UPDATE: Setting up this Vimeo Group to encourage sharing of your favorite field hacks, so please contribute!
DSLR Field Hacks
This is an affordable and functional DIY Camera Stabilizer/Steadicam rig pieced together using exclusively off-the-shelf parts and assembled with nothing more than a screwdriver and multi-tool. The main structural piece is just a cheap ladder hook! It combines elements from the Steadicam Merlin and Camera Motion Research Blackbird to make for a solid and relatively compact unit, and was a project inspired purely by curiosity over whether you can build a solid DIY stabilizer without access to professional shop tools and high-end materials!
As I culled/found components for this on a pretty ad hoc basis, I don't have an accurate tally of costs, but am estimating this to be around a $65 build (not including the Manfrotto 323 RC2 plate I've attached). Almost all hardware components can be found at a standard hardware store, save for the RC driveshafts for the gimbal which can be found on eBay for under $10. If anyone actually tries to build this using the specs provided, curious to know the actual cost!
I've test-driven (albeit briefly) both Merlin and Glidecam designs and found that in comparison, this set-up is easier to navigate with limited practice. I have a relatively heavy DSLR set-up (Canon 7D with heavier zoom/prime lenses) which I find works well on this.
For upcoming projects where I'll be testing this design, please subscribe to my Vimeo Channel: Studio Amarelo
MAIN BODY COMPONENTS:
2 x Electrical Ground Clamps
1 x Approx. 7" Curved PVC Conduit Elbow
1 x Male (Threaded) PVC Adapter
MAIN BODY HARDWARE:
1 x Extra Large Ladder Hook (Approx. 15" High x 10" Deep)
2 x Universal Brackets, 1.5" Wide, 2" High
2 x 1.5"-1/4" Flathead Screws
1 x 1"-1/4" Flathead Screw
2 x 6"-1/4" Bolts (Smooth Shaft)
2 x 1.5" U Clamp
1 x 4"-Wide Double Eye Tension Rod
2 x 3.5"-1/4" Screws (Fully Threaded)
8 x 1/4" Locking Nuts (Nylon Locks)
4 x 1/4" Regular Nuts
3 x 1/4" Wing Nut Locks
1 x Zap Strap
2 x 1/2" Washers with 1/4" hole
2 x 1" Washers with 1/4" hole
36 x 1.5" Washers with 1/4" hole
Adapted from "WSCLATER" YouTube Design
2 x Traxxas T-Maxx 2.5R - 3.3 F/R Center Driveshafts (#5151) - get on eBay
2 x 1" (Diameter) Skateboard Bearings
1 x 1" (Diameter) Male (Threaded) PVC Adapter (for top of gimbal)
1 x 1" (Diameter), 1.5" long PVC Straight Connector (No Threads, for bottom of gimbal)
2 x PVC "Shims"
1 x 1" (Diameter) Screw-on Hose Cap
2 x Small Screw + Washer (To Mount Driveshafts to Bearings)
1 x Manfrotto 323 RC2 Quick Release Plate (w/ 200PL-14 Plate)
1 x 1/4"-to-3/8" Step Up Screw Adapter
1 x Rubber Bike Grip
"LADDER HOOK/STORAGE HANGER" ONLINE
**similar but with 90 degree bend on end, except for 2nd Aubuchon link that looks to be the same one I found, but sold in bulk
HOME DEPOT: homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202305566/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
AUBUCHON HARDWARE: hardware.hardwarestore.com/28-447-storage-hooks/giant-storage-hook-669277.aspx