I recently came across the ProShot, a new line of camera rigging product by audio booms and accessories maker K-Tek, online and it looks very promising indeed.
Finding the best-made and most versatile rig solution can be difficult if you cannot try before you buy. Reading reviews and specifications lists can seem to lead nowhere slowly compared to simply giving something promising a real tryout in the field.
So the best you can do is hope that another moviemaker gets hold of the gear in question, gives it an in-depth real-life test then shoots a good video of it in action with along their assessment of how well it works.
Or you can shoot off questions to the maker and hope for some useful answers. I did just that with Tino Liberatore, K-Tek's point man for the ProShot product range, and obtained some photographs that go some way to answering my prime concern – how well will the ProShot work when using it as a shoulder rig for the Panasonic GH4 DSLM camera? Or, for that matter, the Sony A7S mirrorless.
I need my eye right up to the viewfinder especially when shooting outdoors in Australia's laser beam sunlight. While I appreciate the flip-out monitor on my GH4, it is often unusable for accurate framing and exposure in such conditions – too much bright ambient light. Few large external monitors are bright enough to work well in hard sunlight either and besides, I just don't have the budget for high end recorders and monitors, yet.
What I do need, as a solo do-it-all writer/producer/director/camera operator, is a cost-effective and versatile camera rigging solution that I can carry with me all day and use without fatigue. I am not looking for the cheapest solution by any means. Too often cheap costs big-time in failed equipment, lost opportunities and squandered hard-earned cash. Quality is worth the money.
Long before investing in my GH4 I began looking for camera rigs that I would be able to carry in or strapped on a backpack and that would help me handle the daily grind without wearing me out. Nothing I came across online or in the trade magazines or catalogs really gelled. Plenty of equipment looked great for very specific situations or particular camera types and set-ups. But if one wanted to cover all types of situations, it appeared that one would need a range of solutions and not just one. Standstill.
Until the ProShot appeared. As K-Tek's ProShot press release page reveals, the ProShot is four rigging devices in one – ground-hugging hi-hat, bottom-weighted monopod, motion-ready stabiliser or two-handed shoulder mount.
Any one of those, in other brands and models, can approach the average ProShot purchase price of around US$1000. Four of them all-in-one looks like a bargain. But this is where the currently available information, photographs and video fall just a little short.
Before saving up and committing around a grand – almost the cost of a second GH4 – to the ProShot I need to know if it really will carry out all its functions well. Will it allow me to use my GH4 with ease in the away that I need to? Let's hope that a skilled reviewer obtains a ProShot in its DSLR configuration soon and reviews it in the way that it deserves.
K-Tek Intro’s ProShot, the Multifunctional Camera Rig
K-Tek, introduces the first, four-in-one rig that cost-effectively answers the support needs for the feature, reality, documentary, commercial, and action sports videographer. The multifunctional ProShot may be instantly configured into a Shoulder Rig, Monopod, Stabilizer or High-hat, tool free, without removing the camera from the system’s baseplate. Its versatility and functionality offer a wide array of creative uses and set-ups both in studio and on location.
Ideal for digital cameras weighing up to 20 pounds, the ProShot has a steadying ballast weight to offset larger loads. At the heart of the patent pending system is the integral 3.8-pound (1.7kg) Hexweight that is positioned in a variety of configurations to provide just the right amount of mass to balance the camera package. Changing from one mode to the next is quick and intuitive.
In Shoulder Rig mode, the system is in its most compact configuration. ProShot’s thickly padded neoprene cushion is positioned on the shoulder, the Hexweight is positioned behind the user to optimize the camera balance, and the camera can be moved forward and back along the shoulder or by extending the telescoping tubes. At the front, a set of Motocross handgrips ensures a solid and comfortable grip.
ProShot can transform into a smartly weighted 4’8” (1.46m) tall Monopod in seconds without tools. The camera is adjusted via the system’s swivel/tilt head, the five telescoping sections are extended, and the Hexweight becomes a weighted foot. The Monopod’s height can be adjusted with the simple K-Tek clamping system and the weighted foot gives the monopod a stable base without the top heaviness of traditional monopods.
For moving or gliding shots, ProShot quickly achieves its Stabilizer Mode by holding the rig vertically and adjusting the swivel/tilt head to level out the camera. The ProShot handles can easily unlock and lock into different positions around the rig. In this mode the handgrips are horizontal and guide the camera rig as the Hexweight below helps smooth the camera’s motion.
In closed position ProShot becomes a handy High-hat by simply setting it down on its weighted base and front handgrips. The camera position can be optimized by adjusting the swivel/tilt head and telescoping tubes.
While rugged enough for no fuss work in damp conditions or rough terrain, this water resistant support is also compact and lightweight (6.5-lbs/2.9-kg including Hexweight) for easy transport. Each ProShot comes with K-Tek’s own swivel/tilt monopod head (attached with a 3/8” screw) and removable quick release baseplate. To insure compatibility with all industry standard camcorders and DSLRs a ¼” and a 3/8” camera screw is included. A DSLR 15mm rod upgrade kit is also available.
Made in the USA, ProShot’s MSRP starts at $849.
For more information or to order visit the ProShot page.
ProShot Studio Product Demo
ProShot Multifunctional Camera Rig
- 4 in 1 Camera Rig
- Shoulder Support
- High Hat
- Within seconds change-able from one function to another without tools and without taking the camera off the rig.
Total net weight: 6.3 pounds / 2.86 kg
Payload: 20 pounds / 9.07 kg
Camera adaption: 1/4″ thread (upgradable to 3/8” by using a different camera head)
Camera head adaption Any camera head with a 3/8” thread
Telescoping Monopod Extended to camera base: 4’8” / 142.4cm
Handles: Professional Motocross Grips
Handle shafts: 15mm diameter (for standard accessory clamps)
Handle adjustment: 360° adjustable
Material: T6-6061 Aluminum
Shoulder Pad: Med. Silicone Gel / Neoprene covered tubular pad (9” / 23cm length)
Monopod bottom sole: Protective rubber pad
Learn more about the ProShot Multifunctional Camera Rig
(cover photo credit: snap from K-Tek)
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