Picture of How To Make an Impromptu Camera Stabilizer
steadicam fig rig 1.JPG

Nothing ruins a good video like too much camera shake. And the best way to prevent shaking in your moving shots is with some kind of camera stabilizer.

Two of the most common types of camera stabilizers that are used in the film industry are the Steadicam and the Fig Rig. These systems are very effective. But most amateur film makers don't always have access to this kind of professional equipment. Fortunately, you can use the operating principles behind these systems to make simple DIY camera stabilizers out of materials that you have lying around. Here are two basic examples. 

Step 1: Background: How a Steadicam Stabilizer Works

Picture of Background: How a Steadicam Stabilizer Works
In a Steadicam system, the camera is mounted to the top of an armature and is balanced by counterweights (typically a monitor and batteries) at the bottom. At their center of mass, they are connected to a support vest through a gimbal and an iso-elastic arm. The added mass of the various components increases the camera's effective inertia and reduces shaking. 

Following this principle, you can improve the stability of your camera by simply adding weight to it. The amount of weight that you need to add is proportional to the weight of the camera. As a general rule your weight should be at least as heavy as your camera in order to be effective.

The Steadicam is designed to accommodate large professional video cameras. As a result, the system has heavy counterweights and requires a substantial support system. But when working with small point-and-shoot cameras, the system can be greatly simplified. The support vest, the iso-elastic arm and the gimbal can be removed and the stabilizing weights can be attached directly to the camera. This is the basic design of handheld camera stabilizers like the Merlin stabilizer.

EdRio2 years ago
Couldn't you add 2 wood dowels at either end to give you handgrips in line with the camera?
If it's not the weight adding stability, couldn't you make it out of PVC to make a light weight stabilizer?
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  EdRio2 years ago
Yes, you could add handles. I was just trying to make it as simple as possible to help illustrate that you can use just about any materials at hand.

There are already several designs for a PVC Pipe version that you can check out.
great idea man :)