Personal View site logo
Cheapest and most compact rig for the GH2
  • What is the most affordable rig would you guys advise to purchase for tracking shots and stationary shots that will have movement, but steady enough to eliminate jello and jitter.

    So with tracking shots and still shots the primary importance - I've researched a few rigs:

    The CowboyStudio seems great for still shots, but not very good for tracking shots (too shaky for tracking shots, and the camera angle will be stuck relative to the height of the user).

    Edelkrone Pocket Rig is compact and shows promise. Though the price is a bit much, and I haven't seen many videos of it yet.

    Express35 seems pretty good, but a little out of budget.

    So for tracking and stationary shots, which cheap and compact rig would you guys recommend? Planning to buy one this week.

  • 48 Replies sorted by
  • indisystems ultracompact. its heavy, its steady, and it looks boss. and its 300 bucks. :) I use it on documentaries and narratives. its very front-heavy, but hey, who has time for gym? just go shoot some stuff :)
  • I like everything that I've got from Express35. They seem pretty affordable. I've never bought a complete rig from them, just bits here and there. I bought a Gini rig and I'm mostly happy with it. With any rig, it seems like there's something you don't like about it, so you end up replacing that part with something else and end up with a little of this and a little of that.
  • @fatpig - Great response! I hadn't heard of this one before. Do you have any videos you've shot you can show me? I'm curious to see how it works for the tracking shots.

    It functions a tripod too? How well does that work?
  • @tvpglabs - That's the thing, I don't really want to spend time replacing parts. I'm just after something that would function well with tracking shots and stationary ones - that's also compact and cheap.

    Gini Rig, is way too expensive for what I'm after. Even the Indisystems Ultracompact is a tad expensive, but since fatpig mentioned documentaries and narratives for use, I'm interested to see results.
  • Express35 Tiny Rig -

    This one seems to meet my requirements. I wonder how well it would function for tracking shots.
  • If you need cheapest and still usable:

    We'll have small rigs from Weifeng soon (their quality are much better, but they are not cheap).
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev - I had this one on my radar because of it's good price. I haven't seen any examples of people using it for stationary or tracking shots, to see how well it would hold up. (In fact I haven't seen any footage with this)

    Any examples Vitaliy? I am interested in this if it delivers reasonably well.
  • Send PM to @brianluce and he'll tell you how it is best to use it and if he like t.
  • Not a complete system but the Cowboy Studios Shoulder rig Mid $30 range. You'd have to add rails if you actually need those. And a nice quick release would be good. This is very useful for a small camera.

    This great film's BTS shows it being used @ 0:30 :


    Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part II
  • I just got the Dynasun Cowboy rig today, combined with the Queam LCD Viewfinder LCDVF 16/9 LCD ViewFinder 2.8X.

    The Cowboy rig is surprisingly stable, I'll have it out on a shoot tomorrow. Offset to the left with the angle bracket helps stability. It's quick release plate is junk, though, too loose. Would love to add a Manfrotto base with quick release, to change to tripod easily.

    The Queam, although useful, has reflecting plastic inside, which irritates. I plan on dampening that with foto cardboard or velvet. The metal frame you glue onto your camera is too thick to be able to close the LCD monitor afterwards. You'll have to be ok with leaving it exposed, flipside out. Just under 20 Euros shipped, so no import tax.
  • @Vitaliy
    "Send PM to @brianluce and he'll tell you how it is best to use it and if he like t. "

    What the? I'm the king of cheap gear now? Okay, it might be true. Guilty as charged. I use the Cowboy and the $59 Polariod rig. Love 'em.

  • Cheers for the examples - but we've gone off topic and also I stated in the first post that the Cowboy Studio is out of the question because it's not so great with tracking shots...and also it's stuck at whatever height you are.
  • @Donnie88:
    heres an example i shot all handheld shots with the indisystems (broadcast on cinema screen in my town :) ):

    also this:

    completely on the indisystems rig.
  • @fatpig - There's some shots in the second clip, where the man is walking and talking to the camera with a mic. That was with the indisystem+GH2 then? I'm very impressed.

    No jitter or jello effect or anything. Which lens did you use?

    Great examples mate, I might have decided on my rig.
  • Unless @brianluce can show me footage of the cheap rig Vitality recommended, to change my mind.
  • @Donnie88: Yes, it was shot with the rig. It's my only rig. :)
    No jello comes from my strict rule never go over shutter 1/50 if you have alternatives, like f.ex. variable nd filter.
    Lens was stock 14-42, its great for simple documentary stuff. :)
    I'd love to hear your experiences with the rig if you get it, just expect to need some biceps for longer shoots. on the end of the shoot my arms were twitching :-D as i hadn't had much training before.
  • The cowboy is bad for tracking shots? do you mean the shooter is stationary and you follow a moving subject? The Cowboy is good for that. The Cowboy is also a great choice if you plan to shoot all day, you can use both hands freely if need be. If you exert yourself though and start to breathe heavily, the cowboy tends to pick up that movement.
    Thing with handheld, is, as far as I'm concerned, it's much more about the skill and steadiness of the shooter as opposed to the rig.
  • my 2c, avoid indisyste unless you can get the whole UC rig for sub $350. You WILL be wanting to replace pretty much everything on it at some point. It all works, yes, but none of it is great.
  • @B3Guy:
    yea, its not exactly a sofa. but i use it on budget documentary shoots, its heavy, the grips are not soft, but i dont know if that would be good anyway. I'm very satisfied with it. yes i could use a counter-balance weight, yes i always take off the "C" shaped grip because its too heavy, but thats all doable. :)
  • @brianluce - Not for stationary shots - for shots of where the shooter physically moves and follows a moving subject. It's meant to be bad for that, not tracking smoothly.

    Do you have any examples from the cheap rig Vitaly posted?

    @fatpig - I'll be shooting 25p at 1/50 shutter, so that's fine. I go gym, so the weight shouldn't be too much of a problem haha. My only worry is @B3Guy saying I'd want to replace pretty much everything. The rig costs a lot as it is.

    Decisions, decisions...
  • @Donnie
    Yes, that's true, I agree, you can't run much with the cowboy, it's not great for that, heavy breathing also is a problem. However running with any handheld rig with GH2 is not going to be easy, because of the skew -- unless you're in ETC mode.
    I have some handheld footage I'll post, it was done in quite adverse conditions -- but be forewarned, the footage will reflect my shortcomings to a greater extent than the rig's.
  • Here's some raw footage from a short film. unstabilized and I'm standing in knew deep water the shore line of the Pacific Ocean in Central California (early Dec) -- it's cold man! And I'm looking over my shoulder so I don't get swamped. At one point I'm holding the GH2 with one hand as I adjust the bottle in the subject's hand. I'm walking too. It's several hours in to a shoot and I'm fatigued. So, all in all, trying circumstances. Take from it what you may, and I make no claims about being anything special with regards to being Mr. Natural born Stedicam. I think the Polariod mount works, at least for my purposes.

  • another 2c from me, buy it in pieces. you only NEED handles, camera mount, rods, shoulder pad and a counter weight to get started . . . so buy some decent parts of these (providing you have a good tripod. if not, get one of those FIRST.) I for one find the matte box and follow focus on my rig (UC INDI-S.) to be pretty much useless in 90% of all situations. I just use my thumb on the lens ring to focus, and there's little that a matte box can do that a lens hood cannot, unless you have the expensive filters to put into one.

    as a short film shooter, I really wish I had spent my cash on a good tripod and either a slider or a mini crane, rather than on an "okay" rig setup. But if you REALLY are shooting stuff that requires you to be very mobile and move around a lot, start piecing a shoulder rig together.
  • In my experience I had to try things that I didn't like to know what I really wanted. That meant I bought some gear that I ended up not being happy with. There's really no way to know if you're going to like something without trying it. Pictures and video reviews may be helpful, but they're not a substitute for using the gear.

    For shoulder mounted walking shots, I've found that a heavy rig is better as long as it is properly balanced. And of course a wide lens is more forgiving
  • My favourite light "rig" is using a monopod or a tripod as a shoulder pad.. (just mount the cam the "wrong" way to the base-plate.. tilt down and make the handle of the tripod/monopod work as a the handle of a gun. Quick, simple.. does the job very well. I've found that it works better with tripods that are not too long / heavy, as there is a pretty specific "steady" position - where handling works optimally.

    I'm going to get a robust rig sometimes, too - to accomodate for the added weight of mattebox e.t.c..

    I've tried out Swedish Chameleon for instance.. But I found it way too expensive for what I get, not really light / quick / easy enough for run and gun, not really sturdy enough to work as a complete rig.