Buyer’s Guide: Shoulder Rigs From Cheapest to Most Expensive
In this roundup, we take a look at the best camera shoulder mount options for a variety of production levels and price points.
Cover image via Chris Weatherly.
As the filmmaking industry continues to grow for both video professionals and weekend prosumers, manufacturers (and creative DIY filmmakers) are creating more and more equipment and gear options. In this article, we take a look at shoulder camera mounts, which is an important piece of equipment for any shooter looking for more stability and greater cinematic movement control.
Here are some of your best options, from under $25 to well over $1,000.
For those videographers and filmmakers just starting their careers (or maybe looking for a cheap downgrade or replacement), going DIY will always be your cheapest option — although, be wary of just how much “some assembly required” could mean for a DIY rig. In this video above from The Slanted Lens, we check out a cheap DIY build for a sturdy shoulder mount rig that you can make for under $10 in supplies.
DIY Shoulder Rig: $10 in parts
Still on the extremely cheap end, this video by Caleb Pike at DSLR Video Shooter breaks down a cheap build-out that comes in at around $25 (okay, maybe $30, but still cheap!). You build this rig around the Cowboy Studio support rig, which is $19.99 on Amazon, but for the full build-out, the video shows you how to add a baseplate, rods, handles, and follow focus. As far as bang for your buck goes, you’re not going to get much cheaper — or better. Here’s the full article with links.
Cowboy Studio Support Rig: around $25 including parts
Image via Revo.
If $100 is the cap of your ideal price range, meet the Revo SR-1000 Shoulder Support Rig, which comes in at an affordable $79.95. Its lightweight design is great for on-the-go filmmaking, yet it’s sturdy enough for years of heavy use with DSLRs, mirrorless, and small-to-medium camera bodies. Unlike the higher-end options, the SR-1000 gets most of its stability from the pressure you apply to it with your body.
Revo SR-1000 Shoulder Support Rig: $79.95
Now for a big step up for filmmakers who are a little more serious about their equipment and support gear options: the Vidpro MR-500 Motorized Follow Focus and Zoom Control DSLR Shoulder Rig is an impressive filmmaking device that comes in at $389.00. With its motorized capabilities, you get thumb-controlled switches for full lens control while keeping your hands (and your shot) steady on the grips. With adjustable rod setups, you can mount a wide range of DSLR-style cameras and lenses.
Vidpro MR-500 Motorized Shoulder Rig: $389.00
Image via Wooden Camera.
Once we get closer to the $1,000 range, we’re looking at a whole new class of equipment that’s both ergonomic and functional. This gear can also work with some of the heavy-duty cinema cameras on the market (for major production budgets). Wooden Camera, a company that makes all sorts of mounts, rigs, and accessories for high-end video production, offers a solid line of shoulder support rigs that can work with cameras like ARRI models as well as smaller cameras and DSLRs. The cruiser model, which comes in at $795.00, is one of the best-designed and best-reviewed products on the market.
Wooden Camera Cruiser: $795.00
Image via Zacuto.
If money is no object, and you’re looking for the best of the best in gear technology, then let’s consider the over-$1,000 range. One of the best manufacturers (in terms of professional video equipment standards) is Zacuto. Their Indie Recoil V2 can be your one-stop, production-ready rig for the paltry sum of $1,520.00. The rig, though, is a breakthrough in functionality, with built-in gel shoulder pads, quick release plates, and ingenious counterweight balances. It also accommodates all types of follow focus equipment, lens support, and matte box assemblies. If you can afford it, this rig is worth its weight in gold on set.
Zacuto Indie Recoil V2: $1,520.00
For more articles on camera rigs and stabilization options, check out the following: