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The Indieshot: a DSLR Steadicam, Shoulder Mount, Dolly, Boom, and Tripod--All in One

07.5.12 @ 7:26PM Tags : , , , , ,

One of the most consistent issues for filmmakers –especially those that travel a lot– is hauling around a lot of heavy gear (and for those of us on a budget, affording the gear we want to make great looking images). There have been some developments in making equipment more compact and cheaper, but this concept rig from designer Grant Parrinello, promises “a steadicam, boom camera (for high shots), a glide track (for smooth pan and push shots), a shoulder mount, and a tripod all into one compact, low cost product.”

From left to right: boom, steadicam, and shoulder mount configurations

Dolly configuration

There are a lot of great design elements in the Indieshot, but I think it needs a few improvements before its ready for prime time:

1. Rubber Grips

The CG models suggest that most of the rig is made out of smooth metal parts. There need to be rubber grips on one side of the straight bars, otherwise the steadicam, boom, and shoulder mount configurations are going to be a hand slipping nightmare.


2. A 3rd Bar Section

To me the shoulder mount seems a bit awkward, and would benefit from a third bar that the other two bars could be mounted to, creating a more stable handlebar configuration. This would also be useful in the steadicam set up by adding the ability to refine your weight distribution, which brings me to…

3. Additional Weights

Unless the wheels are also metal (or filled with lead), I don’t see them being very useful in balancing a DSLR on a steadicam rig, especially if you’re going to use a variety of different lenses. I think that modular weights are the only way to go here.

4. A Tripod Configuration

The one image I couldn’t find on Parrinello’s website was a demonstration of the tripod set up he mentioned. It could be that this aspect of the rig is still in development, in which case I hope he plans on adding a tripod head that’s capable of tilting and panning, otherwise this set up won’t be very useful.

What do you think of the Indieshot design thus far? Does it look like something that would be a useful addition to your kit?

Link: Grant Parrinello Design – Indieshot

Via: [Wide Open Camera]

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  • john jeffreys on 07.5.12 @ 7:57PM

    i dont like all these new shiny prosumer/dslr-centric video products. one of the challenges (and fun) of filmmaking is hauling tons of gear around and using it for years and all of them are made of thick metal and are gnarly and tough from years of hardcore art making. ever used your tripod on the beach and then spent an entire night cleaning out the sand from the legs? its like meditation. its like camping, you know, setting up and packing up is part of the sport.

    • but that’s what progress means. lugging around less gear. I’ve spent all week cleaning sand out of my dslr gear, but if there was a way I would have to carry less, clean less, and get more time to compose amazing shots? all for it.

      • john jeffreys on 07.5.12 @ 9:16PM

        I guess time saved is a good counter-argument. I dunno, i like having half of my bedroom filled with tripods and shoulder rigs and backpacks and shit. It makes me feel hardcore.

        • You’re easily my favorite commenter on here.

        • I agree with you there. It’s so awesome to have tons of equipment. It’s like how putting a mattebox on your camera even when you don’t need it makes you look and feel cooler.

          • john jeffreys on 07.6.12 @ 5:41PM

            hey, i actually use my mattebox for filters ;)

          • Daniel Mimura on 07.13.12 @ 7:47AM

            I always thought the mattebox wasn’t that important (when you don’t need filtering…)…just sort of an extra thing that has really hit poserish levels (people trying to look professional, when flares are a minimal problem, and when I’m often trying to get *more* flares in the shot)…

            Well I’ve learned that for steadicam, it’s really great. I’ve always avoided buying one b/c there is almost always a work around for it. It’s always been less a prioity over getting another lens or whatever… But after a couple jobs with other people’s boxes…give me the biggest heaviest non-swing away mattebox you can find! (swing away has a horrible weight distribution.)

            with more weight (particularly fore and aft), pans are way smoother with steadicam. It can help a light camera like an F3 or D-SLR fly better. Heavier cameras (despite the extra weight I have to lug around) fly much better (Moore’s first law)…it doesn’t move around, and when it does move, it moves steadier.

            Ordering an Obox tomorrow…the mounting points will let me add even more weight (brass weights) so I have more control over it.

          • Daniel Mimura on 07.14.12 @ 2:45AM

            Oops…I meant Newton’s first law…

        • I’m with John… :)

        • AD Stephens on 07.12.12 @ 3:46PM

          I totally agree with this. This one time I was accidentally hired as a dolly grip from a Producer who hadn’t had enough sleep so I got some facetime with this Fisher 11, the sheer weight and industrial badassery of it all was awesome, how all the pieces clunk together and everything hurts your fingers when you’re changing stuff round (this sounds negative but it makes you feel all the more hardcore: it’s like the relief and feeling of success after struggling with a tight castle nut, even though your hands are bleeding it just feels good). A lot of these new solutions to everything don’t look right, or look like they can truly function properly in the roles they strive to achieve.

          One exception to this is that awesome focus system that has handlebars and bike brakes to rack focus, but that’s because it was clearly machined properly by a guy who knows the score, it looks solid and now I can finally achieve my dream of becoming a Biker-themed camera operator.

          • I agree. I actually did a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, and this design looks like it will score well for an ID assignment, but I probably wouldn’t buy it myself. It just doesn’t inspire me with confidence. I’d have to see it in action and the resulting footage – actually, I’d have to try it out for a while before being convinced.

            I think it’s cute, but when it comes to actually dropping cash on something, I actually going to let my wallet vote for the bicycle focus system ;) and I haven’t even tried it yet…

    • You clearly don’t ever fly internationally. great to have a truck and do local jobs.

  • I bet half if not all these configurations don’t work properly

  • Uzi-style filming doesn’t work for long unless you like pressing something into your shoulder for long lengths, and for the shoulder setup would need a counterweight. The dolly setup would need to be on a complete smooth and flat surface, and the slider would probably have a hard time unless you could lock the wheels.

    Welcome to the focus group study. We’ll be taking your advice and building a better piece of equipment. Thank you for your free input for the pre-pro stage of our development.

  • mcblakewich on 07.5.12 @ 11:56PM

    A jib would make a great addition. Just sold my $1200 shoulder rig (follow focus, matte box, etc.) to purchase something new and cheaper. Say what you will but these products won’t “hurt” any projects I (or many others) plan on doing.

  • Love yanko design for innovative thinking, but I can count on one hand the number of project that have actually made it to production/kickstarter.

  • i would like to know when would this be available because im buying the second it comes out !

  • i would love to see if it actually works in its stedicam configuration

  • I’m a guy who has to shoot on the cheap and as light as possible. If this thing is all it’s cracked up to be, complete with the valuable suggestions mentioned here, it just might be enough to make me break the weld on the ol’ wallet.

  • First is to benchmark against the Steadicam Merlin. Tell me why it is better, aside from price. Second is to be real cautious about using the word “steadicam” cause there is no doubt that doing so is a no no. Steadicam is no doubt trademarked and refers to the products under the Steadicam brand.

    • Daniel Mimura on 07.13.12 @ 8:09AM

      I hate people throwing around the word “Steadicam” to mean any sort of camera stabilizer. It’s become a genericized trademark (like you say “legos” instead of building blocks or Kleenax instead of facial tissue, even when you’re using another brand)… Steadicam® (wisely, I think) chose not to get sue happy like many other brands…in movie credits, it’s standard for the credits to say “steadicam operator” even if the operator is using an XCS or MK-V or other brand of stabilizer (Steadicam® lost it’s exclusive patent, much like Ziplocks®, and that’s why, like Ziplocks®, what was once exclusive…it’s now just one of several competing brands).

      …but by “steadicam” (not capitalized, like “Steadicam®”, the brand name”…I picture a camera stabilizer that at least has a vest and an arm, not solely a ballast contraption without an arm with parallelogram arms (like the Luxo lamp, which is actually referenced in Garrett Brown’s original Steadicam patent—you know, the swiss lamp that is also the Pixar logo)… those arms, like with a jib arm allow you to boom without tilting (as well as have the weight of the camera supported by the springs in the arms…this is “steadicam” to me and any other steadicam operator.

      The Merlin is great, but you can’t add a focus motor, so it’s of extremely limited use with large chip non-auto focus cameras.

      I think this thing looks totally worthless, and not because I like lugging heavy gear which many people seem to want to do (?!). It’s like a swiss army knife (the ones with 50 arms in it)…yes, it can do a whole lot, but it’s almost always better to have dedicated specialized tools. This is like a bowflex or some other late night infomercial…it slices, it dices and does a whole lot more!

  • This “product” looks like total garbage not worth more than 20 bucks, if that. What will they come up with next, OMG?

  • Looks nice, but I want to see a video please… I want to sit back for 2 min, and let you show me how it works, and footage it captures… not ready 2000 words describing the product….

  • The trouble with gear like ti is it never does any of its assigned tasks acceptably. It may “get by” as a dolly or tripod or whatever, but never really with the results you wanted. Dedicated gear is the only way to go if you want the results you know you can get.

  • I don’t have a problem with “multi-taskers.” This product looks like it needs to be a little more thought out, though. Rubber grips on the bars would prevent the glide track from working…so more bars as somebody mentioned. The shoulder style method looks really really REALLY weird to me…sort of looks like you would need an external monitor for the shoulder to eye offset…I guess it would be a “wedge” type shoulder mount like xl1 or ex3…I definitely love a true on my shoulder rig without straining my neck or forearm.

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