New Toys for HD-DSLR

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated my gear list on this blog to reflect some of the new toys that I’ve put into the mix of my HD-DSLR kit.

I’d like to share three pieces that I think might be relevant to many out there.

First I’ve been using a new rig quite a bit that Bruce Dorn makes -it’s called the IDC U-Boat Commander Rig for HD-DSLR Video. I’ve had it since January and I’ve found myself using it more and more.

As you may know – I’m a big fan of the RedRock Micro DSLR Rig – and I tend to use that when I need to mount a Marshall Monitor, the 5D MKII or 7D together on a rig such as a set of sticks, dolly, jib or Steadicam.  However for some – I can see others needing a slightly more compact rig.  One can of course customize the RedRock Micro rig down to be pretty compact – but I have to say that both of these solutions are quite elegant.

Bruce Dorn’s design is economical, sturdy, and quite elegant – so much so that he’s sold quite a few to the US Military’s combat photography unit – and that’s a stamp of approval if I’ve ever heard of one.

His rigs come in two flavors – the U-Boat Commander which is perfect for attaching a external mic to, and the even smaller iDC Run & Gun Kit / Follow-Focus & Viewfinder Kit – which is easily the single most understated way of intelligently building up your 5D MKII without making it too intimidating / apparent to others.

The rig uses a skateboard wheel to help focus your lenses (works great) and has a sleak attachment for a viewfinder (it doesn’t need to stick/tape/velcro to the back of your LCD screen – it screws in at the base of the camera.  This is a very good thing btw – as it’s an EXTREMELY bad idea to velcro / tape anything to the rear of any Canon camera – the plastic screen on the back of these cameras is held in there with double-sided tape… so it’s only a matter of time until you end up pulling the plastic off the back of your camera..)

If you’re trying to decide between a smaller RedRock rig or a Bruce Dorn rig – I’d break it down as follows:  the U-Boat is a great compact rig for the camera, sound recorder + mic.  It may be a great solution for those looking for a minimalist solution – whereas the RedRock is significantly more customizable and will fit on any professional rig – or stand on its own – depending on your intended use.  One important note is that while you could put a Marshall Monitor / LCD on the hotshoe of the Bruce Dorn Rig – I’m not sure it would balance as well as on the RedRock (I mount the Marshall on a cheese plate in the back of the rig – as a counter balance.)

Lastly – and this is just a function of size and weight – because you can configure and balance the RedRock to your liking (basically add more cheese plates / rods etc) you may end up getting less camera movement – which is just a result of the old video addage:  more weight + spread out = more stability overall.  That being said – there is an apt tool for every job.  And both of these solutions are top notch.


Lastly – I have a new favorite audio recorder – the Zoom H4n – it’s absolutely perect in so many regards:

Stereo Microphones Built-in

USB Port

Small size and Weight

Tripod Mount

Records to SD Cards

DC and Battery powered

XLR and standard in/out mic inputs