Cranes are usually bigger than jibs, and they can carry not just the camera, but often the crewmembers operating it. Brian Peterson’s crane was designed to be robust and hearty, with a potential to upgrade and accessorize at a later date. Brian planned it with the length of his cargo needs and the extreme heights he expects his camera to achieve in mind.
Read the full article DYI Crane.
Welcome to the shop, for Videomaker I am Brian Peterson. Today, we're going to show you how to build your own camera crane. Now, a camera crane is probably used in just about every major motion picture you've seen, just about any time. It is the staple of big budget film production. And recently, since material costs and some very innovative designs have come out, the cost have come down overall so that even independent producers, anywhere from serious hobbyists to beginning pros, can afford to either build or buy their own crane.
What I'm gonna be showing you today is a design that I came up with after doing some research online, and I do want to give this quick disclaimer, I am not, I repeat, I am not an engineer or a designer. I just know what I wanted to have happen in the end and I think I came up with some good solutions. This is just one example. There are going to be plenty of other examples I'm gonna show you later in this tutorial that you can look at and take good pointers from.
So I just want to caution you at this point that if you are not familiar with how to work a hacksaw, a drill and using some elbow grease then you might want to reconsider buying your own. There are some very, very good designs out there and not all that expensive. Now, I'm assuming you're thinking about doing it yourself because you want to save some money. Well, the design I'm gonna show you today really costs, in the end, about $1,200.00. Now, I calculated that it was gonna cost closer to about $500.00, so you might be well advised to say just double your budget, that's usually a safe bet.
Now, I tend to work a little bit off paper and a little bit by just doing, so if that's the way you work you're going to be very comfortable with what I'm gonna show you today. Now, I've heard the term crane, jib, boom and arm used somewhat interchangeably. What is the difference? Well, from what I can gather there's not a heck of a lot other than size. A crane tends to be much bigger than a jib and it also can, not always but it can carry loads of one or even two people, say a cinematographer and a director. A jib normally will only carry the load of the camera itself. So I guess technically I should be calling what I'm building today a jib, but frankly I'm in this for making money professionally and when I put camera crane on the invoice it just looks better, so today it's gonna be a crane, tomorrow it might be a jib.
We're going to look at a lot of the details. I'm not gonna be doing a lot of the actual cutting and drilling. I'm gonna show you the results of all that work, but I will explain each part and why I came up with the solutions I did and hopefully they will make sense. Now, the best place to start one of these is going to be right at the drawing board, so let's start there.
All right, here we are at the drawing board. I'm gonna talk about two things. I'm gonna talk about function and design, the two really are very interrelated so what a great place to do that. Now, function, we're going to design one that if you take these two pieces of wood and pretend that they are the crane we're gonna build, here is the head, here is the arm. We're gonna build a type that does this, that allows us to keep, throughout the travel, the head level. This is the very, very basic type of crane and one that's the simplest to design.
Now, there are three other types. The second type would be a kind that allows you to actually tilt or go beyond the level. So if we were coming up not only would I stay level but if I wanted to tilt down, I could tilt down, tilt up. This is great if you're trying to track your talent, let's say if we were coming from below their hands or below their chin and the wanted to rise up and actually see the top of their head. Great design but not one we're gonna do today. A third is actually the type that does both the tilt and incorporates pan. Again, more complex, we're not going to be dealing with that today. The fourth is really related to the first, it is one that allows you to keep the platform level but has the addition of what's called remote or a hothead on the under-slung or over-slung mode. That is one that actually I plan on designing later but you don't have to do it at the same time. So all we're gonna deal with is actually the basic, keep it level.
All right, so what is a crane? The crane essentially is two things, it is a teeter-totter, there we go, we've got teeter-totter, and it is a parallelogram. There we go. Now, if you remember parallelograms from geometry, they are two pieces that are parallel to each other, in other words, this point or this point to this point and that point to that point are the same. The difference with this from another parallelogram is that they're hinged at these points and so they can move in that direction or in that direction. I created some nice Xs here.
So, this is what allows us to add the head and this head through connection to these points right here will, throughout the travel, I'm getting quite messy here now, stay level. So it's a teeter-totter, it's a parallelogram, it's both, two things in one, how about that. All right, so that's really all a crane is.
Now, when we design something it's important to put as much as we can on paper before actually starting to build. Now, if you're one of those kind of people that likes to design a little, build a little, design a little, build a little you're probably gonna end up spending a lot more money. How do I know this? Well, that's how I work, and so we're actually gonna kinda follow that methodology, but if you do work that way, rather than design everything, every nut and bolt and drill and hole on paper first, you need to think at least two steps ahead, otherwise you are gonna be having to recut and purchase new materials and that sort of thing. Believe me, learn from experience.
So, we're gonna work just from sketches and we're going to make cuts very carefully. As they say, measure twice, cut once. So the design is gonna remain simple. It's going to be a parallelogram with a head on it, and let's go to the next step.
Here we are back to a clean slate. Now, you want to ask yourself a few questions before actually calculating how big your crane needs to be. If you're gonna be using it primarily indoors, which is a somewhat limited application but maybe this is what you want to do, you really don't need to go all that big. Obviously most indoor ceilings are only eight feet high so you're not going to need to build all that much. But for most of us, we're going to be dealing with, or at least wanting to deal with outside shots, the kind of stuff that's gonna get up nice and high. Now, whether or not you need to actually get up to a second story or above a rooftop is really up to you, but try to think about what kind of shots you're going to be making.
The larger it is, the harder it is going to be to transport, so probably the first thing you want to do is actually measure the vehicle that you have and try to make it fit in your design. At least that's what I did and I found that really, really helped. Another thing to consider is are you going to be putting this together and setting it up on location by yourself or are you going to have help? Now, if you're going to do it by yourself, you really need to consider that in the materials. So instead of maybe making it out of steel, which is cheaper, you might want to spend a little bit more and actually invest in aluminum which you can handle all by yourself. It just makes everything a lot easier from schlepping it from the vehicle to the location. Sometimes they're right – not next to each other and you have to carry several pieces, aluminum is your friend at that point. So those are some of the considerations.
Now, in a standard vehicle, I found that I wanted to make seven-foot length, so I'm gonna – let's just say this is seven feet right here. So I was limited to that if I wanted to put everything inside. Now, how many seven-foot lengths would it take for me to say get up as high as I wanted to get? I figure I wanted to be at least 20, 21 feet or so because I do know of some shoots I have coming up where I need to get into the lowers bows of some high trees, and maybe even in some cases want to get above some trees in some orchards. So I figured I needed at least three of these sections, which would come to 21 feet. So from here to here is 21 feet in our design. Now, I need to be able to combine these three sections together easy enough, I need to make it quick, I need to make it strong, and in the construction phase, I'll show you how I solved that problem.
Now, the next thing we need to decide is where our fulcrum point is going to be. Now, this has a huge impact on how much weight you're going to be putting on both sides. Now, if this was right in the middle, which it never would be because that would be an extremely inefficient use of all of our length here, we could get away with, let's say, five pounds on this side if we have a very light camera. We could equal it out with just five pounds on that side. Really not – any crane, I've never seen a crane that is purely a teeter-totter. What you normally have is one that is further on down the line here. So we're going to erase this and actually come up with something more realistic.
Now, the other thing is, you need to think about how much weight you want carry around with you as well in designing this. The last consideration in designing this is how tall your tripod is going to be, how high is your point at which you're going to be putting this on, because this backend here, let's say this is the height of your tripod, needs to be able to come down, just say at least 60 degrees or so. So we might want to measure down 60 degrees and make sure that your tripod can stably hold that weight of everything up here at the same time. So let's say this is five feet, so this is gonna be five feet. I'm gonna put this right there.
And for the sake of argument, I'm going to now – no, actually we're gonna keep this right there. We're gonna say this is gonna round up to 20 feet. So let's say we're at now 20, not 21. I did the math and mine is at 20, but ours is gonna be at 20. So if this is at 5 feet, we have got a remaining 15 feet here. So 15 feet from here to here, 20 feet overall. All right, so we've got 5 and 15. So what we have now is a relationship of three-to-one. Let's see if I can make this happen about right. So we have three units to one unit. So this is gonna be our fulcrum point.
So the way that we want to calculate this, let's say we have a load on this end of – let's just round up with everything on it including the head and the camera, let's say we've got 15 pounds, no, actually let's say 10 just for my brainpower here, calculating things on the fly. Now, we're gonna need – let's start with 10 pounds here to equalize the two. If we were in the middle, 10 and 10 would neutralize everything, so let's just start from this point, 10 and 10. We need to add to this 10 three units of the same weight. So we have 10, 20, 30. So we now have 30 plus 10, so that's 40 pounds that we need on the end. That's actually a pretty good ratio. You can – the further you move this back, of course, the more weight that you're going to need right here.
All right, so this is how we, at least on paper or on the drawing board, calculate the raw material that we're going to need, where we're going to need to place it, where we're going to make our cuts because we know the length of our vehicle. So given that let's move on to the next step.
Now that you have a rough idea of what kind of crane you want to build, it would be a really good opportunity now to look at other examples of what other folks have done online. One of the wonderful resources I ran into online is homebuiltstabilizers.com, no www, just homebuiltstabilizers.com, and here we've got jibs and cranes, and as you can see, quite a number of examples of very innovative designs using all sorts of different materials and capacities, lift capacities and I would highly recommend looking at any one of these or lots of them.
Just, let's look at one in particular. This first one right here shows several pictures of the component parts, even some of the bearing systems. Let's click on this one and take a look how he's actually done some welding of a little plate and put a sealed bearing on the inside here. So, this probably is a very fluid, very smooth crane. And that's one of the things that's really hard to get a sense of, though, is how smooth is smooth. Well, you can never be too accurate on your tolerances, bearings are always a great idea. My design will actually be a little bit simpler, and I believe very, very stable.
Now, the next thing you're going to need to know is where to get some of the aluminum that you need if, in fact, you're going the route of aluminum. You may have a resource in your hometown. If you don't, as I didn't, I had to go to onlinemetals.com, and here you can go look for the type of aluminum you want. If it's angle, I happened to use a little bit of I beam and a little bit of square tube. So if you wanted it, you can just go here, look at the dimensions, the interior, exterior, the wall thickness, all of that, order it. Shipping, yeah, it's gonna cost you a little bit but you will get exactly what you want. So again, onlinemetals.com, great resource for majority of your materials, if you're building out of aluminum.
Next place to go is mscdirect, that's www1, the number 1, .mscdirect.com. Here you'll see bearing types, and I went with what's called an oil impregnated bronze bearing. It doesn't look like a bearing, it looks just like a piece of round rod, in fact that's what it is, but these are bronze, bronze is a very good self-lubricating metal, believe it or not. It's used as bushings in actually older vehicles, it was. But it makes a great bearing surface for very slow, high-load or heavy-weight items. So since we're not gonna be spinning this thing around and around and around, we're just gonna be rotating it about this axis, you know, halfway, maybe not even that, so I just wanted something that was gonna be very smooth and would support a load very easily with no really worries about friction or bearing noise. And bearings, even if they're good bearings, ball bearings, that is, they do tend to have a little slop, so I like the oil impregnated bushings right here. So that is one place, that is mscdirect.com.
And one of the last places here is smallparts.com, and that's www.smallparts.com. Why do I like this place? Well, it just has bunches of small parts, and primarily it's got these cool knobs that you really can't find, at least it seems, anywhere else. So if you want to have some nice knobs that will give your setup, make it a little bit easier, go to smallparts.com. All right, so there are some of the online resources, you now have places to go and hopefully you'll be able to get everything you need in these few places.
So let's start from the ground up. The very first thing to consider is your base, and in this case it is a Bogan 30-61. Now, it really doesn't matter what you use as a base, the tripod is a great tool to use if you can find one that's heavy enough and strong enough to withstand the loads. Now, of course, you probably have a rough idea from the calculations that we just made about how much weight you're going to have. The design that I've built with the aluminum, the head, everything except the camera itself, comes to about 81, 82 pounds. So that's not too much to put on this tripod.
Now, when you start adding all the weight, and for my design it comes to about 100 pounds, that brings it up to 180 pounds, so you're talking the weight of a full-grown man. I'm 6'1", about that, and I know I could definitely hang out on this and it wouldn't budge. Now, there are a couple of modifications, actually there are three modifications I made to this, the leg portion, and I'll show you each of those in turn.
The very first, I wanted to make sure that I could shoot in all conditions outside, and there are a couple of shoots that I had to do in the winter, and the ground was kind of soft. So as you can tell, if I were to use just these legs and threw 200 pounds on top of this and I needed to make sure this thing was absolutely leveled at all times, I might be in trouble. So what I came up with was a design that did two things, I came up with using weights. These are 35-pound barbell weights, and well, they're 35 pounds, they're not light, that's kinda the idea, and I designed it so that each leg would go and rest in the hole and that's why I've got, as you can see, I have pegs that go all the way through, and these rest on top of the hole. We'll do a close-up here in just a second.
Also, I designed a cable system right here that allows you to hook in to the top, so not only does it keep the tripod from squishing in, the weight around this hook prevents it from lifting up as well. So those two things were very important to me, again, just thinking safety, that it didn't sink and it didn't tilt. So combined, we've got 35, 35, 35, that's 105 pounds, that at least gives a little bit of support. Plus with the ridges on the weights themselves, I can add 35-pound sandbags in each one of those. So as you can see, things are starting to add up in terms of weight. You could even use water jugs if you wanted to fill those up on location so that you didn't have to actually move the weights themselves. That's one way to go around it.
The last thing that I did here was design a spreader system that both kept the legs spread out and kept – or kept them from splaying out and then collapsing in on each other. If this thing were to tilt up, you could see, these things would collapse in on each other. So let's take a look at what those look like. So let's remove each one of the pins here that will retain the spreader system. Put these down here.
Now, I'm gonna assemble the spreader system first, and what this consists of are three bars, one straight, two bent, and a stiffener. Now, each one of these will fit in here, and I'm gonna assemble this first and then move the legs to fit the spreader system. It's just easier to put it together on the ground, that way everything fits together real easy the first time, otherwise I'm fighting with the legs and that's never fun. So I've got, one side is threaded and then two are free. So I'm gonna work the free in first, and there we go. And this is probably the thing that actually takes the longest to fit in just right there. Because I was working with tolerances that were fairly tight and I wanted to make sure that I didn't have anything that was slipping around.
And again, not knowing what wind conditions were going to be like or the ground conditions were going to be like. I think I said before, I tend to overbuild rather than under-build, primarily because I just don't know what is gonna be strong enough. So here we are, there we've got our spreader that will both keep things from spreading out and squishing in. So let's go ahead and stick these in place. So there we go, we have a very strong, almost untippable system.
Now, let's go ahead and attach the feet, and I'll show you how the screw works to secure the top end in. Now, I've numbered these legs and I've numbered the weight so that I make sure that I fit them both together, because there are minor variations in the way that I put things together, so in this case it just makes setup go a little bit quicker.
So I have a hole drilled and threaded right here, and then I have one of these handy screws that I got from one of my online retailers. And the thing with aluminum is, you just really want to be careful about cross-threading. Now, I have these things fitting fairly tight, which is exactly what I want to do, but I also want to make sure that I don't cross-thread, so I want to be very careful about getting just enough here. Soon as I can feel –soon as I have the correct threads going in, that's when I'm gonna start going. Now, I'm playing to the camera a little bit, I probably should be on this side because that's how I would normally do it, and there we go.
Now, especially with thin-walled aluminum, it's critical that you don't cross-thread, because you only get one shot at it and the way to fix that, of course, would be to have to come up with a larger bolt and retap the threads. So there we go. We have something that both prevents this from sinking into anything, it's a large enough padded surface. It looks kinda like a lunar lander, wouldn't you say? And it also prevents, if I were to tilt this, you know, this does slide a little bit 'cause this is a smooth surface, but put a little weight on here and you've got a really secure surface that isn't gonna squish or lift.
Now, another important feature is the head itself. I wanted to support this. As you can see, there is just two locking knobs right now, which is totally adequate for the weight of a camera, locking that down, making that secure, but since I'm not going to be using this for the tilt mechanism, I'm actually going to be making my own head as I'll show you in a moment, I wanted to make sure that it doesn't tilt this way, that would be very bad because I'm actually going to be having the head work this way and the tilting is going to be on this axis right here. So as you can see, I wouldn't want this to flop side to side.
So to do this, I've created just some stiffeners, this is two pieces of metal with a hole through it, tapped on one side and slid through on the other, and I'm just gonna put this at two points that seem to be logical to me, one right in the back here. And that locks down, that just stays there because I am going to slide this other one into place, and as you'll see, it stiffens things up. Put one in here, and I'm gonna come around so I can actually see what I'm doing. It's almost more by feel. And again, measuring becomes very important because you can tell, these are tolerances within, you know, several thousandths. Try, if you can, to get away from the idea that a 16th of an inch is okay because it really isn't. All right, so I've got that locked in there.
So, now, even with these down, this thing is not going more than just a few thousandths of an inch one way or the other. Now, of course, I am going to lock these down, and one last thing that I did here is that – well, I probably could have shown you this when I was moving, I scribed a very, very small line right in here, which is going to help me keep level each time, because there is a little bit of play there. So I'm gonna line that up with my scribe mark, lock that down, there we go, and lock the other side down. And now these supports are here just for safety, really shouldn't need them but it's a good thing to have them there just in case.
One more area that we need to show you is down on the legs. I wanted to make sure that the legs didn't slide. Let me show you down here. Where I've got just a hose clamp, and this is butted up to the very bottom of where the leg slips in here. I still have these locked down very, very tight, but this hose clamp gives us just a little bit more security, and if for some reason this got knocked or something in transport or if I forgot to make sure that these were locked down tight, this would give me that added security of again, not moving, very important.
Now let's talk about the head assembly. This plate right here is a fine plate but it's not what we're gonna be using, so let's go ahead and set that aside. And the design that I came up with is nondestructive, in other words, I didn't have to do any severe modification to this head so that I could still use it as a regular tripod, plus it has some nice dovetailed grooves in here, which, if designed correctly, a nice custom head would fit perfectly and that's exactly what we have here, is just two pieces of 1 inch by 4 inch hollow rectangle tube. This is out of steel, this is not aluminum because I wanted to weld this and be very, very strong. So this is one of the heavier components, but again, it's in the middle so it really doesn't add to the balance ratio.
And then I just took a small piece of quarter-inch steel plate and then made the dovetail fit exactly as it does right here. As you can see, the dovetail fits that mate right in there, so that when I slide in and I have a notch put in here to meet the notch over here, slides in, and hopefully the temperature hasn't changed, so it slides. Open that up a little bit more and that slides in and locks into place, that comes down. And so you can see, we have a nice fit that both keeps it from lifting up, which I can't imagine what would happen to make it lift up, but lateral shift is negligible and it is a very, very tight fit. So as you can see now, we've got tight fits all the way around.
So, now let's talk a little bit about the bearings in place here. Let's turn it around, all the way over here so we can see a bit better. These are the bronze bearings I was talking to you about when we were talking about the different places to purchase these, and they are oil impregnated, so the under-load actually allows some of the oil to squeeze out of them and when they're not under-load, the oil actually gets sucked back into em, kinda like a sponge but a lot harder.
Now, I designed these so that pins pull straight out and that these come out fairly easily, but there is some resistance here because I wanted these to be very, very tight, so the tolerances are very, very minimal. I'm not sure exactly what they are but they're tight. And these felt pads will, as you see in the assembly phase, fit around the aluminum tube that fits right in here.
Now, let me show you the bushing or the bearing themselves. These are also made of bronze and they are also oil impregnated so that the fit, very, very tight, slides right into place and then as you can see, over on this side there is a hole that allows me to put a couple of plates. Now, I use nylon washers against metal, so I don't have any metal against metal, which quiets things down. It is possible for this to get bumped or something during a shot. I just don't want any sound coming from anywhere that I don't want it to be coming from, so I just use nylon bushings between them. So there we go, we have a fairly tight fit and in assembly we'll show you how that works.
Up to here, same kind of thing. We have the pin and that pops out. We have a couple washers. Now a little bit different here, I have a handle which allows me to do a couple things. I'm gonna show you a close-up on that handle. So you can see, this is a threaded shaft right here, and I had that custom done over at a machine shop, so it was just the metal rod and then the shaft itself, goes into a threaded handle. And this one's made out of steel versus plastic and brass because I wanted to be able to really crank this down.
So the idea is that I can slide this into place when I have my metal teeter-totter in place, slide it in. As you can see, I don't have these secured, they're just a somewhat tight fit. And then once in place, and bushings here, I can crank this down, and actually create some tension on the top here so that if need be, I could actually give some braking action to slow the actual rate of travel up and down. Works very, very well, and as you'll see, the mating bushings on the inside keep it very, very smooth and very, very quiet. All right, there is the head and there is the tripod. Now, let's move on to the arm portion of the crane.
Here is the arm portion of the crane. They are three sections of 2 by 4 aluminum, box aluminum, and they're actually fairly light. I think these are only about, oh, eight pounds or so each, maybe ten pounds. Fairly light. Shipping, unfortunately, is pretty tough, so do look around in your area to see if you have a metal supply shop that carries this type of aluminum. You'd be very lucky if you did but it's certainly worth trying.
This is the main arm right here. As you'll see, this is the center or pivot point. These are two bronze oil impregnated bearings that mate with the ones on the axle that we showed you in the head. On top here I have a hole threaded quarter-inch coarse thread that fits into the I beam that I'll show you here in a moment. And then on top here, I have a sliding – well, sliding scale, it's kinda like a scale that you see in the doctor's office, it just allows this five-pound weight to move up and forth. If I want it to be a little front heavy, I'll put it forward, if I want it neutral, somewhere in the middle, and if I want it rear heavy, put it in the back a little bit. Just a nice way to do some finessing. Sometimes I have different cameras and this really helps adjust that way without having to just strap things on there. So that's nice to have.
On the very end I have a hole, and I've actually reinforced this with quarter-inch plate aluminum and had this portion welded and it's on both sides, and on there goes the weight bar. I'll come around and show you what that looks like. So as you can see, we have a space and it's nice and thick right there. So I'm gonna take one end off here. I want to show you these pieces in just a moment. So this piece right here just keeps the bar from sliding back and forth, and I have a hole that this mates with, so I just slide that in. And then rubber bushings right here, again, keep the weights from clanking around which is a very good thing. Well, now I got to find my hole. And then a pin that just slides right in there, and there it is, slide the pin in, and find it on the other side, there we go. Now we have that fine.
Now, this rattles around a bit as it is, but when I have weights on there, the pressure applied on both sides keeps this locked down very, very good. So obviously we'll be using larger weights, but as you can see, these slide right on with no problem and then these just screw on very quickly. A very, very simple method. Now, this bar right here is nothing more than a very, very inexpensive weight – I got this at a weight supply store or a used weight supply store, actually, that's the best place to get it, and then did a little bit of modification. These sections right in here had a ring around it and I just took a grinder and ground it down. So hopefully you can get access to a grinder, if not, it would be a lot of filing, but at least this way you're able to slide it in without making too large of a hole. All right, so that's that side. Let's turn it around and I'll show you the I beam which is required to put this whole thing together.
I beam, as you can see, it looks just like an I, fairly long, it has a hole in it too. This hole matches with this hole, slides right in, and I'll show you how that works. This down there. Now, with aluminum, I'm gonna stick this on here so it doesn't slide back and forth, you have to be very careful about keeping it clean, and I make sure that these are very, very clean, and I usually have a dust rag that I put inside to make sure that there's no dust in here because aluminum is very, very soft, and believe it or not, you can cut aluminum almost like you can a hard wood, you just make sure everything going very slow here, drills and your saws. And when you're putting things together, you want to make sure you never force aluminum, it does not like to be forced. So I'm just kinda letting it find its place right here. This is a tight fit and it wouldn't take much to jamb it up.
And now, I've also drawn a line that represents exactly where this lines up here so I don't have to hunt for those holes, so that's lined up right there. Come around the back. And then I have on top, as you can see, the holes right here line up and then this just screws into place. Then we just do this two more times, I have two more seven-foot sections that slide on, screw in, slide on, screw in. So that is the arm.
Now, let's take a look at the head. Here is the head assembly, and it might look a little complex but it really is very, very simple. All we have is a flat surface right here, this is eighth-inch thick aluminum and two sides and a couple of stiffeners and spacers right here. These spacers were made to match the outside dimension of the lower arm and the upper arm, the arm that we just took a look at and the arm I'll show you in just a moment.
Now, again, the same kind of pin system with nylon washers, bronze bearings and slightly different type of handle on this one. This is actually larger than it needs to be, but one thing, like I said earlier, I tend to design a little, build a little. I really didn't know exactly how much extra room I was going to want to put accessories on there, and since it's going to have a hothead later, I just didn't know what I was going to need. I'll probably trim this down a little bit more so that I can angle things a little bit more. This just has a hole in the middle for a very small head, very, very light head. This is actually is a very inexpensive Bogan head, and again, some nylon washers. A bolt comes through the bottom, that secures there, and very simple.
Now, one of the things that you will find, most likely, in your design, is that even though you try very hard, you probably won't be able to design it so that everything is perfectly level, and that's why using a small shim like this will help level out some of the inconsistencies of your design. So this shim, as you can see, is just tapered a little bit here with a notch and you just take the loosened head and slide it underneath. So if this happens to be leaning a little bit that way, this just gives a little bit of correction in that direction. Plus you can rotate this around any way you want, keep the head where you need it. So if it's back a little bit, to the left, loosen this up a little bit. So it's really a good device to have when things just don't work perfectly. All right, there you have the head. I think it's time that we go outside and actually start putting some of this together.
Here we are outside ready to set everything up. The one thing I didn't cover because it really needs to be covered on location, is leveling the head. Now, this is incredibly important because if the head is out of level, as you can see, we're gonna get some pretty severe tipping action going, so it's important to have it level on all axes. So I'm gonna loosen the knob down below, and as you can see, I can move this in all directions. I have two line levels, I'm gonna put one over here and one on the side.
And once I get those both lined up, I know I am good. Good over there, pretty good over there, and it's kind of a constant battle, a little bit of back and forth, that looks good. So when we are lined up on both axes, lock it down good, and there we go. I'm gonna make sure that these are tight and I'm gonna rotate this around just to make sure that I've got level on both, all the way around, and those look good. All right, so we're good there, we're level.
I'm gonna start doing the assembly and just for ease, I'm gonna probably speed this up so you don't have to go through the whole thing. Normal setup time with even pulling everything out of the vehicle, setting up takes about 20 minutes. Let's see how many seconds we can do it in fast mode.
Okay, there you go, that was a pretty standard setup, maybe a little quicker than I usually do. Now, of course, that's all fine and dandy, but actually how do the shots look? Well, actually I'm very pleased with how smooth and how stable the shots can get. Even in a little bit of wind this seems to hold its own. I was able to get away without having to use guide wires or cables on the side because the metal itself is so robust. If I had a heavier camera, I would probably consider putting on a top wire at least, but so far, everything seems to be pretty stable. But, of course, you got to take a look and see what it looks like, so let's do a couple shots.
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