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Old February 22nd, 2011, 04:17 PM   #1
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Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

A short while ago, I posted a topic regarding my DIY shoulder mount for my VG-10. The goal was to minimize the side to side wobbles of hand held shooting, and to deal with the nose heavy nature of the VG-10 with the 18-200mm lens fully extended.
While my first attempt worked fairly well, I was still in search of a couple of enhancements that eluded me in the inital version; positioning the camera so it's EVF was directly in line with my eye ( I don't use the LCD except for tripod work) without having to contort myself to see through it.
Secondly, I wanted to shorten the mount down a bit to make it easier to handle, and ideally improve the stability even more. This is what I came up with.

http://yycadm.zenfolio.com/p176830969/h10e682f#h10e682f

Total cost was around $20. What I like with this version is that the EVF is directly in front of my eye. It is VERY stable with the dual arms over the shoulder, and I will be adding a strap from the fron leg to the back to secure it around my torso, hopefully to minimize dropping the whole thing inadvertantly

Last edited by Wayne Reimer; February 22nd, 2011 at 05:00 PM. Reason: bad link
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

Whereever you linked to, its requiring a fee or sign up to get the information. What's the matter with YouTube or Vimeo ?
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

thanks Chris!

Link should work fine now; I was still in edit mode, not viewing mode.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #4
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

Wayne,

This looks really great. Do you have a DIY guide, or some example footage (or both!)..

I keep coming back to the thought of building one as a fun project and yours looks like what I'd be aiming at..

Cheers
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:01 AM   #5
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

I've been busy with some editing from an event last week and it's been bitterly cold, so I haven't shot much of anything for a few days.I will put together a short DIY and parts list along with an explanation of what I did and why, and get it posted in the next day or two.
It was actually a quick, fun project. PVC is cheap enough to fool around and try some different configurations and lengths of differnet elements to tailor the fit where you want it to be, and once it's glued together it's amazingly strong and light.
I have to say that I like the dual shoulder approach MUCH more than my first version which was only over one shoulder. This version lets me adjust focus and zoom without any loss of side-to-side stability ( still maintaining three points of contact) and even though my camera is fairly light, it distributes the weight more evenly so the comfort factor is greatly improved.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

Definitely looks like a good design - if you want to add one design element, you might consider a socket to alow you to attach a monopod to the bottom - one with a ball head and short enough to use as a "belt pod" (the bottom can go into your pocket or get a belt pouch). That's similar to the rigs I've got, and it makes for pretty stable shooting under most conditions. If you have a monopod you can release the height adjustment on, you can do that, and even walk or run with reasonable stability, then lock it in place when you're standng still.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex Some directions

I've attached links to a couple of photos that outline materials needed,
Zenfolio | Wayne Reimer | Camera equipment

and a different view showing the "left/right" offset to allign the cameras EVF with my eye.
Zenfolio | Wayne Reimer | Camera equipment

I purposely offset the mounting point of the camera to permit me to simply tilt my head forward to look through the viewfinder, as opposed to twisting my neck to the side to accomplish that. the contortions needed to make that happen with the "universal" shoulder braces that I tried was uncomfortable; I'm a cancer survivor and due to a radical neck dissection my neck doesn't move quite the way it should. I can still utilize the LCD screen without difficulty, however since I seldom use it unless I'm shooting from a tripod, it was a secondary concern.

As a general comment, any place in the image that you see an elbow, a 90 degree or "T" joint, have been accomodated with 1.5 in. lengths of PVC. There are really only a few different lengths of PVC needed; 6 6in. lengths 3 3in. lengths and about a half dozen 1.5 in pieces.

I have several additions I want to make;
-adding some form of quick release to make it easier to mount and remove the camera
-I really like the idea of adding a screw mount for a monopod; I'm going to investigate what I can use for a socket for that application.
- I'm also looking at how I can mount a set of rails for a mattebox.follow focus
-attaching some form of safety/retention strap. With the current design, it will rest quite comfortably with hands off; the shoulder hooks keep it from slopping around side to side, with the handgrips resting on your belt-line. the addition of a safety strap would let you simply suspend the camera/brace from your shoulders if you need your hands for something else momentarily without setting the whole thing down.

Providing you're careful in alligning the components before gluing the joints, it provides a very stable, low angle platform sitting on the ground. Once you have the allignment dialed in, mark the pieces you're gluing together so that they don't shift when you reassemble them with the adhesive. Once it bonds, you're going to either live with the position or re-do the joint entirely...there's no moving the pieces once the glue is set.
I have no way of testing the overall strength, but I would think it would easily hold in excess of 10lbs with no flex at all. It only weighs about 2 lbs, so it's pretty minimal in terms of weight
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Old February 25th, 2011, 07:30 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap shoulder mount, part duex

A quick release is always good, matched to your tripod/monopod/other support.

I should think you could embed a regular old 1/4"-20 nut in some epoxy or melt it part way in to an appropriate spot on the bottom of your rig for a support point. With the dual shoulder setup, and a monopod/belt support, it should be quite stable even "hands off", just put a stretch camera strap on it for a safety just in case.

I've got some nice machined aluminum shoulder mounts with the monopod/belt setup, and it's almost as good as a steadicam once you get used to it, particularly if the camera OIS is good.
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