build your own shoulder rig
Since smooth camera movements are rather hard to do well on a budget, most independent filmmakers rely on their tripods (for static or panning shots) and handheld camera techniques (for dynamic shots). In lieu of a gimbal or steady-cam setup, a shoulder rig can be a valuable tool. It’ll increase the stability of your shots and allow your cinematographer to maintain longer takes, without over-straining their arms and back. For the purposes of demonstration, we present here a DIY-shoulder rig, built from cheap hardware store materials. This is not a step-by-step construction manual. The basic techniques and features are shown, in order to help you design your own shoulder rig – fitting your own specific needs.
The central, invaluable tool to our DIY rig is a little piece of plumbing equipment called »pipe clamp« (sometimes »pipe bracket«). They come in various inner diameters and have a nut (usually M8) welded onto them. Just screw four of them onto a piece of wood, and voila you have a baseplate for all kinds of elements, that will fit onto two aluminum rods.
Use 15mm aluminum pipes as rods – they are light and very stable. 15mm diameter and 60mm distance between rods (center to center) is kind of an industry standard, so that you can combine commercially bought elements together with your homemade ones.
Also look online for nifty articulation elements, like ball bearings, hinges, joints, pivots etc. They come often equipped with ¼ inch camera-type screws or nuts, and can help you design elements like magic-arms, adjustable monitor holders, or the adjustable filter holder used on our build.
The total cost of our setup (as seen here in various illustrations) was about 50 € and most material came from a standard hardware store. Total construction time was about four hours. It hopefully can serve as a template for your own variations and builds, as the concept is flexible and adaptable to many different setups.
contact & contributions:
mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ↗ instagram: cheap-shots-film-now ↗ youtube channel: cheap shots ↗