Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Frugal LANC remote

First off, whats LANC? It’s a standardized remote protocol. What that means is if you buy a LANC remote, or a tripod with a LANC remote built into the handle, it will work for any camcorder that takes LANC, which is quite a few. Note that Sony has a different shaped LANC port, but you can buy an adapter. More on that soon. LANC remotes come with various options, from simple start/stop, to zoom, to focus control and photo taking. I was shopping around for one, and the prices were what you’d expect for a pro video accessory. I mean, there are generic ones, but I was nervous. There were 2 complaints on the generics, 1) some were reported to make a clicking noise when zooming, and 2) the zoom speed did not vary, which greatly limits your versatility and creative control. Most LANC remotes are designed to be affixed to a tripod handle.
                I wanted one to attach to my tripod. Since whenever I search for an item I always sort by price high to low, I right away noticed that Manfrotto, the big boys on the block in the tripod world, make a LANC remote which is really cheap. Like $35!!! It was only 40 cents more than the generic one!! Basically the cheapest LANC remote around! And free shipping too! 
The only catch is that it was designed for their modosteady handle thingee, which I definitely do not have or want.
It offers only start/stop and zoom, which are probably the only options you’ll need most of the time anyway. And while I love going the frugal way©, it doesn’t hurt to have gear made by Manfrotto, I’m sure they stand behind it 100%. I saw the it was designed to attach to the contoured handle of the modosteady, but it seemed there was a small hole there, perfect for one of my many 1/4”-20 screws. Plus Adorama has great customer service and easy returns, so I was not concerned, because if it couldn’t be modded I could just return it here in NYC. So I pulled the trigger, and two days later unwrapped it.
                It’s exactly what I needed. It did not fit directly on the handle of any tripod or grip, as it is specially designed for the modosteady. The fix for that is coming soon. Also it has 2 zoom speeds, so it’s perfect for me, although it’s “full speed” is not as fast as the on camera zoom toggle’s is. It seems pretty tough, not “step on it” tough, but “drop it no problem” tough. It also came with a nice coiled cord, which looks good and works well. And here’s the kicker. IT CAME WITH A STANDARD LANC TO SONY ADAPTER!!! Which I didn't need, but I was able to sell almost instantly, recouping nearly a third of the remote’s cost!!!
To attach it to your video support system you need one of these. 

It’s a grounding clamp for pipes, found in Lowes or home depot in the electrical Dept. it costs around $1.50. They come in various sizes, the size you need should be listed as ½” to 1”. Basically you open those 2 screws, then clamp this thing onto your video support system. You then attach the LANC remote to that by putting the center screw through the hole in the middle and tightening. I personally removed the screw and replaced it with a 1/4”-20 thumbscrew, which you can find in the hardware aisle at Lowes or HD, or you can buy on amazon. You can never have too many of those lying around. I then angled the LANC remote so that the controls were convenient to my thumb while I was gripping the video support system handle. The reason I keep saying “video support system”, is because while this attaches great to any tripod handle, it will also work perfectly with your Frugal Filmmaker Camera Stabilizer Rig. This way when you are using the top grip you can still control zoom and start/stop.
If this wasn’t clear, I can make a video, let me know.
More DIYs and tips coming soon, so sign up to the email feed in the upper right hand corner!

No comments:

Post a Comment