Introduction: Homemade 'Easyrig' Overhead Camera Support

This device is an overhead camera support system that is designed to transfer the weight of the video camera from your arms and shoulders to your hips. The rig is basically an overhead arm that you attach the camera to. The other end of the arm is attached to your back by way of a backpack or dedicated brace..

The commercially-made equivalent is an effective device, but at over $1000, it's well out of the reach of most hobbyists, me included. So I decided to make my own with parts I had at home.

Step 1: The Parts You'll Need

 My Homemade Overhead Camera Support is made up of just a few parts. and in my case, most were recycled and FOP (Found on Property).

1. Laptop-type Backpack - The type that has a separate sleeve area for a laptop. Mine's an STM.
2. Straight pole - salvaged from a kid's wading pool.
3. Curved pole - Salvaged from the same pool.
4. Base section - Piece of wood roughly the same size as a laptop.
5. 2 x Hoop Brackets and screws - Same diameter as the straight pole
6. 1 x Threaded hook.
7. Some type of strap to hold your camera - Mine was salvaged from a old babckpack.

Optional
- Hook packing. I've used old bike innertubing.
- Pipe joiner bolt. Not needed if you use a one-piece pipe

Step 2: Building the Overhead Camera Support

Building the Overhead Camera Support is a matter of simple assembly.

1. Attach straight pole to board using the hoop brackets. You may need to put some packing under the bracket to ensure a tight fit.
2. Drill and attach the camera hook to the end of the curved pole.
3. Attach the curved pole to the straight pole.
4. Slide the Rig into the backpack and zip up.
5. Put on the backpack and adjust.
6. Attach the strap to camera. 
7. Attach the camera to the hook and adjust if needed.

Use and enjoy!

Step 3: Using the Rig

Using the Homemade Overhead Camera Support is very easy, and best of all, very comfortable. All the weight of the camera is transferred down to your hips, leaving you to concentrate on keeping the camera pointed and steady. 

This rig is really designed for static shooting and I found it bounced when I walked. But that wouldn't be any different on the commercial version. The main difference between built and bought is that you have to manually adjust the height of the camera, but that's no real hassle when you consider the price advantage.

The Homemade Overhead Camera Support is great for extended shooting without a tripod, and is far more portable. 

My rig is shown here next to the commercially-available version. Hope you enjoyed this Instructable.

Comments

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SobermanRu made it! (author)2016-10-19

I've done almost the same, but simplier=) One tripod Manfrotto + rope + backpack = easyrig )))

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GraceA17 made it! (author)2016-02-16

We built something similar! Comfortable, durable, and half the cost of the big commercial products. Check out: www.aviatorrig.com

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eGadgetGuy made it! (author)2015-09-11

doesn't the commercial version have a cable that pulls down and is loaded to kill up and down movement?

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2015-09-12

I think it's more of an adjustment than a movement dampener. The rig is more to save your back and shoulders rather than to stop camera movement when walking about. Great for sports shooting and places where you can't place a tripod.

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exekiel23 made it! (author)2011-08-04

You could ADD some WEIGHT at the bottom to make the camera more stable. :)

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Chhun Heng Heang made it! (author)2011-01-26

the great of designed ! i will do it 1 !

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davidturner666 made it! (author)2010-01-13

You could possibly add in something to stop the camera bouncing up and down so much, im not entirely sure how but someone around might know.
Or you could always get a video camera with the movement canceler.

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mortonc made it! (author)mortonc2010-07-27

I would reccomend suspending the camera between bungee.

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-14

I've found that standing still is the best solution so far. ;)

At the end of the day, it's a great rig for relieving back strain and it's just about a substitute for a tripod.

The concept is really suited to "move, stop, shoot", and honestly, unless you can walk like a ninja, it won't replace a steadicam rig.

I've found that the biomechanics mean that your 'bum' will move the camera up and down no matter what you do. :)

Hope this helps.


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mitchell931993 made it! (author)mitchell9319932010-01-26

 what if you replace the belt holding the camera with some stretcy material of soem kind? or even find some weakishspings

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-26

 I think it would just bounce.

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mortonc made it! (author)2010-07-27

which one is which? Can you add a video with and without the rig please? Thanks.

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dac01220 made it! (author)2010-04-05

 Yours looks much better!

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broken_to_fix made it! (author)2010-03-13

 cool but i got the one on a car like thing you know the one they use in the movies and it can extend and do all sorts of trick its wicked

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mitchell931993 made it! (author)2010-01-26

 yeah i thought thas what they were using it for lol

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-26

 Sort of. A traditional Steadicam is all about letting you walk, whereas this rig is more about replacing a tripod and taking the stress away from your arms and neck.

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ehmbee made it! (author)2010-01-10

Nice 'ible. I am going to try this, however I'm going to use a back brace I kept after a spinal injury-It's just collecting dust...I'm thinking it will work as well as this and maybe even look like pro-grade equipment when I'm done.  If it works, I'll post an 'ible on it. Very cool!

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-10

A back brace is a brilliant idea! I'm going to look up medical salvage companies in my local area and see if I can score some. Fantastic!

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ehmbee made it! (author)ehmbee2010-01-10

They do show up at your local thrift from time to time as well, give them a try.

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M4industries made it! (author)2010-01-09

 I wouldn't trust my construction abilities on this project with my $1600 camcorder.

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berky93 made it! (author)berky932010-01-09

You could just attach a long strap (long enough to wear it while using the rig) to your camera just in case your handywork fails...

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-09

Exactly.  The more professionally orientated version of the commercial variant has a safety strap in case of catastrophic failure. 

A dog leash would probably do it. :)

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berky93 made it! (author)berky932010-01-10

Definitely. If it can hold back a 300 pound dog (I have seen some MASSIVE dogs...) it can support a 20 pound camera. And most people don't even have a 20 pound camera. They have 2 pound cameras. or 1 pound cameras. either way, youre good.

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-09

Hehe. I hear you.

Used it last night for the first time last night at a muscle car rally, and it was astounding. Most of the shots were static interviews or pans and portraits so it suited the rig. My back and neck were ache-free after 3 hours shooting. And the shots came out great.

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Koosie made it! (author)2010-01-07

Hey, I'm sure this can be Jerry-rigged to hold a laptop slightly lower.

Awesome! Now I can get some exercise!

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=SMART= made it! (author)=SMART=2010-01-09

Hahahaha

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-07

Add a longer strap, four bungie cables and a TV tray table and you're done!! Perfect on the train!!  :)

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stephenniall made it! (author)2010-01-08

Im going to build one out of Pvc pipe With a Add for a shotgun mic

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AngryRedhead made it! (author)2010-01-07
Clever!  Did you see the poles from the paddling pool and think, "EUREKA!  EASYRIG!"?  I hope you did because that would make it double amazing.

I don't see how this transfers weight to your hips specifically but rather generally to your core?  Either way it works.  Arms weren't meant to stay extended for long periods of time.
 
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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-07

 Sorry to disappoint, the pool parts were in the 'general handy things' section of my shed. 

I originally took the hips reference from the info supplied with the commercial version, but I reckon it sits true. The weight seems to be based around the lower strap of the backpack, slung under my belly in my case.

As such, movement in that area pivots the whole device during walking causes vertical bounce. So it's essentially a static rig.

Whatever the case, it is soooooo comfortable to use. And you can leave the tripod at home.

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shootfilm made it! (author)2010-01-07

 I wonder if you could hang a strong spring from the top bar, then hang the camera from the spring?  That would help dampen out bounce and let you do some serious moving around.

Love this idea; great post!

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-07

 It's possible to maybe dampen some of the bounce, I think maybe I may need to practice my 'charm-school' walk a bit more.

The mad-scientist in me wants to attach a double cantilevered steadicam arm between overhead arm and the camera, but I may be over-thinking it. Hehe.

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jdtwelve12 made it! (author)2010-01-07

Nice work!  Some suggestions that might reduce bounce: 1. Stiffen the top arm, perhaps with a diagonal brace.  2. Consider attaching a weight below the camera, via the tripod mount, to help dampen the energy of walking.

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-07

 The bounce in my case is the result of belly movement as part of natural gait, it kind of pivots the whole device on an axis as I walk. I've found the best solution is not to walk, then it's stunning.

I've briefly tried a bungie cord and that seemed dampen things slightly. The is movement exactly vertical , so I'm unsure as to whether a counterweight would help, just add weight. In essence, the camera already serves as a counterweight.

But now it's built I'll try all the suggestions, maybe even a laptop cradle!!

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theRIAA made it! (author)2010-01-06

very nice job! but where'd you get the mannequin? 

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Icedvovo made it! (author)Icedvovo2010-01-06

 Borrowed the mannequin from a friend who uses him for medical simulation training. I actually want my own now.

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AngryRedhead made it! (author)AngryRedhead2010-01-07
I also want a mannequin or rather a dress form.  Palay Display has them for pretty cheap.  Dress Forms and Mannequins.