Category Archives: DIY

The 24 Hour Shootout Survival Kit


Last week Arbor Day Pictures aka Nancy Mitchell, Hannah Mitchell and myself participated in YPSI24, a 24 hour shootout competition where we won second place amongst 40+ entries. It was an awesome experience to witness so many filmmakers of all levels express themselves using a variety of video techniques within experimental and narrative storytelling.


However, with a 24 hour time limit and a 3 person crew including myself (2 of whom were acting on camera), it was vital that I assemble an equipment package that worked for our story. Too much gear and I’d risk a lot of unncessary setup and breakdown time. Too little gear and I’d lose the visual storytelling that was essential for characterization. We were super honored to win an award and it may not have happened without our 24 Hour Shootout Survival Kit. So here’s how we did it.


A few weeks before the shoot, we bounced around some preliminary ideas, some that either proved too difficult or too time consuming. Finally, the night before YPSI24, Nancy assembled all of our initial ideas into a creepy story about supernatural revenge. Next, I fleshed out the summary into a rough, 5 page script which would be our blueprint for the day. We all agreed that the concept would remain loose in order to incorporate the YPSI24 “ingredients” that we would be given. Creating a script as a guide for our shotlist/schedule was definitely a critical part of our planning.




For Camera A support I went with the heavy duty yet light and portable 8.5lb ProAm Heavy Duty Tripod Legs which are typically built for jib cranes but work great with a Manfrotto fluid head and Konova K3 slider as they can hold up to 80 lbs. It even has a super convenient mid level spreader for added stability and adjustable rubber or spiked feet for all kinds of terrain. At $120 shipped, the ProAm Heavy Duty Tripod Legs are an exceptional deal for the quality.




product information button runplayback ProAm USA PROAMFT Pro Tripod Legs & Bag Kit

product information button runplayback Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Video Head with Flat Base

product information button runplayback Konova Slider K3 100cm (39.4-Inch)




Lighting was very minimal as we were mostly daylight dependent. For the ending interior shots we used a pair of budget friendly ePhoto 600 CN600HS LED Lights with Kayo Maxtar V-Mount Li-Ion Batteries. The Kayo Maxtar is a new addition to my kit and one of the best V-Mount battery options out right now. Fully charged, the Kayo can power these lights for up to 6 hours straight. Very impressive!

ePhoto 600 Led Dimmable CN600HS Video Photography Light

Kayo Maxtar 177Wh(12000mAh/14.8V) V Mount Battery




To keep our sound kit as light and simple as possible, I went with the Zoom H1, Rode Micro Boompole, Rode VideoMic Pro, Aspen HQ-S Lav Mic, P&C Handgrip and an audio extension cable. Our rule was that whoever wasn’t on camera would be the Sound Recordist. With some easy to remember sound recording basics and having a kit this simple ensured that no one would have to be a pro to capture quality sound.

product information button runplayback Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder

product information button runplayback Rode Micro Boompole – 3-Section Boom Pole

product information button runplayback Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone

AspenMics Lavalier Microphones

product information button runplayback Dot Line P&C Handgrip




Having some early success with the latest Panasonic V-Log color profile, I decided to use my workhorse GH4 mounted with a Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster and classic Canon FD glass – 20mm, 28mm, 50mm and 35-105mm. This combination would create a vintage, lived-in look that I thought would be perfect for a horror film.





I kitted out my GH4 shoulder rig with a Varavon Armor Cage, Aputure V-Screen field monitor, Fotga follow focus, Ikan Tilta V-Mount Plate and a Kayo Maxtar BP-GL175 Li-Ion Battery. With the Kayo, I was able to power the Aputure monitor and use it as a counterweight for the GH4. There’s also a convenient USB port located on the side which kept my iPhone charged at every location.

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter

Varavon Armor II GH4 & GH3 Cage

Aputure VS-3 V-Screen 7″ IPS Field Monitor

Fotga DP500IIS Follow Focus

ikan Tilta TT-C12 HyperDeck Shuttle Mount with V-Mount Plate

Kayo Maxtar 177Wh(12000mAh/14.8V) V Mount Battery



Our story included many scenes of walking through the woods so I wanted to incorporate gimbal tracking shots without having to spend any time balancing or breaking down the Camera A Kit. For this situation I went with the Ikan Fly-X3 Gimbal paired with the Xiaomi Yi Action Camera aka the $80 Chinese GoPro. Since these walking shots would include both Hannah and Nancy in the shot, it would leave me as the Sound Recordist. The Ikan Fly-X3 doesn’t have a 1/4-20 thread so I rigged a Joby GorillaPod to the handle and fitted it with a Rode VideoMic, Zoom H1, an audio extension cable and a pair of lightweight Auvio Headphones. With the shotgun mic I was then able to capture realtime location sound while also performing stable gimbal shots while walking backwards through the woods. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

product information button runplayback Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer Kit with GoPro HERO3/4 mount

Xiaomi Yi Action Camera with Wi-Fi

Joby Action Clamp GorillaPod Arm
product information button runplayback Joby Action Clamp with GorillaPod Arm

Auvio Black Ear-Cup Foldable Headphones


Another interesting rig we built was an Indy Mogul style DIY 3rd person POV action camera backpack. Designed with cheap PVC pipe from Home Depot, we mounted an Oben Mini Ballhead and the Xiaomi Yi on the rig to create the over the shoulder look during the “search” scenes in the woods. With the Xiamoi’s Wi-Fi app, I would be able to monitor the shots while giving direction to Nancy. We wanted to present an unusual sense of vertigo during these scenes since her character would become more desperate as day turned to night.

product information button runplayback Oben BD-0 Mini Ball Head




For a 24 Hour Shootout, it would be tempting to use the DJI Phantom 3 Professional as a shortcut for production value but we didn’t want to go that route. Our initial thought was that an aerial would take up valuable time that we could put towards characterization. Also, because of the hazardous weather conditions on the shoot day, flying a drone would prove too risky. However, nature was on our side when we had a small 10 minute window of clear weather. It was a tricky manuever as I had to fly through a 10 foot clearing in the trees towards a height that revealed just enough of the forest without showing any residential homes or highways. I fitted the Phantom 3 with a Polar Pro Polarizer Filter to prevent glare off the water and was able to get the shot in just two takes. However, flying the drone back to home point was nerve racking as I clipped a few small branches due to the wind and unstable GPS lock. Luckily I had Nancy and Hannah as my spotters on each side of the clearing to prevent the Phantom from going down into the water. The shot was definitely worth it as it created a vast sense of exploration for the Alice character, establishing the forest as a kind of supernatural playground.

product information button runplayback DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter with 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal

Polar Pro DJI Phantom 3 Professional Filter 6-Pack



We finished our last shot at about 11:30pm and after ingesting all the footage in Adobe Premiere, post production began at 12 midnight. By this time, I was exhausted but not completely tapped out. I knew that once I got past the hump of assembly I would go into creative mode, driven by pure adrenaline. With the help of a large iced coffee I finished assembly by 2:00am and edited straight until 9:00am. The GH4 V-Log setting was especially helpful in color correction for each clip. After dropping in the Panasonic Varicam 35 LUT, I simply adjusted exposure within Lumetri Color and did my best to match the Xiaomi Yi and Phantom 3 footage.



As the sun started to rise and the 10:00am delivery deadline looming, I did a few last touches and exported the file onto a flash drive. Since the YSPI24 rendevouz was a half hour away, I wasn’t able to do a final preview. At this point, I was completely delirious and just grateful that we completed our film.




YPSI24 was an insanely inspiring good time. From the cordial and energizing meetup with our fellow filmmakers to the hack-a-thon like shooting experience to the final screening at the 500 seat venue, YPSI24 reminded me of why I got into video in the first place. It wasn’t to win awards or make commercials. It was to tell a story using a language that didn’t require an army of people pontificating about the laws of Cinema. It’s a relief to know that the DIY spirit that’s shaped both my personal and professional life has never left me. Hashtag #setlife is not enough. Old traditions and new technologies are not enough. It’s the communal experience of being vulnerable with people that I care about which matters most. Check out our 2015 YPSI24 short “Always Alice” below and remember to always stay inspired!

Always Alice (2015 YPSI24)

I Got My Drone Skills From Aspekt Visual & Aerial

A few months ago I met Connor Leszczuk, owner of Aspekt Visual & Aerial at a local Makers Fair where he was demonstrating DIY drone technology and aerial video production. I was pretty much hooked since that day and Connor’s expertise has been instrumental in helping me hone my quadcopter piloting skills and custom builds for Mini FPV racing. Above is a video I put together for his company that speaks on Connor’s experience and how he envisions the future of drone technology. We shot everything with the Panasonic GH4, Polaroid Cube, Varavon Birdycam Gimbal and a GoPro Hero 4. For more information on Aspekt Visual & Aerial visit their website here.

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

product information button runplayback Polaroid Cube Mini Lifestyle Action Camera (Black)

varavon birdycam
Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

product information button runplayback GoPro HERO4 Black Edition 4K Video Action Camera

Kayo Maxtar 12V Portable Power Pack Review


Having the right amount of battery power is a constant essential for video shoots but with various camera, monitor and lighting systems it’s sometimes best to bring a power solution that can work across multiple devices. The Kayo Maxtar 12V is a portable and powerful battery that’s a great addition for your shooting kit.


The Kayo Maxtar 12V comes in a compact, hardshell zipper carrying case and has a rectangular design with a red and black colorway and glossy plastic finish. It’s lightweight with a minimalist feel. Although the Maxtar is meant to be stationary, it would have been great to have a 1/4-20 thread to mount it on to a small tripod or shoulder rig.


On the top is a high powered LED light which has 3 modes (flash, strobe and SOS) which lasts over 120 hours. While it’s not a crucial feature, it’s nice to have a flashlight handy during a night shoot.


A closer look at the accessories reveal a power charger, car charger, jumper cables, and various power connectors. One caveat is that the power cord for the connectors is short which means any device that you are powering must be stationed very close to the Maxtar.


Nothing can ruin a good shoot than backup battery power that can’t keep up with your usage. Thankfully, the Kayo Maxtar 12V is capable of multiple charges. It’s high capacity cells can fully charge an iPhone 6 at least 4 times, a Samsung S5 about 3 times, an HTC One about 3 times and a Mini iPad about 2 times.


The dual 20V 3.5A and 12V 2.5A is also a nice touch which is ideal for powering up small devices like an LED light or external monitor. Again, it would have been nice if there was a mounting solution for the Maxtar but some industrial velcro straps or zip ties should do the trick.


Another interesting feature are the included 12V jumper cables to jump start your vehicle. While I didn’t have an opportunity to test this out, it’s a nice addition and much more convenient way to jump start your car instead using another vehicle.


Overall, the Kayo Maxtar 12V is a highly affordable power bank that runs much cheaper than some other Li-Ion solutions on the market. Having this in my kit assures that I’ll have power available if anything goes wrong – like an uncharged battery – which happens sometimes. Sure it’s not immediately adaptable for video rigs but with some DIY techniques, it’s a much cheaper alternative than standard V-Mount style batteries. The Kayo Maxtar 12V is definitely worth considering if you’re looking to have an all in one battery backup solution for any situation.

product information button runplayback Kayo Maxtar 12V 11000mAh Portable Charger

Modding the $50 Syma X5C 2.4G Quadcopter with the $99 Polaroid Cube

After cutting my teeth on drone piloting with the hyper addictive Blade QX Nano micro quadcopter, I wanted to step up my practice flights with a mini quadcopter that would be suitable for outdoor flights but also cheap enough to crash without breaking the bank. After some browsing I came across the Syma X5C 2.4G Quadcopter, a $50 copter with a 6-axis gyro, strong wind resistance, HD camera and 2.4G transmitter.

Syma X5C Combo Bundle 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter w/ Camera


The Syma X5C is extremely light weight with a build quality that isn’t very polished, particularly the transmitter, but it’s acceptable for a $50 quadcopter. Although it can be flown indoors, there’s enough power in the propellors to cause injury or damage if you aren’t an experienced pilot. I bought the combo package on Amazon which included some additional props, batteries, micro SD card and charger.


The Syma X5C camera is terrible and there’s really no other way to describe it. Everything from the narrow focus distance, pixelation, rolling shutter down to the color processing is bad. I immediately took it off and started to look for a lightweight camera solution that the X5C could lift. But let’s be realistic, a $50 quadcopter will not provide great aerial videography but at the very least, I could use the footage to study how to fly better.


My favorite action camera at the moment is the Polaroid Cube, a one button, cube shaped camera with a magnetic bottom. Using a velcro tie, I rigged it to the bottom. Although the Polaroid Cube is light, it’s still a lot heavier than the stock camera. Surprisingly, the X5C was able to lift the Polaroid Cube but only for about 2 minutes. The rotors couldn’t handle the extra weight and strained to keep it in the air. I knew that more could be done to shave off the grams so I did some more modding.

product information button runplayback Polaroid Cube Mini Lifestyle Action Camera (Black)


The Polaroid Cube is rather easy to disassemble once you take off the faceplate. After removing the body, magnet and rear cap, the Polaroid Cube became much lighter but also exposed. I definitely recommend flying the camera in conditions where the elements wouldn’t effect the open circuitry.


After the mod, I once again took it for a test flight but only got about 5 minutes worth of flight time. It was still a little too heavy so I decided to remove the prop guards. That seemed to do the trick as the Syma X5C was able to stay in the air for a full 7 minutes which is very close to it’s out of the box flight specs off one battery. You could also detach the landing gear for even longer flight times. And without a doubt, the Polaroid Cube is definitely a huge improvement over the stock camera but the stabilization is pretty much non-existent and the motors are in frame which requires some post production cropping to be useable. Again, this may not be appropriate for getting great aerial shots, instead it should be more of a way to preview your flying skills. I would highly recommend the X5C as an intermediate quadcopter to use before jumping into the upcoming DJI Phantom 3 or 3DR Solo.


Overall, I’m pleased with the performance of this budget quadcopter and it’s ability to fly the Polaroid Cube. It’s also small enough to attract very little attention and to experiment with shots you wouldn’t risk with an expensive drone. If you have any questions hit me in the comments below!

Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Unboxing + Test Video

At NAB 2015, we stopped by the Ikan booth where we tested the Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer. Several manufacturers have been creating smartphone gimbals including Shape and Lanparte. Retailing for about $350, the Ikan Fly-X3 seems to hit the right price point for a small 3-axis gimbal.

As smartphones continue to advance their video recording capabilities, they will eventually begin to crop up in more and more professional shoots. Take for example the recent Sundance hit “Tangerine” which was shot on a few iPhone 5’s with stabilizers.


The Ikan Fly-X3 Plus comes in a durable hardcase bag with nylon straps, a charger, one battery, and counterweight for large phones. For a few more dollars you can get the GoPro mount attachment for flying the Hero 3/4. The grip has a comfortable rubberized coating and the gimbal itself has a sturdy, metal construction that feels like just the right amount of weight for flying a smartphone. Design-wise it would have been nice if Ikan had included some 1/4-20 threads on the grip both on the sides and below for mounting accessories.

Filmic Pro for iOS

Cinema FV-5 for Android

After unboxing the Fly-X3, I immediately paired it with both my Apple iPhone 6 and LG G3 smartphone. In order to move in and out of different lighting situations, I wanted to have more control over the manual settings. So I did some research on the web and discovered the two best mobile video apps for each platform – the $7.99 Filmic Pro for iOS and the $2.49 Cinema FV-5 for Android devices. While both apps theoretically do the same thing, the iOS Filmic Pro is able to record in 60p for slow motion in addition to manual control of the shutter angle. Unfortunately for the Android Cinema FV-5, the camera drivers on Android phones do not provide developers access to shutter control.

Depending on your phone, the Ikan Fly-X3 can have either very sharp and quick moves or more natural, fluid moves. As you can see in the video above, the iPhone 6 moves at a slower, more steady pace due to the aluminum Ztylus case that helped add some weight to the Fly-X3. The LG G3 is a very lightweight phone so the moves feel a little more abrupt and sudden. With a metal case to help add weight to the Fly-X3, the LG G3 should fly more fluidly. A heavier and larger phone like the Samsung Note 4 would probably require the counter balance.


Shooting outdoors on an Android phone without shutter control created a staccato-like effect. To solve this I made a DIY ND filter by taking a pair of plastic sunglasses, popping out the lens and gaffing it to the front of the G3 lens. While it isn’t pretty, this helped to bring down the shutter angle and create better exposure.


While shooting on a smartphone gimbal can feel a little weird, it’s much easier to get smooth, candid tracking shots in public places as it attracts very little attention. Most people think its just a holder for a smartphone. And because of it’s size, you can come up with some really inventive one take shots where you can fly it through small spaces and do hand offs. If you have any questions about the Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis smartphone gimbal, hit me in the comments below.

product information button runplayback Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer Kit with GoPro HERO3/4 mount

product information button runplayback LG G3 32GB Smartphone (Unlocked, Metallic Black)

$70 REVO SR-1000 Modded Shoulder Rig for the GH4 & Sony A7S


On a recent trip overseas, I worked alongside a videographer who was shooting with a Sony A7s on a Revo SR-1000 shoulder rig with counterweight. Although I’ve had passing glances at the Revo while browsing online, I’ve never seen it up close. Because of its minimalist, almost artistic design, affordable cost, and versatility, I got my hands on the SR-1000 and proceeded to add modifications to it. The Revo SR-1000 is currently on sale at B&H for $67.96, a savings of 15%, but only until March 9, 2015.

product information button runplayback Revo SR-1000 Shoulder Support Rig

product information button runplayback Revo Counterweight for SR-1000


The SR-1000 is strikingly simple with clean, curved lines thats very attractive for video enthusiasts. There are rigs that make my back hurt just by looking at them but the SR-1000 is sleek and forgoes the chunkiness of universal compatibility for aesthetics. A single handle attached to a sliding baseplate allows for one handed operation with thin, curved rails that bend seamlessly with the adjustable the foam padded shoulder mount. An optional Revo Counterweight can then be added to the rear to complete the design. Although I took it off for my mod, it’s definitely a must have accessory when shooting with only the camera.


My first add on was the Varavon Armor Cage for the Pansonic GH4. The lightweight cage also features red trim that matches the colors of the SR-1000. The top handle can be reversed to attach accessories such as the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder which hangs slightly behind the GH4 for even weight distribution across the middle of the rig.

Varavon Armor GH4 & GH3 Cage

product information button runplayback Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7″ Monitor


For the rear counterweight, I detached the plate from the Revo Counterweight and attached it to the Ikan Tilta HyperDeck V-Mount using a standard 1/4-20 screw which connects to the Revo shoulder mount with the remaining screws.

ikan Tilta TT-C12 HyperDeck Shuttle Mount with V-Mount Plate


The Ikan Tilta is then fitted with a Switronix XP-L90S Li-Ion battery and Fiilex D-Tap power cable. Because the Switronix battery is unusually light, I added a Flashpoint 2.5lb Counterweight to the Tilta HyperDeck using two short 15mm rods. This evened out the weight distribution for the rear.

Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery

Switronix GP-2LSJ 2-Position Simultaneous Charger

Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)

Flashpoint Counter Weight 2.5 LB for 15MM Rods


There are countless ways to configure the Revo SR-1000 such as adding additional handles and accessories to the baseplate but I found this setup to be the most efficient for run and gun shooting. Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions.

Behind the Scenes of the Joey Bada$$ “No. 99” Music Video

A few weeks ago, rapper Joey Bada$$ and I collaborated on a music video for the single “No. 99”, an uptempo Hip Hop anthem reminiscent of a 1990’s classic. Our goal was to create a voyeuristic, gritty street video with many scenes of chaos sprinkled throughout. Realizing this would require two shoot days and multiple locations, I came up with a simple gear list that would get us through our many setups.


Dual GH4’s with Metabones Canon FD Speedboosters were used. B Cam was mounted with a Canon FD 35-105mm f3.5 for mediums and closeups while A Cam used the Canon FD 20mm f2.8 with the ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light rigged to a custom shoulder mount. To power the ring light we used a Switronix XP-L90S Lithium Battery with a Fiilex D-Tap Cable.

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter

ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light

Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery

Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)


P&C Shoulder Rig Handles and a Honu GH4 Cage with a top handle were used to mount the ring light across three points with velcro straps. Since the camera had to sit in the middle of the ring, this was the most efficient way to rig it. From there we ran the Fiilex D-Tap cable to the Switronix battery inside of our Camera Operator’s jacket, giving us a power source that would last all day. And since we were going for a voyeuristic, run and gun feel, this would be our main camera setup for every scene.

P&C Shoulder Rig Handles

Honu 2.0 GH3/GH4 AND SONY A7/A7R Video Cage

Honu Top Handle


To shoot Joey and a mob full of his crew performing, we utilized the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis Camera Gimbal with a Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye for our C Cam while shooting from the back of a cargo van. Since the road at our main location was littered with potholes, the Birdycam eliminated almost 95% of the shakiness.

varavon birdycam
Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

product information button runplayback Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Ultra Wide-Angle Fisheye Lens for Micro 4/3


We also incorporated the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter mounted with the GoPro HERO4 for a few scenes that would simulate footage from a news helicopter. Our location in Willets Point, NY also known as the Iron Triangle has a very post-apocalyptic appearance and is filled with auto repair shops and scrap yards – a feast for aerial shooting.

product information button runplayback DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter with Extra Battery Bundle

product information button runplayback GoPro HERO4 Black Edition 4K Video Action Camera


Occasionally we would require some fill or backlight so we used the F&V K4000 LED Light Panel. This worked great with the ring light and helped to enhance all the background action. Any additional fill on Joey came from the prop torches he was wielding. A run and gun yet highly organized effort made this a great shoot to work on. By minimizing our gear list, we were able to get more setups and candid moments. Check out the full video below and let me know what you think!

K4000 Daylight LED Studio Panel

Shooting a 275mph Beer Cannon with a DIY GoPro Bullet-Time Rig

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of working with craft brewery Oskar Blues to create a choose-your-own-adventure style video series that utilized a custom-built air pressure cannon capable of shooting beer cans at 275 miles per hour. The mission was straightforward – capture various targets exploding with multiple cameras including the Sony FS-700, Panasonic GH4 and GoPro HERO3 and HERO4. Only one caveat, the HERO4 must be rigged into the center of the target platform and revolve around the target in a full 360 degree circle without getting blasted by a can.


Blowing things up is a primal urge for many of us but safety was a number one priority. While a beer cannon is theoretically awesome, it could also be lethal without the proper precautions. Note: DO NOT TRY TO BUILD THIS AT HOME. Tarps were setup around the blasting area to keep projectiles contained and safety goggles were mandatory. Once all the cameras were speeding everyone had to clear the blast area. Once clear, the air cannon would be charged up to the proper PSI, giving us a full minute before blast off, allowing any last minute safety checks.



Everything was lit with two 1.2 HMI’s with two Arri 650’s providing some fill for the cannon. Our 240fps “beauty” camera was the Sony FS-700 with a Cannon 80-200mm and an Odyssey 7Q. A Panasonic GH4 was mounted on a doorway dolly with curved tracks that wrapped around the cannon which became our “reveal” camera. Another GH4 was mounted on the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis gimble to provide pre-blast coverage of the targets sitting on the platform. Finally the GoPro’s were mounted in various angles within the blast site to provide maximum coverage of targets. Since many of the targets were liquids, the GoPro cases had to be wiped off repeatedly.


To create the GoPro Bullet-Time Rig, we had to create a truss using planks of lumber from Home Depot. Height was important as the GoPro would have to revolve around the center of the target. Since all of the targets were of various sizes, we picked an average height of 8’.


Next we mounted a standard ceiling fan onto a wooden disc and mounted that onto the center of the truss. To create the arm, we rigged scraps of plexiglass through the center of the fan and held everything together using grip tape and industrial zip ties. A wooden dowel rod was rigged diagonally to provide additional support. A GoPro adhesive mount was attached to the bottom and reinforced with more grip tape. The entire rig was spray painted black for cosmetic reasons. As the rig got blasted with liquids, the mount would come loose and everything had to be repositioned and taped back together. If we had more time, the design would have been much more secure but for a 3 hour DIY project, it did the job.


Overall, I’m very pleased with the results of the shoot. The post work was intense as we had a total of 19 final target footage from 8 different cameras. The GoPro HERO4 4K codec seems to require some heavy CPU resources so it’s important to have a fast computer when editing it natively. Check out the final piece below and please note that you’ll have to watch it on a desktop computer to utilize the navigational buttons on YouTube.

varavon birdycam
Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

product information button runplayback GoPro HERO4 Black Edition 4K Video Action Camera

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

product information button runplayback Odyssey 7Q OLED Monitor & 4K RAW Recorder