How 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.
[via Filmmaker IQ]