A versatile DIY stabilizer rig for strong enough for the 5Dmk2, but made for the GH2. Like road bike handlebars, it allows multiple grips and shooting positions for flexibility and fatigue resistance. Inspired by the PVC fig rig designed by the Frugal Filmaker (on youtube), the Road Bike Rig will shoot eye-level, shoulder level, and hip level with ease. There are no fewer than 9 gripping points, and up to 5 points of contact when shooting. Compared to the "cross bow" style of DIY PVC rigs out there, this is more rigid, yet far more versatile and comfortable.
The first two minutes explain the concept, and rest of the video explains how to build it. This is moderate to difficult: Precision PVC cuts, precise PVC bonding, drilling, and painting are required. Excluding quick release and tools, the cost should be under $40 for pipe, fittings, paint and glue.
Pardon the outdoor audio, the neighbor was using a chain-saw and the wind was blowing, too. Add a dead h4n, a dead lapel mic and you've got 7D audio recording at it's worst. A dead cat and a noise suppressor plug in can only do so much.
1) No counterweight - like many DIY rigs, it's still front heavy. Hence, it's best for the GH2, though we were able to mount a 5Dmk2 and 7D for short periods of time.
2) Flex - even bonded, this isn't as rigid as a true metal rod based rig. It's still PVC
3) Flying - this isn't a gimbal style rig
4) Tripods - this won't mount to or dismount from a tripod easily, as many good cine rigs do. I've got ideas on how to do it, but it's not a need for me yet.
5) No overhead handle - left it out to keep the rig smaller.
6) No accessory mounts - left out for simplicity, but easily added.
7) Won't fit all - I'm 5'10 and 180 lbs, and it's built to fit me.
This rig design is a compromise for size, flexibility, and simplicity. A couple of possible alterations:
1) A longer, downward curved tail with a counterweight (like an external battery) would balance the rig more, at the cost of arms length shooting.
2) A longer chest bar may facilitate more stable shoulder level shooting with the articulating screen, but would hinder eye level shooting.
3) An overhead bar would allow a carrying handle and accessory mounts, but enlarge an already big rig that's tough to break down. Simply install T's to the top of the C bars instead of corners. Then build an arch over the camera, with a T in the middle to put your handle.
4) Using 3/4" pipe and fittings would give bigger grips, and would result in a slightly wider and beefier looking rig. This could hinder the "manual focus" grip at the top for the small handed. You'll have to experiment with the lengths, they will all be 1/2" to 1-1/2" longer when using 3/4" pipe.
5) Use of Rustoleum plastic primer followed by textured black provides an optimal surface. The video shows black hammered for plastic, which is like an orange peel texture gloss, and Universal Satin black, which is VERY thin, so use fine sandpaper with it. A good paint job is a MUST...otherwise, it just looks cheap.
6) not gluing one or more joints would allow the rig to be broken down for travel. I leave the tail unglued, but I drilled a hole through for a 6/32" screw to act as a retaining pin. If you want maximum strength and minimal flex, glue ALL the joints after you've test fitted them.
I'd love to have your feedback, comments and suggestions. Better yet, let me know when you film your next masterpiece with it!
DISCLAIMER: we are not responsible for direct or indirect damages to people or equipment resulting from the use of this video material or the road bike rig.