The Video Stabilizer-pod
For those of you who (like me) on too many occasions have to work with the camera on the shoulder, often for extended periods of time, you'll greatly appreciate this. For those of you (like me) who are feeling the cumulative effect of birthdays, it's a life (and career) saver.
Working the sideline at NFL games is unquestionably a fun part of my business, but by the time the second half rolls around, the fun part is pretty much replaced by fatigue. By the fourth quarter keeping a steady image, particularly when using a long lens was becoming impossible. I tried a number of available solutions and equipment but none worked to my satisfaction. I also tried a standard monopod, it took the weight off my shoulder and alleviated the fatigue but the rigidity of the connection to the camera was restricting camera movements, making it useless. After trying a number of things, I mounted a still-camera ball head to the monopod and things started happening. After spending a year modifying and testing the ball head to the camera, I was amazed at the results. Not only did I have a real video monopod, but also the monopod grew to become a camera stabilizer.
The ball head was modified and reinforced to be able to handle the added weight of a full size camcorder and allows complete range of movements. A Sony tripod mounting plate was also modified to fit the ball head and to make the camera mounting to the monopod a quick one-hand operation.
In the monopod mode, the camera rests on the shoulder but most of the weight is transferred down the monopod. The ball head allows full range of movement. Now I can shoot rock steady, end zone to end zone with a 20x zoom lens and with the 2x extender. The monopod is basically converting my body into a tripod.
In between downs, when most cameras end up resting on the ground, I center balance the camera and lock the ball head. The entire weight is now on the monopod.
The best benefit of the monopod is yet to come.
By retracting the monopod off the ground and locking the ball head so the upper portion of the pod rests tight against the upper torso, every unstable movement common to hand held cameras disappears.
The camera can actually rest on the shoulder without being hand held.
The common right arm fatigue caused by having to hold the weight of the camera is gone. The Stabilizer-pod is taking care of the weight. As you can see from the picture below, now all the right hand has to do is operate the controls. All the up-and-down and side rocking movements that make the camera unsteady are gone, while all the mobility is there. Even with the monopod off the ground, I can still shoot rock steady end zone to end zone with the 20x zoom with the 2x converter engaged. The Stabilizer-pod has become part of my camera anytime I have to shoot from the shoulder.
Any marketing plans are, as of now, up in the air. If you are interested drop me a line.
As you can see from the picture, I was also able to grow little feet with little sneakers on the back of my camera, now I have to send it to obedience school so it will not run off and chase cameras of the opposite sex.
Now by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, while other shooters, half my age, take breaks in between downs, I'm still on my feet and smiling.