A few years back, I found a site selling workbenches designed specifically for stop motion animators. They had a slide out platform for your laptop, plenty of drawers, area to rig lights, I think maybe even a blue screen you could erect in the back.
I didn't think much of it at the time, but since then, I've moved into a small two bedroom apartment and have no room to set up a studio. I thought this thing may actually be perfect given my space. Problem is, I've looked and looked and can't find it, or anything like it.
Has anyone seen anything like this? Can you share the link if you have? Any other suggestions?
I remember that - I just now tried searching for stop motion cabinet and found the YouTube demo, which led to this site: http://www.nielshoebers.nl
His site's a bit tricky, but if you click on About you can find his contact info - I couldn't see anything about ordering one of the cabinets.
That's it! Thanks Strider, I've been looking high and low for this link. It doesn't look like a product he's selling, but there's some good ideas there I may be able to replicate in a DIY workbench.
Though the 'zoom tripod' and the 'camera swivel' were pretty cool (from the YouTube video). Have you seen these items for sale separately anywhere? I wonder how easy it would be to make something like this yourself?
* Edit. It does look like he's selling it, but he appears to be in the Netherlands.
Wow, yeah that camera swivel looks pretty cool! I don't recall seeing anything exactly like it (I might have and just didn't know what it was - I've looked at so much grip gear and after a while it all starts to look the same). This looks a bit similar, though with one less joint: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Gecko-Camera-Camcorder-Mount/dp/B0023ZK2T...
Though I could only find it with the suction cup mount - theyre must be one like it with a clamp. If you click to see the "mini Gecko" it's similar, but looks a lot cheaper and almost useless (though it does have a clamp).
It's a lot like a regular articulated arm: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_kk_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aarticulating+a...
But a really short one - sort of like one of these: http://www.amazon.com/ePhoto-Articulating-Friction-Mounts-Monitor/d...
Again though, I think it has one less joint.
Really what it reminds me of is some umbrella holders for lighting umbrellas.
But not enough joints again. Maybe you could put two of these together somehow?
As for the little dolly thing - it just looks like a smaller version of the dolly Nick and a few other people are using. He has plans on his site showing how he built it: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/138315
You need to click one one of the pictures and just keep clicking Next until you get to the dolly - there are several detail pics. Marc used to have something showing how he built a similar one on his site too, but he's changed sites a couple times and I wouldn't know where to find it now.
Or if you have plenty of disposable income you could get something like a Kessler Pocket Dolly:
(Click the pic - it's a link)
Thanks for all those links. My brain is working overtime trying to figure out how to piece together the best rig. I almost thing an LCD monitor arm would be perfect cause it can hold a heavy wait and be moved in all sorts of directions. Check out this HP Single Monitor Arm
I love that you can clamp it anywhere on your set. You'd just need to create a mount for your camera on the backplate.
If you're working in a small space, this may be better than having a cumbersome tripod on the floor.
That does look like a good option. My main question would be - can you adjust tension on the joints to get a nice friction fit? You get almost the same amount of movement with a two-section articulated arm, more with a three-section arm:
Each joint is a swivel/hinge with adjustable tension, and you can collapse it down if you don't want to use the full length. I haven't tried one of these 3-section arms, but the 2-section ones will hold my camera up easily, even with the Manfrotto geared head attached.
Just need to make sure to get a Superclamp if you do get one of these:
Oh you're right, that's a much better option. I didn't stop to think about the fact that you can't really lock the monitor arms into place.
So the trick would be figuring out how to mount one of these two/three-section arms onto a workbench style arrangement rather than a tripod?
Well that's what the superclamp is for - notice at the base of the articulated arm there's a little stud pointing straight down? That goes into a hole in the Superclamp and there's a thumbscrew you tighten there to hold it securely. Then this actually becomes yet one more swivel joint right at the base of the whole assembly. The superclamps are made so you can clamp them to any kind of shelf or table edge or to tubing.
Oh, and if you do want to use it all in conjunction with something like a geared head under the camera, you'll also need one of those little brass widgets shown in the pic above - Or actually a slightly different one. The "standard stud" that comes with this system uses a 1/4" threaded stud, which is the size to fit into the bottom of a camera. That's what you'd use if you don't want to include the geared head. For that you need a 3/8" threaded stud:
This one is reversible - so you can use it either with the camera alone or with the geared head. Again, the pics are links to the items.
I think I'd try the two-section articulated arm before getting one of the three-section ones - it seems like the extra length and joints might make it a bit less sturdy. Also, if you want to be able to animate movement of the camera, stay away from the double-tubing arms like this:
They're quite nice and extra-strong, but the joints have locking gear-teeth in them so you can't get a friction fit and still move them. Theis kind of arm is great though if you don't want to animate it.
Here's a video that helped me understand how the Superclamps work:
The way he inserted the brass stud into the clamp - you can insert the articulated arm the same way. The little black stud at the base of the arm is made exactly like the brass studs, so it all interlocks perfectly.
Then you'd take the 3/8" threaded brass stud and insert it into the camera mounting plate on the end of the arm - it locks in just like it would into a Super clamp - and then attach your 410 jr geared head.
Or if you aren't using a geared head, then you can just attach your camera directly to the mounting platform.
Wow = seriously...!!/? I just added a lot of info to that post, and when I hit Post it didn't go through - missed the 15 minute window. This is like the third time it's happened to me.
*SIGH* ok, here goes again:
Here's another video that explains it better:
He has a Magic Arm, which I haven't tried, but they only have tension adjustment on the center joint, so I don't really trust them. But it has exactly the same kind of stud at the base that all the articulated arms have, and he shows how to insert it into the clamp.
Instead of all the stuff he puts on the other end, you'd just have a camera bracket there. You can either buy the arm with one, or get it separately:
I've got one of each, and I gotta say, neither one is really perfect. No matter how much I tighten them down they can come loose if I rotate the camera the wrong way if I;m not careful - I guess that's just something you have to pay attention to always. But I do prefer this model to the long brass stud - it seems somewhat more secure. Mine originally had a rubber pice on it that I had to remove before I could get it at all snug.
You are a prince among men sir. All that info is excellent, thanks so much for taking the time to share. I should also add the the promo video for the Kessler Pocket Dolly is hilarious. The dolly looks excellent, but yeah, only if I have some play money sitting around :)
Getting back to the original question I posted, I really think this is an excellent solution. If I decide to go ahead and build one of these setups, I'll be sure to share some photos of the end result with the board.
Incidentally, do you think Amazon is the cheapest place to buy all this gear? Just wondering.
It's just a convenient place to link to it all because of all the recommendations they show of similar items - it's easy to find what you're looking for, plus they have a bigger selection than any actual store (some of which might sell the stuff cheaper). I don't remember where I bought my gear from - I remember I looked at a lot of different stores, including Adorama and a few more. I think I did get some of it from Amazon, especially the little pieces.