4 Simple Wooden Camera Solutions for the Perfect Run-and-Gun Setup
A handheld Wooden Camera rig in action.
Gone are the days of stiff camera movements and aggravating tethered systems that drain the joy out of filming. Being mobile on set is growing in popularity, and advancements in the camera world have made shoulder and handheld setups much more feasible in recent years. This innovation includes not only smaller and more effective cinema cameras, but the accessories that go with them.
But with the endless options of camera accessories and limitless ways to customize, finding the right kind of handheld tools can be a challenging task. What mounting options do these pieces offer? How easy is it to mount other items like arms and wireless monitors? How much weight does it add to my setup? Does it have quick-release functionality?
If you’re searching for the proper run-and-gun gear for your camera, look no further. Here are four Wooden Camera essentials that you should always have on fast-paced shoots.
1. NATO Handle Kit (Plus) 70mm, 100mm, or 150mm
NATO Handle Kit (Plus, 70mm)
One simple essential for a compact, mobile camera setup is a robust and ergonomic handle. Having top or side handles improves not just the stability & control of a handheld camera, but also your level of comfort when shooting.
The NATO Handle Kit (Plus) provides a solid solution to gripping. It operates on a quick release system that can be easily attached and detached to any camera setup. The NATO Handle slides directly onto the NATO Rail - secured to the camera via 2x 1/4-20 mounting points - and locks down by a simple twist of the thumbscrew. There are even safety pins on either side of the NATO Rail to prevent the NATO Handle from sliding completely off, if unexpectedly loose. It can even be rotated 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle for your needs.
Built into the handle itself are a number of additional mounting options. Each side contains alternating ¼-20 and ⅜-16 threads, along with an embedded cold shoe on the front end. Need to add more tools on the rig? Not to worry! The front-end 15mm and rear-end 19mm rod openings are ideal for supporting your focus motors and on-board lights, recorders, and monitors, while the lower 15mm pass-through hole is perfect for mounting your UVF.
2. Ultra Arm
From left to right: ¼-20, ⅜-16, Super Clamp, Male Hot Shoe, Femal Hot Shoe, NATO Clamp, and Preston MDR3/MDR4.
No run-and-gun setup is complete without an external monitor, and the Ultra Arm provides full control of your mounting options. These modular and articulating arms help to secure your monitor and configure its position to suit your shot. This system is also perfect for mounting lights, audio recorders, microphones and many other devices.
But there are so many sizes and variants! Where to start? Well, the good news is Wooden Camera offers standard sets in a variety of lengths and ball options. The arms are all modular, meaning each piece can be attached/detached and replaced with other pieces and lend themselves to custom configurations. That means your ¼-20 screw can easily be substituted with a hot shoe ball adapter. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what options there are for arms.
The first step is to determine the arm length you need. There are several Ultra Arm extensions to choose from: 3”, 5”, 8”, and no extension. Then, on both ends of the extension are points for adding clamps and ball heads, which include 1/4-20, 3/8-16, Super Clamp, NATO Clamp, Hot Shoe and Preston MDR3/MDR4. Once these pieces are strung together, the Ultra Arm is ready to be secured to your camera.
3. Zip Box
Simply put, the Zip Box is a remedy for those guilty of taping filters directly to the front of their lens. Wooden Camera’s Zip Boxes are designed to keep filters tightly secured on the front of the lens without the weight of traditional matte boxes. These can fit on the lenses with outer diameters up to 115mm, and accommodate any sensor sizes without causing vignetting. But most importantly, they’re extremely lightweight.
Using a Zip Box has a few major advantages over traditional matte boxes. For starters, it clamps directly to the lens without the need for 15mm rods, therefore allowing you to go handheld with ease. The unibody rubber composition is designed to be flexible and shaped to block out immediate light leaks & lens flares. However, if you need additional light-shading, lightweight clip-on flags are available.
Zip Boxes are available for 4x4" and 4x5.6" filters, outer lens diameters of 80-85mm, 90-95mm, 100-105mm, and 110-115mm, and single or double versions.
4. V-Lock Wedge and Base Station
What’s the best way to mount a smartphone or audio recording device to your camera? Sure, you could fasten it directly to an arm at the top of the camera, but that could get in the way of other accessories, as well as take too long to install and uninstall. If you need quick access to your devices, a better way is with the V-Lock Base Station.
This locking mechanism mounts to the camera just like any other camera accessory: ¼-20” or ⅜-16” mounting points. The difference is its small form factor and low profile, making it perfect to mount additional accessories on the side of your camera like a Smartphone Clamp (which holds your smartphone for easy access to tools like iOS Monitoring or FoolControl) or Teradek RT MDR wireless follow focus.
The beauty of most camera accessories is their customizable functionality. There aren’t many one-size-fits-all options when it comes to filming. Instead, there’s universality. If you’re looking for a good basic setup for your handheld rig, Wooden Camera’s modular components and abundant mounting options will easily get your necessary devices onto the camera and you shooting like a pro.
Shop Gear in this Article:
NATO Handle Plus
A quick release, multi-function top handle with a tool-less design and ratcheting 360° rotating grip with integrated shoe mount.
Ultra Arm Monitor Mount (1/4-20 to 1/4-20, 3")
A tool-less articulating arm with two sets of 25mm (1inch) double ball joints which allow a monitor or accessory to be positioned in just about any orientation.
Zip Box Double 4x5.65 (90-95mm)
Holds two 4x5.65 (100x144mm) filters and clamps to the front of lenses between 90 and 95mm in exterior lens diameter. Special design allows for no vignetting.