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I'm trying to make a ~$500 DSLR rig - would this setup be decent/work?

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Jeff Lester
I'm trying to make a ~$500 DSLR rig - would this setup be decent/work?
on Jun 25, 2012 at 6:34:30 am

I was drooling over a few Zacuto rigs and RrRoM rigs, but I simply cannon afford to spend $1,200+ on a basic rig. I'm just a high school student that loves filmmaking, so I definitely cannot afford those rigs. So, I did my searching today and put together a sort of Redrock Micro "hybrid" rig, being that it is/will be comprised of actual Redrock items and items off of eBay from China.

I tried to put together a basic rig that would allow me to get stabilized video and accurately pull focus while filming. The reason some of the items below are from Redrock is because those certain items, in my opinion, have justifiable prices unlike many Redrock things. For my money, I would much rather get a follow focus that will do the job for $200 rather than spend $500 on a Redrock follow focus that will do the job a little bit better. The extra $300 would be much more useful, if you get what I mean. By the way, I use a GH2 in case some of this stuff is incompatible with it. Anyway, here are all the pieces:

• Redrock Micro microShoulderPad w/Rod Clamp - $197.50 (BH)
• 15mm Rod Support Universal Baseplate - $128 (ebay)
• ikan Elements Pair of 15mm Rods - 18" - $34.95 (BH)
• Redrock Micro Handlebar Clamp - $85 (BH) * I could get a cheaper clamp on eBay, but this seems like a critical piece that really should be top of the line in terms of build quality, as I do not want a cheap one to make my rig fall apart and break my camera.
• Redrock Micro 8" Handlebar Rod - $22.50 (BH)
• Redrock Micro 4" Handlebar Rod - $15 (BH)
• CatClaw - Hotshoe Adaptor - for 15mm Rig - $15.70 (ebay)
• Camera Grip Handle with rod clamp for 15mm Rod Rig rail Support - $12.75 (x2) (ebay)
• Opteka CBW-2 Counterbalance Weight - $39.95 (newegg)

*If you want to view these items, just go to the site that I found them on and copy and paste the name - they should show right up. Sorry, I just didnt want to deal with the HTML stuff on CreativeCow.

That whole rig is about $550, and then for the follow focus I have been considering an IndiPRO Follow Focus. It's only $220, has good reviews, and it's gearless so it would save a lot of time.

In time, I am also planning on getting a Swivi monitor and putting a hot shoe adapter on it and attaching it to the rig.

Thanks for the help!!!

Member of iFrosh

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: I'm trying to make a ~$500 DSLR rig - would this setup be decent/work?
on Jun 25, 2012 at 3:35:42 pm

Jeff -

Take a look at the Fotga DP500 rig - I don't think you can get any cheaper than that, especially when there's a Best Offer on *bay, which does happen now and then. I own the rig, with the quick release, follow focus, and a few other 1/4 20 connection pieces, and it's solid as a (red)rock.

You should be able to get the rail system with tripod mount, quick release plate, and long lens support for about 100 bucks, then the follow focus for a little more than that. Other elements you need can be added, such as a flex arm, for pretty cheap. Bear in mind that these are coming from China, most likely, so you'll have to wait a while, but for me, the savings were worth it, and the Fotga DP500 system is just as good as the "caviar" models.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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John Young
Re: I'm trying to make a ~$500 DSLR rig - would this setup be decent/work?
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:25:13 pm

I understand you position Jeff, and I have been there before. Think of a couple of things as you are making your decisions. Something like a rail system with follow focus, will be an investment that you will have for a long time. If you choose wisely, it will outlive your camera and could stay in your kit for as you move from 1080 to 2K to 4K to 10k to 20k... (you get the point).

I will also say that the follow focus is the most intricate part of your rig system here. I have never personally used the Indi system one, but I have heard good and bad things. But that piece of gear has to be very precise or you will see it in your shots. If the FF is loose or has some give to it, it will be in every shot you have. If I were to skimp on gear, it would not be the follow-focus.

That being said, gear isn't everything. Glad to see you excited about the process at such an early age.

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