$14.00 Steady-Cam Revisited

A few months ago, Jake featured an easy to build steady-cam in the newsletter. As an aspiring videographer, I decided to create one, and found it to be a cheap and essential tool for removing some of the shakiness associated with hand-held digital-video recorders. The steady-cam mount was easy to build, with all of the parts available at any hardware store, and took about half an hour to fully assemble. I performed a custom modification by slipping a couple of bicycle grips over the metal pipes for added comfort and control.

All told, the total cost was about $20, which is significantly less than the price of a low-end steady-cam rig. Commercially available rigs start at $200-300 and can range up into the $1,000's for gyroscopically controlled models. Are the expensive models better than my cheap rig? Probably. However, I found that my setup was capable of capturing motion shots with a great deal of control, and also functioned as a handy monopod for balancing the camera on the ground. With a digital-video recorder attached, the steady-cam weighed about 7 pounds, and after 4 hours of filming my forearms were getting tired. But you can't beat the price; and if you're in a pinch for some sweeping motion shots at your family picnic, consider a trip to the hardware store. [Mathew Brady]

Here's a video clip shot using the $14 Steadycam (QuickTime, 2.29 MB): http://jakeludington.com/steadycamqt