Hide & Seek
Over the holidays, I was lucky enough to have Tim Ovel send to me me the new indiSYSTEM Bulldog rig as well as the indiSYSTEM BallGrip mount. The indiSYSTEM Bulldog gives you a rig that allows you the ability to have three main shooting styles: handheld, shouldermount, and tripod. The new BallGrip is a stabilizer mount with an unusual but quite innovative design and a key asset for the Bulldog’s versatility factor.
Before doing any shooting, I spent some time playing around with the indiSYSTEM Bulldog and the indiSYSTEM BallGrip brainstorming different possibilities to use them in real world documentary handheld shooting situations. Often times, I have to shoot in a crowd or very tight space so I thought it would be interesting to find the right configuration for me that would transform the Bulldog into a low profile handheld stabilizer. I removed the shouldermount, rearranged the grips, and adjusted the C-mount bracket and camera to give the rig a better center of gravity. I then mounted the indiSYSTEM BallGrip at the the rear end of the rails so it could be used as a secondary grip stabilizer contoured to fit my handheld shooting style. The innovative BallGrip can be tweaked and set to stabilize under my arm or I can easily grab the ball with my fingers and stabilize the rig with my hand and palm. I can also use the top handle on the C-mount and it becomes an additional grip to guide the camera.
In this top view example, I have two BallGrips one to help me pull focus and the other one used to help me stabilize the camera.
Here’s a side view to give another visual example of how I modified the indiSYSTEM Bulldog and BallGrips to give people a sense of the possibilities for building your own configuration using the BallGrip and Bulldog components depending on the specific circumstances of your shoot. The lens pictured is the Schneider Variogon zoom lens used for a later test shoot.
The indiSYSTEM Bulldog is definitely going to be my new go to rig for handheld work. It really works well especially with the new Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic Lumix H-H020 20mm f/1.7 lens. I did a number of tests with other lenses and the Pany 20mm lens was by far my favorite lens with the GH2 on the indiSYSTEM Bulldog. It’s such a sharp compact lens and its AF abilities are very good with the GH2 for most run and gun situations and when placed on the Bulldog its a real winner especially when you need a camera rig to do much more than just be secured to your tripod.
This sample indiSYSTEM Bulldog and BallGrip footage is a fun little test I did in Oceanside, CA with my nephew as he played hide and seek with me. I thought it would be perfect to follow my little nephew around as he tried to hide from view and run from the couch to the table and from room to room until he finally exhausted himself. Many of the cuts in the footage I kept a little long just so one could see the Bulldog and BallGrip at work and how easily I could rotate the camera into so many different positions. I also did not do any grading just to show the GH2 and Pany 20mm lens in action. All in all, I’m really excited about the results I achieved from the custom indiSYSTEM Bulldog and BallGrip because it allowed me to move into so many positions with a lot more stability than what I could even get with a cheap steadicam knock off stabilizer. I’m pretty impressed with how well I could be a fly on the wall following my nephew around through every little knick and cranny and how versatile and fun the new indiSYSTEM Bulldog and BallGrip are turning out to be.