Introduction: Super Cheap, Ultra-Portable, Cell Phone Videography Rig!

About: I'm a guy who makes videos about money saving technology!
Hey everybody,
I've recently taken an amateur interest in videography, (and I do mean VERY amateur!) far be it from me to instruct anyone on the finer points of shooting video, but I can give you some steps on where I've started, if anyone wants to talk shop.

Anyway, videography has interested me for years, it's just not something I've ever gotten deeply invested in because of the price of a really good camera. Then, I read an article about how one of the top films at Sundance this year was shot entirely on iPhones (Movie:Tangerine).

Well, heck, man! If they can film a feature length film on iPhones, I can record some silly YouTube videos, for sure! I mean, let's face it, camera phones have really come a long way in the last few years. It'll be a great way for me to cut my teeth and learn the basics, right? Right? Guys...where are you going? Come back, I'm not crazy, it's really a good idea this time...

So anyone who has tried filming good video with a phone has quickly realized that keeping your hands steady is a big challenge. That's where this little rig will help out tremendously. It will add handles to your phone, and should help stabilize your videos. If not, you can always just run around and play "Race Car" with your new steering wheel. VROOOOM!

The rig is cheap, (10 bucks-ish), and takes about a half an hour to build.

Step 1: Parts Needed

1/2 inch PVC pipe (about a foot)
1/2 inch PVC 45 degree elbow (x4)
1/2 inch PVC plug (x1)
1/2 inch PVC "T"(x1)
1/2 inch PVC Cap (x2)
1/4 20 Screw 1 inch long (x1)
Nuts to fit the screw (x2)
Universal Cell phone tripod adapter (I ordered one from EBay: $4, includes shipping)

Step 2: Prepare the Mount

Using the 1/2 inch PVC plug, drill a hole in the top large enough for the 1/4 20 bolt to fit through.

Put one of the nuts on the bolt, and thread it all the way to the head of the bolt. (I have two nuts pictured going to the head of the nut, but only one is required.)

Run the bolt through the hole in the plug, then put the other nut on the bolt to hold it firmly in place. You will want to have around 1/4 inch of threading exposed when you are finished so that you can mount your cell phone's tripod adapter to it.

You probably wasted your time reading all of this if you already looked at the images, but, I like to be thorough, you know...

Step 3: Cut Some Pipe

From your piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe, cut 4 pieces about 1.5 inches long, and two pieces 2.5 inches long.

Lay out your pieces like the picture above to prepare for assembly. (The 1.5 inch pieces will connect the 45 degree elbows and "T". The 2.5 inch pieces will serve as handles.)

Step 4: Assembly

Push it together. Do not glue it! (Well, you can, but it will reduce later functionality).

Refer to the image to see how it should all look when done.

Step 5: Use It!

As you can see in the images, you have some different options for holding this stabilizer. It's all in how you twist the joints. You can hold it one handed, two handed, wide, etc, etc, it even makes a neat little hands free stand.

Step 6: Break It Down!

As you can see in this image, it easily comes apart for easy storage and transport in a small backpack, a large pocket, a purse, etc, etc.

Step 7: You're Only As Done As You Choose to Be...

This is PVC, baby. Like cheap Legos for DIY enthusiasts. Don't stop here. There are all kinds of things you can do with this doo-dad. I've got ideas for a panning monopod. A shoulder "rifle butt" + hand grip. Lighting & microphone mounts. All kinds of neato addons...

Leave comments below on how YOU are gonna make it better!
Phone Contest

Participated in the
Phone Contest

Photography Tips and Tricks Contest

Participated in the
Photography Tips and Tricks Contest