Today, I made my own $15 steadicam for two reasons: to have more control and stabilization in shots (duh) and to save a big amount of money from buying an original one… which costs about $500.
This idea came to me when I saw Birdman months ago and said to myself, “Damn, Emmanuel Lubezki sure has real and powerful camera control!” without taking note of the fact that maybe he used a stabilization tool in editing or he used some kind of grip. Then, I realized later that he used this contraption:
I went to YouTube to find out how to make your own since it’s expensive and saw Zach King’s video: a $15 DIY steadicam.
I bought the following materials from my local hardware store:
- Power drill with 1/4″ drill bit (I have this at home, so I didn’t have to buy them)
- three 1/2″ galvanized steel pipes
- 1/2″ basic joint tee
- two 1/2″ metal end caps
- 1/2″ metal flange
- 1″ thick block of wood
- three 3/4″ screws
- 1/4″ machine bolt, 2″ long
- 2.5lb weight (from your local sports store)
- spray paint (any color you like)
Since I did not find any metal flange and any one-inch thick block of wood, I decided to just improvise: first, I found a flat rectangular block of wood that is .5″ thick. I divided it in half using a saw and screwed them both together (innuendo there) using 4 wood screws, one in each corner.
Then, I asked help from my dad to drill a hole in the center of the block about .5″ in so that I can just plug the steel pipe inside of the block. After that, I used sandpaper to make the block smooth.
For the pipes, I connected the three steel pipes with the joint tee. Then I screwed the two end caps on the ends of the two pipes, leaving the third pipe open so that I can screw it in the block of wood.
If you go for a flange, just screw it using the 3 screws, leaving the fourth “screw-hole” (I don’t know what it’s called, and also, another innuendo there) for the machine bolt, which you will use to attach the camera on your steadicam.
I drilled another hole on the block, but this time it’s going through it. This is for my machine bolt.
After all of that, I painted the whole device with black spray paint, to make it look more professional.
Lastly, I added the 2.5lb weight at the bottom and sealed the end of the pipe with, guess what, an end cap.
This is the finished product:
I tested it and it works good, but I have a problem with my balance and my arms tend to swell, but the video is really stabilized. I’ll be posting a good video if I have the time.
I’m hoping to make more DIY grips in the future, but I’m hoping more on buying original ones. Making DIY things makes you feel good about the money you save: $500-$15=$485!
Thanks Zach King! By the way, here is his video: