Power and Mounting Solutions for On-The-Go Video: Exploring Photography With Mark Wallace


Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV, I’m Mark Wallace, and today we’re going to talk about gear/ If you’re a photographer who’s doing events, maybe you’re doing weddings… you’re doing travel photography, maybe you’re a vlogger any photographer… or a videographer specifically that is out and about doing their own show without extra hands it’s just you, you’re the one-man show well.. this video is for you, we’re going to talk about two things that are constantly an issue for me. Now the first one is power, making sure I have power to all of my cameras all of the time . Even though I can’t always go and plug in to an outlet to recharge everything, and the second thing is mounting all those cameras, and so if you’ve been watching my show you know that I’ve been riding around the world on a motorcycle documenting my journeys. So I’ve got all of that stuff then I also have Adorama TV, so I’m making videos, and I do that all by myself, I don’t have any other camera operator to help me out, so I need to be able to mount cameras for b-roll in weird locations. So sometimes really high, sometimes to the side, sometimes low, whatever that is, so I need to mount that stuff.. so maybe that’s you as well. Well fortunately about four or three months ago I came back to the United States, and I was in Phoenix Arizona, and I thought hey I’ve got a great friend that I’ve known for years Josh Simon’s, he created tether tools, and they do all of that they do mounting, and they do power, and so let’s go back in time for my conversation with Josh tether tools. I am here at tether tools headquarters in Phoenix Arizona, inside there are a bunch of really happy people making products, and Josh Simons who is going to help me solve my problem… so let’s go inside…. Josh Simons how are you? Thank you so much for having me in back in Phoenix Arizona and I have some problems too… specific problems that I think that you can help me solve – Number one… I have GoPro’s and I have cameras, and I have electronic viewfinders, and I’ve got LED panels. I’ve got all this stuff that I need to mount, I need to mount it on trees, I need to mount it on motorcycles, I need to mount it just about anywhere, and I need to have these mounting tools to be super light and really small… so that’s problem number one okay… and problem number two that’s even a bigger problem, I need power, so I need power for my Sony a7 III, I need power for my LED light, I need power for my external monitor and everything in between…. So can you help me out? Yeah… we can help you with all that… why don’t we start with mounting first Mark, this is really all you need… it will mount your mics your lights and your monitors… it’s all industry standard quarter twenty sub you can mount GoPros, pretty much anything you’ve got. It’s exactly what it is tiny and super lightweight, but I’ll play with this stuff later.. My big concern is power, can you help me with that? Yeah absolutely…. we got some power solutions for you.. Well Josh, this is a bunch of stuff and what I’m seeing right off the bat is this thing here called case relay what is this? The case relay is an external power source for your camera. It will also power lights, external monitors, anything that’s a battery operated. So this goes into USB battery like this guy right, and then the other end plugs into one of these adapters, so this one is for a Sony a7 which is my camera, and then that will power that, so that’s cool but what’s the difference between just using this and plugging it straight into a USB power? So well one of the really cool things about this is that an external or an internal battery in there, so it’s hot swappable, you’ve given me a lot, I’ve got mounting tools I’ve got power tools, so what I need to do now is to go play with all this stuff and see what I can do with it.. thank you so much! Thank you. Well it’s been about three months since I had that talk with Josh, and I have been able to dial in some of the things he showed me… some things I changed up a little bit, but first let’s talk about the power, and when we’re talking about power we’re not really talking about recharging stuff. We’re just specifically talking about giving power to something live as you’re shooting, and so the nice thing about the solution that Josh showed me… so this is the case relay, that I got from tether tools… the cool thing is you have these little adapters that fit to different things, and so I can power my Sony camera, you can get an adapter for Canon or Nikon or Fuji film or whatever, but you can also get adapters that will replace just normal batteries. So this is a normal Sony MP type battery, so this adapter will replace this, so the nice thing is, if you’ve got something that needs to stay on for a long time… like light or this is an electronic viewfinder, so I can see exactly what I’m doing, or more specifically my camera. The beauty of this is that you have power forever, so let me just show you. So I’ve got a battery here… I’ll plug this into my light, and when I turn my light on, you can see you get exactly what you’d expect.. a big bright light, but if the battery runs out in the middle of a take, you got to stop everything, replace the battery, and on you go… but if you’re using the case relay… So I’ll just use this little adapter here… so that plugs in instead of the battery… that plugs into my case relay, the case relay plugs into a USB power source, any USB power source… so I’m using anchor batteries. I love these guys, but you can use any USB power source. So I you have these high-capacity batteries, so I’ll plug this guy in here, and now watch what happens! Of course when I turn this on you get exactly what you would expect, a big bright light, but what if this battery is dying, well in the middle of a take that’s okay, because you can unplug the battery… look at that, it’s still going, it’s not plugged into a battery anymore, because the case relay is becoming the battery that gives you enough time to get a new battery… plug that in, and on you go, and so it’s basically power forever, and so that is wonderful if you’ve got those situations where you make you have to make sure you get a long take without having your battery die, so time-lapse photography, videography, things like that, this power solution is wonderful, and so when we start looking at the mounting options… I’ll show you why it’s even more wonderful than just that. So let’s hop over to the mounting stuff next, now we’ve come to the fun part, that is mounting hardware, now sort of the weird thing about this video is, that I’m using all of my b-roll cameras to shoot this video, and so to get b-roll we’re gonna do it old-school. I’m just gonna handhold my GoPro and show you these things, so you have to forgive that, but without using this as my main camera, I don’t know how to get around that, so let’s talk about two different parts of mounting. One is how do I mount different things to my actual camera, and then second is, how do I mount cameras to actual things… and so the thing that I use constantly are these rock-solid arms from tether tools, and they’re different sizes, you can even get these a little bit heftier that will support a large camera. I’ve got these little small guys, now the nice thing about these is that they have quarter-twenty threads on both sides… let me show you what that looks like – old-school style, here so these quarter 20 threads allow you to mount these to just about anything that you want, and so for example this GoPro has a quarter twenty thread on the tripod mount, so I can mount it to that. I’ve got a quarter twenty thread on the little mount on the bottom of my, my Shinobi atomos EVF here, I’ve got a quarter twenty thread on the back, almost everything here, and so that’s really wonderful. The other thing that you can get are these clamps here, and the clamps.. what they will allow you to do is, the clamps will clamp down on just about anything, and so once you’ve clamped down, then you can position a camera, or a GoPro, or light, or whatever… anywhere you want. So these things have come in handy, if you just needed to get into nooks and crannies and mount cameras and flashes and things like that, these are the tools for you. Ok. That’s mounting, that’s the easy part, let’s talk about the stuff that goes on the camera itself. Now I have a Sony a7III, and I’ve got a few gripes about it, so I used to have a Panasonic Lumix and it was wonderful, so if I was on location shooting, doing a vlog or something, I could just take an external mic stick, that on the hot shoe of my camera… plug it in, flip out the screen, and I was often doing my vlog for some reason… Sony decided not to make a flip out screen on their cameras, and so you have to have an external monitor, one of these guys, or you’re flying blind… I don’t know why they did that, it just drives me nuts…. Sony fix it… okay? So when I’m talking about mounting to my camera usually I’m mounting either an external microphone and external wireless microphone… something that will just slide on like that, or I’m mounting a video light or my monitor to see what the heck I’m doing. If you’re only mounting one thing at a time no problem, so here I have my external monitor. It goes right on the the hotshoe here like that, now I’ve got a monitor I can flip that around. I can see what I’m doing, but the problem is you’re never just using one thing, you’re using multiple things, and all these little attachments and stuff are made to go on to the hot shoe of your camera. So Josh showed me this little guy, this is a bar that’s essentially a super long hot shoe, so you can put that on your camera and now what you can do is you can mount… let’s say a wireless mic right there, and then you can stick on your external monitor, and that works pretty well. So now you’ve got two things on there, it’s pretty good, but it gets tricky when you start adding more than two things, and I almost always have more than two things on my camera. The other issue about this little bar here is, it’s made for the square cold shoe adapter… so if you have something like this guy, this is not a square, it’s made to slip in and go forward. So it won’t go on this way, it has to go on sideways… like this, which means now you have to twist this bar around, everything gets sort of wonky. So for me if I’m only mounting one or two things, this bar works great, but beyond that it gets a little crazy because you can put pressure on your cold shoe, it’s not very fast, and truth is it can twist and come undone if you’re doing a lot of handheld movements… so this is great – it’s a low cost solution if you’re not mounting lots of things all the time. For me I needed something a little bit beefier, so I went with this, this is a small rig cage. Now a cage goes all the way around your camera, and allows you to do almost anything… so let me put this on the camera really fast, and show you how it works. Well now I have a cage on my Sony a7III. You can get cages for any brand of camera, so this is specific to the Sony a7III, a7rIII etc … and then I’ve also mounted on the bottom of the cage a tripod plate, so I can stick this on and off. A cage is simply this piece of metal that goes around your camera, and then it’s got just dozens and dozens of quarter-twenty holes, and other I think is 5/8 inch holes. These are industry standard threads and so you can mount things like rock-solid arms, mount grips, you can mount lights, you can do all kinds of things. So if you’re not shooting video a lot, a cage is going to be overkill, but if you are shooting video on a regular basis the cage is one of those tools that you really should consider, the nice thing is small rigged cages are really inexpensive, you’ll be shocked, and just to mention all of the gear I’m talking about here, the links are in the description of this video. So you can see click on those, it’s not very expensive… Ok so before I put this on my tripod, by the way this is a me video globetrotter, a carbon fiber tripod, that I use for my video stuff. I’ve just set it on the table here, so before I put this on this tripod, I am going to open my battery compartment, take the battery out, and instead I’m going to use my Case Relay adapter here… stick that in there, and you’ll see in a second why this is really important, and the nice thing about this… there’s a little notch on the cage that lets that cable come out – there… So the cage is really well designed alright, so let me just show you what I can do here. I’m gonna hook this up to my Case Relay here, so we’ve got power to the camera, if I want to quickly add something to a cold shoe, I don’t just have one cold shoe now, I have one, two, three, and you can put these anywhere you want, because of all these little threads, and so you can make it exactly how you want. So for me, usually, if I’m shooting on location. I want my little Shinobi, which is my viewfinder, so I can swivel that around, and see what I’m doing. So I can put that on one, and then I can have my little Rode videomic, I can stick this and a different cold shoe over here, and now I can see what I’m doing, and the camera can hear me, it’s all good, but what if I need to add a light, cuz a lot of times I need to add a light to that, and I’m usually in a studio, and so instead of putting my Rode videomic, I have a wireless adapter that could go there, or I’m gonna stick it on the side, so I’m gonna stick this on my other cold shoe adapter, which is on the side here. Again you can put these anywhere you want, and so I’ll do that, and now oh no, this would go in that cold shoe, but then it blocks the view… no problem, I’ve got my rock-solid arm, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to just screw this on to the cage really quickly, and then I will mount with my quarter twenty thread, my light to this, and now I have a fully articulating arm here, and so what I can do is, I can put this exactly in the position that I want, so I’ll just stick this over here really
quickly. I’ll see that, oh maybe I want a little bit higher, I might even want to move that forward, maybe I want to have that come back, whatever I want to do, this is fully articulating, and there it is. Now the other thing that’s really cool about this is, now that everything’s mounted to a cage, as I move my camera everything moves with it, but let’s say I have a specific shot and I’ve locked that in, and I don’t want to move the camera, so it’s exactly where I want it to be. I can move these guys around independently of the camera, but oh no, my battery’s dying… doesn’t matter – because now I have my Case Relay on here, I can take my battery, swap that out I’m not having to take my camera off the tripod to get to that battery, that’s another one of these awesome things about the Case Relay, so even if you don’t have to have something that goes forever, it’s really beneficial for making sure that you can lock down your camera to a very specific angle, and then you can swap batteries out as many times as you want, without actually interrupting any of the angle of view of the camera… it’s wonderful, I absolutely love this. Well I could play with this set up a million days, and show you all the different configurations… they are endless, but instead what I think you should do is click the links in the description of this video, and figure out what gear is specific to you, what you need, and I can help you out with that. So in the comments of this video, if you have questions about this gear, because I know it’s sort of specific and finicky, go ahead and ask, and I will go back and answer those questions to the best of my ability, and then if you see a question that you know the answer to, then go down and help somebody out and answer that question as well. I know you probably have questions about some of this stuff that I’m putting on my camera… go ahead and ask away, and I will help you out with that because this video is getting to be way too long! Well there you have it, power and mounting options… you can see this is great for videographers event photographers… wedding photographers, whatever you’re doing, you need this stuff, and I hope this video helps out. Don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV. It’s absolutely free, make sure you turn on the bell so you get notifications… Also follow me on instagram, because i’m always posting stuff about my setups and rigs, and how I’m using all of this stuff. and so you can get some insight and talked to me there as well. Thanks so much for joining me, and I will see you again next time.

8 Replies to “Power and Mounting Solutions for On-The-Go Video: Exploring Photography With Mark Wallace”

  1. You didn't talk about the rubberized velcro power adapter straps off to the right of the table! Those things are great, I have 3. Keeps your power supplies/battery packs from dangling all around.

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