If you’re looking to calm down that shaky handheld footage, then check out the pro video shoulder mount kits from Genustech.
Back in the early days of video, achieving good stability while shooting handheld wasn’t terribly difficult. Cameras were considerably larger and heavier and many were designed to rest on the operator’s shoulder for support. This worked well, as long as you didn’t have a lengthy shoot on your hands. Greater bulk meant more fatigue and increased difficulty when packing for remote locations.
Now, the reverse is true. Cameras are so much smaller and lighter, it almost seems you could shoot handheld all day with little difficulty. The tradeoff, however, is that many of today’s cameras don’t fit the hand well, are difficult to hold and their lack of weight actually makes them more difficult to keep steady.
As a result, manufacturers have rallied to design stabilizing systems that allow you to take advantage of the many benefits of today’s cameras while still capturing great handheld footage. One such manufacturer is Genustech. We took its professional video shoulder mount kit with Mo-Bars and offset bracket out for a test run and found it to be a fine performer.
Some Assembly Required
The components arrived in a compartmentalized cardboard box, ready to be assembled. The rods and brackets are painted flat black while the lockdown knobs are brushed and silvery in appearance. Most metal parts are machined from aircraft grade aluminum while the two counterweights (3.5lb. and 1.8lb.) are made of stainless steel.
We found the assembly process to be fairly user-friendly by simply laying out the parts as they appeared in the diagram, then sliding, twisting and inserting as instructed.
The Mo-Bars system is a modular support handgrip that closely resembles a bicycle’s handlebars. The cross piece has several sets of holes bored through it, which allows it to accommodate both 15mm and 19mm rods. This versatility allows the G-PROMOKIT1 to be used with pretty much any rod system using these sizes. Clamps at each end of the crosspiece adjust and support the Mo-Bars handles. Each clamp attachment point features a Rosette joint with opposing toothed sections for solid lockdown. Loosening the lock knobs allows you to position the handles in exactly the right position for maximum comfort and stability.
Riding the rails behind the Mo-Bars is the Uni-Plate: a multi-adjustable plate with several threaded holes (1/4-inch and 3/8-inch) along the bottom for tripod attachment. Loosening the lock knobs at each corner lets you slide the plate along the rails until the right position is found. Another pair of knobs allows for vertical adjustment of the platform, to place the camera at just the right height above the rig. A horizontal slot near the top of the platform allows the camera attachment plate to be removed in order to easily attach or change cameras. Loosen the knurled lock knob, remove one of the little rubber screw-in stops and slide the plate out of the unit. With the camera attached securely to the plate, slide it back into the slot and tighten the lock knob. Don’t forget to replace the little end stop; it’s there to prevent the camera and plate assembly from taking a dive off the rig in case it isn’t tightened down properly.
The offset bracket attaches to the rails behind the Uni-Plate and is used to shift the position of the camera so its center of gravity and display are more centrally aligned to your body. It also provides the attachment point for a second set of rods that support the heavy-duty shoulder pad and counterweights. The shoulder pad’s positioning is adjustable and the counterweights may be slid to any position along the rods to achieve the proper weight distribution and balance. A pair of threaded stops screw into the ends of each rod to prevent the weights from coming loose and sliding off the back.
Out For A Spin
With a camera attached and all the appropriate adjustments made, we threw the rig onto our shoulder, grabbed the handles and took it out for a test drive. With elbows tucked into our body for maximum stability we found ourselves tilting, panning and yes, even walking, with ease. Walking while shooting handheld is especially challenging. Without any special technique, the movement was greatly stabilized as opposed to going “rig-less” and with a little practice at achieving the right knee-heel-toe action, even most of that telltale up-and-down motion was largely minimized.
Suitable for a large variety of camcorder and DSLR sizes and weights, the Genustech professional video shoulder mount kit with Mo-Bars and offset bracket is a real winner.
Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.
2-350mm rods with dual female threads
2-100mm extension rods
2-200mm extension rods
1-Full counterweight: 3.5lb
1-Half counterweight: 1.8lb
1-Heavy duty shoulder pad with universal clip-on bracket
1-Uni-Plate without rods
Complete Mo-Bar system: 1-Mo Bar bracket, 2-Mo Bar handles, 2-215mm support bars with end stops
Very good build quality
Increases shot stability
Easy to assemble and use