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Old May 16th, 2006, 02:24 PM   #1
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Poor Mans Steadicam

Hello. I'm not ready to buy a real steadicam and I don't want to buy a steadicam jr either. Online I found something called the poor mans steadicam. This guy gives a free tutorial on how to make them and he sells them online too for about 40 dollars. Has anyone here built or bought one of these and if so, how is it?
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Old May 16th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #2
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Have you looked at the plans and forums at homebuiltstabilizers?

http://homebuiltstabilizers.com/
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Old May 16th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #3
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I'm horrible with hands on stuff like that...I can't build anything. If someone would like to build me something though then that's another story.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Goldberg
I'm horrible with hands on stuff like that...I can't build anything. If someone would like to build me something though then that's another story.
Here's a link to the $14 Steadycam DIY or I think he offers it made for $45:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/
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Old May 16th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #5
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Yeah. I know. I just wanted to know if anyone here personall owns one and what they think of it.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Goldberg
Hello. I'm not ready to buy a real steadicam and I don't want to buy a steadicam jr either.
Yes, home built devices are an option, but let me suggest an alternative. One of the the key insights of the Steadicam design is lowering the center of gravity helps make the camera more stable. This is what all of these home-built devices are helping you do. If you don't want to build something, try what I did: purchase a monopod.

You can attach additional weight at the bottom if need be, depending on the weight of your camera. And some nice added benefits of a monopod is it will look good, they come in a range of prices, they can be used as they were originally intended, as a monopod, as a poor-person's steadicam by holding it it by the bar towards the top, and something I do with my HVR-A1U a lot is using it raise the camera high off the ground. One monopod, three uses.

A very affordable option is the Slik Monopod 300 (around $28 US) and I use a very similar model. A nicer step up would be the Bogen Manfrotto 681B Monopod (around $52 US) or even the fancier Bogen Manfrotto 685B NeoTec Monopod Deluxe (around $132 US), but for what I use it for, stabalizing the video camera as a "poor-person's" steadicam, it works just fine.

By the way, I suggest you experiment to see if you prefer to use it with or without the camera's image stabalization.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames
Yes, home built devices are an option, but let me suggest an alternative. One of the the key insights of the Steadicam design is lowering the center of gravity helps make the camera more stable. This is what all of these home-built devices are helping you do. If you don't want to build something, try what I did: purchase a monopod.

You can attach additional weight at the bottom if need be, depending on the weight of your camera. And some nice added benefits of a monopod is it will look good, they come in a range of prices, they can be used as they were originally intended, as a monopod, as a poor-person's steadicam by holding it it by the bar towards the top, and something I do with my HVR-A1U a lot is using it raise the camera high off the ground. One monopod, three uses.

A very affordable option is the Slik Monopod 300 (around $28 US) and I use a very similar model. A nicer step up would be the Bogen Manfrotto 681B Monopod (around $52 US) or even the fancier Bogen Manfrotto 685B NeoTec Monopod Deluxe (around $132 US), but for what I use it for, stabalizing the video camera as a "poor-person's" steadicam, it works just fine.

By the way, I suggest you experiment to see if you prefer to use it with or without the camera's image stabalization.

We are on the same wavelength. Those are the exact uses that I put my monopod to when shooting the stuff for DVINFO at NAB. Held it up over the crowd at the Red Booth, used it as a regular monopod for steadying regular shots, and held it at the top (no bottom weighting though) when shooting the walk around of the Silicon Imaging camera.

We also jokingly referred to it as a personal defense device when detached from the camera. So, in theory, 4 uses.

-gb-
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:52 PM   #8
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I collapse my tripod and pick it up just under the head with a circle formed by my thumb and forefinger, works like a champ...I'm running with an XL1s...yes, it's heavy, but I fence, so it's not too bad.

I carry it like a full cup of coffee.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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I actually built one of these - I wouldn't trust it enough to keep my camera on it. It also ended up costing about 30 bucks. I got the same results by using my tripod attached to my camera.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 09:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
I collapse my tripod and pick it up just under the head with a circle formed by my thumb and forefinger, works like a champ...I'm running with an XL1s...yes, it's heavy, but I fence, so it's not too bad.

I carry it like a full cup of coffee.
Same thing I do, and it works better than my 14$ selfmade steadycam.
I was experimenting a bit with this 'pick-up' method and I get the best result with the legs of my tripod spread, but not extended ( legs extended would make the handling more difficult )

Once I fixed kind of a cymbal ( a wheel for an office chair ) to the shaft of the tripod, but just picking it up like Cole still worked better.

However I did buy a 'foam like handle cover' with the diameter of my tripod's shaft and cut it so that I can slide it over the shaft. It gives a better grip and better absobtion of movements.

Still I am thinking to build a better stabilizer, but I wonder if they really would work better...
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