An Erector Set for Stabilization: Build Your Own Rigs with DimpleSticks
Many 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.
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.
As 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?