Build A Jib From 5 Pieces of Scrap
If you are doing any videography, a jib (or a crane) is probably the third piece of gear you will buy (after a camera and a slider).
Jibs can bring huge production value to your videos. See this tutorial by J. P. Morgan for example. Alas they don’t come cheap. A small starters jib will set you back about $270 and a production monster like this one will be about a left kidney.
I just wish someone will have plans for a small and affordable crane. Lucky me you. Videographer Dan Colvin from Unitips has a tutorial just like this.
- 2 hollow aluminum rods – The length of the rods will determine the length of the jib with the pivot being at a quarter of the length.
- 2 “L” brackets
- 1 Square bracket
- Lots of bolts, buts and washers.
- Drill-press – I know this is not a common tools, but the location and symmetry of the holes is crucial for this to work. (you can get the press with the money you save by not buying a jib, besides, it’s the only tool you really need for this).
Step 1 – Prepare The Brackets
Depending on your local hardware store you may be able to get such brackets ready, join a few smaller brackets or make them yourself from scrap metal.
The size depends on how long/big you want to make your jib, and on the width of the aluminum pipes. We are going to use 3/4″ pipes that are 38″ long.
Each end-bracket has a plate (either for camera or counter weight) and two fins for mounting the rods. Drill a hole at the center of each plate. Those holes will be used to place 3/4 bolts that will act as a mini tripod.
To prepare the mount to the aluminum rods, drill 2 holes 1″ apart on each of the end fins and on the middle bracket. (Remember the drill-press, this is where it comes handy – the holes must be perfectly aligned)
The last hole goes on the base of the middle bracket so it can attach to a tripod.
Drill holes that are 2″ apart at the fins and at the middle bracket. Those holes will hold the bolts that hold the aluminum rods.
Step 2 – Prepare The Pipes
To prepare the pipes, make 3 pairs of holes on each pipe, 2 pairs of holes at each end, and one pair of holes at 1/4 of the way.
Optionally, round the end of the pipes.
Step 3 – Putting Everything Together
Attach the parts as shown in the image.
Step 4 – Mount on Tripod And Balance
Use the hole in the middle bracket to mount the jib on a tripod.
Balance the other end with a pickles can.
If the written steps are confusing you, there is a video you can follow.
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.