October 19, 2013

An Erector Set for Stabilization: Build Your Own Rigs with DimpleSticks

DimpleSticksMany stabilization rigs offer modification with different modules, attachments, and accessories, but a tool was brought to my attention that not only seemed highly useful, but brought me back to my Lego-ladden childhood, DimpleSticks. Developed by filmmaking gear (including the Fifty Dollar Follow Focus) manufacturer Hondo Garage, this all new connection system can be built around Hondo's base rigs to erect several different types of stabilization configurations. To get an idea of what DimpleSticks can do, continue on.

First of all, the cool thing about 3-man-crew Hondo Garage is that they lean toward straight-forward designs in hopes of keeping costs down, which is good news for filmmakers on a budget. In fact, they share their 4 Design Rules on their website, one of which addresses the inevitability of gear reconfiguration, which is why none of their gear is made with camera specificity.

DimpleSticks are comprised of generic parts (rods and blocks) that can be combined with specialized parts (baseplates or shoulder pads.) The rods and blocks are 6061 aluminum, anodized black. The blocks are 3/4" square and come in varying lengths, and connect using 1/4-20 flathead allen bolts (though Hondo will be coming out with tool-less connecting hardware soon.)

These tools are used in conjunction with Hondo's tripod rails rigs, the "Big Rig" (for large cameras) and the "Barely Rig" (for smaller cameras, like DSLRs.) These rigs alone attach to your tripod, but you can also attach a few DimpleSticks to construct a top-handled rig, mancam-style rig, a shoulder rig, and a cage. If these DimpleSticks are as versatile as they say they are, I imagine you could build pretty much any stabilization structure you want.

DimpleSticks rigs

One drawback is that DimpleSticks currently only work with Hondo gear, however the DimpleStick design allows for some potential crossover with other baseplates -- and some adapters may also be in the works. Wiley Davis of Hondo Garage answered a few of our questions about DimpleSticks and said:

The rods are a standard 15mm (actually 14.96mm if you want to be technical) and the spacing of the holes on the DimpleSticks blocks is 30mm. This means that you can easily mount pairs of rods at the standard 60mm spacing used by every other 15mm baseplate out there. So, if you were to build a cage out of the blocks, and you mounted some rods to the cage, a Zacuto baseplate, for example, would slide right on.

DimpleSticks rods blocksAs of right now, DimpleSticks are only sold along with tripod rigs as a complete stabilization rig (the $199 handheld "Fly" and  $299 "Two-handle Offset",) but according to Davis, between now and November, Hondo will be "offering up individual blocks, constructor kits that can be used to create several different rigs, and more ready-to-go rigs that happen to be DimpleSticks compatible." Future rigs include a shoulder rig, twin-stick ManCam-style rig, a cage, a slider carriage, a skate dolly, pivoting connectors for perpendicular connections.

Thanks for sharing DimpleSticks with us, Wiley!

What do you think of DimpleSticks, as well as Hondo Garage's other products? Do you think versatility and rig modification potential are important factors when shopping around for stabilization rigs?

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Your Comment

15 Comments

Looking forward to seeing their shoulder rigs.

October 19, 2013 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It's kind of like Lego for filmmakers, looks fun!

October 19, 2013 at 11:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Michael Hawk

I''d rather spend my time making movies than making rigs... Do we really need any more "innovative" rigs? This is getting stupid.

October 20, 2013 at 1:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Neil

Does making a rig take 1 - 3 months of pre-production, 30 - 60 days of production, 10 - 30 days of post production?

These aren't amazingly innovative but they're far from stupid. If anything is stupid, take a look in a mirror.

Get real.

October 20, 2013 at 3:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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rz67

Sorry, but it is kinda getting stupid. By the looks of things they screw on, so whos to say they won't 'screw off' while filming?

October 20, 2013 at 3:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

10-30 days of post production?

October 20, 2013 at 10:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Isaac

Can't really see me shouting "erect my dimplestick" across the set...

October 20, 2013 at 4:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fresno Bob

hahahah yeah...when I started reading the tittle I thought it was going to be another article about porn shot in 4k

October 20, 2013 at 8:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jesuan

This brings to mind an old song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads...

October 21, 2013 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marc B

Speaking of rigs - anyone used a hand-held stabilizer with a vest?

October 20, 2013 at 10:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

How stable the shots will be?

October 20, 2013 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Johnny Wu

The Dimplesticks would be very versatile with 1/4-20 threads everywhere.

October 20, 2013 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Colin Allison

Instead of the gazillionth universal, modular DIY rig system, I'd rather have one dedicated rig for every camera, in one piece, specifically made and measured, preferably made by teh camera manufacturer. Yes, I know that there are a variety of set-up requireing modifications. But still...

October 22, 2013 at 2:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

I made a couple different rigs for a HELL of a lot less. If you can't afford it ,no need to have polished /machined parts.

October 24, 2013 at 7:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dheep'

Check out my steady tutorial
http://youtu.be/jD9kufcZ9qE

October 24, 2013 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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RENz