them yourself or are they purchased that way?
"Necessity is the mother of invention" that and a lack of cash!
February 18th, 2012, 08:34 AM
You are a man close to my bank balance too????
I asked the guy at the foam shop to cut me two blocks of high density closed cell foam about 6" x 3" x 3"
I then with utmost precision cut a piece of card 6" x 3" and using my CD tube drew an arc on the card and the foam shop cut the curve for me with his fancy rotating knife (sorta like a band saw with no teeth) ..nope it wasn't a high tech design but it worked out fine. The closed cell foam is more durable and more "rubbery" and using a box cutter just hacks it to pieces.
CineCity in India wanted $270 for a rig plus $55 for shipping so it was getting pricey for two...I think I spent about $70.00 total for all the material ..it's all aluminium tube and flat bar and everything is pop rivetted together. The rig could be a LOT simpler of course..just two rails with a pad on the end would also work but I wanted to mount my receivers on the rig too rather than try to mount them on the cam handle!!
It's not as pretty but it certainly work well!! My only issue is being old and decrepid my vision isn't as good as it used to be and I hate working with glasses as my long vision is perfect!! I am thinking of using a creditcard sized fresnel lens on top of the LCD hood to magnify the image a bit much the same method as the HMC80 uses...with the EVF at the back end of the camera, using that means your front camera weight gets really heavy so I'm not even using the EVF at this stage!!
February 18th, 2012, 09:36 AM
Yep, keep close eye on bank account. Why buy when one can invent and have fun at the same time.
The EX1Rs according to legend that I've heard some a lot of noise at 12 to 15gain and up but I've seen footage shot at 9 and it looked great. PErsonal thing I guess.
I have a magnifier from Century Optics for my PD series that I still use (it's about 9 or 10 years old) and it fits over the LCD so I can eliminate my glasses. Like you I use them for reading but distance is perfect. There's a sweet spot for vision between needing to use the glasses or not when operating a camera with the LCD and for me that magnifier changes everything. I leave the glasses in my pocket.
Do oyu use the spring rod (ala Multirig) on this new rig to help carry the weight? Or perhaps move the wireless receiver to the back to move some weight there and help balance the rig out?
Just thinking out loud!
February 18th, 2012, 07:14 PM
Great so I'm not totally nuts!! IAt least now I know someone else who uses a magnifier !! When glasses on the LCD is sharp but, of course, when you look up at people they are all fuzzy!! That's brilliant!!
The Pansonics (even the 1/4" HMC40 and 80) are amazing with regards to gain and noise and even up at 18db you get a clean image ...noise in the shadow areas starts to become visible after that and at 24db you definately have noise but still a very acceptable picture. With the 130 it's actually hard to get it to run open iris and with gain unless it's midnight!!!
During Realty shoots where I need a big range of camera movement (like a pan and rotate from floor to ceiling) I forget about the spring rod as it doesn't have the range to go from my feet right up to over my head so it's left off. Weddings are different and it works a treat as this rig is most definately front heavy and the rod takes all the camera weight off!!! My receivers weigh a few onces only so moving those back would hardly counteract any imbalance...if you look at top ENG cameras there is a lot of camera behind the shoulder pad too so it's balanced!
March 27th, 2012, 12:24 AM
I did another small mod to the loupe on the 130 viewfinder that sits on the LCD screen so I thought I would post a pic in case anyone else wants to do it. I have scrapped the rubber "extender" from Hoodman as it's way too heavy and it flexes too!!
All I have done is built a little box made out of black foam board and hot-glued together about 2" high and then I stripped off the rubber coating on the actual loupe (glue didn't want to adhere to the rubber but it sticks well to the plastic case of the loupe) and simply ran a strip of hot glue around the edge so the loupe stays firmly in place. As before the little box sits over the LCD and being much lighter, it works a lot better too. I just keep it in place with a few rubber bands.
Works well for me now!!
April 9th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Where did you get that loupe? That looks like a great addition, but I don't have on old one to use.
I really like what you have done, and would like to build one myself. I purchased my 160 about 2.5 weeks ago and have only done some test shoots. The camera definitely gets heavy.. I figured I'd have to start working out!
April 9th, 2012, 06:36 PM
The loupe is a standard Hoodman 3.0 Loupe and all I have done is rip the rubber coating off it and then made up a foam board box and glued it to the loupe. The whole assembly sits and the LCD and gives you an awesome EVF. My minimum activity is two hours hand held a day doing Realty work so I really need a shoulder mount camera ...coming from HMC80's this was the only practical option but it really works well!!! ...on a tripod, the loupe comes off and I use the normal EVF and LCD so I have the best of both worlds!!