Instructables

Homemade 'Easyrig' Overhead Camera Support

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Picture of 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.

 
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Step 1: The Parts You'll Need

Picture of The Parts You'll Need
backpack.jpg
 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

Picture of Building The Overhead Camera Support
hooptop.jpg
poleonboard.jpg
attachhook.jpg
polejoiner.jpg
finishedloose.jpg
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fitting02.jpg
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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!

exekiel232 years ago
You could ADD some WEIGHT at the bottom to make the camera more stable. :)
the great of designed ! i will do it 1 !
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.
I would reccomend suspending the camera between bungee.
Icedvovo (author)  davidturner6664 years ago
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.


 what if you replace the belt holding the camera with some stretcy material of soem kind? or even find some weakishspings
Icedvovo (author)  mitchell9319934 years ago
 I think it would just bounce.
mortonc4 years ago
which one is which? Can you add a video with and without the rig please? Thanks.
dac012204 years ago
 Yours looks much better!
 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
scottysmo884 years ago
You could probably modify this to make a steadicam.
 yeah i thought thas what they were using it for lol
Icedvovo (author)  mitchell9319934 years ago
 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.

ehmbee4 years ago
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!
Icedvovo (author)  ehmbee4 years ago
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!
ehmbee Icedvovo4 years ago
They do show up at your local thrift from time to time as well, give them a try.
 I wouldn't trust my construction abilities on this project with my $1600 camcorder.
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...
Icedvovo (author)  berky934 years ago
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. :)
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.
Icedvovo (author)  M4industries4 years ago
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.
Koosie4 years ago
Hey, I'm sure this can be Jerry-rigged to hold a laptop slightly lower.

Awesome! Now I can get some exercise!
=SMART= Koosie4 years ago
Hahahaha
Icedvovo (author)  Koosie4 years ago
Add a longer strap, four bungie cables and a TV tray table and you're done!! Perfect on the train!!  :)
Im going to build one out of Pvc pipe With a Add for a shotgun mic
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.
 
Icedvovo (author)  AngryRedhead4 years ago
 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.
shootfilm4 years ago
 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!
Icedvovo (author)  shootfilm4 years ago
 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.
jdtwelve124 years ago
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.
Icedvovo (author)  jdtwelve124 years ago
 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!!
theRIAA4 years ago
very nice job! but where'd you get the mannequin? 
Icedvovo (author)  theRIAA4 years ago
 Borrowed the mannequin from a friend who uses him for medical simulation training. I actually want my own now.
I also want a mannequin or rather a dress form.  Palay Display has them for pretty cheap.  Dress Forms and Mannequins.