August 11, 2013

VBag Lets You Mount Your Camera Virtually Anywhere, but is the Price Too Steep?

V BagHow many times have you used books, pillows, your own shirt, or any variation of a makeshift rig to prop up and steady your camera? I'm assuming the answer is "a bunch of times." I recently came across this nifty tool called the VBag, which is a vacuum bag that hardens when air is released, allowing you to firmly mount your DSLR camera, freeing you up to get certain shots that would be difficult to get using a tripod or stabilizing rig. Essentially, this thing can be mounted on pretty much anything, as well as mount a vast range of cameras -- for a price. Check out the video by Film Riot after the jump and see what the VBag is all about.

I've never used the VBag, but I'm really impressed by what it can do given the simplicity of the design -- a soft vacuum bag made of PVC-coated Polyester fibre sheets filled with polystyrene pellets. Using similar technology used by paramedics to secure the injured, the VBag hardens in the shape you put it in when air is evacuated with a pump. Just release the air valve, let air back in, and it becomes soft and ready for another go.

The multi-valve VBag is made of a sturdy material, which is ideal for regular use, but other editions are made of softer, lighter, more flexible material, making it easier to mould.

Check out this video by Film Riot that shows you what the newest edition of VBag can do. (Spoiler Alert: It can be mounted on a dog.)

VBags are compact and easily transportable, at least more so than a tripod or any number of stabilizers. DSLRs work just fine with the VBag, and some videos on VBag's website show that you can even rig up larger cameras, like a heavily adorned RED or Arri, with the large-sized bag. Combining multiple VBags with varying sizes helps to truly customize how you mount your camera.

Being able to form this thing securely around pretty much anything is such a strong selling point, but, the price may be too steep for many of us, ranging from $250 to $700 depending on the edition and bag size.

In my opinion, the VBag looks like an interesting new tool for filmmakers, especially documentarians, looking for something versatile and stable to set their cameras on. Other than the price, the things that give me pause are 1.) wondering if it really could be a legit replacement for other mounting tools, and 2.) not knowing the learning curve. It looks easy, but I wonder if it takes some doing to get a good mount.

VBag has a bunch of videos on their website that demonstrate its durability, how to set it up, and all the ways you can use it.

For those who have used a VBag, what can you tell us about it? Do you think it offers enough flexibility for the price? Let us know in the comments.

Links:

[via Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

35 Comments

Just a heads up, here's a product which is somewhat similar, designed for something completely different, but waaaaay cheaper. It's designed as a footblock for whitewater kayaks, but it's a bag, full of foam balls, with a tube you can suck the air out of to create a vacuum. It's called the "happy feet" by Jackson Kayak (I actually hate that I'm promoting something with a smiley face and such a terrible logo, forgive me). I haven't used it to this capacity, it was just a brain wave thing, but I'd say it's worth a check. I have used them for kayaking, and they are fairly large. http://store.jacksonkayak.com/products/Happy-Feet-.html

August 11, 2013

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That is awesome! It costs the same as the carry bag that the V Bag people are selling.

August 11, 2013

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Chris H

Pretty sure it's half airbag, half beanbag... so not quite what the vbag is.

August 12, 2013

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fand4ngo

Thanks for the heads up, I just ordered the XL. Like you said, for the price of the VBag carry case, why not? Since the air chamber is its own compartment, I can probably cut it right off. Looks like the width is at least 24 inches (60cm) for the smallest sized version based on reviews. The markup on the VBag seems a little ridiculous to me.

August 12, 2013

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Ryan

Ryan, if you wouldn't mind, please let us know how you get on with the kayak bag and wether it works as a solution. Thanks.

August 12, 2013

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ADC

Expect a reply in a week or two or just search youtube "Happy Feet RED Epic Test" or something like that then. I do a fair bit of corporate work in areas I can only fly into so this could come in useful.

August 12, 2013

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Ryan

umm, a $700 for a bag.... sounds like an april fools.

August 11, 2013

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Stew

It's around $260 I think, unless we're talking about two different things?

August 11, 2013

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David

I agree that it's a bit expensive, but it's also not just "a bag" either.

August 11, 2013

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Blah

I think she meant 70-260, not 700-260

August 12, 2013

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Casey

Nope, packages range from € 539 (about $718...which includes large bag, VBag pump, carrying bag, and repair kit) to € 198 ($264...PB edition bag with bulb pump) according to their website:

http://vbag.com/products.aspx

August 12, 2013

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V Renée
Managing Editor
Writer/Director

Usually smaller numbers come first, Just a heads up.

August 12, 2013

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Tyler

Jesus, who cares?

August 12, 2013

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steve

Hah, what a strange way to arrange them.

August 12, 2013

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Alasdair

It's also at Filmtools.

August 12, 2013

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steve

I have been looking at this bag for almost an entire year. I want to use it but I don't want to pay for it. Is that rare?

August 11, 2013

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Edgar

I have used sand bags to do this for years. There are normally a few around and just stack or punch them in to shape.

August 11, 2013

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Marcus

V Bag? Really? Did no one in the marketing department consider the alternate meanings of such a silly name?

August 11, 2013

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Mike C

Don't be a vbag, Mike.

August 12, 2013

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Ram

Lol.

August 16, 2013

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brian

I've used the Cinesaddle for years (the DSLR version runs @$100) for shooting out of cars etc, but tried the smaller VBag recently, and it is a very useful piece of kit, particularly for doco/reality shooters. Holds a camera very firm. Not right for me, but again, if you need that odd angle it works great.
Didn't Bloom do something on them?

August 12, 2013

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marklondon

This thing was on the usual film sites AGES ago.
Why are you just reporting on it now?

August 12, 2013

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Fresno Bob

Looks great, but I am not sure if its safe :)) I would not put RED or Alexa on it :)

August 12, 2013

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Laurel

I heard the Phillip Bloom edition makes your shot ASC worthy.

August 12, 2013

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rz67

Good one.

August 12, 2013

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They used to sell it with Bloom's autograph in the ASC store...sold out now...
http://www.ascmag.com/store/home.php

August 12, 2013

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sammy

Oh boy ! "Who cares"! - -
____

August 14, 2013

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If it were $100 cheaper, I'd own one. At the current price, I can find other ways...

August 12, 2013

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If it were $100 cheaper, I'd own one. For the current price, I'll find other ways to mount the camera...

August 12, 2013

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sorry for the duplicates... website hiccuped, and I got eager!

August 12, 2013

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Can you do a comparison of sandbags for us? B&H vs DIY or something. Sorry, just kidding.

August 12, 2013

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ronn

$700 is nothing for anyone on a real shoot...

August 12, 2013

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Leland

What about these? There are a few vacuum splint options with varying degrees of durability.

https://www.mooremedical.com/Index.cfm?Ntk=all&No=0&Search=Search&Ns=Sea...

August 13, 2013

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Jay N.

far too expensive for what it is, hope the kayak bag holds out. Hacked off that the word video screenprinted on a item immediately sets off a 200% mark up.

frustrating and annoying, if it was cheaper they would probably make more money. Pure greed.

August 15, 2013

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March 7, 2014

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