Greg writes in and shares this newly listed item [thanks Greg]. It's yet another three axis brushless motor gimbal camera stabilizer. I know there's been a few comments about other systems online, and some I think are already up and running. I myself haven't had the time to spend on these types of systems, but the specs on this product state that the gimbal has already been micro adjusted, the system is ready-to-run, supports decent sized cameras like the 5D / D800, and comes complete with the brushless gimbal controllers (BGC) for just under $700 bucks.
When you set your camera up on a Crane and start adding weights, it's a real pain to move that thing around. Unless it's on wheels. The same goes for heavy lighting equipment.
There's a couple of top heavy light stands in the studio loaded up with a set of lights, and to prevent them from falling over i've got a couple of sandbags over the bottom. Once the sandbags are in place, it becomes annoying having to move them around, so I opted to upgrade the stands with these Wheeled Caster Adapters. These little casters simply fit on the ends on any light stand and tighten in place.
These casters aren't cheap at about $12/each wheel, but they sure do make moving heavy stands around much easier regardless of how many sandbags you're using. It's also much safer moving this type of equipment around (for the crew and for the gear). If you're in the same pickle, I highly recommend looking into these things.
I opted for an inexpensive set since I don't move the stands very often, but there are dozens of different options via Amazon (found here).
Light Stand Wheeled Casters
A short while back, I showed an example of how to use RGB Color Changing LED lights to add a splash of color to your backdrop (found here). It's a bit of a DIY, but supposedly you can choose 16 million colors as a backsplash controlled wirelessly by your iPhone.
These durable outdoor flood lights are available in various sizes. The one shown in the video is a smaller 20 watt model found for under $40 dollars, but if you need more light output, you can also find a 50 watt version via Amazon (click here).
RGB Outdoor Color Changing LED Light
Here's a really great Simple DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly Project I think everyone will get a kick out of. Of course you're not limited to the design i'll be sharing in the video below. Once you see how simple it is to work with the Actobotics parts from ServoCity.com, i'm sure this will spawn a new breed of DIY Motorized projects, so make sure to share what you've come up with by commenting on this blog article.
Every little part used in the project is extremely high quality and precision made, so in the end everything lines up perfectly. It so simple, i'm confident my 12 year old son can easily put one of these things together. Everything used to assemble this high quality motorized track dolly project can be found over at ServoCity.com down to the roller skate wheels, bearings, and tiny hex screws.
Did you notice how quiet this system is? There is only a bit of noise, but you can see how my LAV mic didn't even pick up any noise as it tracked side to side.
The wheel assemblies position the skate wheels at an angle to use basic pipes as your track. You can choose to use inexpensive PVC pipes, Conduit, possibly Angle Iron, or whatever else you might find convenient for your project.
Only one drive wheel is needed to make the system move, and you can choose various RPM speed motors depending if you want to track quickly or slowly. With a Speed Controller you will still have some variations in speed as well as having a simple forward/reverse switch.
Here is a few reference videos from ServoCity.com showing you how to build the Drive Wheel, the Idler Wheel, and also options for assembling a frame to the wheel assemblies.
Building the Wheel Assemblies
Building the Dolly Idler Wheel Assemblies
Frame Building - Aluminum Channel or Tubing
The Frame I have here is using 12" Aluminum Channel and it was able to support over 100lbs of weight with ease. I seriously placed a chair on this frame and took a ride along a conduit track (this is not recommended, but I wanted to try it). Perfect for even the heaviest cameras out on the market including RED, and for rigged up SONY FS700 Shooters.
I think I want to shrink this down using 6" Aluminum Channels to reduce it down to half it's size. All I need to do is add a flat platform over the frame (i'm thinking thick plastic cutting board material from Ikea) so that I can mount a standard video Fluid Head in the center, and this is will be one seriously light-weight (yet heavy duty) smooth motorized video track dolly.
Unfortunately they don't sell a complete kit so you'll have to be familiar with every little part required to build one of these DIY Motorized Video Track Dollies. You will also need to add a few wire leads to the motor you choose, and pick up a 12V battery pack. Not really a big deal.
So to make things easier for you here's a parts list for the different components of the DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly in my video. Keep in mind you can easily come up with a variety of different shapes and sizes by assembling the parts differently. The one I share is also using 12" Aluminum Channel, but you can go smaller or larger depending on your project.
DOLLY DRIVE ASSEMBLY (click here)
(parts below make 1drive wheel mechanisms)
(1) 535044 ¼” Flanged Ball Bearing
(1) 585536 Dolly Wheel Drive Plate B (Pair)
(2) 545324 90° Quad Hub Mount D
(1) 545424 90° Quad Hub Mount B
(2) 595616 2.975" Low Friction Wheels (Grey)
(2) B8M-22M 8mm ID x 22mm OD Ball Bearing
(1) 632106 .250"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 632116 .5625"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 633118 Center Hole Adaptors (4 Pack)
(1) 585488 8mm Flanged Standoff A
(1) 555132 Aluminum Motor Mount D
(1) 625106 .250" to 6mm Bore Shaft Coupler
(1) 634074 2.50"L x .250"D Stainless Steel D-Shafting
(1) 595634 1/4" Bore Drive Wheel Adaptor B
(1) 638222 20rpm, 12VDC Precision Gearmotor
DOLLY IDLER WHEEL ASSEMBLIES (click here)
(parts below make 3 Idler wheel mechanisms)
(3) 585534 Dolly Wheel Idler Plate A (Pair)
(6) 545324 90° Quad Hub Mount D
(3) 545424 90° Quad Hub Mount B
(6) 595616 2.975" Low Friction Wheels (Grey)
(12)B8M-22M 8mm ID x 22mm OD Ball Bearing
(2) 632106 .250"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 632116 .5625"L x 6-32 Socket HeadCap Screw (pk of 25)
(3) 633118 Center Hole Adaptors (4 Pack)
(6) 585488 8mm Flanged Standoff A
ALUMINUM FRAME COMPONENTS (click here)
(1) 632110 .375"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(4) 585454 12.00" Aluminum Channel
(8) 545360 Quad Hub Mount C
OTHER (click here)
(1) DMSC6-16-10 Digital Manual Speed Controller (6-16VDC)
For projects like this, I highly recommend picking up these CCTV 12V Rechargeable Battery Packs. They are very cheap (some around just $10 bucks), small, lightweight and should be enough to power your Motorized Track Dolly.
12V CCTV Rechargeable Battery Pack
Whether you are working on this DIY Project or others, these 5.5mm OD + 2.5mm ID Terminal Connectors are pretty standard across many DSLR Video accessories. This will plug directly into many LED Video lights, and will plug directly into your CCTV battery. It's a very simple way to add a terminal plug to the end of wires without soldering. The Male and Female combo connect to each other so you can make a quick disconnect type setup between two wires.
Brushless gimbals have been in use for aerial video, but with the shrinking size of quality cinema cameras, many feel this could bring a big change for handheld type shooting. In the last few months there has been an explosion of various brushless gimbal stabilizers, including some affordable DIY options over on eBay. One example is this kit called the HiFly 3 Axis DSLR Brushless Gimbal Camera Stabilizer.
The HiFly is offered in various bundles, but the complete kit comes with everything you need to get flying, but leaves one final step up to the user. The final step required for these type of stabilizers is programming the parameters into the Gimbal controller. There's some additional information on the product listing page on how you can tackle programming the gimbal, but curious if anyone out there is already tackling this type of project? You can see other brushless camera gimbals showing up on eBay (following this link).
3 Axis Brushless Motor Gimbal Camera Stabilizer Kit
Here's a Motorized Rotating Product Table that was shared to me a short while ago. I decided to try this one out mainly because of the option to vary the speed. It's much more expensive, but this is another great option that will appeal to some people. Here's a video with the product in use rotating the Fuji X100s.
Now if you just want to save money and don't mind using a table that only offers one speed, you should check out my previous article (found here). The cheaper single-speed version can be purchased for under $50 dollars, while this variable speed product table can run up to three times the price (found here via Amazon).
Variable Speed Rotating Product Table 1-10RPM
Here's a link to the cheaper version with only one speed.
Heavy Duty Single Speed Motorized Rotating Table
This looks like a fun project. David Sawyer has modified an electric trike to perform long tracking shots with a few DSLR or GoPro cameras hard mounted [Thanks David]. The agility of the electric three wheeler allows for some very tight maneuvering and interesting camera footage.
Here's a look at some images David has shared with his modified Three Wheel Electric Trike.
The Electric Trike David uses is of course a more expensive high end version with a front electric hub, but if you're looking for a cheaper Electric Trike Scooter solution about $350 bucks, there is a stand-up TRX electric scooter that should have no problems mounting a few small cameras to it. That's about the price of a Canon 50mm F/1.4 lens, check out the item below.
A few weeks ago, I showed an example of a motorized rotating table that can be used for products. It's a great way to add dynamic movement of your products, and I suggest you take a look at that video (found here).
Jay writes in and shares another small rotating product table. This one is not as inexpensive as the one i'm using, but it has better features. The product I use is cheaper, but only has the option for ON/OFF. The little table is rated to support up to 100 lbs (Jay mentioned his kids could stand on the table), and also comes with Variable speed from 1-10RPM.
It may look small from the images, but the specs state the table weighs 35lbs, so it sounds pretty heavy duty. [Thanks for the tip Jay]. If you can dish out a bit more cash, this rotating product table looks pretty good found via Amazon (click here).
Variable Speed Rotating Product Table 1-10RPM
This might be a helpful tip to a few people out there. I used to work as an auto tech (cars), and rolling tool carts were not only an easy way to transport your tools, but also a great way to keep things organized. I'm also using the same practice for my camera equipment.
Here's a peek at a few tool carts i'm using in the studio. These are just basic tool carts you can find at your local hardware or auto parts stores. The tool carts roll close to the set, giving me a table area to work on, while keeping all the gear together and easily accessible. You'll have less of a chance loosing small parts (batteries, SD cards, lens caps).
Some of the items on the cart during a shoot include clamps, small hand tools, charged batteries, white balance cards, slate, QR plates, audio recorders, headphones, lenses, camera bodies, microphones, friction arms, HDMI Monitors, cables, and of course gaffer tape. There are expensive dedicated Grip Carts on the market, but for now I seem to be getting by using these inexpensive service carts.
I would first check your auto parts store or hardware store to see if they carry something like this. I purchased the black cart for just $60 bucks at my Lowes, but you can also find many different versions online (here).
Rolling Tool Service Equipment Gear Cart