Simple Panoramic Rig




Introduction: Simple Panoramic Rig

About: I like to design and build random things.

Below are directions for a simple rig for panoramic video. It was built with free pallet wood and the temporary use of my mountain bike rim. The project took about 5 minutes to put it together.

Step 1: ​Tools/Materials


  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape


  • Bicycle Rim/Tire (26” used for this project)
  • Wood – I used pallets
    • 16” x 3.5”
    • 38” x 5.5”
    • 32” x 4” (x2)

Step 2:

Find any wood. I used pallets from a previous project. Cut to approximate lengths shown above.

Step 3:

Drill hole in small board to match axle diameter. Mount tire to board – use nut from bike.

Step 4:

Drill a clearance hole in the center support.

Step 5:

Attach small board to center support.

Step 6:

Add stabilization legs.

Step 7:

Place camcorder/camera on edge of wheel.

Step 8:

Spin and record. See link for video.



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    21 Discussions

    Great idea. I really like the look of the shot. Thanks for sharing.

    Very nice. You can get a pan with a different "feel" to it if you mount the camera back on the hub. You could easily attach a tripod to the rim to get the camera up high enough to get the wheel out of the shot. My son likes it as well (NYU-Tisch, they play Quidditch)

    9 replies

    @jimrlynn, I agree with your first point.

    In the 90s, when I still worked for Eastman Kodak, I had access to a proper (and expensive) panoramic indexing head to mount on a tripod. I experimented with it a couple times with my Canon A1 35mm SLR.

    Part of the intent of the head was to rotate the camera such that the film plane was at the center of rotation. SLRs bodies are all marked with a small graphic which locates the film plane. Rotating the camera inside or outside the film plane introduces distortion in the images. I expect DLSRs and P&S digital cameras have the same issue.

    Film plane.jpg

    The object is not to rotate around the film-plane, but to rotate around the focal point node of the lens which is somewere around the center of the lens.

    Mea culpa!

    What you wrote resurrected a 20+ year-old memory which makes me think you are spot-on about the center of rotation. I half-remember needing to do some math to determine the focal point node of my 28-90 zoom lens at the 28mm focal length.

    Still, the point is that having the camera way out on the rim is less than ideal.

    You don't need to calculate the Nodal point you can use the process described in this youtube movie

    Marked with a similar indicator on prime lenses, but not on zooms because of shifting elements as you change focal length. I think there is an estimator app out there somewhere...

    The tripod's an interesting idea, but it will magnify any 'wobble' caused by bearing sloppiness.

    You would have to locate the hub closer to the top of the tee to allow for $1.99 roller ball castors from Harbor Freight. 3 of them located just
    under the rim would stabilize a tripod. I am going to build one this
    weekend. Also, I was anticipating useing what is called a "top hat" or
    "low boy" tripod, which only extends about 18 inches.

    I agree. I also tie wrapped my phone to the spokes and rotated the rig 90 degrees to make a spinning video. Weird but not very useful.

    Nicely done. I will make this tomorrow. But, mine will be a road bike wheel. I guess I'll just have to spin it faster... ;)

    great idea for keeping a steady shot! you should patent and sell them to realtors for like $500 each! :)


    Nice, neat and simple - but if you don't nailgun the stabilization legs, you'll have something a lot more portable, as well as adaptable to different slopes and cambers and leg sizes/heights/thicknesses etc.

    And if you do start getting into angles and/or heights where stability is an issue, a few woodscrews would be more flexible than nails - particularly from a nailgun.

    You should add some of the resulting panoramic shots you got with it.

    epic. With a coulp of mods it would make a grate time laps rig :)

    Simple yet effective! Nice work.