OVER THE SHOULDER
Motion Source (www.motionsource.com/rig) is a Chicago-based video production company, and their Shoulder Rig was designed around a specific set of criteria: to create an essential tool for new filmmakers at a very low price point. Made out of Arctic birch plywood, the Shoulder Rig is surprisingly versatile, practical, and in many ways, more useful than your typical $500 shoulder rig. Check out the demo video the company produced, showing all of the different ways they utilize the rig for run-and-gun production at vimeo.com/77529028.
The four-legged design functions not only as a shoulder rig, but as a car rig for interior and exterior shots, a high-hat for low-angle shots and a low-budget Doggiecam-like rig, which is handy for low-angle shots. The plywood construction is easy to modify, making it simple to add a counterweight or mount monitors, mics or lights. Motion Source had a partner in the development of their shoulder rig, and they raised seed capital through Kickstarter to purchase a vacuum system for a CNC router table so they could begin large-scale production.
According to Motion Source President John Scaletta, "Our goal is to create a line of affordable gear for filmmakers. We’re even offering the rigs to students and recent graduates at our cost of just $29, plus shipping, as long as their school lists our site as a resource for affordable gear. It’s not a moneymaker; it’s more about giving back and helping out entry-level filmmakers." MSRP: $89.
What exactly is Magic Lantern (www.magiclantern.fm)? It’s a free software enhancement that offers increased functionality for Canon DSLR cameras. Magic Lantern is an open framework, licensed under GPL, for developing extensions to the official firmware. The creators of Magic Lantern emphasize that the software isn’t a "hack," or a modified firmware, but an independent program that runs alongside a Canon DSLR’s own software. Each time you start your camera, Magic Lantern is loaded from your memory card. The only modification is to enable the ability to run software from the memory card.
Magic Lantern was developed as open-source software by the photo and video community, adding popularly requested functions such as HDR images and video, time-lapse, motion detection, focus-assist tools, manual audio controls and quite a few other enhancements. The story of Magic Lantern is interesting because it’s a rare case of reverse engineering that actually works quite well. The Magic Lantern Forum is a thriving community of like-minded users, programming experts and filmmakers who keep up the development process as an ongoing project, so features are constantly added and refined.