Introduction: Make-shift Camera Stabiliser
I made a pretty decent camera stabiliser using a bent shelf bracket, a dumbbell weight, a bolt, some washers and a few nuts to secure it. I tried it with a digital SLR camera that can take video.
This is not going to get rid of all camera shake but can reduce it significantly as the mass of the camera-stabiliser is increased. More force is required to move it and the smaller forces in camera shake are dampened. Also for the same reason this will allow panning motions to appear smoother.
This cost me nothing because I had the bits lying around, but the piece of metal I bent was from a shelf I purchased from Ikea a few years ago. Turns out they still sell it, over here: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/10011017/ and cost 10 pounds in the UK. I guess 10 pounds is a lot different from free, but comparing that to what a glide camera stabilizers starting at about 60 pounds, this seems to be worth the try. This system doesn't have a gimbal, but never-the-less it does work.
Step 1: Bend the Metal Piece
You want to get the metal bracket from the shelf from Ikea and bend it. The shape your looking for is like that in the picture. There's a few points of weakness in the metal where it will bend due to the holes. Be careful that you don't bend it too much as it is likely to snap here. The way I managed to bend it is by using leverage on my leg and a bit of brute force. You want the weight to be below the 'handle' so when you hold it (or balance it on something) it doesn't tilt forward, backward or side to side. The weight I used is a 1.1kg (2.5 pound) concrete barbell weight.
The top flat bit should be made a level as possible but you can make a few adjustments a bit later if you need.
Step 2: Screw on the Camera
You need to get hold of a bolt that can fit in the hole at the bottom of your camera. The size of the screw is universal camera to camera. After a quick search the ones that fit are 1/4" diameter with 20 threads per inch (1/4-20). The length of the bolt I used is about 1 inch. In some of the other pictures I may have the arrangement of nuts an a bit of a different order, but I think this picture shows the best arrangement. Conveniently the bracket you just bent has a hole near where the 'handle' is that is large enough for the bolt to fit through.
Starting from the bottom, the first two nuts and washers help secure the bolt to the metal bracket. The third/top nut and washer is uses to secure the bolt to the camera. When securing it to the camera, loosen the entire bolt about a cm, line it up with the hole and
screw the entire bolt in as far as it would go into the camera. Tighten the top nut to the camera, and tighten the other two to the bracket.
You should be done; you can adjust the bend to get a better balance but as there is no gimbal at the end of the handle, you can compensate small deviations with a rotation of your wrist.
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