D.I.Y. Camera Stabilizer

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Working with limited funds, as a new filmmaker I have to either rent the tools I need or do without. But there are some tools you can’t afford to do without and some tools you have to OWN because you can’t afford to rent tools that you have to practice with.
I thought I could do without a stabilizer but I soon learned otherwise when I shot some handheld videos and saw the results, which were lots of shaking and instability. Good stabilizers are very expensive but there are some inexpensive ones out there.
Of these, the only one I’ve tried was one made by a company called Glide Gear that I bought off of Amazon. This contraption had a gimbal joint that I found too unstable and tricky to use so I returned it.

I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need a stabilizer but I knew I did so I eventually got the idea to go on Youtube and there I found a video that walked me through building my own stabilizer. You can find it here:


I got all of the parts yesterday from Home Depot for seven dollars and change and, except for a couple of holes I had to drill through a couple of pieces (pvc), no tools were needed and I had it fully assembled in under five minutes!

I mounted my Rebel T3 to it and took it on a test run, consisting of some panning shots, tilt shots, running, walking, and tracking shots.

My verdict?

It works!

It’s a fixed mount in that it doesn’t have a gimbal, which got me to thinking of how holding the camera in this contraption instead of hand-holding the camera lessened the vibration. I’m not a physics or math whiz but I believe that the basic principle is that the stabilizer decreases the size of the movement by increasing the distance of the hands from the camera.

Think of the camera as the axis from which the hands of a clock are projected. The size of the hand’s movement decreases from the tip towards the middle of the clock. Anyway, this is my theory on how this stabilizer works.

Here is a Youtube video for you to see for yourself;

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