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Thread: DIY equipment

  1. #1

    Default DIY equipment

    Hi. I'm not too sure about where to put this thread. I'm working on a short production with some guys from uni. For several scenes we're looking at tracking shots, we've tried doing it handheld but there's too much camera shake. I've decided to build either a simple camera dolly or simple camera stabliser (on a budget) for this purpose. I was wondering whether anyone could direct me to a step by step guide somewhere.



  2. #2

    Default ps

    by the way we're not looking for a track based system. With the shots we are looking to get we're looking more at a "Dancefloor Technique" dolly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    So you are looking for something along the lines of a cheap DIY steadycam? I know it would be impossible to lay a track on a dancefloor and having people moving about (if that's what you are planning to do) and falling over it. I've seen them on various sites and a few of the other members of the forum have discussed them before, so I'm sure there is some info on them buried deep inside one of the other sections here on the forum.

    Try the Hardware section to see if anything is in there, I'll have a look myself to see if I can find anything. Also do a search on Google for DIY steadycams, you'd be amazed at the gadgets people create in their garages. Something like a tripod head, part of the centre column to hold onto and counter weights added to the shortened legs?
    Last edited by Nikosony; 04-17-2008 at 09:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    South Lake Tahoe, CA


    Pete, I recently profiled a piece of art which required a slow tracking shot around it. I simply cut a triangluar piece of plywood and bolted on three 5" diameter, soft rubber casters, and then placed my tripod on top. It did the job for me. It helped that I had a smooth floor to roll on.

  5. #5


    I saw someone using a hand-truck like you get in DIYs to move bags of cement or compost..

    They got someone to push them while they sat on it with the camera on a small tripod. Got quite good tracking shots that way

  6. Default


    Take a look at this:

    $14 Steadycam The Poor Mans Steadicam

    This fella has got some interesting other stuff on his site too.


    Last edited by zircon3035; 04-18-2008 at 12:48 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7


    thanks for all the ideas. we're shooting in a pub by the way not on a dance floor. I saw this phrase on a site I was looking at. It was talking about free-moving dollys I.e. without a track.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    My cheap'n'nasty dollies in order of preference:

    1. Wheelchair.

    2. Office chair (ordinary typist's chair with rollers)

    3. Supermarket trolly

    It all depends on how smooth the floor is and how skilled your "dolly grip" is. The rule of thumb is that the bigger the wheels, the smoother the ride. If it's a straight track and not too long, you can balance a ladder on two chairs, put a plank on the rungs and then with a bean-bag and a skateboard you have a remarkably smooth dolly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by The Guru View Post
    you can balance a ladder on two chairs, put a plank on the rungs and then with a bean-bag and a skateboard you have a remarkably smooth dolly.
    My guess is that for those of us who are amateurs, this is fine, but for the pros it will invalidate insurance, contravene Health & Safety legislation etc etc etc.

    EDIT: (for clarity) I'm not knocking the idea, just sympathizing with the poor b*gg*rs who have to make a living out of video.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 04-19-2008 at 06:56 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    A wheelchair works great - my number one choice too. I borrow them from work.

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