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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:17 PM   #1
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MultiRig Pro Review

I just picked up a MultiRig Pro from Alan Gordan Ent. out of LA, and have so far been very impressed with its capabilities.

For background, my primary reason to get one, was so that I could mount both my AT897 mic and a wireless receiver to the camera at the same time (I hate stuff connected to me and the camera in case I need to step away). In this regard the MultiRigPro excels.

My only two issues are the following:
1) The MultiRig Pro was missing the camera mounting bracket to attach a tripod quick release plate to the front right arm which folds under the middle of the MultiRig Pro. The bracket is in the pictures on the web site (shown here mounted to front Right arm with another one sitting on the ground in the middle of the screen), but was not provided in my package, also the pictures on the website are for an earlier model because the metal structure I received has some variations in size and dimensions). I also cannot find anyplace to sell this right angled bracket. Anyone know where I can get it? Yes I already checked the MultiRig Pro web site. No parts listed under accessories or replacement parts. Until I get the correct bracket, I have to screw the tripod quick release plate into one of the screw holes on the arms but there is no peg to keep the quick release plate from swiveling around the screw. Has anyone else purchased a MultiRig Pro recently and noticed this? May be I just didn't notice a change in the parts list. I'll be emailing the MultiRig folks to find out if my model was supposed to have this bracket.
and
2) The rig is hard to hold either at very high or very low angles using only the arm that extends with the 90 degree screw in padded arm. That single arm does not seem able to hold both my GL2 and the MultiRigPro at a 90 degree angle so the camera can remain parallel to the ground while I hold the 90 screw in handle wither with the camera hanging below the arm, or above the arm (using the front left arm as support). May be I'm not tightening the screw enough, but to go any further would require a wrench.

I have not used the MultrigPro at a wedding yet (my primary filming) but I have used it for several hours of test footage, including a music concert, street fair, and around the house / neighborhood walking tests. Overall, I highly recommend it for the added gear capacity, and customizations.

As far as a steady cam for walking, the MultiRig requires a lot of practice to not be jumpy when walking when using the spring loaded mono-pod & belt clip. It is better than nothing for sure and has the added benefit of providing wide grips so your hands are further away from the center of the camera, reducing camera roll and jitters. Some times I found movements to be more fluid and unencumbered when I did not use the monopod and instead just collapsed the extension arm and used only the two side arms to "fly" the camera.

I do not know how the MultiRig Pro compares to a Glidecam or similar pendulum-effect weighted supports so I cannot give a comparison. I do know that prior to getting the MultiRig, the only way I could produce a smooth moving shot was to leave the tripod attached to the camera and fold it up and then slowly walk holding the camera and letting the tripod swing freely below to dampen out jitters and bumps. In this regard, the MultiRig is far superior (and not likely to bump your knees like with a dangling tripod).

Thanks to Danny for producing a study product that will help raise my shooting to a new level.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:30 PM   #2
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Dang

I hate to reply to my own post, but I finally found an answer to problem #1, the Tripod mounting bracket. I was poking around on the site and found a reference that says this item will not be available till May 2008. Interesting that it was in the pictures for older models but is not now (ran out of inventory? who knows).

And I just found out that problem #2 is called "low mode" from the web site.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:54 PM   #3
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Nothing wrong with replying to your own post. Thanks a bunch for this review, Jason -- much appreciated!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 10:22 PM   #4
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Jason
to get smooth walking shots with the Multirig takes a little practice BUT you have to know WHAT to practice.
First I have found that the belt and rod pouch need to be off your waist as your hips will throw it side to side a bit so I wear the pouch on a seperate belt slightly above my waist. More importantly is how to walk. You need to take the smaller "steadicam' steps. Don't try to take a 3 foot step, instead take 2, 1.5 foot steps. Hope that makes sense. Finally when carrying the rig up on your shoulder as you walk your shoulders move up and down so what I do is carry the rig slightly off my shoulder and let the spring rod take the bumps. After a short bit of practice you get to be pretty good at it. I do circling shots during the 1st dances and once I "got it" (the right walk, the right way to carry) they have become quite smooth. Not "steadicam smooth" but much much better than handheld. the rig has become a staple of my reception kit (along with my monopod)
Frankly I have never used the rig on my tripod and have no reason to ever do so, so I can't speak to that.
Have fun with it and like any other piece of gear, practice practice.
BTW, my 170 has the 970 battery, WA lens attachment, Litepanel micro, and Blueline Hypercaroid mic. My AT receiver is set up on the mounting plate on the back of the rig and helps balance it out quite nicely.
Don

Last edited by Don Bloom; April 22nd, 2008 at 10:24 PM. Reason: forgot to say.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Jason
to get smooth walking shots with the Multirig takes a little practice BUT you have to know WHAT to practice.
First I have found that the belt and rod pouch need to be off your waist as your hips will throw it side to side a bit so I wear the pouch on a seperate belt slightly above my waist. More importantly is how to walk. You need to take the smaller "steadicam' steps. Don't try to take a 3 foot step, instead take 2, 1.5 foot steps. Hope that makes sense.
Right. I've been doing the "marching band roll step" where my feet don't travel more than 1feet from the previous step. That seems to work well.

I also have a massive 2" wide stiff leather over belt (goes over a normal belt) that I put the belt clip on. It isn't padded, but it spreads out the weight. That seems to work better than letting the belt clip dig into my below the belt region. I try to place in smack in the middle because any hip movement from stepping will slightly sway left to right. I also found that holding the two handles pretty snugly eliminates much of the hip induced bouncing.

I'll have to see about placing the belt higher to avoid hip roll. I don't know that my over belt can go higher than the belt (it is sized to be worn over an existing belt so it doesn't snug down as tight with out clothing and another belt under it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Finally when carrying the rig up on your shoulder as you walk your shoulders move up and down so what I do is carry the rig slightly off my shoulder and let the spring rod take the bumps.
That is the ticket. I was just outside in the back yard walking with it when I decided to try that. A bit awkward with the rear arm still sticking over the shoulder, but that helped a LOT when compared to having the shoulder bar touching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
After a short bit of practice you get to be pretty good at it. I do circling shots during the 1st dances and once I "got it" (the right walk, the right way to carry) they have become quite smooth. Not "steadicam smooth" but much much better than handheld. the rig has become a staple of my reception kit (along with my monopod)
Frankly I have never used the rig on my tripod and have no reason to ever do so, so I can't speak to that.
Have fun with it and like any other piece of gear, practice practice.
BTW, my 170 has the 970 battery, WA lens attachment, Litepanel micro, and Blueline Hypercaroid mic. My AT receiver is set up on the mounting plate on the back of the rig and helps balance it out quite nicely.
Don
I hope to be able to have some footage of my wedding this weekend to show its use. I pretty much spent all income from this wedding on new equipment so I could get the best possible footage (and because I have four other weddings lined up this summer that will make use of the new gear). Got a WD58, a Raynox .3 (cannot possibly afford the Century version), some radios for comms between my other two shoots, the MultiRig, and misc cables & adapters I've been meaning to get.

I'll have a post shortly about this weekend's wedding on that board, because this wedding is going to be a real 3 ring circus, so logistics might be the straw that breaks my back as opposed to cinematography.

Thanks for all the help. Your comments were actually the primary motivator for my purchase of the MultiRig Pro over other options. So Danny should thank you for the sale. :-)
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I do circling shots during the 1st dances and once I "got it" (the right walk, the right way to carry) they have become quite smooth.
THat is somethign I have yet to get. I have done the "walk in a circle bit" but using the tripod as a counter weight. With the MultiRigPro I might need to retract the rear arm because it's bumping on my shoulder is causing problems. The rear arm also prevents me from angling the camera to one side (right) because it bumps into my neck. So your suggestion above should help fix that.

Part of the problem I might have been having while walking on grass is the uneven nature which meant that I found myself walking smoother when watching the ground, but the picture tends to stray from where I need it. Hopefully I won't have to perform that sort of maneuver (the circle walk) on grass.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 06:13 AM   #7
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uneven ground would be difficult even with a steadicam I would imagine.
Take the rig off the tripod and try the circle. Even now I still find my tendency is to go left - from my days with a full sized rig when there was no vision to the right I guess:-).
Yes the back arm will hit the neck but don't move the rig as a whole. Simply turn it on the spring rod axis as far as you can and then turn your upper body to finish it off. Hope that makes sense. It's early!
Anyway play play play, try all the different ways you can think of just don't hurt yourself ;-)
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #8
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I'm a relative newbie in the field of videography and am looking at some form of shoulder and/or waist support to take out in the field. I'm currently shooting with a PD150 but may be upgrading to an HVR V1P in the near future.

I have a couple of questions about the Multirig Pro which someone in this thread may be able to answer.

1. Does anyone know the dimensions of the Multirig Pro when fully folded up (including weight)? My main interest is wildlife video so I'm looking for something that can be packed away easily into a backpack - situations in which I am unlikely to want to bring my tripod.

2. I often use a monopod in situations where my tripod would be too awkward to carry around but the shoulder brace idea piqued my interest because of the added mobility. Is there a noticeable difference in image stability over hand held, as that would be the main purpose for me getting one - as opposed to camera support to rest my back, since I am not filming long functions etc.

I have been researching a number of options, from the spiderbrace to the steady stick, and one of the things that appeals about the multirig is that it seems it can be customised by removing handles/support rod etc. to fill a number of roles (ie shoulder brace, hip brace, shoulder and hip brace etc).
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Old April 28th, 2008, 02:14 AM   #9
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1. Does anyone know the dimensions of the Multirig Pro when fully folded up (including weight)? My main interest is wildlife video so I'm looking for something that can be packed away easily into a backpack -

2. I often use a monopod in situations where my tripod would be too awkward to carry around but the shoulder brace idea piqued my interest because of the added mobility. Is there a noticeable difference in image stability over hand held, ...
I have the DVMultiRig and use it with a Z1/FX1 and next week, EX1. The DVMT folds up nicely to an 8" x 4" x 12" package and will fit nicely into a pack. It's quite light to me, but you can get the exact weight from the manufacturer site. Obviously, it can't compete in vertical stability with the monopod. There is always movement in the DVMR shot, but in my use (moving cameraman for martial arts footage), the overall feel of the video was more stable than the monopod used before. That's due to the body mount design which stabilizes more types of movement. Yes, there is an obvious improvement over handheld.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 04:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for that. Does the support pod also telescope down to fit within that 12" x 8" x 4", or does it just fit separately?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #11
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Thanks for that. Does the support pod also telescope down to fit within that 12" x 8" x 4", or does it just fit separately?
David, the Multi Rig will suffice for all of your handheld shooting needs and then some.
Yes, the telescoping support pod does compress down and can be locked for very compact storage. The DVMulti itself, can stay attached tot he bottom of your camera and fold down to fit right in the camera bag without the need to take it off the camera. Very convenient.

Personally speaking I used to shoot events with a tripod and monopod, and since I picked up the DVMultiRig, I have sold all of my monopods and rarely use a tripod anymore. You can get very steady footage, with very little practice. And you have much more versatility over a monopod as you can reframe every shot (in/out verticle/horizontal) at a moments notice. You can't do this wit a monopod, or even a tripod for that matter.

A tripod is better for rock solid stationary shooting for long periods of time (30-60 minutes).

For handheld work there's no comparison, especially if you shoot for long periods of time. I personally use it for all of my event worka nd shoot 12-14 hours with it, with great results and no fatigue (except for the feet of course).

But for what you are looking to do, outdoor wildlife it should work fantastic.
It's easy to operate, you have many different configurations in which to shoot with, it's light and compact, and it's very affordable (Comparatively speaking. Although I don't think that there is anything on the market that has its configurative capabilities).
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Old April 28th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #12
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Zoom

I have found that footage zoomed in beyond 10x will still be jumpy with the MultirigPri (MRP for short so I don't keep typing it out)even with the mono pod, etc. And unless you are camping right next to all the animals, you will probably be zooming in. I used the MRP for about 6hrs solid this Sat for my wedding client. It was absolutely fantastic for the jump up and grab a shot because the flower girl was being very cute... etc.

But for zooming in towards the end of the telephoto range, it was still jumpy and hard to get usable footage. For wildlife work, I bet the same will hold true. A mono-pod with the operator leaned up against a tree would still probably beat the MRP.

But the MRP has the benefit of holding my AT897 and a light with softbox and arranging both in a pretty good configuration.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 11:15 AM   #13
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No offense Jason, but why couldn't you just lean against a tree like if you were using a monopod. I have done this quite often by leaning against a pole of wall while zooming in close.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #14
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Darn Trees

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No offense Jason, but why couldn't you just lean against a tree like if you were using a monopod. I have done this quite often by leaning against a pole of wall while zooming in close.
Those darn trees just don't seem to grown were I need to be in order to get the shot.

I could lean against some of the available trees, but those trees are either too far away, or not in the correct line of sight to get the shot.

Mobility is paramount to getting the shot.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #15
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Those darn trees just don't seem to grown were I need to be in order to get the shot.

I could lean against some of the available trees, but those trees are either too far away, or not in the correct line of sight to get the shot.

Mobility is paramount to getting the shot.
If you would plan your shot a little sooner you could plant the tree to lean on a few years in advance...
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