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DIY 15mm rods mounted Impact Protection for the AF100.

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    DIY 15mm rods mounted Impact Protection for the AF100.


    I have an unusual question that requires an ingenious, possibly DUY solution.

    A client of mine needs action images for an indoor sport called Dodgebow.

    Basically, it’s a mix between dodge ball and archery.

    People run around in a gym with bows, hide behind obstacles and shoot each other.

    Arrows are tipped with a big rubber end, something of the order of 6 inches in diameters (ie: it does not travel very fast, but when it hits you it still hits you).

    I did film once for them. I was protected, but not the camera.

    People try not to shoot at me or the lens, but even though my gear is insured, if my AF100 gets a direct hit from an arrow, I’ll be pretty pissed for not doing anything to prevent it (It did not happen…yet).

    The client called me back, he’s so happy with my work he’d like to hire me to do weekly videos.

    Needless to say I’d like to find a way to physically protect my gear until the next shoot.

    I thought of a pretty simple contraption, but I don’t know how to make it work.

    Basically, I’d like to mount my AF100 of a Baseplate with rails (Which would go either on a tripod or a shoulder mount).

    In front of the camera, instead of a Matte box, I’d like to mount a transparent sheet of moderately thick plexi glass. This would at least protect my camera from direct lens hits.

    But the big question is, how the hell do I (solidly and in parallel) mount a plexiglass sheet on a 15mm rail system?

    Do you guys have any idea how I could achieve that?

    Thanks in advance for any bright pointers you might provide!

    I have to question what results you will get shooting through plexiglass, but assuming it is ok:

    You need a matte box with a piece of plexiglass in the filter slot. Just putting plastic in front of the lens without masking it will cause reflections.

    Second idea - instead of plexiglass, use a screw on UV filter.
    Third idea - if you really want plexiglass, get a cheap screw on filter, break the glass and replace it with plexiglass.
    Last edited by Paul F; 01-04-2016, 02:25 PM.
    Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television


      Shooting through plexiglass is a tradeoff of course, my image might be a little less crisp, but since the interior lighting is quite bad anyway, I already use the a soft low noise profile so I can crank my gain to the max. (I then denoise / sharpen everything in post; my workflow with Neat and Looks works quite well).

      I did not want to use a Matte Box because the Matte Box can get damaged as well (But maybe it'd be the necessary trade off to ruin a Matte Box instead of the camera. I'd have to test how bad/not that bad reflections get with only plexiglass)

      I also wanted to avoid lens filter solution because I wanted to completely decouple the impact zone from the lens/camera for maximum protection and minimum transferred/critical vibration.


        Maybe I could get this Matte Box:

        Which is not too expensive and looks sturdy enough, then add two clear polyester filters in it:

        Although I am not to sure if it'd work with my wide zoom lens in a way that the matte box can be far enough from the lens so I can zoom in without touching it, and close enough so I can zoom out with seeing it.


          I sometimes take close photos of model rocket liftoffs from a mini tripod right under the launcher, which potentially subjects the camera to getting hit with hot exhaust jets and chunks of burning debris.

          For this, I had a local plastics shop make me a plexiglas shield which is nothing more than a piece of acrylic sheet bent into an "L" shape with a hole drilled into the lower leg so I can mount it between the camera and the tripod. You could probably make it yourself, but I figured they had more experience heating and bending the plastic without damaging it. I think I paid something like $20 for the material and getting it cut and bent.

          No rods or baseplate required. I don't handhold mine, but it could be used that way, attaching it to the tripod socket with a simple screw.

          - Greg


            Aside from camera protection have you thought about wearing a high visibility safety vest which would designate you as a camera person rather that a target?


              Id say get a piece of PVC pipe that is big enough to fit the camera. Get a cap for it. Cut a hole in the cap and glue or bolt the plexiglass into it and mount your camera in the pvc pipe.

              Be cheep and effective. I had friends who made underwater housings using the same method for the HVX200
              Producer-Director at Jackson Speed PTY LTD. Media Production in Sydney
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                I think I found a pretty simple solution.

                I'll just get one piece of plexiglass / acrylic with two holes big enough to slide 15mm rods in it.

                Then I'll just squeeze the sheet between two basic 15mm rod blocks.

                I just need to find out how thick my sheet should be to be shock resistant without affecting the image quality too much.

                Since I'll eventually need a rod system anyway (Shooting without a follow focus is a pain), I think this would be a pretty good compromise.


                  That sounds good. Be sure there is no gap between the plexiglass and the lens or you will get reflections. If you don't want the plexiglass touching the lens, then use something like black cloth to cover the gap. .
                  Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television