Vintage TLR video rig

Having recently finished editing my second video with the TLR video rig, I thought I’d share what I used to build it and how I found it to use.

I’ve owned this 1950’s MPP Microcord for a few years now and it’s one of my favourite cameras from a usability perspective. Mostly because I do love the top down large viewfinder with this sort of camera. It helps separate the photo from the background in the scene as you’re looking in a totally different direction. I then came across some of Mathieu Stern’s videos on YouTube (Here’s his website) where he had filmed through the top down viewfinder of an Exa1b and I really wanted to try something similar.

I knew I wanted to have a pretty rigid setup, and so I set out to go through the parts box of all the bits and pieces collected over the years that get used for a single purpose then sit, waiting for their moment to return to use. In this case, it was an old gimbal I had for use with a long lens. This was a Lensmaster RH-1, which had since been superseded by a Neewer GM100 carbon one (Link below). The L shaped arm of this was perfectly sized to fit the TLR and the threaded knob for mounting to a tripod could be reversed so it mounted into the bottom of the TLR. That pretty much set the whole thing up and to complete the setup from a mounting perspective a long tripod plate (designed for offsetting flashes) was bolted to the L arm which provided an adjustable distance from the digital camera to the viewfinder.

I did mount the XT3/4 (I used both) in a cage as that got the right offset for the camera, and then the last thing I did was use my 3d printer to make a large lens hood to try to minimise the reflections of the sky in the viewfinder. As the lens I was using (Samyang 12mm F2) has a very small lens hood, it was clear early on this wasn’t enough. If I was to do this again, I’d make the lens hood even bigger, as the setup still suffered with low contrast. I did do my best to edit back in some contrast etc, but in reality it was much more work than I thought, as the masking between the TLR viewfinder and the background was a pain.

I did get two videos done with this setup, one in Newmarket and the other in Wandlebury park near Cambridge and I hope to do some more in the future when time allows.

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Neewer gimbal link
Samyang 12mm F2
Fujifilm XT-4

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