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Old December 30th, 2002, 11:28 AM   #1
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home built steadicam

i'm thinking of putting together a steadicam device instead of buying one to support my pd150.
i browsed through homebuiltstabilizers.com and got some ideas of what kind of steadicams people have built, but would would be happy to hear if anyone here has experience with this sort of home built gear.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 11:33 AM   #2
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Yep, I did the monopod cut off with weights screwed onto the bottom. Works great, cost less than $40!
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Old December 30th, 2002, 04:39 PM   #3
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anywhere on the net i can get good instructions on how exactly to construct a $40 cut-off monopod with weights steadicam for up to 5 lb. camera?

on the site mentioned above, i saw some homemade gear that looked a bit more pro-like, with two rods put together at an angle, supporting the weight at the bottom (see pics on the site). any good instructions you know about to put together one of those?

thanks.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 05:50 PM   #4
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I got my info on building it from here!

Here's how:
-Go buy the cheapest monopod you can find.
-take a hacksaw and cut it down so it only has 1 extendable segment.
-buy a 2 or 3 pound disk weight with a hole in the middle.
-put that wieght on the bottom of the monopod. Drill a hole through the monopod and put two bolts in to secure it. Or wrap it heavily in duct tape.
-Screw monopod into camera. Practice with it.

Done.

If it takes you more than 10 minutes, you are doing it wrong. :)
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Old December 30th, 2002, 07:10 PM   #5
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The only question i have is about connecting the camera to the top of the steadycam. What did you use to attach it. I dont want just a screw. I want something that will support the camera like a nice camera plate.

Rob
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Old December 30th, 2002, 08:51 PM   #6
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Haven't tried this yet, but here's a $14 Steadicam project:
http://www.student.virginia.edu/~fms-uva/steadycam/
looks cool.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 11:32 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Poulton : The only question i have is about connecting the camera to the top of the steadycam. What did you use to attach it. I dont want just a screw. I want something that will support the camera like a nice camera plate.

Rob -->>>

Simple
Buy a more expensive monopod with one, or get a camera plate adapter.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 04:14 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by doctorxex : Haven't tried this yet, but here's a $14 Steadicam project:
http://www.student.virginia.edu/~fms-uva/steadycam/
looks cool. -->>>

test video incl.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 07:04 AM   #9
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Hey Dylan thx, now i just need to hunt down a good mono pod that i was to cut up.

Rob
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Old December 31st, 2002, 08:35 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by doctorxex : Haven't tried this yet, but here's a $14 Steadicam project:
http://www.student.virginia.edu/~fms-uva/steadycam/
looks cool. -->>>

Nice find. The test footage looked excellent considering that it is a $14 Steadicam.

Dylan,

Did you use your homemade Steadicam for your Paintball shoot?
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Old December 31st, 2002, 10:45 AM   #11
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Heh, nooo!!!
The whole setup is WAY to heavy to use for more than a few minutes at a time! I shot the paintball tourney with my shouldermount.
XL1 + battery + monopod + 5lb weight + LCD monitor + 2 6v batteries for it. The whole thing has to weigh 20lbs! :)
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Old December 31st, 2002, 01:38 PM   #12
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Which shoulder mount did you use? I have the VariZoon shoulder mount and have been very happy with it. Still need to build the steadicam, as that would really add to some of the stuff I am working on.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 02:31 PM   #13
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I've got a Mightywondercam. It's OK, but only because I got it off Ebay cheap. At full price they are overpriced for what you get.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 04:05 PM   #14
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Gents, a few suggestions...

I peeked at that student site, and although the underslung footage that he got was pretty nice, there are some oddities with the design.

The two critical masses in this type of system are the camera itself and the counterweight. If you choose to use an outboard LCD which will be rigged below the point at which you grip the vertical pole, then that becomes a separate mass. Any other component in the system should be as light as possible, since it is not contributing in a valuable way to the stabilizing effect. In other words, using galvanized steel for the structure is not recommended. Try a wide-diameter PVC pipe instead.

The side handle is also not a great way to go, in that it is diluting the stabilizing effect by introducing secondary forces. Although it may seem that a second hand on the system will dampen the system's tendency to sway, it is actually working against the physics of the system.

I would recommend a design that incorporates a vertical pole that T's off to a horizontal pole at the bottom that extends fore and aft. Imagine seeing it in profile as an "I", with the camera creating the top part of the I and the horizontal beam making the bottom. A weight at either end of the horizontal member finishes it off. How much weight to use? As little as possible, determined by gripping the vertical pole up by the camera and turning the system sideways. Add weight to the bottom until a balance is reached (the camera end no longer wants to drop). The higher you grip the post, the less bottom weight is needed.

Dylan, in looking at your list of components, I wonder that you are flying batteries for your LCD, a battery for the XL1 AND a 5lb weight...! Ideally the batteries themselves act as the counterweight. It may take a bit of work, but if you have the 12v adaptor for the XL1, you can power both it and your LCD from the same battery, and may be able to do away with that 5 lb dead weight completely. Just run a power cable up from the battery at the bottom to the XL1. If you were able to configure it as described above, in an "I" formation with the LCD at the front of the lower horizontal member and the battery in the back, you would have a great system (these components replacing the weights described earlier)! The trick would be in allowing that horizontal pole to be able to slide back and forth until a fore/aft balance is found. What makes the "I" shape work so well is that you have expanded the inertia of the system tremendously from having everything stacked up under the vertical pole, which will result in much more smooth photography. The further the components expand out from the center, the exponentially greater the inertia and the better the effect, with a minimum of additional weight.

good luck folks!
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Old December 31st, 2002, 07:53 PM   #15
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good points Charles. Thx for the info.


Rob
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