Making a Steady Cam Type Rig for Your HD Vid Capable DSLR




Introduction: Making a Steady Cam Type Rig for Your HD Vid Capable DSLR

About: A small creature in an ocean of giants. I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

This is my first intructable so I hope you can follow it OK. To start,
The idea for this rig came Scott Eggleston
And also from Dave Knop from quick FX
You'll need some stuff before you start the actual project
PVC pipe  ( a 10 foot piece is more than enough)
PVC pipe cutter or hack saw, OR power miter saw (makes cuts go faster)
Pipe insulation
A 1/4 inch by 20 bolt and a match threaded knob, (I am a woodworker and have a few lying around from assorted jigs and fixtures)
A grey PVC conduit 3 way.
PVC pipe glue 
A hand drill and a bit to fit the plug from the Mic. and the bolt
A small microphone ( I got mine from a thrift store for a buck)
And a stuffed animal, A REALLY FLUFFY one. ( Again with the thrift store.)


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Step 1: Cutting the PVC

Couldn't be easier with a PVC cutter or power miter saw (Again, I'm a woodworker) 
You'll Need:  
One 9 inch 
Three 6 inch
Four 4 inch
Five "T" pieces 
Three "L" pieces
Three  1.5- 2 inch pieces 
and 2 1.25 inch pieces 
The grey conduit box, bolt and threaded knob are also shown.

Step 2: Continue Gathering Parts.

You already saw the conduit box, but here's a close up.
Foam (Un slit) insulation for the pipe.  Some plastic feet,  and a cheap (Or expensive. Mine was cheap)  microphone. 
A stuffed animal of the really fluffy variety. I WILL NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU TAKE YOUR KIDS' STUFFED ANIMAL. 
(You'll have to cut an appendage off of it. 

Step 3: Preparation.

You'll want to do some prep work here before you get to involved. 
 Drill a hole through the side exit on your conduit so it is somewhat centered, after gluing some foam down on it (if you choose to do that) 

Threaded knob and Bolt.

Assembly.  Thread bolt through the BACK of the knob. The front piece will fit through the side exit of the conduit and the bolt through the
hole you drilled. 


Drill and slot 9 inch piece.

Step 4: Wiring.

Pull the wire for your mic through the 9 inch pice slot to mic side adding foam pieces as you go. 

Push tight together. (no glue until you're positive it is how you want it.)

Showing the "T" So you can see how the wire is routed.

With foam

Set aside this assembly. AGAIN, DO NOT GLUE YET! 

Step 5: Begin Assembly

Your predrilled side exit conduit piece. 

Put one 1.25 inch pice on either end, (you CAN glue this in the conduit.)

Add a "T" to each end. the "front" part (Dictated by whichever side your mic plugs into your camera) will me horizontal.
The "Back" vertical. 

Two 4 inch pieces for the front part. 


Two vertical "T" pieces attached to the two 4 inch pieces

Top view of assembled lower carriage.  with 2-2.5 inch pieces, (you'll need to check your knobs clearance for this measurement.)

Flip it over and add the "feet" 

Flip it back "right side up" 

Step 6: Continue Assembly.

Add the 6 inch uprights.  (Foam removed for clarity.) The rear one is actually part of your previous mic wire assembly that's why you can't find it. 

Add mic wire assembly (see? told ya) 

Pull plug end of mic wire though junction box and push through that hole you may not have drilled yet. 

Push it together.

Add foam to uprights. 

Add the remainder 4 inch pieces to the T with foam and elbows on either end. (apparently I deleted that picture... Sorry. )

Step 7: Nearing Completion

Attach the mic with hot glue, screws, or red vinyl electrical tape (I'm keeping mine somewhat temporary I may have another idea) 

Zoomed out view of the mount job... Snazzy. 

Add the stuffed animals appendage sans the internal stuffing. 

To avoid making mine permanent I didn't glue it but slid it between the mics base and the PVC "T"

Pulling it over the top of the mic to cover it well. (this will help guard your audio against wind noise.) 

Step 8: Attach the Camera

Remember that knob assembly? 

It goes through here. 

Just like so...

so that approximately .25 inches is sticking out... a little more than that is OK if you used a knob like mine. 

it'll look like this from the bottom of the rig.

Now, insert bolt into camera body tripod mount. and tighten with your thumb on the bolts head, when you feel resistance, use the knob only and tighten until it is snug... DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, YOU WILL DAMAGE YOUR CAMERA AND I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE!! 

Step 9: Plug It In

Take the plug wire and plug it into your cameras Mic jack

Now push the extra wire back  through the hole in the conduit junction piece (Install cover plate first) 

Halfway through.....

Leave a little slack.


OK....  What are you still doing here??? GO MAKE A MOVIE! 

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    3 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Cool PVC rig!

    I set up a Rig with the Atomos Ninja-2 on the Nikon D4.

    From my blog:
    Once set up all I have to do is start Live View (in video mode) and start the Ninja-2 recording. When I cycle the Live View button on the D4, the Ninja-2 starts recording when Live View is on and stops when I shut it off. Each time the Ninja-2 creates a new file for the next take. I turn on the Focus Peaking to ensure perfect focus and it stays on the whole time (does not reset when Live View is cycled). Perfection!

    Check out my rig

    Dan at Vigorotaku


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I'll be making one of these for my friend who finally just got her new camera for Christmas!!!!
    She'll love it, I know.

    Thanks for posting this. 8-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this was on thefrugalfilmmaker
    now i have the dimensions and stuff.