DIY Camera Jib / Crane Kit – Good Idea?

Sometimes I have the craziest ideas, and they don't always pan out very well. Here's one i'm quite excited about, but i'm not sure how others would feel. For the past few months i've had the idea of working on a 'DIY Crane Kit'. I went through the process of building a few Jibs myself and found that while you can save quite a bit of money, the hardest part to tackle is the mounting brackets.


So after a few designs, I've been working on a cost effective way to have special Jib brackets made that will allow you to make your own cranes / jibs. These brackets will be made from solid steel (very strong and durable), and will be perfectly aligned for smooth crane operation and modular so you can build your cranes to various lengths.

It will be so easy to assemble that today you could have a very small 4ft crane for an indoor shoot, and tomorrow you could have and 8ft., 9ft.,12ft. crane. There's also stuff i've been working on to show you guys how to make telescoping cranes with all off the shelf parts. Who knows what configurations people will have, and once you see these brackets, it will make more sense. I'm not going to go too much into details, but what you see in the box (above) will be pretty much all you'll need to get your DIY Jib started along with a set of instructions (and a video to follow). Oh and of course it will look very professional. Let me know what you guys think? Good idea or not?

45 thoughts on “DIY Camera Jib / Crane Kit – Good Idea?

  1. Yes. Hurry up. I need one I can use indoors with a DSLR. Something that I can put on a camera tripod (3/8 inch thread) and carry by myself up and down stairs without demolishing the walls.

  2. Great Idea! I've made a couple of jibs and googd brackets are everything. Hopefully yours will be somewhat compatible with european standards too, to fit the metric drill bits, screws, nuts etc. Maybe 2 versions? Or one with two sets of bolts?

    Keep the great low cost stuff coming and don't forget europe.

  3. RF

    Emm, that description sounds like the answer to a lot of prayers. As someone else said, please don't make it require a ton of DIY skill.

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @todd - LOL, thanks. The crane i'm really going to try and tackle with this kit will only be about 29" (or less) long. Very compact, but then telescopes out to become a 4ft-5ft. crane. The rear weight will be a separate bar that slides into the top tube and locks in place. It will be one awesome little mini-jib!

  5. todd

    This is the BEST video/fun/equipment blog on the earth man! I love the pico dolly and am buying this if you make it available, telling all my pro friends to start bugging you to go through with it lol

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Steve Ling - LOL, we'll see. Wasn't that setup quick? In a few minutes, that crane was ready to fly!

  7. I use one of those collapsible tripod dollies with my smaller tripod. I put my jib on my larger (spread) studio tripod. I love that wider, more stable spread, but I'd like to find a dolly which would accommodate this 54" spread between legs. I've thought of using a set of RigWheels I have around and following their instructions for a PVC dolly. Any thoughts?

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @James Madara - It's a secret. LOL. Ok you talked me into it. I'll do a very quick show and tell of what the assembly would be like.

  9. Dean Barkley

    I think it's a good idea Emm. Most of us don't have the engineering equipment to make the 'complicated' bits!
    In the past, I've knocked up a crane using a tripod and a monopod mounted atop a fluid head. I had some pulley wheels with string to smoothly control the camera tilt. It worked surprisingly well, but looked really naff!!
    So some pro looking parts would be just the ticket.
    Looking forward to seeing your creations!!

  10. Mark Serrano

    Price, size, weight.. keep them low as possible. I have an 8 foot crane but its to heavy and bulky.

    **try to connect (if possible) the camera motion to the tripod head (similar to CobraCrane). This way it is very smooth motion when tilting the camera.

    Im excited!!!

  11. Chris

    As long as its competitively priced and has the same manufacturing qualities as the slider you developed then Im game.

  12. LeftHandMedia

    Been looking for the right one.

    Price will be a big factor. Looking forward to seeing the design!

  13. Alec Moore

    Fantastic idea! Please go ahead with it. I've been wanting to make my own crane for quite a while now and the brackets are the big issue!

  14. I looked into a DIY jib and have the Igus catalogue, not really worth it for a one off, but using their bearing plates and bushings would make a very slick moving jib. I ended up getting a small cobracrane, uses a fluid head, worth it for the price, but for a larger jib I would revisit building my own with the Igus bearings.

    If the jib is large enough a steady tripod can be a good DIY project as well, for a jib it only has to be one height, but strong with a flat top for a bearing plate. Might be a good second product, a machined top and the user can supply round or square stock for the legs.


  15. Yes, a great idea! I too have built a few DIY jibs, and as you said the head is the most difficult part. I also agree with Mark, I think a Kickstarter project would be the way to go!

  16. "I’d be far more interested in being able to stand at the camera end with a fluid head rather than stand at the back of the jib."

    What do you mean by this? Like having you stand next to the end of the crane with a small head on it?

  17. Jerry also

    It's a great idea! -- especially if you can map out solutions to sticking points up and down the line and include slider functionality in there too. Expandable, contractible, portable and DIY-friendly -- the unified field gizmo for all these types of motion. Together with stabilizers, this tool set will consolidate the gift of narrative motion to micro production ...

    ... leaving only one giant roadblock to be cleared away: swift, dependable, quiet (and cheap!) wireless rack and follow-focus. In order to include the universe of MF lenses ancient and new, and to get round the babel of the various brands' internal protocols for auto-focus, might this be best achieved with some kind of motorized external collar?

    I'll bet that more than mere stormy applause awaits the Albert Emm Einstein who pulls this one off!

  18. Definitely, I agree re ease of construction and parts, esp. considering im in Oz and common US parts often don't translate to down under.

    Weight of [arts for shipping is a consideration for us non-US folk too.

    Grand ideas, as always, keep on rocking emm!

  19. I would definitely be interested if it was strong enough to make a jib that can do moves that I can't do on my glidecam/slider.

    I'd be far more interested in being able to stand at the camera end with a fluid head rather than stand at the back of the jib.

    hope that feedback helps.

  20. Steve

    Sounds great. Just make sure it's able to support a realistic amount of weight. Make sure it's dummy-proof for the not-so-handy people out there. Make sure all "off the shelf" parts are just that. I hate when someone on YouTube posts a parts list but never gives the true name of the part. Emm, you've done a lot of amazing things for the dslr/video world. Keep up the hard work! It's ALWAYS appreciated.

  21. I think its a great plan depending on a few factors. Firstly is the price for the kit. It has to be competitive with cheapo crane solutions because most people DIY for the cost savings. And 1ndly is the weight of the whole thing. If the kit is light enough that when its at like 4 ft we can put it on a relatively cheap tripod then were in good shape. I think these would sell like hot cakes. And from recent trends hot cakes are up

  22. jodydb

    yes, even after fishing on the bay for a decent price pro aim 4 foot, interested esp if it can change lengths

  23. Chris

    Great idea! Can't wait to see what you have in mind.

    Much like sliders and stabilizers/supports, cranes and jib are quite expensive. You can get most of the functionality for cheap, but not the look.

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