Make yourself this DIY camera stabiliser rig for under $5

Jul 21, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Make yourself this DIY camera stabiliser rig for under $5

Jul 21, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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This is an old one, but a good one. In the days where we’ve got so many camera stabilisation options it’ll make your head spin, sometimes it’s nice to get things back down to the bare basics with a project you can make yourself for virtually no money at all. Especially when it produces the kinds of results we’re happy with.

In this short 3-part series, the folks at CineFix show us how we can build our own DIY camera rig along with some tips and techniques for how to use it effectively. While you might feel you need a gimbal to get steady footage, that’s not always true. And with modern developments like IBIS, rigs like these can be very effective.

The first part in the series, above, shows us what we tools and material we need.

  • A drill
  • A ¼ inch drill bit
  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • PVC glue
  • Tape measure
  • PVC cutters or hacksaw
  • 4-foot long ¾ inch PVC pipe
  • 4x ¾ inch PVC elbows
  • 2x T-joins
  • A ¼ inch machine bolt 3” long
  • A ¼ inch machine bolt 2” long
  • 2x ¼ wing nuts

Part two of the series shows us how to put it all together to actually build the thing.

YouTube video

Part three walks us through techniques we can use to film with the rig, like simulating a camera dolly (but without risking track appearing in your short), a camera jib or tracking alongside moving subjects. As mentioned earlier, things like IBIS and lens stabilisation (especially if they work together) can, with practice, produce fantastic shots that look like they could have easily been shot on a current model motorised 3-axis gimbal.

YouTube video

Sure, you can just go and buy a gimbal (and I am a big fan of gimbals), but if you’ve never used one before and aren’t really sure what you’re looking for, you could easily spend a lot of money before finding the right one that suits your needs and shooting style.

And if you’re a new or young filmmaker just starting out, the principles used to film with something like this are very similar to those you’d use when shooting with a gimbal. So it’ll be a good way to practice your skills and decide if you even like that way of shooting before spending a bunch of money you might not really be able to justify spending just yet. You may find that this gives you all you need.

Sometimes it’s nice to go back to the low budget basics.

[via No Film School]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “Make yourself this DIY camera stabiliser rig for under $5”

  1. Mike Shwarts Avatar
    Mike Shwarts

    Nice to see some DIY on “DIY Photography.”

    1. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
      Arthur_P_Dent

      Agreed.