February 8, 2013

Learn How to Build a DSLR Shoulder Rig for Only $100 with Parts from eBay

Since the explosion of DSLRs, shoulder rigs have become almost a necessity for smooth handheld work. Some you can buy on the cheap, others you can build yourself for even cheaper, and one can even double as a portable jib solution. Name brand rigs will save you the trouble of a DIY assembly job, and should hold up well enough to use on just about any shoot, but they'll cost you quite a bit more. Now we've got another how-to video, this time geared toward shooters who'd like to build their own somewhat heavy-duty shoulder rig for as little as $100. Check out the video and the full eBay items list below.

Steve of Taylordfilms dropped us a line and told us about the video, which goes into all the details you need to recreate the rig yourself:

Below is the items list from the video description. Taylordfilms has used eBay to source the pieces, so the prices are approximate -- but this affords a patient shooter the possibility of better value down the line.

We were looking for the best deal on a professional grade shoulder rig and we decided the best deal would be to buy the components separately from china. We did it for around $100 dollars, can you do it for less? Let [Taylordfilms] know in the comments below.

While aluminum isn't quite stainless steel (which Redrock uses in its rails, for instance), this rig will definitely be sturdy enough for a DSLR setup. It also looks the 'pro' part as well as any other rig, especially with the third-party follow focus. In fact, I wouldn't have assumed it to be a self-assembled rig at all had I seen it on a shoot. The build's pro looks are due to the its use of rig-specific pre-fab parts, of course -- but what's interesting about Taylordfilm's approach here is the combination of shoot-dedicated gear and flexible bargain-hunting.

What do you guys think of this particular rig? What other pieces would you need for minimum functionality in your own uses? In building your own rig, would you go Taylordfilms route or full-on DIY?

Link: Taylordfilms-- YouTube

Your Comment

38 Comments

Very informative, ill be building one myself soon. I don't see any reason to droop $700+ on a name brand rig

February 8, 2013 at 11:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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"Follow focus not included in original estimate."

February 8, 2013 at 12:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

DON'T DO IT. originally made a shoulder rig that was 75% Chinese ebay parts and slowly had to replace them one by one until only a single connecter remains. The main problem is that the Chinese fasteners suck. Handles were constantly coming loose, my monitor frequently swung back at my face, and you would have to tighten the things so much they were then impossible to undo. The machining is not as precise, to mix and matching parts is a total gamble. All in all, you get what you pay for.

February 8, 2013 at 12:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I forgot about doing DIY the moment Gini started offering rigs. Bought a $300 rig that included a follow focus that rivals Cinevate's Durus and can be reconfigured and adapted to all my current and future needs.

February 8, 2013 at 1:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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which Gini rig did you get? I don't see anything for $300. $350-$399 is the closest I see.

February 8, 2013 at 1:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Derek Means

Yeah, I'd like to know that too.

February 8, 2013 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

Occasionally he has what I guess are "run out" sales where the last rig of a type or batch is put up without reserve starting at like US$50 or something.

February 8, 2013 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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that's what I did. bid on a few ebay listings until I got what I wanted for the price I had in mind.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gini-DSLR-Shoulder-Rig-/111008908887?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19d8a58657

a little patience AND some luck will get you a great rig for the rest of your life.

February 8, 2013 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

5
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This is cool, but if I'm going to build anything it's going to be the RotoRig. Half the price and twice the functionality.

February 8, 2013 at 1:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DIYFilmSchool.net

Seriously, I don't understand how these basic camera rigs come off being so expensive, I actually want to understand. You can buy a heavy duty buzz saw at a hardware store for $200, but a few pieces of metal pipe with some rubber handles and clips cost over $400??? Some of these places (looking at you Zacuto) charge more for their support systems than you pay for the camera you are shooting on.

February 8, 2013 at 2:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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James

Also, Matte boxes, aren't they essentially just a shade for your lens to keep the flares down? How can they get off charging more than $25 for a few die cut peices of matte black sheet metal with hinges?

February 8, 2013 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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James

As somebody who owns a design/engineering co. that also does machining let me tell you no part of making things like this is cheap. At least not if you do it out of good materials and pay people a reasonable wage to do it.

The machinery is expensive. An entry level production level CNC machining center starts around $60,000 base. By the time you get it to your shop youre in it 80K for ONE machine. Not to mention $200 for each tool holder and hundreds of dollars for EACH TOOL. Add in your support/measuring equipment. Another 30K easy. Then add $15,000 for CAM software. $5000 for CAD. Not to mention the ME or ID guy you paid $50/hr to design your product.

Its like somebody coming to you and asking, "How the hell do you get off shooting videos for $150/hr for just you and a few support staff?" You and I both know that if you run a business very little of that 150 is profit at the end of the day.

Making stuff, anything, is as expensive as any other business not to mention the incredibly high price of production machinery.

My totally biased .02

February 8, 2013 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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robobalien

if it's that cheap and simple to make, maybe you should start making and selling them at a lower price than the current manufacturers do ? if you're right, you'll be making plenty of money.

February 8, 2013 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Maybe you should learn what things ARE before saying you could make them cheaper.

Seriously, if you're going to be this ignorant you may as well be not posting at all. Last time I checked the only mattebox that as your so called "die cut peices of matte black sheet metal with hinges" was literally $25. It was a tube with a few flaps.

Here is what a decent mattebox looks like; http://www.petroff.ws/Picture%20Archive/Matte%20box%20images/3%20Stage%2...

February 8, 2013 at 5:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

and how much would one of those cost?

February 15, 2013 at 12:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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kris karcher

Horrible audio - hope this is not a sample of their work.

February 8, 2013 at 2:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ronn

BUT - the cool graphics made up for it ;)

February 14, 2013 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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No... no they didn't

February 16, 2013 at 7:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Chris

In the UK, all of those components add up to £110. Nearly $200...
£66.30 of that is just the damn rails...

February 8, 2013 at 3:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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That's freaking awesome!

I would also look into the Cine-rig X1.

www.cine-rig.com

February 8, 2013 at 8:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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X

This is a far better rig. If you want to 'look good' on a shoot, you need this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixVjpvrn7n4&feature=player_embedded

February 14, 2013 at 5:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob

Or.... you could just buy something like this that includes the follow focus for around $160 http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/320948296396?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

February 14, 2013 at 7:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Lol. Makes me feel like making a send up about the "Ultimate Camera Rig", The camera, man turns up sitting in a rig like a miniature one man tank with a Darlek like barrel housing the camera turning around, causing mayhem. Should also make it unexpectedly be able to drop small wheels to track sideways. But can we afford to film it accidentally knocking over Red Ones and Arris. :)

February 14, 2013 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Diy

you can bypass the ebay stuff and purchase straight from manufacturers. I use www.aliexpress.com alibaba's little brother for folks who want just 1 unit. and many items have worldwide free shipping. even their full rigs cost only a little more than building your own.
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/DSLR-Rig-Shoulder-Mount-Matte-Box-for-Fol...
a full rig with a matte box included.
Just in case you might be interested!

February 15, 2013 at 1:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Matthew

Actually, that was the wrong one. No rail system. But there are others on the site.

February 15, 2013 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Matthew

I have done some bid sharking and got a complete rig with follow focus for $202.00 with free shipping on ebay. but I have gone the DIY route previous to that. If you plan to only use it for a short while, I have a nifty way to make DSLR gear from 1/2 inch copper pipe that is strong and will look semi professional if it is painted black when finished. I have a free tutorial on my website for building a car rig with the same principle as used for other gear. It's essentially a pdf instruction manual. Here is the link. http://www.gadgetlabstudio.com/diy-film-stuff.html
You can print it out to build this rig. If you have the skill to build this, I'm sure it will spark other Ideas.

February 15, 2013 at 9:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

1
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