Today, I wanted to show you how to build your very own wireless video system for under $300 (or $330 with more range).
Such a system allows you to see what the camera is recording when mounted on a crane, steadicam, or even a 3-axis camera stabilizer.
Also, if you want to pull focus with the camera on any kind of a stabilizer (ex. gimbal, steadicam), you need to to connect a wireless follow focus system (which I’ll be reviewing in my future post) and a wireless video system.
There are already lots of professional video systems like this on the market. Unfortunately, all of them are expensive – usually over $4000. But I have built one using consumer products and adapted it so it works for the real world filmmaking usage.
Watch the video below for how I did it, then continue reading below to see what and where to buy all the parts and materials.
Below is a list of the gear you will need:
5volt 2.1A will power for up to 2 hours
5volt 3A will power for up to 4 hours
If your camera doesn’t have the full size HDMI output, but only a smaller HDMI connection, then you will also need to get an adapter.
$262 – with weaker transmitter
$332 – with more powerful transmitter
$372 – with more powerful transmitter and bigger batteries
Once you’ve assembled your wireless video system to your monitor, you might want to mount it to a cage or frame with side handles.
Holding the monitor and all the weight of the batteries just by the edge of the monitor is not a good idea because it can easily slip from your hands. Also, it’s not that comfortable.
You can buy a professional monitor cage, but it won’t be cheap. Plus, it comes in only one size – around six-inches tall. This might not fit your monitor unless you’re using an industry-standard field monitor.
If you do use such a monitor, here are a few options for the cage:
ALZO Rig $95.99
But if you want to save money or need a different size, you can of course go the DIY way, like I did – and for only $17.
To build the monitor cage with handles, you will need to get the following materials:
First, start off by bending the aluminium bar to form a rectangle around your monitor. You want the rectangle to have the same height as your monitor, but the width to be about six inches wider than your monitor. This way you’ll have three extra inches of space on both sides to make the side handles and have enough space to put your hands in there.
Once you bend the aluminium into the right shape, you want to either cut off the excess aluminium or bend it back and forth till it breaks off (in case you don’t have a saw).
Then, use the strong duct tape to attach the two loose ends together.
Next, cut the foam insulator to match the height of your monitor and wrap it around the sides of the aluminium frame where the handles will be.
Put some more duct tape around the foam to make sure it stays in place – you can also use the tape that’s used for tennis racquets. This way you’ll also have nice, no-slip grips.
Finally, just drill a 1/4″ hole in the bottom of the aluminium frame. Do it right in the center so that the monitor sits in the middle.
Now, you can stick the vinyl bumpers to each side of the hole you just drilled.
The vinyl bumpers will keep your monitor from rotating sideways, since the whole monitor and all the weight on it is attached using just one screw.
That’s it. You’re ready! Just use a 1/4″ screw (the same that comes with most tripods) to mount your monitor to the frame.
You can also build the same frame with different dimensions to make an inexpensive fig-rig for your camera.
Here are a few good portable monitor options, in case you don’t yet own a monitor:
And here is another more expensive model that I use. Similar quality as the first monitor, but has HDMI and SDI connections, as well as video functions such as histogram, peaking, etc.