East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

DIY: builds

The useful basics

These builds are really worth making because they aren't too complicated but are very helpful for creating better films.

DIY shoulder rig

DIY lighting

The additional builds

These are things I would personally not bother with. I'd rather spend this time making films, not making unnecessary equipment to weigh me down or slow me down when I go shooting.

DIY Matte box

This is one of those things that just isn't for me. It adds another thing to carry and set up. If you use filters often, this can save time, but most of the time this will dramatically slow down lens changes.

This one here is made from a cheapo eBay cokin filter system.


I then attached a "french flag" made from some black plasticard (an old DVD box or similar will also do) and a plastic hinge. The hinge was by far the hardest to find and currently I do not know where to get them other than looking on eBay. USA readers may have better luck since you have lots of good DIY stores.


DIY follow focus

This is another thing that just adds setup time and a lot of lens change time, however, it can be very useful too.

I would recommend something really simple, like a jar-opener. Similar to this Varavon one, but from the dollar store if you want to save a few bucks.

I just use my fingers, but this isn't always so easy when working with crap lenses. I mainly work with manual lenses that have a smooth focus ring, which is why I don't need a follow focus most of the time.

● eBay UK link:
● eBay USA link:
● Amazon UK link:
● Amazon USA link:
● B&H Link:
● Alternatives from Adorama:

DIY glidecam-style stabilizer

The problem with this is that it's near impossible to get acceptable quality results. You'd be much better off just saving up £150 for this. See the "Increasing your budget" chapter.