mobile studio tethering

Mobile tethering station for Studio
(Muppet Sid being my test subject while I work with a new tethering solution [on right] at my studio)

I don't shot tethered a lot.  I never do when working outside on location, but there have been cases in the past where I've shot tethered in the studio for a number of reasons.  Recently I've wanted to start shooting tethered more and more with my head shot sessions.  My dinky camera LCD screen is just too small to really show how nice and elegant a well composed and exposed head shot photograph looks right out of camera and I wanted to be able to *wow* my clients even more than the images already do simply by showing them at a larger scale during capture.

Tethering, for the most part, sucks.  It's cumbersome, it's dangling wires and being unable to move freely for fear of yanking a wire out of something which then freaks out the tethering program and everything just stops working.  Ugh.

So I've been looking around for tethering solutions.  I didn't want a giant wheeled table with a computer on it, because that can take up a lot of floor space.  Finally I decided that I wanted a laptop with an external monitor that was small and portable.  Then while visiting a friend's computer parts company they had a few old medical hydraulic arms that used to be used for ultrasounds for pregnant women.  It was skinny, on wheels, and since it was hydraulic, it could fold up and down and take up less space.  It was fantastic!

After a little wiggling around to see how it would all go together, I came up with a pretty decent tethering unit; it's on wheels that can be locked, and the arm can rise up so that the external monitor is at head height.  It's the size of a person!  It takes up hardly any floor space!

Now when I'm shooting, I can just swivel the whole setup around so that the client and I can go over a batch of shots.  Trust me when I say their eyes glow even more when they see a nice large example of themselves looking awesome!