Info on building a body-mounted steady cam

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    • #39707
      Avatarbrandon0409
      Participant

      From the title you can see that I wish to find out more about DIY steady cams. To start, I already know about the $14 DIY steadycam. I have done that and built it. And actually, it cost about $30 with parts from Lowes.

      I was to know if anyone has some specs on the full-body harness steady-cam. Like ones always advertised in the Videomaker magazine. You guy know what I’m talking about. The one with the hot girl wearing the steadycam.

      I am currently trying to draw up my own blue prints to build my own but some pre-made specs would be a helpful resource so that I don’t have to do so much trial and error.

      Thanks.

      Once I get it all done, I will share the final product and specs with the online community.

    • #171364
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      I’m looking right now. As an avid Glidecam user I would love to build something like this.
      Here’s a bit of info I found that may be useful: http://www.cartala.com/steadicam_schematics.pdf

      For those of you who haven’t seen the $14 deal here it is: http://makezine.com/01/stabilizer/index.csp?page=last&x-maxdepth=0

      And another one: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/

      Here’s an image of the parts for a body-pod type thing:

      This one is a bit more complex:

      And even more complex:

      Here’s more info on that last one:
      http://www.dvcity.com/

      And finally, the one I want:

      Fishbone

      A rough schematic of that one: (cut and paste url)

      http://fishboneusa.com/images/Products/XTR700/XTR-700A%20Model%20(1).pdf

    • #171365
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      Wow, looking at those, that looks like such a simple idea. Add a bit of counter balance so the camera section keeps the camera on top for you, and inertia does the rest! I’m actually going to the hardware store tomorrow to grab some stuff for a project around the house I have to help my dad with (as well as buy some stuff for a DIY boom and possibly a DIY figrig and/or dolly system). I might just have to look around for some good parts to use with this. The hardest thing to find will simply be the springs making sure you get the right strength springs.

      Very interesting indeed.

    • #171366
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      It looks like the spring can be adjusted on that fishbone one. It’s probably essential to have an adjustment for that to get the balance right.
      If you can make one of these that would be awesome. $3500 is a bit too much for me to go out and buy one when the parts probably cost a relatively small amount. Let me know what you come up with!

      I made a track dolly a while back. It works great and is collapsible for transporting. I’ll try to find the drawings I did fot it if you are interested.

    • #171367
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately. What I’m confused about is, besides the added flexability of a longer arm, what is the main advantage of having two shock sections (not really sure what to call these) in the arm? Like, the first pic you show simply has one, and the second pic has two. Does that make it just that much more stable and smooth?

      Also, homebuiltstabalizers.com (click on ‘full rig’ link) has some great pictures about this stuff.

    • #171368
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      The basics of a stedicam is quite simple. Image a stick with a gyro style handle attached about half way down. The gyro will allow the stick to bend in any direction (like a gaming joystick). Put a camera on top of the stick and a weight at the bottom. The trick is to have just the right amount of weight. Too much weight and you created a pendulum, to little and the camera tips over.

      Instead of adding weight, move the handle up closer to the camera. As you move around, the jerky motion is mostly lost in the gyro handle. I will admit, balancing is difficult. With these basics in mind, anyone could build a stedicam.

    • #171369
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      The support system is a bit more complicated though. In order to have the full steadicam package, you need to be able to support the camera with your body while you move around and keeping it steady at the same time.

    • #171370
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      Well, I’ve been doing a little bit of more searching around on this stuff. To answer my own question, it seems like the higher quality ones that have the two shock segments in the arm are for a few reasons. First, it does help keep it smoother, as you now have more of the arm able to move with little motion. Secondly, it allows the camera operator a bit easier time to move the camera up or down, should he/she choose to do so. And the last reason is, it allows for the arm to extend further from your body if you want the camera further away (and since the arm is longer, we might as well use that segment of arm as another shock segment, hence the two).

      Now, I read one idea, during my google searching, that using those extendable arms for a desklight will work, assuming you put a heavy enough spring in there. Supposedly, Peter Jackson did this to save money. What do you guys think about this? Trying to hold 20-25 pounds it seems like those arms wouldn’t be strong enough. Also, those things aren’t really meant to be constantly moving, and I don’t think they have any bearings or anything, so it seems like this isn’t really worth the cheapness. What do you guys think?

      I’m still not really sure what I would build this with. Cody Deegan (CodyDeegan.com) sells plans to build one for 35 dollars. He says that for his ‘low budget’ version, it costs about 100 dollars for the aluminum and about 300 dollars for the other hardware and that you should either talk to a machine shop or have the tools yourself because you will be bending aluminum and should be drilling with a drill press. I feel like I could do it a bit cheaper than that, though, if I just had a few hours to spend at Home Deopt and other hardware stores looking around for what kinds of aluminum pieces they sell.

      Forgot to mention, I’ve seen a lot of people using rollerblade wheel bearings. One set of pictures I saw, actually had a whole rollerblade wheel in the sled pole to be used for the gimbal. I’m not so keen on that idea as then you can’t move the gimbal up and down the pole, but I think the rollerblade wheel bearings are a great idea for fairly cheap bearings for the arms of the rig!
      Also, people said that metal crutches can make great/light poles as well (made out of high-strength and very light weight aluminum).

    • #171371
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Maybe, just maybe, you’re looking in the wrong direction.
      I’ve been thinking, that if you took a plaster mold off a cd, melted some lead and created a metal disc (three actually)
      inserted the discs into cheap cd players (or old disc drives if you get your discs laser cut from steel) and mounted three such players on three diferent axis as gyroscopes……

    • #171372
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      ;0) Wrote:

      Maybe, just maybe, you’re looking in the wrong direction.
      I’ve been thinking, that if you took a plaster mold off a cd, melted some lead and created a metal disc (three actually)
      inserted the discs into cheap cd players (or old disc drives if you get your discs laser cut from steel) and mounted three such players on three diferent axis as gyroscopes……

      Hmmm…this is a really interesting idea. Cant say that I have the tools to try it but if you do, let me know! πŸ˜€

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