April 11, 2016 at 6:20PM, Edited April 11, 6:22PM

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Hotshoe handle supporting entire rig?

G'day,

I currently have a Nikon D3300 DSLR, (a primitive camera in the filmmaking world, I know, but it's a good start) which I use to make short films.

I'm in the process of building a shoulder rig out of cheap eBay parts... Now before you tell me that's a ridiculous idea, let me just remind you all that my budget may as well be non-existent... I am only 15 years old after all...

Anyway, I have estimated that the rig, will weigh between 4 and 4.5kg, with counterweights and all. My primary concern, is whether it would be a smart idea to use a hotshoe mounted top handle, for holding the rig when transporting it, and primarily, low shots along the ground... It doesn't exactly seem like a good idea...

I plan to leave the camera in this setup pretty much all the time, for everything I shoot, for tripod shots as well, as that is what I've been doing so far.

I already have 180mm rails, baseplate and follow focus; but I am yet to buy the actual shoulder rig specific parts, and would really like to get a top handle at the same time, because at the moment I've just been holding the camera upside down by the baseplate for low shots... Primitive I know.

I just don't want to break my camera's hotshoe (or camera itself)

If any of you fellow camera operators out there could shed some light on the issue, that would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Jake

11 Comments

You've just identified one of the principal reasons that people put cameras in cages and then attach a top handle to the top of the cage.

April 11, 2016 at 7:48PM

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Yes, hotshoes are notoriously weak and can come completely off your camera if enough weight is put on them. A camera-cage is good solution to this problem, or find a way to mount things using your 15mm rails instead of the hotshoe.

Guy McLoughlin

April 12, 2016 at 11:03AM

Yeah, I know, but, eh, moneys... I hate how everything in the cinema/filmmaking world is so expensive... I'm already planning to spend $100AUD on the parts for the bare shoulder rig... Would a simple C-shape frame from top to bottom, made out of just a bent rail, work just as well?

April 12, 2016 at 5:16AM

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Jake
Cinematographer
249

Like this one: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/pro-C-Shape-Support-Cage-Top-Handle-grip-for-15mm-rod-DSLR-Rig-rail-system-/351427641535?hash=item51d2b840bf:g:qhMAAOSwBLlVf6Od

With this bracket on the bottom: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FOTGA-DP3000-Mount-Bracket-Rail-Block-Rod-Clamp-for-15mm-Rod-DSLR-HDV-Rig-System-/331217275129?hash=item4d1e1688f9:g:iCoAAOxyBLBSAifw

Jake

April 12, 2016 at 5:20AM

I bought this: http://www.amazon.com/Movo-SV1000-Aluminum-Combination-Stabilizer/dp/B01...

I looked at the hot shoe mount handles, but they just didn't seem safe.

April 12, 2016 at 5:42PM

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a lot of skaters use things called "scorpion grips" which is essentially the same thing. instead you dont run the risk of breaking your hot shoe and camera from the grip or the friction screw failing. it works by just screwing into the 1/4 20 screw on your camera. look into that its not the same thing but its a lot safer cause not every camera is a c100

April 13, 2016 at 10:19AM

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Carsten Weizer
Independent swiss army knife of a film maker
289

I like small rigs stuff. www.smallrig.com

Cage I like to use: http://www.smallrig.com/SMALLRIG-Half-VersaFrame-Cage-1658.html

Really decently priced for well made stuff. I have bought a dslr cage and other handles.
I'm always blown away by the quality for the price. Maybe a little over your budget but I would say its worth it since you will most likely keep it forever.

April 13, 2016 at 12:40PM

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So, here's what I've found... after filming tons of shorts and a feature film: Most rigs are meant to make you 'look' like you know what you're doing, but they completely fail at making it faster and easier to get the shot.

I kid you not, the famous "$30 shoulder rig" is still my all-time fallback for run and gun shooting. This dang thing lasts for YEARS. Can hold about 100 pounds (believe it or not) and is versatile in how you can switch shooting modes.

Here's the lowest price I can find: http://amzn.to/1RUzqEu

Just hide it under your jacket if you're concerned about looks... ; )

April 13, 2016 at 4:25PM

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Jordan Mederich
Documentarian / Filmmaker
1288

>>>but they completely fail at making it faster and easier to get the shot.

I completely disagree here. If you're trying to quickly mount a 4K monitor/recorder, some wireless audio receivers, and a GoPro BTS camera to the top of your tripod/slider/jib mounted A camera, what is going to handle this better than a strong light-weight camera cage?

A compact cage that conforms to the shape of your camera can also be used on a shoulder-mount and allow easy mounting of an external EVF. ( many shoulder mounts make it difficult to use your camera's viewfinder because the camera is mounted too far to the right to comfortably position your eye behind the finder )

April 14, 2016 at 1:10PM, Edited April 14, 1:17PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31213

Thanks for your input everyone, however, as good as they are, I think that for my needs a cage is a bit of overkill. I am considering going for a C bracket, made out of tube, similar to the one below:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/pro-C-Shape-Support-Cage-Top-Handle-grip-for-15mm-rod-DSLR-Rig-rail-system-/351427641535?hash=item51d2b840bf:g:qhMAAOSwBLlVf6Od

With this bracket on the bottom:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FOTGA-DP3000-Mount-Bracket-Rail-Block-Rod-Clamp-for-15mm-Rod-DSLR-HDV-Rig-System-/331217275129?hash=item4d1e1688f9:g:iCoAAOxyBLBSAifw

April 16, 2016 at 5:07AM, Edited April 16, 5:07AM

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Jake
Cinematographer
249

Not sure what your budget is (tiny, i know), but an ebay search for "15mm rod top handle" shows C shaped brackets that should connect to your rods and run up the side to a handle for about $65. not super cheap, but less expensive than a dropped rig

July 20, 2016 at 9:52PM

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