Before “goin’ down to the Shore” as the say here in Philly, Tim Ovel from Studio4 Productions was kind enough to send me a few goodies to test out. One of which is the their new indiRAILSpro MP, which I took with me to Ocean City, NJ for a little test run.The new indiRailspro MP combines the best features of a shoulder mount system, the ability to go hand-held, and has a built in follow focus to boot. It’s lightweight, lowprofile, and flexibility is perfectly designed for the event shooter or anyone who needs the ability to stabilize their DSLR and use manual prime or zoom lenses and be on the move in an instant.
The MP consists of a Velbon RUP-40 monopod with a Giottos MH-652 compact quick release assembly and MH-642 plate which mounts to a top mounting stabilizing bracket. The monopod can be quickly attached and removed with the Giottos quick release assembly which is an added plus for quick setup, break down, and storage. On the bracket you have the ability to adjust the monopod, camera, and shoulder pad length as desired. An additional Giottos MH-652/642 quick release plate is where your DSLR mounts and you can slide your camera along the bracket’s adjusting slot to set your camera and lens for proper follow focus use. Unfortunately, the slot was not long enough for me to use the GH1’s 14-140 stock lens with the MP’s follow focus. Tim will be sending me out a new bracket with a longer slot for me to test soon. In the meantime, I decided to test out another c-mount lens that I recently just got back from being overhauled, a Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 1:2/18-90 C-Mount zoom lens which I will talk about in detail later.
I wasn’t able to use the follow focus on the MP with the Schneider so instead I wanted to simply focus on the MP’s ability to be used as a DSLR stabilizer. Because the Schneider c-mount lens does not have a large enough image circle to fill the sensor, the GH1 must have digital 2x zoom engaged in order to get full use of the lens though out the zoom range and to fill the image sensor with out the “peep hole effect”. Doing this however, means that any slight camera movement in higher focal ranges will create a heck of a lot of camera shake.
And this is where the MP comes in. I wanted to use my Schneider c-mount lens but I was on vacation and didn’t want to drag an additional tripod with me. The MP was a perfect fit in this department because I could split up the MP with the Velbon monopod in my day bag weighting less than a pound and the stabilizing bracket (less than 2 pounds) in my camera bag.
Without the follow focus, you can be ready to go in 5 seconds, the MP’s combination of monopod and shoulder mount bracket allows for enough stabilization so I can get fairly steady shots with my Schneider lens even with the 2x zoom engaged on the GH1. If I didn’t have the MP, it would literally be camera shake city. Don’t get me wrong, this is no substitute for a good tripod for rock solid shots, you will always see some movement and sway but when using the Schneider lens at the lower focal ranges like 18-30 (which is doubled with the 2x zoom factor to 36-60) and by keeping that camera nice and steady you reduce camera shake and can capture some really nice steady footage. The big advantage with the MP is quick mobility combined with stability.
The footage I captured was nothing special, just a few shots of our day at the beach with friends. Two big challenges with shooting with the GH1, aside from the sand and wind whipping around, the GH1 camera mics are absolutely atrocious and unusable in windy situations. Number two, in bright outdoor beach type settings, it is literally impossible to get an accurate reading on focus and exposure with the flip out LCD. I didn’t have a hoodman on me so through out the footage you’ll see the exposure settings change that is not the camera it’s me trying to play with my Variable ND filter because I couldn’t see the screen.
Again, the GH1 audio was simply unusable being a windy day so the visuals are accompanied with a live version of Dar William’s song “The Ocean”. Here is a quick test of the indiRAILSpro MP (no follow focus) with the Schneider Variogon 1:2/18-90 in c-mount. The footage was captured at 720/60p and converted to 24p using NeoScene.