Shoulder mount for EX-3 at DVinfo.net

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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old July 2nd, 2010, 07:26 PM   #1
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Shoulder mount for EX-3

I'm working on a shoulder mount system for the EX-3 and am keen to get some feedback from EX-3 users.

I use the EX-3 on a Jimmy Jib, Glidecam X-45 system and in a multi-cam environment, so wanted a mount that was compact, could be left on the camera and would make balancing the camera (on the jib/glidecam etc) easy.

I've looked at a variety of systems, but couldn't really find anything that ticked all the boxes for me.

My brother is an engineer so we got stuck into designing and building our own mount.

I don't have permissions to post photos on this forum - but you can see pictures at:

http://www.imagenz.com/resources/imagenz/exm.jpg

The mount uses the VCT-U14/VCT-14 tripod plate - and attaches at the front and rear (like the big cameras) - so its not just relying on the front wedge plate connection.

The shoulder pad moves between 2 positions: In the forward position, it allows mounting to the VCT-14 tripod plate. In the rear postion, the shoulder pad is moved back 50mm to put the viewfinder at a more comfortable position when shooting from the shoulder.

A V-lock battery provides balance - though a simple 'weight' could be used if powering from V-locks is not required. Should also be easy to change the plate to Anton Bauer.

The rods can be extended at the back - for attaching other accessories or positioning a weight/battery further back to assist with balance (especially when mattboxes or bigger lenses are used).

At the moment I've got it set up to use Chroziel mattboxes - and I'm investigating other mattbox systems to make sure they will work too.

For the multicam side of things, I'm making an 'adapter' that will attach to the back (in place of the V-lock mount) with comms unit etc built in - and connect to the control system via a multipin connector/cable.

Also looking at a bracket on the side to hold radio mic receivers etc.

I think its nearly there - but any comments, suggestions, questions etc would be appreciated - in case I've forgotten anything!

But generally any feedback would be good.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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As we say here in Texas, that's here in the USA, what is the price tag on that puppy?

thanks
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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i buy it. i love the ex3, but its the most uncomfortable thing ever. seriously whats with the "mount" they have stock.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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I wish I could give you a definitive answer on price - I'm looking into it at the moment.

I have been working on the mount for several months now - and thought it was time to put it out there and see what interest there might be in it (other than my own!).

I am planning to make 6 or so units for my own use (for general shooting and the multicam setup) - and depending on feedback and interest from elsewhere I could make more.

There are just a few tweaks to make to the final design - so hopefully it shouldn't be long before its ready to go.

Mark
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:45 PM   #5
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Very interesting concept Mark. A lot of things to like about it. The ENG shoulder mount form factor being the big one, built in rails, the large thumbwheel to tighten the unit to the base is a really neat idea.

First big question that comes to mind: can the plate/shoulder mount unit travel back & forth a fair amount? Can you adjust the height of the rails a fair amount or will people have to rely on a Zacuto style riser to have height flexibility (which adds significant weight and cost to the unit)? What is the weight of the unit?

I really like the ENG style concept. You are to be congratulated.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:48 PM   #6
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Nice shoulder mount, I am curious as to what you will charge as I need a fix for the semi shoulder mount of the EX3.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #7
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I also like the look of that shoulder mount Mark.
As Andrew says the ENG style looks the part and I would imagine very comfortable providing theres enough weight to the back.
I like what I see so far. Well done.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 06:41 AM   #8
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'can the plate/shoulder mount unit travel back & forth a fair amount?'

The shoulder pad and battery plate travel 50mm from the forward position to rear.

In its forward most position this allows the rear stopper to engage to the tripod plate - so the mount is held by the front wedge and rear stopper in the same way as the big shoulder mount cameras.

By pushing the release pin on the side of the rear 'block' the shoulder pad and battery plate can be moved back 50mm so that the viewfinder sits at the right position when the camera/mount is on the shoulder. For the shoulder pad/battery plate to move further, the overall length of the mount would have to increase - and it would effectively put the camera further forward - which would then require more weight at the back.

'Can you adjust the height of the rails a fair amount or will people have to rely on a Zacuto style riser to have height flexibility (which adds significant weight and cost to the unit)? '

The rails at the back of the mount (that the shoulder pad/battery plate travel on) are fixed - but could be extended . The rails are standard 15mm @ 60mm spacing. The plan is to have a block that will mount and lock to the extended rails enabling the battery to be mounted further back - or other accesories like harddrive/solid state recorders/radio mic receivers etc.

The rails at the front (as shown in the photos) are part of a Chroziel mattbox system and are not part of the EXMount. I am able to mount my Chroziel mattbox using the standard Chroziel mounting system and a 5mm spacer that lifts the rod mounting block to the correct position.

I need to investigate other mattbox systems to see if they are compatible with the EXMount. Basically, if the mattbox system will mount to a 2/3" shoulder camera, it should attach to the EXMount as well.

It may be that we will come up with a simple rod mounting block that will attach to the front of the EXMount and allow horizontal and vertical adjustment for 15mm rods.



'What is the weight of the unit?'

Currently the EXMount weighs in at 1.2kg - with standard wedge plate at the front, IDX V-Lock plate (no battery).

We have tried to keep the weight at the back of the unit as much as possible. It is machined out of aluminium - and built to be robust!



'Nice shoulder mount, I am curious as to what you will charge as I need a fix for the semi shoulder mount of the EX3.'

I'd like to be able to give you a price - but there are so many factors involved. We're still finalising the design - which is why I'm looking for feedback. And I'm trying to ascertain if there is interest - and if it will be viable to do a run of them - the more we make, the lower the unit cost (to a certain extent anyway). But at the moment I really want to make sure we get the design right!


'...providing theres enough weight to the back.'

I think its fair to say that the bigger/heavier the battery on the back, the better it works. I'm using some of the larger capacity GlobalMediaPro batteries - and they seem to be about right. The smaller/lighter ones are ok, but the heavier batteries help put the shoulder mount firmly in place - and obviously help balance everything as well.

Of course, if you add more weight out the front (mattboxes, follow focus, big lenses etc) then more weight will be needed out the back - which is where the extended rear rails could be handy for shifting some of that weight further back.

Everything is a bit of a compromise! But what I'm trying to do with this mount is make it compact to the camera so that it can be left on all the time and be versatile enough to work in a variety of configurations.

Keep the feedback coming - its really useful.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old July 4th, 2010, 06:52 AM   #9
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Mounting to Pan & Tilt head without a VCT-14 plate

Today I machined a plate that attaches to the base of the EXMount (in place of the VCT-14 wedge plate) and allows the Pan and Tilt head wedge to be attached to this plate.

Basically it means that the EXMount can be attached to a Pan & Tilt head without the use of a VCT-14 plate - in much the same way as I have seen most people attach their EX-3's to a P&T head. The main difference is that there is no strain on the EX-3 1/4" mounting thread and no risk of twisting - the wedge plate can be fixed with 1/4" and 3/8" screws.

Obviously you are limited when balancing to the amount of travel that the P&T head allows. I was able to balance the camera/mount on a Miller Arrow HD and Manfrotto 516 P&T head.

So, this could be another option if you don't have a VCT-14 plate.

I'll put up a link to some photos (once they are taken!) - or post them here if I can figure out how to make that happen!

Mark
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Old July 4th, 2010, 08:19 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Mark Rule;1545058can the plate/shoulder mount unit travel back & forth a fair amount?'

The shoulder pad and battery plate travel 50mm from the forward position to rear.

In its forward most position this allows the rear stopper to engage to the tripod plate - so the mount is held by the front wedge and rear stopper in the same way as the big shoulder mount cameras[/QUOTE]



Do you have to move the shoulder plate back and forward, can it not stay in one position for shoulder mount and tripod mount.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 08:42 AM   #11
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You can use the camera on the shoulder with the shoulder pad in its forward position - if you wanted to shoot something quickly, you could release the camera/mount from the tripod plate and put it on the shoulder without moving the shoulder pad to the rear position.

In the shoulder pad's forward position, the viewfinder eyepiece tends to be a bit 'tight' to the eye - if you were just using the LCD screen it would probably be fine.

Moving the shoulder pad back effectively shifts the camera & viewfinder forward - putting the viewfinder at a better, more comfortable position for shooting when on the shoulder.

The shoulder pad needs to be in the forward position to properly engage to the VCT-14 tripod plate - otherwise the shoulder pad would need to be behind the rear stopper that connects to the tripod plate - which would increase the overall length of the mount.

If you found it comfortable to operate on the shoulder in the forward position, there would be no problem doing that. If you were on and off the tripod frequently, then it would be fine. For extended periods of shooting from the shoulder I think it would be more comfortable with the shoulder pad in the rear position - to put the viewfinder at the right distance.

Mark
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Old July 4th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #12
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Thanks Mark, that sounds OK to me.
I'm sure seconds moves the shoulder pad to the rear anyway.


Looking good.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 10:00 AM   #13
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Looks like an elegant solution you have there Mark.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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A Question?

Instead of mounting a battery, I use the Sony BP-U60, can you use the plate to mound wireless microphones?

As I was looking to do that with the DM plate and the DM owner says that can be done with a simple re working of the back shoulder part of the plate.

thanks
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Old July 4th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #15
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Mark, if you could invent a light weight solution for a rails riser that would make the unit into a truly usable solution. Including non-adjustable rails, in terms of height creates a serious usability problem. Most of the EX3 people are going to use the rails, first and foremost, for a mattebox, second would be for accessories like focus and zoom motors and counter weights. Motors wouldn't need the adjustable rails but the mattebox would. You have to account for people adding zoom-through wide angle lenses or 3rd party camera lenses of differing diameters. A fixed height rails solution will not work for many who would be in the market for this.
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