Last night I couldn’t go to sleep until 3AM (hence some lack of posts today) but I was researching on how to make a camera stabilizer as I wanted to take some action shots with my new Canon EOS 7D camera.
Well, luckily I found like a whole bunch of different ways without having to spend hundreds or thousands on a commercial Merlin Steadicam.
These ideas should help you to make your own DIY steadicam too and get almost same results as the expensive, commercial camera stabilizer.
1. First, let’s look into the tripod and how it can be used as a steadicam without much modification at all, this guy explains the theory/physics behind it:
2. Second, we have a real simple method of using water bottles attached to the bottom of your tripod. Of course you will need a tripod and this could be a cheap, emergency method. Later on, there’s better methods for converting your tripod into a steadicam, so keep reading!
3. There’s also this DIY steadicam that involves simply attaching a 2.5 pound weight to the center piece of the tripod. I think this one can work great too.
4. Next, we have this talented young man who manages to get one of the legs of the tripod off and use it as horizontal/vertical control. I think this is actually probably the best way to go if you already own a tripod.
A steadicam is nothing but a counterweight placed on the other side of the camera/camcorder to balance the weight so it doesn’t move a whole lot during movement.
Of course, if you have a heavier camera/camcorder, I think you can easily modify this method by adding a little more weight to the legs side.
The tripod used here is one of those cheap, light ones. If you have a Manfrotto tripod like me that already weighs around 7-10 pounds, you might be able to get away not having additional weights. I will be trying it out later and should have my own camera steadicam DIY.
5. For those of you who want to make a steadicam from scratch and separate from your tripod, this is the best design/howto guide video I found on YouTube.
It involves using some PVC piping and bike weights for a compact, yet a good, balanced steadicam. What I like about this guy’s design is that the weights are placed diagonally, I think that helps to stabilize the camera on both vertical/horizontal angles.
You can also see in the middle of the video where the guy takes video of snowboard jumps (in Squaw Valley I think) of his friend, flawlessly like a thousand dollar camera steadicam.
This one is also one of my favorites and when I have enough time, I will surely build one of these DIY steadicams.
6. Here’s another great design for camera stabilizer, although this one seems harder than the rest of them.
7. Here’s another one that’s been around for awhile now, the Steadycam! I think this design would be improved more with a more “diagonal” weight-countering, just my opinion but still a great guide to follow.
Overall, I like number 4 and number 5 the best.
Number 4 is best for converting your existing tripod into a steadicam with multiple positions. (Plus add some weight as necessary).
Number 5 seems great for anything, except you have to buy the PVC pipes and other parts to make it. But definitely looking from the snowboard video, I am convinced this is just as good as a Merlin Steadicam.
I was blown away by the number of DIY steadicams out there, these are great options for people like you and me, who rather spend that money on something else, perhaps another camera.
The main reason I am going to make a DIY steadicam is so I can take some awesome action footage at the CES 2010 show next month. Now I have confidence that I can.
By the way, these steadicam’s might be great for stabilizing photography too, I don’t see why not.
P.S. Oh yeah, thanks everyone who has made this blog possible by either uploading your DIY videos to YouTube or making tutorial on Instructables, you guys are awesome!