Given the inconceivable challenge of improving upon such a brilliantly simple device from Mr. Chung Lee, I decided to muster up my own version, but instead it would be built out of lightweight, structural PVC.
Here is how it looks. The changes I made are minor, but still functional and do add some features:
- It’s made from furniture-grade PVC & fittings from formufit.com, so I don’t need to worry about whacking one of my kids in the head with it, scratching furniture or our hardwood flooring.
- It uses sand, as the counterweight, built into the base, to counterbalance the camera.
- It has a base that will allow you to stand the camera up, when not using it.
- It can be customized with different handles and weight balances, depending upon the end user’s equipment.
Obviously this is tailored to my personal (old & cheap) video camera, and you will need to tailor it to your camera, as needed. I needed approximately two pounds to counterweight my camera, but if yours is heavier, you may want to up the weight from sand to packing it full of nuts/bolts, or even a small segment of galvanized pipe, metal pellets or another weighty substance, which I attempt to explain in more detail in the following steps.
Additionally, if your camera needs additionally stability, you can always bring out the PVC pipe segments in the base even further than the small jaunts I have.
As Mr. Chung Lee warns on his page “Improper or irresponsible use of a camera stabilizer can quickly result in the destruction of your equipment and/or injury to yourself and others. Be careful, watch where you are going, pay attention to where you are swinging your camera, and just try not to do anything stupid for your own sake.” Well said, sir.
Read on to discover the build…
Step 1: Materials - What you need
I build the entire structure out of furniture grade PVC, as it will last longer, looks a lot nicer and doesn’t contain any lead or other heavy metals. You can certainly build it out of plumbing-grade PVC if you like, but you will need to find a few equivalent parts.
To build the basic version, here’s the list of parts you need:
- Six (6) External PVC End Caps
- One (1) Internal PVC End Cap
- One (1) 1” PVC Tee
- One (1) 1” PVC 5-Way Fitting
- One (1) 10” PVC Pipe Segment
- One (1) 6” PVC Pipe Segment
- One (1) 4” PVC Pipe Segment
- Four (4) 2” PVC Pipe Segments
- Sand or other form of ballast
- One (1) 1” long 1/4” bolt
- One (1) 1/4” Hex Nut
- Two (2) 1/4” Flat Washers
- PVC Cement
- 7/16” Wrench
- Power Drill
- 1/8” Drill Bit (optional)
- 1/4” Drill Bit
- Screwdriver or Screwdriver Bit for drill