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Mattebox/Follow Focus/Rails on ebay?

Posted: Sat, 19th Feb 2011, 5:36pm

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RodyPolis

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Hi so I'm in the market for a mattebox, follow focus, and rail system, and this is the 'best' I could find on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Shoulder-Mount-Follow-Focus-Matte-Box-DSLR-Video-/300524349433?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f8a5a7f9

I'd rather spend less, but I know these kind stuff is expensive and this kit seems to be the best thing for my money right now. Any thoughts? Anyone knows a better deal? Thanks
Posted: Sat, 19th Feb 2011, 6:03pm

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pdrg

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Looks pretty decent - but beware a followfocus is of limited use on many stills lenses - they usually have a few dozen degrees from front to back focus, so even the FF may have limited resolution. Also, some lenses are actually decoupled the ring from the lens inside, so turning the ring just activates servos/motors to set the lens position, so you cannot guarantee accurate whip focus racks. Just saying smile
Posted: Sat, 19th Feb 2011, 6:18pm

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RodyPolis

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pdrg wrote:

Just saying smile
Which would be fine if I understood what you were talking about Lol Going to have to carefully re-read your post. Thanks!

Alright I got what you're saying. Would it be 'that' bad though? A lot of people in the DSRL community seem to be using them. So it can't be that bad right?
Posted: Sat, 19th Feb 2011, 8:29pm

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pdrg

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No, not bad, just not as useful with modern SLR lenses as with film lenses (which have a lot more turniness(!) in the focus ring). It may be a bit more frustrating trying to hit specific focal points in low-light situations - stills lenses are designed to be focussed once, and not change during the shot, whereas film lenses expect you to want to move focus during a shot smile
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 2:58am

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voiceoverwizard

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Dude spend at least 1-2 hours looking around cheesycam.com before you spend a penny on this stuff they will show you how to make it yourself, or where to buy it super cheap. What ever you want, but don't layout $1000...
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 7:13pm

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RodyPolis

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Ya I'm a regular cheesycam follower. It's an awesome website. I'm not considering DIY because not don't do I not like ,and suck at, building things, it also looks bad for business. I do payed gigs so DIY equipments are low to none in my collection.

So now that DIY is out of the question, so far that has been around the best deal I can find on the internet that will give me a good mattebox, follow focus, and rail system/shoulder mount.

Like I said, I would rather pay less for it, but I'm not finding any considerably cheaper alternatives that's already built and ready. I was gonna try indisystems.com, but I've heard nothing but bad reviews about their products (except the slider) and customer service, so I'm staying far away.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 7:25pm

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ben3308

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If you don't mind their black-and-yellow product coloring scheme, Ikan has some pretty solid stuff out there at good prices, you just have to piece together what you want from it.

Also, as I'm sure you know there's also indiSYSTEM (which has terrible customer service) and RedRock, but also Cinevate, which has some quality stuff - it's just pretty expensive.

The friction follow focus offered by Ikan, however, works well with DSLRs - that's what it's designed for - and I've gotten to use it in-store and discuss the packages with an Ikan rep and it all seemed like a very good deal, all things considered.

This is, of course, probably going to cost you a bit more money, but not a lot. And you get a name brand instead of the questionable nature of eBay. Also, consider checking Amazon for other deals.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 7:43pm

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RodyPolis

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Ya Redrock is just way too much for me right now. Their mattebox alone is around 1700 I think, which is far beyond my budget. I figured out the brand of the product I was going to get. It's an Indian made company called Proaim. Here's a slightly cheaper listing I found on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Follow-Focus-Matte-box-shoulder-mount-fr-7D-HDV-DSLR-5D_W0QQitemZ200575654750QQcategoryZ3319QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m263QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DSIC%26its%3DI%252BC%26itu%3DUCI%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%26otn%3D10%26pmod%3D300524349433%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D7268106303209116843

I've looked around and found some good reviews for them which is why I'm considering them rather than indisystem which I've heard terrible things of (mostly their build quality and their customer service). I'll check out other websites you mentioned, but if something doesn't stand out by tonight I'll probably get it.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 7:45pm

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ben3308

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Konova, a Korean company which essentially copies other manufacturing processes and makes knock-off stuff, makes packages as well that are available through their eBay store.

They make the Konova slider, too, which CheesyCam ranks highly. They have some legit stuff, actually.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 8:24pm

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Aculag

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I went with indiSYSTEM, and while their customer service was almost non-existent, I did receive a high quality product less than a week after ordering. I've had to make some modifications, especially because their counterweight is barely qualified to hold down paper, let alone balance an entire camera rig. But the build quality is good. It's a very solid rig once everything's tightened down.

The only issue I have with it is that on some of my smaller lenses, I can't use the mattebox and the follow focus at the same time. There's just not enough room. But for less than $1000, you're not likely to find a higher quality product without making it yourself. Though, that ebay link you posted looks pretty good too.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 10:19pm

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StrikeEmStudios

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RodyPolis wrote:

Ya Redrock is just way too much for me right now. Their mattebox alone is around 1700 I think, which is far beyond my budget. I figured out the brand of the product I was going to get. It's an Indian made company called Proaim. Here's a slightly cheaper listing I found on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Follow-Focus-Matte-box-shoulder-mount-fr-7D-HDV-DSLR-5D_W0QQitemZ200575654750QQcategoryZ3319QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m263QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DSIC%26its%3DI%252BC%26itu%3DUCI%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%26otn%3D10%26pmod%3D300524349433%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D7268106303209116843

I've looked around and found some good reviews for them which is why I'm considering them rather than indisystem which I've heard terrible things of (mostly their build quality and their customer service). I'll check out other websites you mentioned, but if something doesn't stand out by tonight I'll probably get it.
I bought a shoulder support from these guys back in december; they don't seem to be selling the model I purchased anymore but it's solid enough and can be adapted to add more equipment. The delivery was a bit quicker than i expected too, I had no problems, so their a fairly good company as far as i can tell.
Posted: Tue, 22nd Feb 2011, 10:38pm

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Azulon'sAssassin

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Not sure if any would be here but...try beezid.com

You only have to bid one (or a few, I can't remember) cent per bid.

I got my ipod touch from there for $5.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Feb 2011, 3:35am

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RodyPolis

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I didn't even think these websites were for real Lol Cool that you got the itouch so cheap.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Feb 2011, 10:53am

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pdrg

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No, no, no do not go near those bid-up sites, you get a few winners and a lot of losers, and the company takes many times the value of the item in almost every case thanks to the cost of the bids.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Feb 2011, 6:08pm

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RodyPolis

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Ya I wasn't planning on it. I'm just surprised people actually win stuff on them; I thought it was a big con and no one ever won anything.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Feb 2011, 6:50pm

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Arktic

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I can recommend those $20 shoulder rigs that have been mentioned on cheeseycam - I have to say, despite the low price tag, it's a great piece of kit.

Here's me at a recent job with my 60D and the shoulder rig:


I've modified mine slightly, with the addition of a Manfrotto Monopod Head in place of the usual mount. Having the camera on quick release, and with lockable panning, it makes the rig a whole lot more useful.

It's not the world's most adjustable set up, but for the cost, I can't recommend it enough. Makes shooting on that 50mm prime so much easier. And I certainly wouldn't worry about it looking DIY or not professional enough - it looks as good as anything else, imho, and it does the job so that's the main thing, right?

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 23rd Feb 2011, 8:13pm

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RodyPolis

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Ya I got one of those $20 should mounts. It's pretty great. I've used it for music videos and concerts, and will continue to use it for my smaller projects. When I get the one I will order soon I will probably use the shoulder part of the $20 instead of the one it comes with depending on how it feels.

I was thinking of just upgrading my $20 shoulder mount and add rails to it and stuff. But then I'm thinking the cost of getting the rods, getting the adapters, getting the follow focus, getting the handles, and getting the mattebox separately would cost me time and money. So why not get everything in one package.

Also one reason I'm getting this is for the looks. The set up looks great. I'm tired of showing up to shoots with my half-pound camera Lol

Sure my videos look great, but I have lost opportunities for 'big' projects because my stuff didn't look 'pro' enough. Some clients like to get their friends and business partners to come to their video shoots, and they wanna impress and the t2i alone isn't doing it.

I'm usually the one to talk about how it doesn't matter what you use, but how you use it, but this video business thing is proving me wrong on that. If I want to get good paying gigs, I gotta look the part.

I mostly want to see if there is a better deal out there to get these items together, and so far it doesn't look like it.
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 12:09am

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pdrg

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Rody, you're right - we are all in showbiz after all. It is why I have an acrylic slate instead of a chalkboard - it is all about selling the client a bit of stardust and rock'n'roll, something they don't usually see. Make them feel special. I also have a few (largely empty) flight cases kicking about the office/studio. They are a visual shortcut for something serious and non-domestic, all black and aluminium, nice wheels, rugged - they intrigue and reassure clients a lot for a £50 empty box! Same with some old Beta SP decks, nobody uses SP any more, but they look the part as studio dressing. And no matter who or what for, I always have a girl apply a little no-colour powder to whoever is on-camera whether they need it or not...or a squirt of antiflare on props. It's all showbiz...
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 1:52am

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RodyPolis

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pdrg wrote:

It's all showbiz...
And nothing more smile I am working for on a video for a guy that I did for $1500, and everything look great. He actually chose me over a more 'professional' guy who's worked with big artists because his stuff weren't better than mine (he got a lot of bashing for doing that BTW).

I was talking to him today and he said he's going to tell everyone on his marketing team, his PR ect that he had to fight with me to get the price down to $7500 for the video so they can take the project more seriously.

It's all showbiz and politics man, and I'm gonna take advantage of the system. I'm gonna 'pimp' out gears and triple my prices cause that's what it's all about. My videos already look expensive, so how about actually making them expensive?
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 2:23am

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ben3308

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RodyPolis wrote:

I'm gonna 'pimp' out gears and triple my prices cause that's what it's all about. My videos already look expensive, so how about actually making them expensive?
That's got to be just about one of the worst mindsets I've ever seen. If you don't watch it, someone younger and cheaper in labor than yourself will start to satisfy the niche you are now.

I'm not saying don't make money, I'm saying don't be cocky and greedy.
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 3:04am

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RodyPolis

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Ya good advice man. IDK I guess I'm kinda pissed at my current situation: Small paying gigs don't really pay off money-wise at the end (and I need money), and I can't land bigger paying gigs because I don't have enough credit in the area.
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 3:31am

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ben3308

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Yeah, I'm just saying, word to the wise - if you lose your modesty too quickly, people will move on to another filmmaker who offers the same thing you do now. The majority of guys out there really can't tell the difference between your work, my work, or some jackass who just bought a 7D and can make 'movies in HD' if it's smaller-gig work. They know when it's a special project and a good result, but only the larger gigs can really note and appreciate the quality difference so much that they're willing to pay the price and keep you as a consistent reference.

We had this situation with some of our clients, where they moved onto someone who charged 700 dollars/video after we did two projects with them. Nevermind that our work is vastly superior, or that they owe us money for the second project - if it's easy to move onto someone who is kind of the same for much cheaper, and they're both (in the grand scheme of things) "kids", then cheaper = better.

Just food for thought, I wasn't trying to condemn your moneymaking efforts. For what it's worth, we have to split all our revenue down the middle from having the involvement of more than one man. biggrin So consider yourself lucky in that respect!

(Although we have a big, new paid gig upcoming that's super duper exciting that we're under a big contract for - very excited about how lucrative it is set to be smile)
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 3:57am

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RodyPolis

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Lol a Jackass and a 7D Hahaha

Good thing most people I work with (at least I think/hope so) can tell the difference between big budgeted stuff, my stuff, and the bad stuff, but ya I get what you're saying. For example my mom can't tell much difference (except special effect wise) between my stuff and Hollywood stuff. It bothers me a lot Lol. She's not just being supportive, she just doesn't have 'the eye' to see the difference. She says thing like "You show me 2 guys fighting, the Hollywood movie shows me 2 guys fighting...what's the difference?" smile

Speaking of that, when I first came to this website and saw your 'Splinter Cell' preview video (it had Brian Hunt kidnapping some kid), I was like "wow this looks just like a major movie." I couldn't believe that you guys (who I think we 15-16 at the time) could make a 'Hollywood' movie.

I recently watched it and while I think it's still good, I just couldn't find what got me so excited back then.

Although we have a big, new paid gig upcoming that's super duper exciting that we're under a big contract for - very excited about how lucrative it is set to be
Cool. Who is it for?
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 4:21am

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ben3308

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Yeah, haha, the thing about Splinter Cell was were ourselves were amazed at what we'd made back then (we were 15) and had no idea how it even ended up so.....majestic, in the scheme of 'feeling' like a movie. biggrin I felt the same way when I came here and saw CX3's Matrix stuff, sort of.

As for the project, we've signed some forms and can't divulge stuff, but it should be pretty cool and we're very excited about it; it's been a product of the months of audience-interest people have taken in us since releasing Inebriation, and The Brocial Network just teed it up for us.
Posted: Thu, 24th Feb 2011, 4:38am

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RodyPolis

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Cool cool. The parody business is where it's at!
Posted: Mon, 14th Mar 2011, 10:49pm

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RodyPolis

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So I did end up getting the rig. Ended up paying $605 for it (without the follow focus)



If anyone is interested in a review, let me know.
Posted: Mon, 14th Mar 2011, 11:07pm

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rogolo

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RodyPolis wrote:

If anyone is interested in a review, let me know.
Have at it, slugger. It's always nice to have reviews of obscure eBay items like this, seeing as independent reviews are hard to come by...or non-existant.
Posted: Sun, 3rd Apr 2011, 2:18am

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RodyPolis

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Rating: +1

Ok so here's my review on the product.

I got the Proaim Shoulder Mount and Mattebox. Below is a good look at the set up:


I didn't get the follow focus because I'm cheap. smile It would've been $300 more and I didn't feel like paying that much for it at the moment. I'll get one eventually, but for right now I can focus the lens fine without it.

First Impression:
Most of the metal parts were kinda greasy and smell greasy too. So I had to wipe them off. (starting to realize how much I suck at reviewing.) The metal parts are really heavy. More heavy than I expected or wanted. It looks like they only use steel and no aluminum or anything. Which is good because it's stable, but still I wish it were lighter.

PROS: Stable and strong. The grips are nice and adjustable. The shoulder mount has a pad that rests against your chest (something like the $24 dollar one) so there's no need to add weights on the back to keep it from being too front heavy. The mattebox is made with both plastic and metal. The flags are also metal.

The mattebox has 2 filter holders. The holders are plastic. One is stable, and one is rotatable. The flags are tight and don't wiggle when you move. The kit also came with different foam donuts for different lens sizes.

The rods are pretty long (more than 12 inch) so you will have enough space to fit a lot of things. The plate is height-adjustable, so you can place the camera at different heights. The mattebox is also height adjustable.

There are many holes in there to mount equipments. Both 1/4" and 3/8". There are a set of holes on the side of the camera plate (I will be mounting my monitor there using a power arm), another set on the bottom of the plate, and another one on the back where it rests on your shoulder. The rig also comes with 2 1/4" screws, and 2 3/8" screws. So it's good to have extra in case you lose one from your tripod's quick release.

It's fairly quick to change a lens, or remove the camera to change a battery. You can attach the whole thing to a tripod, so I usually just leave the tripod's release plate on there.

The rig looks awesome! I am no longer ashamed to wip my t2i out for paid shoots. Like any shoulder rig, it gives really nice stability, and for the price it's a pretty good deal...

BUT

CONS: It is heavy. This is my first rig so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can say that with all the parts together, it feels like 10 pounds give or take. Like I said I don't think they used any aluminum on there. Once you learn how to hold it right/if you're a man, it shouldn't be that bad, but still I wish it were lighter.

The plate is height adjustable, but not in the way you think. To get the plate to go higher you have to screw in some flat metal pieces on top of each other to create height for the camera.

The mattebox's height adjustment is a lot better/classier, but I wish it went up higher. For example it wasn't high enough to properly reach my lens when I had the battery grip on the camera. So I had to remove the battery grip when using it on the rig. I would have to buy something like this to get it higher: http://cgi.ebay.com/Height-Riser-rail-systems-follow-focus-mattebox-/190353971566?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c51fb196e

I don't like that the filter holders on the mattebox are plastic, but if it can hold the filter then I guess that's not that bad. I just don't like that it's plastic. The holder that holds the filter holders are metal which is good. The mattebox color is a dark gray. While this isn't a big con, I wish it was black. Mattebox works great as far I could tell.

The cushion on the shoulder mount isn't that great. It's not soft enough. For 3-4 minute takes it's fine, but if you will be filming 30 min-1 hour live events you might have to put a folded towel on your shoulder.

Your arm can get tired fast if you don't hold it right. Keep you arms as close to your chest as possible, don't let it 'hang' on your arms.

You won't really be able to use an LCD viewfinder with it without moving your head into an awkward position because the rig is straight. An EVF would work great in that situation. You can see the LCD just fine, just won't be able to comfortably look into the LCD Viewfinder when you attach it.

This is a 'team' set up. Which means it works best on a set where you have a team with you. If you're just filming something by yourself then the Cowboy Studio shoulder mount will work best since it is a simple design that does doesn't require attaching parts, adjusting parts, mounting parts, changing style of parts etc.

The set up did not come with a bag, which sucks.

Overall I would give this a 3.5/5. My biggest problem with it is the weight. Right now I mostly bought it for the awesome looks, but it gives more than that. Soon I will be using square filters, I will be mounting a lot of stuff on there and it will prove very helpful. The shoulder mount should last me 10 years because unless I drop it from a building I can't see anything happening to it.

Last edited Mon, 4th Apr 2011, 2:55pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 3rd Apr 2011, 11:15am

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pdrg

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It looks pretty awesome! Looking forward to the fuller review to get the lowdown on how it operates!
Posted: Mon, 4th Apr 2011, 2:58pm

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RodyPolis

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I finished the review. If you have any questions let me know. BTW here are some more pictures:


Why I needed a monitor.

Posted: Wed, 6th Apr 2011, 11:01pm

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RodyPolis

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So I replaced the original shoulder part of the rig with the Cowboy Studio shoulder mount and I love it so much better now. It is a lot lighter (most of the weight came from the shoulder part), more comfortable (the Cowboy studios have a better cushion), and I can use it hand free to give my arms a rest.

I don't mean I switched the whole rig, just the part that goes on your shoulder.