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What’s in my kit: EasyRig

Danny_Schmidt
Star Member

I have been working as a cinematographer/camera operator since 2012, and over the last 10 years I have come to realize, that if you want to play the long game in this industry, you need to take care of your body.  

For many years I’d throw big cameras up on my shoulder and shoot 10-14hr days of verité, observational docs and nonfiction TV.  It didn’t take long for the consequences to come to light, namely a very sore back, shoulders, and neck.  

The first time I gave the EasyRig a try, it was a rented unit for a 10-day shoot.  As soon as I put it on, I knew it was a game changer.  In fact, I called the rental house right then and told them to bill my card for the cost of the vest because I was going to make this a keeper!

dannyschmidt-scaled.jpeg

(that's the face of someone no longer in back pain!) 

The EasyRig is a simple contraption that you wear that supports the weight of the camera as it dangles out in front of you.  There are lots of kinds, brands, etc - but the basic premise is the same: the weight of your rig is distributed much more evenly across your waist and hips, effectively taking the camera off of your shoulder.  

Now there is a common myth about the EasyRig that needs dispelling.  It’s not a steadicam.  It does not offer any sort of counterweighted, spring loaded functionality that you see in a modern steady rig.  In fact, if you attempt to walk and film with your EasyRig at the same time, you'll realize that the footage might be worse than if your camera was just shoulder mounted.  

What I love about the EasyRig:

  1. You can shoot all day on the thing with much less strain on your neck and back
  2. You can take your hands off of your camera to make adjustments, fix a lav, drink some coffee, etc.
  3. They work amazingly well on boats!  Very nice to be able to grab a railing, etc when things get choppy.
  4. For long OTF (on-the-fly) interviews they are an amazing tool.  Often times your producer doesn’t know/appreciate how hard it is to hold a camera steady for those things.  

Never tried one?  Rent an EasyRig for your next shoot and you’ll see what I mean.  Sure they are expensive to buy, but so is a nice tripod.  Your body is the only one you get, so a few thousand dollars shouldn’t deter you.  

1 REPLY 1

julienjarry
Key Contributor

1000% agree.