As a longtime owner of a Redrock shouldermount rig, a recent announcement from the accessory manufacturer almost makes me wish I had instead waited the eight-some-odd years to spring for the package today. Actually, it's still pretty good news to me, and any other current rig owners, for that matter -- because what's announced isn't a new Redrock rig unto itself, but instead upgrades for key components for any shouldermount setup. Bump the jump for the details.
microShoulder Pad Upgrade -- $200
- Strong and flexible: super tough Cordura®, breathable 3D mesh, and free-forming microPoly beads
- Smarter: uniquely balanced pressure distribution
- Self-leveling: promotes proper alignment and better stability
- Made for You: actively adapts to all shapes and slopes
- Luxury: unmatched, fatigue- fighting, extreme rig comfort
I've been on shoots before wherein the camera op -- which was me, in many cases -- started feeling some pretty gnawing discomfort spending long hours with a rig living on his shoulder. Granted, all kinds of camera setups were mounted on those rigs in my own experience, including camcorders outfit with full-on 35mm lens adapters, likely outweighing DSLRs -- then again, with all the other riggery you may be using on your DSLR (or BMCC, or what have you), the weight may be quite comparable. As such, any improvements to a shoulder pad itself in terms of comfort is surely welcome by any run-and-gun shooters out there. The new microShoulderPad goes for about $200 at Redrock.
microBalance QR Quick Release Counterbalance Weight -- $180 or $250
- Stackable: Quickly add or remove as many 2 lb weights as needed to achieve ideal rig balance
- Precise: Front-back & unique left-right adjustments for customizable balance -- can also be mounted vertically or horizontally
- Multi-talented: Attach battery directly to weights
- Smarter: Easy quick-release mechanism lets you quickly adjust your weight without using any tools
There's a couple notable things about these weights, and the tools-free aspect seems pretty big to me. Easy locking and disengaging (never mind tools-free reconfiguring) spells good news for the camera team's time efficiency on set, not to mention the sanity of the ACs. Additionally, brick batteries such as those produced by Anton Bauer can be mounted straight on to the weights themselves, enabling battery quick-release too. The microBalance QR goes for $180 and $250 for a single weight including either a horizontal or verticle mounting clamp, respectively. Once you have the clamp you want, each additional weight is $100.
microHandGrip Grip Upgrade Kit - Pair for $20
- Redesigned: Improved rip pattern enhances comfort, reduces moisture build-up
- Customizable: Double-locking grips offer more flexibility and mounting points
- Advanced: Fully compatible with the microRemote system Fingerwheel controller
Again, this is as much a comfort-finesse upgrade as it is a tech-practicality one: out in the field and fighting the elements on a long day, things like comfort and sweaty-grips equates to practicality in a way. Then, of course, there's the option of easy direct-mounting of something like a remote follow focus, which also makes the life of a single operating pulling their own focus a lot smoother prospect. A dual set of microHandGrips is only $20.
Remember -- you don't have to be a brand-loyal fanboy or a life-long Redrockstar for these pieces to be appealing to you. There number of pieces you can combine to create your own rig frankenstein-style is literally limitless, so if you'd like to, say, replace your current shoulder pad with the microSP upgrade (because, in all honestly that thing looks 1000x times comfier than anything I've used before) but keep your old rails, follow focus, and so on, no problem. These rig solutions certainly aren't plastic, but Redrock has always been a good line-rider of solid (and fairly elegant) engineering and low cost -- so if any of these items looks like it appeals to you, check some user reviews and consider treating yourself to an upgrade to your rig.
Disclosure: Redrock Micro is a No Film School Advertiser.