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Old May 20th, 2004, 03:04 PM   #1
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14$ steadycam

I built a $14 steadycam last night (it actually cost me about $30, I had to buy a vise) for my pana dv53 (sub 2 pounds) . I was amazed by the results, I walked around the house with the thing and the moving camera shots looked suprisingly fluid and just darn cool.

Has any one else used one of these? What do you think?

http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/


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Old May 21st, 2004, 07:20 AM   #2
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Most people seem to go with the bigger solutions for more
stability and movement isolation. Can you post a clip of your
runs?
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Old May 21st, 2004, 09:44 AM   #3
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bigger solution

That makes sense Rob for an XL1 guy like you, but I have a tiny little cam- less than 1kg- as for posting a clip of some of my runs, I'm in 56k hell at home right now, and I don't even have my G5 on line. Next month when my oldest finishes up potty training and my youngest lays off the formula, my wife and I have decided to treat ourselves to a broadband connection. Aftert that I'm going to set up a webpage and start posting some of my stuff.

that said, I fooled with the thing last night, and my results were not as stunning as my first time out, but I think some practice might help with that, we'll see...

In the meantime, follow the link above for some clips from the gentleman who designed the thing. He's got three clips on the page.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: 14$ steadycam

<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Gibbons : Has any one else used one of these? What do you think?-->>>

I built one a few weeks ago. Only tried it once. It seemed to work OK. I have a bum leg so "gliding with knees bent" as suggested is not so easy for me. I do think a little more practice will make me better even so. I just need to get out and do it.

I'd say it is well worth the price for what it does.


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Old May 31st, 2004, 11:35 AM   #5
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That link sure gets around...

The horizontal member held by the other hand is the problem with that design. It seems like a good idea but it really isn't. I'd recommend eliminating that part.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 01:08 AM   #6
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Hi Michael! I've been through that website before and created that version of the steadicam. Being a nobudget student director it certainly served it's purpose. But it is difficult to work with as you really do have to try and be steady with it to really reap any benefits. Here is the student video I used it on:

http://www.chaoticempire.com/a.waken.html

I pretty much used it on most of the video shoots, especially in the garage. I really would suggest Cody Deegan's stabilizer plans as he has laid out a wonderful how-to-build your own stabilizer manual. Just search these forums for more info.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 08:52 AM   #7
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I would also recommend finding a way to use a material other than galvanized steel for the central pipe. It's just adding unnecessary weight. PVC pipe would likely be the way to go.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 02:49 PM   #8
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I thought the weight was intended to prevent the camera from swaying side to side? Wouldn't PVC defeat that purpose?

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Old June 1st, 2004, 04:04 PM   #9
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The physics involved are based on leverage and inertia. By expanding the component of the camera, we are able to control it from its center of gravity (on the camera by itself, that's inaccessible; by placing it on a pole, we can find the balance point in the middle). The expanded design now adds inertia to the system, which increases stability. The principle of leverage dictates that the further a mass (or application of force) is positioned from its center, the more effect that mass or force will have. Thus, the distribution of weight should be at the far ends of the pole. In other words, a 2 lb pole with a 4 lb weight at either end will act more inert than a 10 lb pole by itself in this application. Better yet, use the principles of leverage in your favor and use a 2 lb weight at the bottom and shift the center of gravity (where you hold the pole) up towards the camera, and you can achieve the same effect.

The most important thing with a handheld stabilizer is to minimize the total weight of the system so that you can operate it with the most comfort and for the maximum amount of time, while retaining enough inertia to stabilize the rig. Thus it is important to distribute the counterweight wisely.

This not to say that Johnny's design won't work; his demos prove otherwise. I'm suggesting that a different approach could be more effective AND lighter weight.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 12:20 AM   #10
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I built a $45 dollar version of this monster (partially modified, partially I was ransacked by a smalltime Ace Hardware). I finished it as I was doing a Behind the Scenes for a student film (Greasy Lake rules), for that it was perfect. In situations where you can't plan what's going to happen, it is a great balance of mobile/versatile. It extends you reach, add a number of new angles, and allows you to walk with stressed out producers in fine form. You can even flip it over and get low angles without fussing with the brackets, if you're willing to just flip it in post. The key is practice; it will greatly effects your results.

As to the weight; I weilded this for a 14 hour all night shoot. The next day I couldn't lift a pan of fries and the dining hall staff laughed at me. After that one night/day of pain, however, I never had a problem with the weight again. One thing to consider if you're thinking of going with PVC: with the sturdier metal frame you can run at full sprint and get astoundingly steady video. (I chase cars to practice this) It's not near crane smooth, but it does have a distinct feel that is pretty cool. I've taped over all my practice runs, but if anyone really wants me to prove any of this I'll be happy to tape some more and post them. I'm a loser like that.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 02:07 AM   #11
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PVC pipe is fairly sturdy stuff, being a cylinder. Aluminum tubing is even better. With the kind of weight we are talking about, flex and resultant jitter shouldn't be a problem. I think you'd only see those types of issues stemming from your camera mounting assembly (a single 1/4"/20 screw is not an exceptionally solid way to mount a camera over 4 lbs.)
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Old June 9th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #12
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I forgot to mention what the modification was: my camera is over 4 pounds, so I have a large mount on the top. I only kept the one screw but I added a large base platform and covered it in specialized camera gripping mega material. (electrical tape) Aluminum tubing would be nice, though.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #13
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14$ steadycam or cheaper?

if you want to see something interesting and fun (i hope) - connected with 14$ steadycam - take a look:

http://www.astercity.net/%7Etarasuma...izer_page.html

but if you REALLY want to see REAL working LEGO stabilizer go here:

http://www.astercity.net/~tarasuma/l...izer_page.html

have fun!!!

filip
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Old January 6th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #14
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As funny as the $7.00 stabilizer is, the most impressive part of the site is your "y" stabilizer and your dolly, both of which look really slick and definitely not homemade.
nice work.
And wow this is an old thread!
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Old January 6th, 2005, 11:02 AM   #15
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thank you michael!

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