Here’s How to Build a Cheap Wireless Rig with a Monitor and Focus Control

One of the greatest pleasures of working on a set with a full crew is the fact that everyone has one exact duty and has to do only that. The feeling of being a team working like one while carrying each for a single detail with complete focus on your task is magical. It’s something that most indie filmmakers have been dreaming about their whole life.

Like having a focus puller! Now if you are a YouTuber, or you often work solo, maybe in multi-camera setups, a wireless solution to monitor video while pulling focus could be exactly what you need. Luckily for you, Gerald Undone has been messing around and has an idea for a simple and cheap rig to create a wireless video monitoring and focus pulling system.

To start off, here are all the bits and pieces you’ll need for this setup:

  • Ikan Blitz Lite 300 HDMI Wireless Video (B&H, Amazon)
  • Bebob Batteries (B&H)
  • Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod (B&H, Amazon)
  • PDMOVIE Live Air Compact Wireless Lens Control System (B&H, Amazon)
  • Atomos Shinobi (B&H, Amazon)
  • HDMI Cable (Amazon)
  • V-Mount to L-Series Battery Adapter (B&H, Amazon)
  • D-Tap to DC Plug Cable (Amazon)
  • Felt Washers (Amazon)
  • Velcro Cable Ties (Amazon)

Apparently, the suggested rig above is built around the Ikan Blitz 300 Wireless System. In essence, it’s a cheap solution to wirelessly transmit a video signal, and like many products from Ikan, it’s much cheaper than similar rivals from other manufacturers.

The whole setup is not even strictly designed for a specific camera, it may be adapted to any device with an HDMI out. With that out of the way, the first step is to get the monitor you prefer (here Gerald is using an Atomos Shinobi), and a small tripod, just like the Manfrotto PIXI.

This second step does not need to be copied exactly. Gerald uses some scrap pieces from his DJI drone, but the important thing is that you need to create, even using some other accessory from SmallRig or similar, a rod mount on the monitor.

Do it as you please, the important part is the result. What’s that rod needed for? To attach the Ikan Live Air Wireless Focus. It’s the control unit you’ll be mounting here, while the motor sits on the camera.

Ok, time to mount the main component, the Ikan Blitz 300 wireless system. The unit on the camera can pass through the signal and drive a monitor on the camera itself while keeping up using the juice from a variety of different sources.

If you use a double male quarter-twenty screw to mount the combo, a foam washer can be useful to rotate it in a position easily, not having the antennas in the way. At this point, the build is already completely functional. You just need to slide in a couple of NPF batteries and you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can use an even better powering solution.

The key is the V-Mount to L-Series Battery Converter Plate. You can simply slide it on the rear of the monitor. The best choice is to use a small V-Mount battery like the one from Bebob.

These are good quality batteries, plus they come in different sizes, even smaller, and more portable ones. But the nicest feature is probably the double D-Tap power out, which allows inserting a D-Tap connector making it very easy to route cables in a perfectly clean way.

From there on, it’s quite easy to imagine the route we’re going to take. You can drive the monitor directly, and the Shinobi through the D-Tap, even if you have to opt for this nice trick showcased by Gerald. He’s using a small splitter to drive the cables so that when changing the battery there’s no need to unplug everything out.

So, that’s a pretty neat solution to focus wirelessly your camera, making solo shootings much easier. And we’re keen to share the enthusiasm that Gerald showed for the unified power solution. It’s a nice trick that can improve your long term ease of use and correlated fatigue, hence it’s a welcome benefit without a doubt.

[source: Gerald Undone]

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