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Turn your average DSLR into a video shooting machine with this DIY rig

Have you ever yearned for a feature-rich rig for a DSLR or mirrorless camera that mimics the functionality of a larger video camera. In the above video, DSLR Video Shooter walks you through the process of creating one. Sure, you can go out and buy such a rig ready-made, but most are very expensive. With this method, you’ll also have a chance to get rid of that spare plywood in your garage.

The DIY rig features a top handle, monitor mount, battery mount, and XLR audio inputs. Accessories either slide into place on cold shoe mounts or are connected by magnets. One of the great things about it is that the camera sits out front, connected only by its tripod mount on a standard quick release plate, making it very easy to remove when you don’t need the rig.

Related: Keep your camera gear organized with these 3 do-it-yourself projects

So what will you need to build your own? It starts with some small pieces of plywood, screws, and wood glue. You’ll also need a drill, soldering iron, and wire cutters. Finally, a little black paint will make the finished rig looks surprisingly professional. This is a fairly involved project, so you’ll probably want to set aside a fair amount of time.

The key to how the box is assembled is it’s angled side panels, which slope downward and extend beyond the back panel of the box. This allows for a battery plate to be inset into the frame against the back panel, with wiring that runs through the box itself. While any battery plate could work, DSLR Video Shooter used a Sony video battery, which are widely available and offer high capacities that can power a monitor and a camera simultaneously. This keeps the form factor as compact as possible. It’s also where the soldering comes in.

Three cold shoe mounts are then screwed into one side of the box, with magnets superglued to the other. The magnets will hold the XLR preamp, a Saramonic SmartRig+ in this case.

One trick shown in the video is to glue magnets to the preamp first, then lay a second series of magnets on top of them. Add a dab of glue on top of those magnets, and then press the entire thing against the box. This way, you ensure everything is lined up, and you won’t accidentally glue magnets to the box in the wrong polar orientation.

The total cost of the rig came to about $240, not bad for all the features it gives you. For the rest of the details on how it was made, including how the rig attaches to a quick release plate, be sure to check out the video.