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Opinions on shoulder-mount

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Paul Campbell
Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 2, 2016 at 10:38:09 pm

Hi, everyone. A buddy's band is going to be recording some tracks in a studio in the next few weeks, and I've volunteered to shoot footage of the practice and tracking sessions to ultimately make a little documentary of the whole thing. This is my first attempt at such a project, so I'd like to know what you guys think of this shoulder-mount:

http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Professional-Stabilizer-Expandable-Mirrorles...

I have a Canon t5i with the stock 18-55 lens, a nifty-fifty 1.4 lens, and a Rode camera-mount mic. Do you think this shoulder-mount will hold up? Thanks a lot.


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Steve Crow
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 2, 2016 at 11:36:44 pm

I have to say from the reviews I read on Amazon, it's not a great piece of gear but you may find it useable if your expectations are low. One big problem is that it doesn't come with a way to attach a weight to the back portion (the shoulder pad area) to counterbalance all the weight from the camera and lens that wants to pitch everything forward. There are ways to rig a DIY solution but otherwise expect achy shoulders and back

Here's my thought....I think value-wise you would be better off with a high quality Monopod from Manfrotto or Benro. You can move around easily and use it with some kind of bracket or cage to add extra equipment if you need it. So far you've only mentioned adding the external microphone but I don't believe you can use headsets to monitor the sound you are recording without plugging the microphone into some kind of external recorder like the Zoom H4N.

Shoulder rigs are great, I don't have one myself but the usefulness of one is clear - assuming it doesn't fall apart on you. Shooting inside a studio you are probably not going to be banging the shoulder rig around much but as you use it on other projects, in other environments, you might ask yourself will this hold up? Quality rigs are ridiculously expensive but often it's better to buy a quality solution the first time around rather than ending up first buying one or two cheap solutions only to have to invest a third time in something that will last you.

Steve Crow


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Paul Campbell
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 3, 2016 at 7:04:33 pm

Thanks, Steve. I'm checking out the Manfrotto Compact Aluminum version now. I see what you mean about these monopods. You can still achieve a decent amount of motion with them. I guess my next question would be if you think putting a tripod head on the monopod would be a good addition, perhaps along with a follow-focus rig as well. I'd still like to be able to steer the camera as much as possible while pulling focus at the same time.


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Steve Crow
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 3, 2016 at 7:13:11 pm

Well the one I have, the Manfrotto 561BHDV‑1 Monopod, already comes with a tripod head but I know there is a newer model one now. The four feet at the bottom and the swivel joint are great because you are both stable and able to move.

A follow focus system would require rails and is probably more than you need right now.

Steve Crow


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Paul Campbell
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 3, 2016 at 8:14:59 pm

Ok, so I'll just leave the follow focus for now. One more question Steve, and I'll quit bugging you. I'm certainly going to want some type of head on top of the monopod. Should I be thinking tripod head that gives full range of motion on all axes, or maybe just a swivel/tilt head that only moves up/down? I know with monopods you get your left-right panning by swiveling the actual monopod, but it seems like having the ability to move the camera all around while leaving the monopod static is the way to go.


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Steve Crow
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 3, 2016 at 8:20:22 pm

The monopod I have came with a tripod head from Monfrotto that allows full range of motion, pan and tilt. Actually the arm for the head can serve as another contact point for more stability

Steve Crow


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Paul Campbell
Re: Opinions on shoulder-mount
on Jan 3, 2016 at 8:25:11 pm

Yeah, I was thinking that the arm might be really nice to have for more control and smoother motion. Thanks very much for all the feedback. Tremendously helpful. Paul


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