Sometimes you need to mount a lot of stuff around your DSLR. In this case I have 7 cold shoe adapters, 2 friction arms, a Sony CLM V55 monitor, a stereo mixer, and two Sennhieser G2 wireless mics all attached to a Letus35 DSLR Cage. I wouldn’t want to hand hold this mess, but for tripod and slider work it can be pretty handy when you need that much kit.
I would like to say this is an extreme example of mounting, but I’ve seen cages loaded down with even more then this depending on the job. In any case, questions about brackets and mount are pretty common so lets dive a little deeper into the hardware used to mount all of this gear.
Probably one of the most useful and affordable things to have around is this little cold shoe adapter. You can find these on Amazon for around $6.99, or if you want to save a little money, they can be found on ebay for as little as $2. If you do decided to go the ebay route, remember that they ship from China, so it could take up to 4 weeks before you see them. So make sure you order a few extra in case your needs change.
The cold shoe adapter is attached with a 1 inch peace of 1/4 20 all thread and a thumb nut, but for $4 you can get something a little more elegant. Or you can go down to your local hardware store and pick up some 1/4 20 screws which will also do the trick.
Most newer camera gear including microphone mounts, wireless packs, LED panels, and monitors will work with this adapter. Even if you don’t have a need for them right now, it’s a good idea to keep a few of these in your bag just in case something comes up.
Friction arms are another important mounting solution. Only a few years ago it was hard to find a friction arm for less the $80 with most priced in the $120 to $140 range. Now days you can find friction arms of all different sizes for as little as $14 to $30.
If you’re using an external monitor, boom mic, or LED light panel a friction arm is the perfect way to adjust and position your gear. Just remember that you always want to hang your friction arm in the direction that it threads into the mount. So if you mount the arm on the right side of your rig it should hang towards the front of the camera and if your mount is on the left side of the rig it should hang towards the operator. This simple mounting trick prevents your arm from swinging free and possibly damaging something.
Also note that these more affordable friction arms aren’t as heavy duty as earlier models. The good part about this is that they weigh a lot less but it also means that they can’t handle as much weight. So keep that in mind if you are trying to mount something large.
You might recognize this adapter as I’ve written about it in the past. Since that first post in the middle of last year, they’ve raised the prices a little bit but you can still find it on amazon for between $20 to $25. It’s a little over priced, but it’s nice to have a few of these around if you really need to cram a lot of stuff into a very small place. Add it to the end of a friction arm and you can position LED panels and microphones at the same time.
Mounted to the cold shoe adapter is a cold shoe to 1/4 20 adapter. These are great for adapting field recorders and other items to your rig or mounting things directly to your cameras hot shoe. You can find them on ebay for around $3 and Amazon for between $5 and $10. Keep in mind that not all of these little cold shoe to 1/4 adapters are the same. Make sure you take a look at the photos on amazon and ebay before you make your choice, some of them have thumb screws that are too small or don’t provide enough threads to be very useful.
Most of these items are pretty affordable and very handy no matter what rig you plan to use. The more gear you add to your setup the more mounting options you’ll need to consider. If most of your shooting is locked down on a tripod or even mounted to a slider your mounting needs might be a lot different then hand held shooting or gorilla work. Once you’ve used your gear for awhile you find configurations that best suit your needs depending on the situation. No matter what you end up with I’m sure you’ll find many of these mounting options will come in handy.