Everyone has their own opinion on how things should be mounted on a rig, but there are a few basic bits and pieces you’ll need in order to get started. First, lets answer a very common question.

What is the difference between a hot shoe and cold shoe?

A “hot shoe” has active electronics attached to it’s base and can do things like trigger a flash or interface with proprietary equipment like microphones and lights. Basically it refers to any shoe mount with an electrical interface. A “cold shoe” is the same mount without the electronics or ability to trigger a flash. A cold shoe can be used to hold a piece of equipment in place but it does not have any electrical connections and is instead a purely mechanical device.

Cold shoe ball head and 1/4 20 adapter

For ease of description i’ve always referred to the cold shoe on the right as female and the cold shoe on the left as male. I’ve never really gotten a confirmation from anyone about using the term, but it doesn’t usually require any explanation when working with others. The female adapter usually comes with a 1/4 20 female thread at the bottom of the unit that can easily be attached to a friction arm or rig. If you are looking for a female adapter with a 1/4 20 male stud on the bottom you might want to check out this unit.

The male cold shoe (above left) comes with a flat plate on the bottom and a 1/4 20 stud on top. You can buy these with a single thumb screw or two thumbscrews. Generally I prefer the two thumbscrew variety because you can use one thumb screw to snug up against the shoe and the other to snug up against the device. The price difference between the single and double thumb screw is only 50 cents to a dollar so it’s usually worth it to spend a little extra on the double.

LCD ball head 1-4 ball head  (1 of 4)

These little ball head units are also very handy to have around. Great for field monitors, microphones, and anything that needs an adjustable mount. For less than $6 a peace it’s nice to have 3 or 4 of these in your kit.

11 inch arm folded

Last but not least are these incredibly handy friction arms. If you need to place a microphone, move a field monitor, hold an audio adapter, position a flash, or just about anything else, a friction arm is very handy. These guys are lightweight and designed to hold around 3 to 5 pounds which is more than enough to support most accessories. You can find these friction arms on Amazon for under $20 apiece and under $15 apiece on ebay.

Tags: , , , ,