Cheesycam DIY Stabilizer

Videos and Articles about the DIY Cheesycam Video Camera stabilizer steadicam project

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Calumet-Tilt-Head

With the new Sunpak Carbon Monopod and Velbon Ultra stick in the house, it's time to add a little tilt swag. I opted to try this small tilt head (no pan) to still keep things short and tight. It's pretty much the same design you'll find on certain Manfrotto monopods, but a third the price for the off-brand. I'm also going to try to use this on the Korean version SpiderTrax dolly to see if it keeps low and stable. You can find it in the link below and by searching for 'Tilt Head'.


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find-price-button Calumet Small Swivel Tilt Monopod Heads

If you don't find yourself in a rush to move the camera off the monopod, you might not require the quick release function. For this you'll find cheaper heads that use an underside clamp knob such as the Manfrotto 234 (below).

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find-price-button Manfrotto 234 Monopod Tilt Head

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It's been a while since we've seen the ol' DIY Cage in use, but this one turned out pretty cool. He's got a few enhancements over the very basic design which you can find more about it over at Vimeo member Ben Sheriff's page. [Thanks Ben Turned out Great]

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[Video and Audio are terrible. Shot with a cheap Point and Shoot]

Not sure if the post shows up, but it's about 1:00 a.m. (in the morning). I received a super last minute call to help out with some Glidecam work on an event. So I decided to hack something up which I think would be helpful. When flying on this Glidecam i'm closing down the aperture to keep things in focus. This means less light. So I decided to mod a few RC batteries together to power up the 352 LED Ring Light. It's bright, it's well diffused, and it's dimmable. It's the perfect light source for what i'm trying to achieve during this event. [BTW the light at the end of this video is turned all the way down - it gets brighter!]

In order to mount the large 352 LED Ring light, I needed to raise up the 60D with a battery grip and then place it on top of a Calumet quick release adapter. A few flexible power arms kept the LED Ring light mounted and also the Rode VideoMic Pro in place. With the 60D Manual Audio + Rode VideoMic Pro +20db, it sounds really good. Anyways, this rig might be overkill so I also balanced out my 7D on the Glidecam HD1000 for times I don't need lighting or audio. Ok, time to nap. Could be a long day...

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find-price-button 352 LED Ring Light with 12V AC Adapter

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The $24.00 dollar shoulder support with Rod mounts are getting a few questions as well as the recent Quick Release adapter posted on this blog. Here's a look at how i'm using these recently purchased items with my gear.

First a quick look at the cheap Quick Release adapter. It's not a standard QR adapter with a 1/4x20 thread already tapped in. Instead I run a beveled screw through the top of the adapter and place a bolt underneath. To keep the quick release adapter from shifting around I also used thin double sided tape between the adapter and the stage of the flycam nano. To prevent the nut from coming loose, I also have a washer + lock washer.

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Second common question i've been getting is how to mount rods to the cheap $24 dollar shoulder support. To get the basic foundation setup, you'll need an adapter plate. This type of plate is commonly used under a rod rig so that it can be placed on top of a Tripod of Fluid head. When purchasing a basic set of rods or any rig, find out if one will be provided. If not you can buy one separately here: https://express35.com/tripod-mount/1054/

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After mounting the adapter plate to the shoulder support, I can then position any set of handles, build up an offset stage, have support for a follow focus, matte box, etc. You can also find a basic set of rails with DSLR base plate, and Tripod plate here: https://express35.com/rail-system/295/

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Gini Rig on $24 Shoulder Support w/ Varavon ViewFinder

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The Gini Rig I posted about in this article is an awesome piece of gear. Definitely something you should look into if you're looking for a solid DSLR shoulder rig. I suggest doing some research on what your options are and compare prices with other gear. Like many others out there, I didn't pay the asking price for the Gini. On a good day the Gini Rig can be had for rock bottom prices, so it's all about patience and just making an offer you feel you would be comfortable with. More on the Gini can be found here: https://cheesycam.com/the-gini-rig-arrives-from-korea/

There was one piece of gear I wasn't so lucky to have with my DSLR shoulder rig package, and that's a good Shoulder rig Counter weight system. Having a balanced rig is definitely going to help stabilize footage and take lots of weight off the hands. I got this DSLR shoulder rig for cheap, so i'm looking for something just as cheap. Aside from the Gini Rig here, there's a million different DIY shoulder rig solutions that could use a good counter weight. Many DIY solutions are even built around PVC pipes, and I don't think you're ready to throw down $100 bucks on a weight. So I began my quest to locate a good solid, cheap, yet professional looking substitute for a counter weight.

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find-price-button Vinyl Coated Lead Diving Scuba Belt Weights

I placed this order about a week ago, and wanted to have it in my hands before talking about it, just to make sure it's worth the pennies. It's definitely the solution I was looking for. Very small and compact, with a chemically bonded heavy duty Vinyl coating, and a flat black finish to match your video gear. These scuba weights were designed to withstand ocean salt and hard reef bumps. Simply dropping these weights on hard gravel wouldn't do damage to the coating, it's that tough. There are slits on each side to allow me some mounting options, but as dense as Lead is, it's probably not difficult to drill through either.

[Update] Took a drill to it, it literally drills through like butter. Lead is a very very soft material to drill through. Keep in mind that this is a Lead weight product known to be hazardous if not handled correctly. You should read information about safely handling Lead Metals.
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The rounded edge design ensure you're not going to scratch or gauge yourself. The vinyl coating is very smooth and comfortable to handle in the hands and keep the system very clean. These weights are available from 1 pound and increments to 12 lbs. 4-6 lbs is probably a comfortable weight for most DSLR rigs. Now that i've had the chance to handle this product, there's plenty more ideas that come to mind. If you're rocking a super lightweight tripod system but need some extra stability at times, these are much more compact than your typical sand bag to hang. If you're working on that DIY DSLR crane and need to add some weights to the rear, these are much more compact and have a nicer finish than normal lifting weights. The possibilities are endless. So if you're looking to DIY a shoulder rig and are in need of a good cheap solution to a counter weight system, meet your new best friend.

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find-price-button Vinyl Coated Lead Diving Scuba Belt Weights

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John Lo over at John-Lo.com decided to try the Cheesycam DSLR Cage / Fig Rig as first DIY project. He's submitted some behind the scenes footage of how it can be used to provide some extra stability to your video shots, while still adding a mounting point for accessories such as the Z96 LED video light. Looks pretty good, and definitely a huge improvement over traditional hand held shots. He's also posted his own writeup on the DIY over at his website John-Lo.com, or you can find the original DIY article I posted here if you're interested in building your own: https://cheesycam.com/cheesycam-exclusive-diy-dslr-cage-stabilizer/

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After posting up my BTS footage of the Glidecam HD4000 with the Steadicam Merlin vest found here: https://cheesycam.com/glidecam-hd4000-bts-with-canon-60d-steadicam-vest/, I've been getting quite a bit of emails on how these two different products 'mate'. I'm sure this blog is quite cluttered with random articles, so here's the DIY video dug up from the archives posted 8 months ago. The reason I have this setup is because I used to fly a Merlin, so I had the vest already. I found the Glidecam design to be more flexible and the HD4000 can also carry a heavier load. The Glidecam was very heavy and I didn't want to invest into another Vest. It turned out to be a great cost saving idea since you have a 'dual arm' (two spring things) vest for about $1499 + Glidecam HD4000 for about $600. If you were shopping for a Glidecam Vest, the Dual arm for Glidecam runs more than the Dual Arm of the Steadicam Merlin. Some also argue that the Steadicam Merlin vest is a better design, much more slim profile, and of course cheaper cost. That's all opinion, and I just want to make it clear that I was just trying to make products I already owned work together. So even though it wasn't pre-meditated, there's a bit of cash savings using this method and as you can tell i've been very very happy with my whole system for a very very long time. You'll catch my reference to 'mating' the Steadicam Merlin arm with the Glidecam HD4000 Handle in this video..... Enjoy.

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find-price-button Tiffen Steadicam Arm and Vest

Steadicam Merlin-Vest Glidecam Hybrid DIY adapter
find-price-button Glidecam HD-4000 Hand-Held Stabilizer

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I posted a short sample of some BTS footage with a Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer about a week ago. The reference to this project can be found here: https://cheesycam.com/3-canon-60ds-music-video/. There were some weird movements and I even flipped the Glidecam upside down. (I don't recommend doing this, but I do it all the time). Some people were asking if the footage was actually usable. I'll leave that up to the editors to decide if a few seconds of this footage would be used, but here's some side by side samples.

On the left is the movement of the Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer on a Steadicam Merlin Stabilizer Arm and Vest with a Canon EOS 60D flying. On the right is an uncut look at what this RAW footage will look like. Again, we'll just be looking at quick cuts and a few seconds here and there. We'll be mixing it up with other hand held, Crane shots, dolly / slider shots, as well as very static Tripod shots. From what I understand, this music video will be cut in with actual footage from a new movie being released soon. So the movie will be more of the narration and we'll just be highlighting the band periodically. BTW, this is not my usual flying setup and I just rented this lens. So without practicing on this setup, these are the results I got.

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find-price-button Glidecam HD4000 Video Camera Stabilizer

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find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Arm and Vest

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find-price-button Canon 60D Digital SLR Body

Related Articles:
https://cheesycam.com/canon-60d-video-stabilizer-first-flight-glidecam-hd4000/
https://cheesycam.com/3-canon-60ds-music-video/

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Ok, you professionals can skip right over this article. This may even fall under 'tacky' for the seasoned Pro's. There's surprisingly a lot of young readers at this blog, possibly still in high school and unemployed. Aspiring to make fun YouTube videos with a standard handheld camcorder, they need an extra hand in some low budget DIY advice. These are probably the easiest & cheapest DIY stabilizers I could think of. So here you go kids, I hope you enjoy it, as I looked quite silly modeling these brackets on various parts of my body in the aisles of Home Depot like i'm creating the next Lady GaGa costume. It's ok though, I can rock a $2000 dollar Steadicam setup and still rock a $2 dollar Shelf Bracket, it's all good....i'm all about inspiring the creativity.

All of these 'Heavy Duty Shelf Hangers' can be found in the same place. These curved brackets are typically used for hanging heavy objects in your garage such as bikes and ladders. Unlike flat steel angled brackets, these are round (tubular) which are more comfortable to grip. There's plenty of different shapes and sizes to use these for adding extra support for your video camera.

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First up is a one sided angled bracket. By just adding a quick release plate on the bottom, you'll have yourself a very sturdy (very very sturdy) handle to your camera. Flat black paint and wrap up the handle with some Tennis racket grip tape, and you'll be in business. Notice the little angle at the top? Could be a nice place to add a cold shoe to mount another accessory. The rest of the bracket can be drilled to further hold more accessories like LED lights and portable recorders. By the way, just click any of the images to get a better look.Single bracket stabilizer for just $2.36.

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Second on the list is a double sided bracket. This is actually larger than what appears in the photo, and the double sides can act like handles on a Fig Rig. Hey this is way easier than trying to build the Cheesycam DSLR Cage Fig Rig. Just place a Quick Release adapter dead center, a little grip tape along the sides, and you'll have yourself a fig rig style camera stabilizer. Yup, there's another angle up top for that cold shoe accessory too for just $5.98.

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Third on the list, another simple bracket. Used in the position shown in the photo (above) the short angled end (left) actually feels comfortable as a small handle. The (right side) flat side has enough area to act as a chest plate. Throw a quick release adapter on top and you'll have yourself a steady little camera shooter for $5.24. Sure it's not offset, but should work pretty wicked for an HV20 or HV30 with flip out LCD, hey maybe even a Canon 60D with it's flip out LCD.

Yeah I know what you guys are thinking, pretty crazy right? For a group of young students looking to have a bit of fun making videos, so long as the bully doesn't steal your lunch money, you could gain some steady shots with these ideas. Oh and i'm guessing a few of you DIY'ers will be heading down to Home Depot later today to secretly play 'Heavy Duty Shelf Hanger Dress Up'. LOL...Try it, you'll be surprised.....

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