This Wooden DIY Rig Turns Your DSLR into a Cinema Camera (Sort Of)

DSLRs don't have as many features as cinema cameras, but this DIY rig simulates their functionality so you have audio, mounting, and power all in one place.

If you're in for a bit of a DIY project, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter has come up with a way to add some cinema camera functionality to your DSLR with a handmade wooden rig that houses batteries, top handle, a preamp attached by magnets, and cold shoe mounts for audio receivers (or whatever you want). Compared to most DIY projects we tend to share, this build is a little more labor intensive, requiring some woodworking and about $250 worth of materials, but if you want to house your audio, mounting, monitoring, and power options all in one place, this rig will do the trick.

Pike provides a list of all of the materials you're going to need to build this rig:

  • Battery Plate
  • Cold Shoe Mounts
  • Top Handle Rail
  • Top Handle
  • 3x Short Quick Release Plates
  • Saramonic SmartRig+ Preamp
  • DC Jack Cables
  • Magnets
  • Long Quick Release Plate
  • 3x Quick Release Clamps
  • Monitor Arm

Also, here are the dimensions for the pieces of wood you'll be cutting, but you can obviously adjust these to meet your specific needs.

Perhaps one of the more expensive items on the list is the preamp—not the Saramonic SmartRig+ itself, because it's about $30, but that is built specifically for smartphones. So, if you want to modify it for DSLR use, Pike made a tutorial last month to show you how to do it.

This is a pretty nifty rig, because not only does it look kind of like a cinema camera body, but it adds a bunch of that desired functionality that you don't get with DSLRs for a fraction of the cost.     

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Your Comment


Thank you for sharing the video! Although the preamp in the video is different from the hack one. It costs $99 but doesn't need to be hacked AND has 2 channels! Pretty slick.

October 25, 2016 at 8:19PM

Caleb Pike
Shooter, Educator

Why not just get rails and mount everything that way? This seems like more hassle than its worth

October 26, 2016 at 7:46AM, Edited October 26, 7:46AM

Jack Finlay

Ha. At first glance I thought it was a new rig from Wooden Camera. I hear him say "we have a wood piece here." Is it April Fools Day? No, I just misread.

October 26, 2016 at 1:43PM, Edited October 26, 1:43PM


I literally thought, "wow, that rig looks just like the one Caleb Pike just posted; I wonder what Wooden Camera is charging for it."

October 27, 2016 at 9:45AM