DSLRs are not that friendly to work with when it comes to handheld videos, at least not without some stabilizing system. Cameras are very sensitive to abrupt movements and a good DSLR shoulder rig can help smoothen raw scenes.
Shoulder-mounted camera rigs are dynamic platforms that move with you as you go, allowing better handling of your camera. Shots taken with these tools can have a visceral onscreen look, placing audiences within the scene as voyeuristic observers. This style of smooth motion can imbue frenzied takes with verve and presence. Many great films feature stylish extended shots that were made possible with such gear.
Choose one that suits best the cameras, lenses, and other accessories you will be carrying. Should you get a straight shoulder design or one with an offset shoulder? If you will be using your camera’s LCD and it opens to one side, offset shoulder mounting is good for keeping the viewfinder to the front of your face.
With a separate LCD, you can mount the display on either the DSLR’s hot shoe mount or else on any available rail. Certain DSLR shoulder rigs have metal plates on which you fix the camera, other designs feature rails for the purpose. Rails are typically better because these can be readily adapted to various shooting situations and accessories such as lens mounts, cages, handles, and follow focus.
Several brands offer assorted bundles of extras, including matte boxes, lens mountings, follow focus, and counterweights. All these attachments can help you become more efficient in production.
This would depend on what matches your camera and accessories as well as your budget. The weight of equipment that you will be placing on your shoulder will also affect your choice. After the rig, the camera, lenses, and other attachments will all add up to an aching strain over time.
Many shoulder rigs have a chest-support arm to help distribute the camera’s weight to your front. With added attachments, any rig will rapidly become heavier at its front. Most users attach counterweights at the rear to rebalance things. In any case, having a camera rig to help smoothen takes can make all the difference in making certain scenes “happen”.
This is a relatively inexpensive shoulder-mounted rig, but it does feature everything you might use. Its slick design handles most HDV and DSLR models and includes several attachments you can always attach more accessories as well.
The platform is sturdy but lightweight and can be customized with many different yet compatible accessories. These readily mount onto the rig, which is easy to use and not hard to assemble either. The instructions are rather simple, there are guides on sites such as YouTube that can show you how to assemble and make use of it.
Nevertheless, the shoulder pad could be more comfortable and the handlebars could be of better quality. It’s good that it can be easily replaced, as are the handlebars and a few other pieces that are easily removed and upgraded. Parts of the platform are constructed of plastics to reduce weight and make everything more portable, but all the structural members are of the metal build.
This rig is for those who aim to produce smooth and high-quality videos with the use of very functional and nice-looking, quality gear. A lot of users see this rig as offering the most value for the money, with a set of standard features that you cannot find elsewhere for the price.
We think Filmcity’s DSLR Camera Shoulder Support Rig is the best rig available for under $200. Of the three reviewed here, it’s our overall pick for best DSLR shoulder rig.
Neewer’s lightweight rig seems nicely built for its price. Although the length of the whole platform appeared somewhat short, the all-aluminum construction does inspire confidence, particularly the aluminum screws that are completely anodized.
Four main pieces comprise the main rails; a small side screw secures the camera base plate in position. Getting it mounted on tripods is easy enough, you only just have to slide it onto the pod’s mounting plate then screw it in.
It seems the handlebars would shift a bit when gripped hard. In a way, the looseness can be handy for slightly altering your grip on the fly. The actual grips are sturdy and comfortable enough. The shoulder piece is made of a cheap-looking, rubbery material, so thankfully it hardly weighs much.
The main issue with this rig is the absence of a counterbalancing mechanism. Once you’ve mounted a follow focus, a separate display, and a mic in addition to the camera, everything becomes front heavy. That said, the platform is comfortable to wear and enabled stabilized takes that are much smoother than that possible by hand alone.
Considering that Neewer’s Aluminum Film Movie Kit System Rig sells for a little over a hundred Dollars, it’s quite the bargain for what it does.
This sleek-looking aluminum rig is made by one of the better brands. Featuring a base plate with a camera quick-release mechanism, Sunrise’s DSLR rig is well known for its sturdy and functional design.
The articulated base plate handles a wide variety of cameras and gear. It is height-adjustable and locks in smoothly, readily adapting to your height and the gear you carry. Best of all, there is a counterbalancing weight for increased stability during intensive shoots, which will ease your composition of smooth scenes.
The anti-slip design of the grips works with the counter-weighting to keep your DSLR and mounted accessories secure and balanced. Once it is properly weighted, you will experience fewer handheld slips that can force you to redo your takes. We think this professional-grade device can serve well as a sturdy and reliable backup rig.
Sunrise’s Shoulder Pad DSLR Rig is a reasonably priced rig that is easily assembled, adapts readily, and withstands hard usage. For professional use, it’s hard to wrong with a DSLR shoulder rig as durable and well designed as this one.
CEO and Founder at Mighty Shouts.
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