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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Supporting HD

Fluid heads are the best choice for smooth panning and tracking, whether shooting stills or video

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Camera Stabilization
There are some disadvantages to taking video with a DSLR, most noticeably the form factor of a camera that’s meant for capturing intimate handheld stills one at a time. Because video involves long clips that extend beyond the click of a shutter, there are a variety of hardware solutions available for steadying your camera during lengthy takes and adding extra accessories that can make your video look even better.
Culminating with the FLYPACK1 DSLR Bundle, ikan has an assortment of gear available to turn your HD DSLR into a fully realized video rig. Beginning with the Starter Fly kit, which includes one handle, one arm and a cheese plate (for attaching to the camera), the Elements series includes modular parts that you can put together as needed. The Basic Fly kit provides enough for a two-handled tracking kit, while the Deluxe Fly and Super Fly include extra attachments for adding a monitor, microphone, light, power supply or other gear. List Price: Begins at $119 (Starter Fly); $1,845 (FLYPACK1). Contact: ikan Corp., (888) 556-9331, www.ikancorp.com.
The Norbert from K-Tek introduces a flexible camera accessory-mounting system that frames your HD DSLR while it sits on the top of a tripod. It can be used as a handheld device by attaching the optional Dual Handle Kit, and the lightweight frame contains numerous threaded holes in the standard mount sizes of most popular camera accessories. K-Tek also offers a selection of clamps, mounts, brackets and other extras for completing the kit as needed. The frame is quick-release, and the angled design is built to keep the setup balanced even with heavy attachments. Estimated Street Price: $385. Contact: K-Tek, (760) 727-0593, www.ktekbooms.com.
Steadicam Merlin
The Steadicam Merlin is a lightweight, handheld video-stabilization system for cameras and camcorders. With the ability to balance cameras from a half pound to five pounds, the Merlin weighs only 12.8 ounces itself, so it doesn’t wear on your arms. The caliper hinge folds for easy stowing, and there’s a Merlin Arm and Vest available for long shooting days. List Price: $849. Contact: Tiffen, (621) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
Redrock Micro
Redrock Micro manufactures a variety of stylish pro accessories for video-capable DSLRs. The Cinema bundles are modular, meaning that parts can be added and subtracted as needed. These kits include add-ons like follow-focus units for keeping subjects sharp even when in motion and matte boxes for managing lighting situations. Available in two packages, the Cinema Bundle comes with a baseplate with 12-inch rods, quick-release plate and dovetail, microFollowFocus, microLensGears pack, a top microHandle, DSLR cage with side arms and top rods, and a microMatteBox Deluxe Bundle. The Field Cinema Bundle includes the same options, but drops the microMatteBox in favor of a microShoulderMount Deluxe Bundle for handholding. Estimated Street Price: $1,995 (DSLR Field Cinema Bundle); $2,445 (DSLR Cinema Bundle). Contact: Redrock Micro, (888) 214-3903, www.redrockmicro.com.
The 320DProKit2 from BushHawk is a sniper-style, shoulder-mount setup that will keep your camera steady for video. The double-handled kit includes a trigger and shutter release cord for taking stills, and the neoprene grip strap is adjustable for either right- or left-handed operation. There’s a BushHawk Window Pod for mounting your HD DSLR to car windows, and a black, nylon carry bag keeps it all together. List Price: $315. Contact: BushHawk, (877) 325-8542, www.bushhawk.com.
The FlowPod from VariZoom is unique in that it offers a handheld stabilization system in three configurable setups. The Monopod Mode allows you to use the device as a standard monopod, setting the foot on the ground for panning. The Stabilizer Mode steadies your handheld video as you walk, and the Low Mode is ideal for macro shots and ground-level shooting. List Price: $399. Contact: VariZoom, (512) 219-7722, www.varizoom.com.
Zacuto’s HD DSLR offerings include three DSLR Gunstock Shooter rigs, as well as a generous selection of add-ons and modular products. Aimed at run-and-gun photographers, the kits provide a setup that fits snugly against your body, stabilizing the camera while allowing you to compose through the viewfinder. The Rapid Fire, Quick Draw and Tactical Shooter brace against your shoulder or your hand, leaving the free hand to adjust the lens for focus and zooming. List Price: Begins at $580 (Rapid Fire). Contact: Zacuto USA, (888) 294-FILM, www.zacuto.com.

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