Steadicam for DSLR

ChrisMurphy
ChrisMurphy Website User Posts: 61

Hi,

Just curious if anyone has experience with some cheaper steadicams, like sub 50 dollars. I saw some on amazon. Anyone have any suggestions?

Comments

  • Mark_Newton
    Mark_Newton Website User Posts: 5

    Hi Chris,

    I would say this depends entirely on the size and weight of camera you intend to use. I bought a U-Flycam from EBay for £100 ($160) and struggled no end to get it to work. Getting these things balanced correctly, I found, was a nightmare and not worth the time and effort for the results I was getting. I was using a Canon XM2 MiniDV camera at the time which was just too heavy to be effective. If you were using a small, lightweight camcorder you'd probably get better results but if you're using a DSLR then you will probably struggle. You'd be better off doing the shot hand-held then stabilising in post. I use Prodad Mercalli in Sony Vegas and that does a great job. I've managed to make some pretty shaky hand-held stuff look like a decent Steadycam shot. If, however, you want to go down the Steadycam route I would suggest that you avoid anything at this price level and remember that these things take a while to get used to; a good Steadycam operator is worth their weight in gold. 

    Good Luck,

     

    Mark.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,956 Ambassador

    Honestly, if your budget for a stabilizer is under $50, you may as well build your own. The sub-$50 gear is going to be pretty much crap.

    Remember that every stabilizer out there works on this basic premise: It's easier to hold something heavy steady than something very light. A stabilizer is basically going to be a pole, a handgrip and some weights.

    More expensive units are going to have sliding plates and sliding heads to allow you to get better balance, and maybe a nice gimbaled handgrip on the side. The really really cheap gear isn't going to have any of those amenities--which means, at that point, you really should build your own.

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,728 Ambassador

    I built my own steady cam from the tutorial below. I have problems getting it balanced and found I need a lot more washers to offset the weight of the camera. Still, I only spent about $30 on it and had to order special parts from ebay using (of all things) parts for remote control cars. Overall it was a good investment in time and money. However, the learning curve is a little steep but I imagine it would be for anything new requiring balancing skills. Didn't just hop on a two wheel bike and take off down the road afterall.

     

    And you might want to consider this route too. I built one of these and it works fantastic! Really cuts down on hand held cameraman shake.

     

  • Har
    Har Website User Posts: 401 Enthusiast
    edited October 2014

    I also build that same DIY one using PVC from Frugal Filmaker (the cage style one in the second video Stormy posted) and indeed, it does work great. :D

    FWIW, looks like TubeTape has a the CobraCrane SteadyTracker UltraLite on sale for about $65 USD. No idea how good it actually is though:

    http://www.tubetape.net/servlet/the-584/.CobraCrane-UltraLite-SteadyTracker/Detail

     

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