Gimbals are great tools and can create that silky smooth footage you always want. However, they can be rough on your arms since holding that much weight that weight can be exhausting. Getting a gimbal rig that you can run all day is something worth looking into. With a few extra bits and pieces you can put together something that will make life a whole lot easier.
Filmmaker Chris Brockhurst appears to have a solution. Not only is it going to be comfortable for all-day use, it also can be used hands-free and is set up to control the camera and lens directly from the gimbal.
This setup has plenty of advantages. It’ll power your setup for the entire day, offers direct control over the camera and lens, and is comfortable to hold. Those are some great benefits.
At the center of this rig is the DJI RS 2. It’s a solid pick that can hold a decent amount of weight. You can always opt for a different gimbal and rigging setup though you might need to find some different parts.
The initial plan was to figure out how to control the camera from the gimbal as Chris prefers to keep both hands on the gimbal as he works. This allows for a more comfortable and smoother shoot. To do the lens control he picked up the DJI Focus Motor which he rigged up with a half cage on his Sony FX3.
Powering the rig he uses the Anton Bauer Titon Base. This is a unique battery that can be mounted easily under a camera using 1/4”-20 threads and the included baseplate system. It has a variety of outputs, including USB and D-tap.
There is also an LED indicator to check the power level. On the bottom of the battery he throws on his quick release plate for mounting on the gimbal.
One thing on his rig, as he opted to use the Sigma 24-70mm which physically zooms in and out, is keeping it balanced. Part of this is handled by the power of the RS 2 which can account for slight shifts in weight without worry.
The other part is when he initially balances it he sets it up with the zoom in the middle.
Controlling other aspects of the camera, like start/stop recording, are easy with the RS 2 since it can be connected directly to the camera’s remote port. For the FX3 this requires using the USB-C to Multi-Terminal cable.
Make sure to turn on PC Remote Control in the Sony camera menu. Now all the start/stop record functions. There is a separate cable you will need to plug into the Focus Motor to add that functionality.
Audio may or may not be required depending on your shooting situation, but if Chris needs it he generally sticks with a wireless system. In this case he uses a Sennheiser AVX with the receiver adapted to plug directly into the camera’s 3.5mm input. Anything compact for wireless should work just fine.
For added comfort you should consider adding some side handles to the gimbal. Chris uses SmallRig NATO Handles with adjustable angles that make the entire rig more comfortable to hold for longer shoots.
This is still a fair bit of weight for longer days and relieving that pressure will be critical. He uses some Peak Design Anchors to the side handles and then hooked up a strap. This can help give you a much-needed break as you work.
Keeping the tripod of the RS 2 out you can actually balance that on your hips if you wanted to go fully hands-free for some reason. A potentially better option over a regular strap is a harness to spread the weight more.
What do you think of this rig?
[source: Chris Brockhurst]
- DJI RS 2 Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon)
- DJI Focus Motor (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig Half Cage for FX3 (B&H, Amazon)
- Anton Bauer Titon Base Battery Pack (B&H, Amazon)
- Sennheiser AVX Wireless Audio System (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig HTN2362 Rotating NATO Clamp Handle (B&H, Amazon)
- Peak Design Anchor Links (B&H, Amazon)
- Peak Design Slide Lite Strap (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony FX3 Cinema Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- C Coiro Two Camera Harness (Amazon)
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