Tag Archives: dslr stabilizer

40 Comments

Guess what came in the mail recently? It's that cheap video stabilizer load vest I posted about a few weeks ago. I've had a bit of time with the gear, and as with any product there's Pros and Cons.

Cheap Stabilizer Vest Cheesycam

Pros:
The cheap vest is a combination of snap buckles and velcro, while the Steadicam Merlin vest is based on just velcro. Constantly readjusting the velcro on the Steadicam Merlin vest causes the vest to wear out, not to mention it's a bitch for hangnails. I've already had to replace the velcro on my Steadicam Vest, but there is also a 'buckle upgrade kit' (seen here) I will probably do the next time I need repairs. I've been using the Steadicam Vest for a long time, and I find that the Cheap Vest is more comfortable than the Steadicam Merlin vest.

Single Arm Vest

Cons:
The cheap vest I received came with a few scratches on the paint. Only slight blemishes, and nothing compared to how my Steadicam Vest looks like today. The Steadicam Merlin vest can be dialed down to fly light camera stabilizers. The ISO arm on the cheap vest requires a heavier load than the Steadicam. When flying just my 5D + Glidecam HD4000, the setup was not heavy enough to bounce the arm. I ended up adding some addition weight on the stabilizer setup for the cheap arm to work better.

scratch 1 cheap vestscratch 2 cheap vest

It's no Steadicam Killer, but the Cheap Vest has really good build quality for the price. I find it more comfortable than the Steadicam Vest and it works to carry your Flycam or Glidecam Stabilizers. If you're planning on flying a very light setup, this vest will not operate as smooth as the Steadicam Merlin Vest. The ISO arm of the cheap vest requires a bit more weight to put the proper tension on the spring. Below is a video showing pretty much the exact same vest setup from YouTube member Kirk Saber, along with his example footage from the vest system.

If you look carefully, you can see the bounce in his step due to the spring tension requiring more weight. The Steadicam Merlin Vest is a dual arm setup, while the cheap vest is only a single ISO arm. The Steadicam Merlin vest runs almost $1600 and the Cheap Vest runs for just under $400 dollars. There's a new listing in which they are also offering a Carbon stabilizer as part of a bundled package via eBay (Click Here).

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find-price-button Budget Single ISO Arm Camera Stabilizer Load Vest

Steadicam Merlin Vest
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Vest Arm

5 Comments

Gun Stock Video Rig

New Gun Stock shooter style Video Stabilizer rig. This stabilizer configuration uses just a few rods, clamps, single handle, camera stage, and gun stock (chest support) that are found on other popular shooters like the Zacuto Striker (seen here at B&H), or as in the Wondlan Stabilizer (seen here on eBay).

DSLR Video Rig Gun Stock Shooter

It's not exactly like the Wondlan Sniper as the Sniper does not come with a handle and runs for about $150 dollars. Maybe you can better compare the setup on this to the Polaroid Shooter Rig (seen here). This Gun Stock shooter can be broken down to fit in a small bag and runs for around $80 bucks (Click Here).

Gun Stock RigTarget Striker Shooter DSLR Video Gun Stock
find-price-button DSLR Video Stabilizer Rig Gun Stock

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More variations of DSLR Rigs are showing up. These new style DSLR Rigs not only sport the blue accents of popular RedRock Micro rigs, but you can tell they try to mimic the texture of the RedRock Micro Hand Grips (as seen here) and very close design of the RedRock Micro Body Brace (seen here).

Nice to see more Body / Chest brace type stabilizers becoming available instead of full on over the shoulder types. Configurations of these new rigs are available with either one handle or two. Check out more of the photos over at eBay (Click Here).

DSLR RigShooter Rig Target DSLR
find-price-button New 15mm Carry Handle DSLR Rigs

26 Comments

Today I decided to try and balance the Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma 20mm F/1.8 lens on the Skyler MiniCam. Sorry I don't have any interesting test footage right now, but i'll be shooting something later on today (which is why i'm balancing it). Still very happy I was able to find one of these units used at an affordable price. The form factor is much smaller (and better looking) than the Glidecam HD1000 or even Flycam Nano. Still it can fly just as much weight as either of them. The fine tuning knobs makes it easy to balance, and the tripod design lets you set it down on a flat surface. Can't do that with a Merlin.

You don't need this particular stabilizer to get good results, and i'm able to achieve just as good results from the Flycam Nano or any Glidecam Stabilizer. The benefits to this Skyler MiniCam is it's sex appeal, small form factor, and fine tuning knobs. I personally think it looks 100 times better than the Nano. If it were priced more competitively, this could really sweep the market. Unfortunately at a retail price of $600 dollars, it's targeted to the audience that might be shopping for something as compact as the $800 dollar Steadicam Merlin.

It's not all about running around fast. We use stabilizers to add slow camera movements and eliminate handheld shakes. It's a fast way to get some dynamic camera footage without having to setup sliders and cranes. Here's a few seconds or raw footage from the Canon 5D Mark III with Sigma 20mm on the Skyler MiniCam.

The guys did a good job using very cheap household flood lights for the back lighting, and in the front we used a very cheap DJ Pinspot LED light and balanced the cameras at 6000K (it was very blue). The 100 watt flood light bulbs run about $5 dollars each and were put on a dimmer switch. The DJ Pinspot LED light is used to create a very tight spotlight and we got it on sale for about $35 dollars.

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find-price-button Skyler Mini Video Camera Stabilizer

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find-price-button 100w Outdoor Flood Light

DJ-Pinspot
find-price-button DJ LED Pinspot Lighting

19 Comments

The GH2 or other small video cameras are very lightweight and the selection for a quality stabilizer are few. Lately, there's been some interest around modifying a Steadicam Smoothee to work with such light cameras. I was able to modify one successfully, but I never got around to showing it's full capabilities. So it's great to see other examples out there, and here's one of the best videos i've seen so far about a modified Smoothee (a.k.a Baby Merlin) with a GH2 camera from Vimeo member MKVideoFilms.

If you want to find out how to modify your own, there's an article posted here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

42 Comments

Made some slight mods to support a heavier camera and lens. Now it's a Canon 7D + Tokina 11-16mm on a Giottos quick release plate. I needed to pull the front heavy camera a bit backwards. Threw on some extra counterweights from a Flycam Nano, and then performed a slight test. Brings me back to my roots of flying an expensive Steadicam Merlin, except this one is only 1/5th the price.

GoPro-Steadicam-Smoothee-DIY-Steadicam
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee for GoPro and iPhone

25 Comments

steady-dragon-stabilizer

There's a million different little stabilizers on the market, but about a month ago (maybe a bit longer), the Steady Dragon brand upgraded the Gimbal to a universal joint. This type of gimbal provides the maximum amount of range compared to the little Ball-and-Socket type like found in the Hague MMC. The Steady Dragon seems to have all the right parts with front and rear counterweights, side to side weights, and adjustment of the camera forward and back.

camera-plate-adjustment

With the optional camera plate, you can also add side to side from the top stage. A Tripod mount is also available so you can dock your camera. There's ways to create your own stabilizer with U-Joint from a Traxxas RC, but If you're not the DIY type, this little stabilizer looks like a good start for small cameras and under a hundred bucks. The Steady Dragon states it's rated to balance cameras just around 3 lbs and you can find some demo videos following the link (click here).

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find-price-button Steady Dragon Video Camera Stabilizer Streadicam

28 Comments

Vimeo member Jorge shares his $15 dollar DIY steadicam build along with some test footage. Shot on a Canon T2i, with a Bower 14mm Ultra Wide Lens. The process to build your own coming soon. [Thanks Jorge]

5 Comments

Wondlan Support

Wondlan's showing off some type of 'wearable support' (shown above) that can be used to unload the weight from camera stabilizers like the Wondlan Ares (Merlin-like). Seems like the same idea Glidecam has with their Body-Pod.

Glidecam Body Pod
find-price-button Glidecam Body Pod for Hand-Held Stabilizer

But unlike Glidecam's Body Pod, Wondlan shows how it can be used to support a shoulder rigs as well. In that case, it sort of reminds me of the Tiffen (Davis & Sanford) Steady Stick.

Tiffen Steady Stick
find-price-button SSProSI2 Pro Steady Stick

IMO, the price is too high for something that doesn't come with a professional padded belt and strap. The images and descriptions aren't very clear either on how it all connects together. From this end it just looks like an adjustable stick on a belt.

Wondlan wearable SupportWondlan-Wearable-Support
find-price-button Wondlan Wearable Support