Cameras, lenses, lights, and microphones. These are the pieces of filmmaking equipment that get us the most excited when talking about equipment, but what about clamps?
In this video, we are going to be talking about these crab clamps, and how having a bunch of them can help you set up equipment in difficult and creative places.
Welcome to The Film Look.
We’ve had one of these Small Rig crab clamps for a while now.
The amount of uses we’ve had from just one is quite amazing, so we asked SmallRig if they could send us a few more for us to put them into some filmmaking tests!
The crab clamp is an all metal product with rubber grips and has 1/4"-20 and 3/8" thread. The clamp has a maximum opening of 44mm and a minimum of 15mm which is perfect if you are going to attach it to 15mm rods. More on that later!
You CAN buy the crab clamp on its own, but we decided to get the small ball head magic arm which fits into the 1/4"-20 thread on the clamp. It also has a 1/4"-20 thread on the other end of the arm which allows you to attach many different types of filmmaking equipment.
Magic arms come in all shapes and sizes and it’s always handy to have a bunch of different ones.
Just like all the SmallRig products we own (and we have quite a few), this clamp is at a high standard of construction.
The clamp gets a stronghold with little effect and the adjustable handle makes it easy to get it tight or slack.
One of the main uses we have found for the crab clamp is attaching a small LED panel to it.
We use these LED panels as an edge or hair light, which is what we using right now. We have the clamp attached to the bookcase behind us.
This combination allows us to stick the light in a load of places without the need for a light stand.
Instead of using the house lights in your location, you can clamp your own lights which will give you a great level of control over the brightness, shape and colour.
This type of setup works great if you’re shooting a long take with your character walking through a location.
You could add colour to those lights to help change the tone of your film.
The clamps can also be used to attach a light or monitor to the 15mm rods on a shoulder rig. By doing this, you have more mounting options to suit how you would like your rig to be set up.
Also, by adding this AndyCine monitor mount to the magic arm, you can quickly adjust the angle with one hand.
We made a video all about this mini hot shoe mount, which you can find here.
The max load of the clamp and ball head is around 1 Kilogram. We tested the strength of the clamp and magic arm by attaching our larger LED panel, an Aputure HR672c, with two Sony NPF batteries and it held the weight.
The same went for the camera. We took it out of the cage and stuck a 35mm lens on the front. Now we can clamp the camera in places we could not before.
Just make sure what you are clamping to is safe and secure. Safety is always key.
This clamp is perfect if you have a GoPro or if you are a phone shooter as you could purchase a phone mount like this one which has a 1/4"-20 thread screw mount.
If your light does not have a 1/4"-20 or 3/8" thread BUT you have 2 crab clamps, you can connect two together and create something we are calling The Double Crab Clamp.
Clamp one end to a surface and the other to the non-threaded mount and away you go.
Considering how many uses we have found for the crab clamp and how much it costs, which is around £9 or $11 not including delivery, we think it's a great piece of kit to always have in your grip bag.
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