Several people have requested that I give a better explanation of how to construct our Camera Shoulder Rest. It has been several years since I built the device, but I will try to explain the best I can out of memory.
The frame was constructed of flattened steal. I bough a piece with pre-drilled holes. I cut the steal into two pieces, one being the camera arm and the other for the shoulder support. The shoulder support was then bent in a curved shape. Be sure to allow plenty of extra space for the padding to be added later.
The camera arm was then attached to the shoulder support with a nut and bolt. To give added support to the arm, I was able to find a curved bracket and bolted it between the camera arm and shoulder rest. The device is now ready to paint.
The handle was made from a small rubber-handled plastic flashlight. The light head was cut off using a hacksaw. Then with a long bolt and washers it can be fixed to the end of the camera arm.
I purchased some padding from a cloth shop and fashioned it around the shoulder support. Then secured it with needle and thread. Now with some cloth I sewed a sleeve that would fit around the shoulder support. This process proved to be very difficult. In hindsight it may have been easier to fix the padding and sleeve before bending and attaching the shoulder support the camera arm.
To make the design hands free I had to devise a belt system. I used nylon strapping that can be found in most hardware stores or cloth shops. On each end of the shoulder rest I made a loop, similar to a belt loop. After this another strap can be threaded through the loops to act as a belt around the wearers chest. A plastic buckle was used to fastened the belt around the chest. It also allows for easy adjustment. This will hold the camera rest down on the shoulder. To keep it from sliding off and making it a totally hands free design another strap was used. It was attached near the top of the curve of the shoulder support and running diagonally across the back, then attached to the belt strap.
The last step is to fix a method of attaching the camera to the camera arm. I used an extra plate from quick release tripod mount, then with a bolt and wing nut it can be moved and removed easily. I provided a diagram below to hopefully illustrate my design and meanings better.
I would like to add that there are also several good camera rest available for purchase for those not wanting to attempt your own model. Use the link below for a nice selection from B&H.
Rather you are a professional or amateur camera user, you probably have experienced fatigue after shooting for extended periods of time or had difficultly keeping the camera steady under certain situations. A few years ago Samantha came to the conclusion that we needed a shoulder rest for our camera. One day she came home from work with a piece of paper of a rough design and told me I was going to build one for her. After looking at several models available for purchase, we came to the conclusion it was a good idea to give it a try. No one model at the time had all the features we thought would be beneficial and would of stretched our pocket book at the time. We set a budget of €50, roughly equivalent to $65. This price also included the tools needed for construction, such as a drill, file, and hacksaw. I had just moved to Paris and unfortunately I had to leave behind a multitude of tools back in the US. Our first stop was Leroy Merlin the French equivalent of stores like Lowes Hardware and Home Depot. I have always like to design things in the hardware store, looking at pieces and get inspiration of what all can be possible. The design was simple, piece of flattened steel, some nuts and bolts, a flashlight (for the handle), and a nylon strap. We then went to a fabric store for cloth and foam padding. The most expensive piece of the whole design was the purchase of a €16 tripod mount from Fnac. With tools in hand I put together what we affectionately call the Cam-Perch. The hardest thing in the whole construction was sewing the shoulder pad together. We’ve had great success with the Cam-Perch. It offers a stable and adjustable method of holding the camera. It can be strapped on offering more control and hands free filming as Samantha discovered while she used it while riding a bicycle through NYC. Actually she was even stopped by a filmmaker who inquired about it. I told her I wished she would of sold it to him on the spot, but she would in no way part with it. The Cam-Perch was first designed to mount a small camcorder, but holds our Canon GL2 just fine.
For those of you wishing to build your own shoulder rest you can take ideas from my design or ask questions, which might lead to another post of how to construct it. You can also check out http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-camera-shoulder-rest/ for a very good tutorial on how to make a simple and cheap shoulder rest.
NOTE: This post has been continued DIY: Camera Shoulder Rest – Part 2
There are several good camera rest available for purchase for those not wanting to attempt your own model. Use the link below for a nice selection from B&H.