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Old August 6th, 2005, 06:39 AM   #1
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My 35$ steadicam

I've made the steadicam from materials available at our local hardware store. Here are some pictures:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...8/5c43b199.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...8/6f6d9c59.jpg
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Old August 6th, 2005, 11:41 AM   #2
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Nice design, Julius! Does that gimbal assembly have three axes of movement? Where did you find it?
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Old August 6th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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I like it.

.. hows that for simple and effective?

Did you make trhe frame or did you get it as one peice.

- Mikko
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Old August 7th, 2005, 07:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Nice design, Julius! Does that gimbal assembly have three axes of movement? Where did you find it?
Yes it does. It's just a universal joint. I have it done in a manner that it will rotate on its axis.
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Old August 7th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
I like it.

.. hows that for simple and effective?

Did you make trhe frame or did you get it as one peice.

- Mikko

It is really simple and quite effective since the top and the bottom weight can easily be adjusted to fit your balancing need.

Actually the frame is just an "overhead storage hook". Here is the picture: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...8/8443445e.jpg
I just sawed off the opposite end.
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Old August 7th, 2005, 11:40 PM   #6
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Nice!
Do you have clearer pictures- I'm especially interested to see how you put that gimbal (universal joint) together. (Where do you pick up a universal joint?)
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Old August 8th, 2005, 09:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Skaist
Nice!
Do you have clearer pictures- I'm especially interested to see how you put that gimbal (universal joint) together. (Where do you pick up a universal joint?)
I'll try to provide detailed pictures later.

The universal joint is a 1/2" KYK brand which is available at any hardware stores. Other brand includes Stanley but KYK is lot cheaper.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #8
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Is it the same joint that is used by in the FlowPod by Varizoom ?
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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #9
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Variation on Julius' homemade stabilizer

Julius,

I took a stab at building a handheld stabilizer patterned after the one reflected in your posted photos. I found the overhead hanger at my local Ace Hardware. I obtained 5/16 throttle joint from NAPA auto parts, and dismantled an inexpensive, Wal-Mart tripod for the remainder of parts needed. Whereas your stabilizing weight is directly under the camcorder towards the rear, mine is front-loaded (on the lower arm segment that you cut off). I then cut off the opposite lower arm which you used to hold your balance weight.

My costs to build the homemade stabilizer was about the same as yours. My finished product eliminates typical handheld jerkiness and gives a pleasant appearance of floating on air (when walking, running, panning abruptly). The only difference I've noticed between my homemade stabilizer and several commercial units is that my unit produces slightly more "sway". The "sway" that I speak of occurs only when pan, tilt and stopping occurs abruptly, which is not the typical way one would shoot video --- except for test purposes.

Sorry, no pic available, as I don't have a place to post one.

HDG
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Old August 30th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #10
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That sway is the Pendulum effect. Sounds like you have too much weight on the bottom. Either that, or just learn to operate with it. If you want to see the pendulum effect in motion like you've never seen before, just try to operate my rig! 15 pounds of monitor, battery, and steel connecting rods on the bottom, and 2 pounds of Canon ZR on the top. That thing is so bottom heavy, my gimbal is sometimes placed about 60% down the post, just to get it more agile, rather than being so inert.

Fun fun fun. If only my arm (the Steadicam one) hadn't broken this morning.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 05:28 PM   #11
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You should be arrested!

You're depriving Steadicam of more than $350 in profit for each unit they will no longer sell. I've always been outraged by the prices the companies in our industry are able to get away with.

Bravo.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #12
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Paul:

With all due respect, you must spend much of your life being outraged, then. Consider the price of a drink at a bar compared to how much it would cost to make at home--given the same percentage of markeup, that Steadicam JR would probably cost a couple of thousand dollars. When one really breaks down that so-called profit margin, a more realistic picture appears--one that takes into account overhead such as employees, R&D, advertising, operating expenses, patent attorneys and a myriad of other costs.

That might make you think that I am a "company" man; but no, I encourage homebuilding, no problems there. The only thing I object to is folks who spend hours and hours tinkering and question why it would possibly cost twice as much to buy the commercial version without placing any monetary value on their time.

OK--I'm off that horse.

Tom, sounds like you need to jettison some weight off the bottom of your rig! Have you considered carbon fibre posts instead of the steel ones? Not to hard to find these days. And I'm hoping your center post is aluminum, not steel...?

Hawood:

Tom is right about the pendulum effect being a function of operating. As a young man I was stuffed into a back seat of a car and handed a punchbowl full of keg beer to transport to an event. I quickly learned that fast stops and starts would get awfully sticky unless I compensated by tilting the punchbowl the other way to counteract the effect. Same thing with a stabilizer; you absolutely can make abrupt stops (and actually it does come up in regular shooting quite a bit), but you have to learn how to reign in the inertial forces that occur as a result.

The other thing that helped with the punchbowl was to put my head down and drain the contents, but that isn't translatable to Steadicam...!

good luck with it,


Charles
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Old August 30th, 2005, 11:08 PM   #13
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"put my head down and drain the contents" ...LOL!

- Mikko
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Old August 30th, 2005, 11:55 PM   #14
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true story, Mikko--and this was probably within a year of taking the workshop so even through the haze I was thinking about the parallel with Steadicam--what a geek!
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Old August 31st, 2005, 12:45 PM   #15
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Unluckily Charles, your hopes are unanswered, my post is Steel. Luckily it's decently thin, and only weighs about 2 pounds. I'm actually loving how much weight is on my sled. (I never once in my life thought I'd say that). It's just so darned inert.

I think this might be a testiment to how much I oped with handheld rigs, but I can operate my full sled handheld for about 10 minutes, before I feel like my arm is going limp. Then again, I'm a little bigger than the typical Steadicam operator, being 6'2, 240 pounds, and being able to dead lift 450, so I think I've got some advantages there. ;-) (Why does this board have no smileys?)

Yeah, looks like I may end up going to Home Depot tomorrow to, once again, try and buy more parts, just to try and fix the arm.

Oh, and the next version of my sled (next summer), will probably be either Al or CF, and will have Cody Deegan's backmount vest, a nice new 7" LCD, AB batteries, and a completely new 3A style arm (that's the only piece I might skimp on, just making it more of a Flyer arm instead).
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