Instructables

Updated Bicycle mounted steadicam

This instructables project details the latest version of the bicycle mounted steadicam arm (constructed from hardware store and hobby shop parts) for a miniDV camera. I've used the video that I've captured to create DVDs for: a bicycle shop and for myself (as motivation for my indoor biking). The original article is titled: DIY: Bicycle - Steady Cam - mount
 
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Step 1: Picking up where I left off...

latest-arm.jpg
DSCN0190.JPG
The last version of the steadicam arm (from the previous project) looked like the image you see below. This version had two iso-elastic arms operating in different directions. One for up and down movement and the other one for side to side movement. However the need for the side to side arm wasn't as bad as the need for additional compensation in the up and down direction. In the new version I rotated the arm (shown directly under the camera) such that it provides isolation in the same direction as the first section (see second picture in this step).

Step 2: Other Changes

Originally the assembly was mounted to the handlebars (see image), but there was a problem, I couldn't clamp it tight enough to prevent the arm assembly from rotating downward on the handlebar. So, I change the mounting bracket to clamp around the stem. This was done by rotating the L-angle bracket on the PVC assembly by 90 degrees and re-designing the clamp (see notes in the photo) as well as the drawing.


Light_Lab2 years ago
I noticed your video stopped fairly violently when you got to the railway crossing; that was the bit I wanted to see. Can I assume that despite the elaboration the mount is really only working on 'glass' smooth roads?
If so I can certainly sympathize, I am on about design Mk8 for videoing from my Van. I even have an anti-vibration plate I imported and I still get visible bumping from railway crossings and even a lot less.
I have tried virtually every simple design I can find on the net and nothing seems to make the grade for even ordinary road surfaces here in Oz. I should explain Oz. has a lot of clay and as a result the roads generally aren't autobahn smooth.
When (if) I get something that works I will post it on Instructables. I am going to try a design this morning the way to work. 

fireballxl5 (author)  Light_Lab2 years ago
Actually it had less to do with the bump of the railroad track than it did with showing us blowing thru the stop sign. The camera that I was using at the time was a Mini-DV tape unit that suffered from some video tearing when going over severe bumps even with the elaborate steadicam arm. The arm does a lot to reduce the moderate vibration on the chip and seal roads, and even small cracks, but railroad tracks and potholes were another matter. Good luck with your system. If I even get a new camera (using memory cards vs tape) I'm thinking there would be a big improvement or the older tape based recorder.
You should try attaching it to the body of the bike. It looks like when the handlebars get turned, the steadycam turns pretty sharply.

Otherwise, the footage looks amazing. Nice instructable.
good stuff sir!
Truehart3 years ago
How sturdy are your shock absorbers? What are they made out of? Could two of them hold up a person? How much pressure can they hold?
Papa G6 years ago
This is great. I can see huge improvements over the last version. I would love to see footage of this mounted on the frame rather than the handle bar. I think that'll make it near perfect as the handle bar wiggles a lot to keep the balance of the bicycle.
I'm using a digi stills camera, which shoots 1024/768 movies, fixed to a front mounted bag on a Brompton folding bike. I have no damping and it's not good on rough surfaces, but there is an advantage, as the bag it's fixed to is on the frame and not the handlebar. If you search dewexdewex berlin on youtube, you'll find an example of it in use. I'd like to build some simple steadying device as well, and I was thinking of incorporating the simple pendulum type steadicam with the central pivot constrained to limit yaw (vertical axis) and parrtially constrained with rubber to limit pitch (horiz left to right axis), so the cam would always shoot level,. I'm thinking that the joint could be inside a vertical helical spring running in a circumferentially tightenable shroud for damping with friction.
fireballxl5 (author)  dewexdewex4 years ago
You might want to take a look at the first version of this project; http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY%3a-Bicycle---Steady-Cam---mount/
I had initially tried a pivot/pendulum mounting, but had issues explained in the later steps of the projects. Good luck with your project.
Hey,

I had a look at your pendulum version, and, as I understand it, you were just letting the camera be a pendulum weight swinging from a pivot with no counterbalance. I think this would have worked better if you'd have tried the following:

Put the camera at the top of a vertical beam, put a counter weight at the bottom of the beam, make a pivot somewhere in the middle of the beam with an axis parallel to the camera shooting axis, and set up the balance between the weight and the camera, so the weight provides a marginally greater moment than the camera.

This is basically how the steadicam junior devices work, except they have a ball joint instead of a single axis one.

I'm guessing the main vibration problem with the mount is going to be along the vertical axis, and the others won't contribute much to the problem. I might test this thinking with an iphone or ipod touch strapped to my bike, as they have 3 axis live plots from the accelerometer to watch as I ride.

Basically, what I'm going to do with my scratchy thinking is build a mount like your first one with a damped/sprung unit (either like yours, or a more basic vertically mounted spring damper from an RC truck), and fix a counterballanced pendulum to this, which allows the camera to come to equilibrium pointing forward and level.

Let me know if you think this sounds more reasonable than my first ramblings.

Dave.
genenewyork4 years ago
Is there a newer version that you made? This is a really nice idea.. I am dying to see more footage or try making this device myself. But I have problems with patience though. Can you email me please. genenazarov@gmail.com
fireballxl5 (author)  genenewyork4 years ago
This is the latest version, I have really changed the design since posting this update. I do have other footage, just not anything I've posted. I've used some of it to make a DVD that I play while cycling indoors on my trainer. It helps get thru those boring rainy days or winter training days.
harigast5 years ago
duuuuuude. i will combine this steadycam with this http://www.yb2normal.com/DIYsteadicam.html and then it will be even closer to the real thing! i was looking at pics of real steadycams so i could try to replicate it. then i found your instructible. thank you!
jasdipBOY5 years ago
I'm about ready to embark on building your version 2. A few questions: - Where do I get the shock abosorbers. I don't see those in your parts list. - Do you have any recent upgrades or new discoveries to pass on? I'm going to use it on my mountain bike and possibly in my minivan dash. Thanks so much for this awesome project!
fireballxl5 (author)  jasdipBOY5 years ago
You should be able to get the the RC shock absorbers from any well stocked Hobby Shop that carries Radio Controlled cars. I just updated the parts list, but I didn't have a brand or model for the shock absorbers. As far as the pulley design, I abandoned that early on in the first prototype, so the only images are in that posting; http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY%3a-Bicycle---Steady-Cam---mount/
conradjacob6 years ago
The use of strap hinges is absolutely brilliant. I built one section and it worked great on / in cars. I used a bungy cord through double pulleys instead of a spring. My theory is that it is important to balance the rig as close to horizontal as possible and the bungy is easily adjusted. The doubling was so the bungy isn't near it's limit, maximizing float. On a bike I found lateral vibration/movement is still a problem. I am going to try simply hinging the rig so it can swing a bit side to side (going to be hard to control). I didn't use Stanley hinges - this could be exaggerating my issues.
Do you think you could post some images of your bungy/pully design? I'm about ready to build this and wandering if I should go your route. Thanks!
I am away from my stead-thing and will be for a month. I'll post then. I did add a second hinged arm for side to side float. Made it all pretty ungainly and only able to balance an HV20 weight camera. Even though it has been a year, I haven't tried it on a bike yet.
zzpza5 years ago
very impressive work :D
flee20106 years ago
Yes much better bump absorption. Looking for something like this to be used on bikes and in car setups. Nice.
theking7 years ago
iloveyourvids
(removed by author or community request)
fireballxl5 (author)  teaaddict3147 years ago
I've done some around Bounder, CO and Whistler, BC, (just not with the camera). It's been a few years and now it's too hard on my knees. But I have thought of using a MTN bike as the "chase-bike" especially if it has a full suspension, it would help take some of the "shock" load off of the camera mount.

DC
Blog
laernmoer7 years ago
This version looks better than the previous version. I do see a lot of horizontal shake produced when you move your handlebars to steer.. Do you think maybe you could try mounting it onto your frame (just below the neck) to help stop that shake? the handlebars seem to be just too much movement for a video camera.
fireballxl5 (author)  laernmoer7 years ago
I'll have to see, I might have to try a different bike, my Tarmac is almost entirely Carbon Fiber and I didn't want to clamp the camera mount to anything but the stem for fear of crushing a CF part. Thanks. This project has been a true collaboration, the suggestion for the RC shock absorbers cam from comments on the initial project.