Big thanks to Mark H. for taking time out to make this video. Here Mark is showing us his DIY arm brace for his Flycam Nano stabilizer. The Flycam Nano is proving to be a very popular small stabilizer, but one thing to note is that even the handle comes in small. If you're not practicing some type of Shaolin Tiger Claw Death Grip (like myself), you might want to look into swapping the handle out with something a bit larger, or better yet work with an arm brace. If you don't know, the handle to the Flycam Nano is hollow and resembles the Glidecam stabilizers. With it's hollow designed handle, it can accept the same arm brace that is used with the Glidecam stabilizers. Of course that original brace (if you're lucky to find one) retails for about $150 dollars.
Mark takes a simple medical use wrist brace found in any local pharmacy and adds a custom DIY bracket to transfer most of the weight away from the wrist, allowing you to fly a bit longer, and possibly a bit steadier. For those with Steadicam Merlin's or Steadicam Jr's this idea will also work for transferring that weight over from your wrist. Mark also makes a good point to talk about how handy an arm brace is to have when you can't travel with a vest. As an owner of a vest myself, I can attest that it's a huge pain to travel with. It's also not very quick to get in an out of and is sometimes a bit dangerous when you're surrounded by fast moving kids. This would be the ideal situation in which you could take advantage of a solid arm brace.
For something like this, you'll probably want to go with the wrist braces that have a 'splint' like Mark's to attach a bracket.
Wrist Brace with Splint
Some bit of news going out to all the iPhone Fanboys (and FanGirls). It's been a long long time since the annoucement of the Tiffen Smoothee. The 'Smoothee' is a Steadicam Merlin like device originally designed as a stabilizer for the iPhone, but it doesn't look too difficult to port something like that to support other cameras as well. The handle on the Smoothee looks like the exact same design from the Steadicam Merlin, which is very effective in stabilizing movement from walking or running. I originally posted about this stabilizer way back in May. Looks like Tiffen just missed the boat on the iPhone 4 launch, but better late than never.
They just opened up a form you can submit if you want to register for some spam as someone interested in the Tiffen Smoothee, that should be released in limited quantities around December. If you decide to drop your name down on the form, do me a favor and leave this website address in the comments, i'm hoping they'll send me something for a test drive LOL!. Here's the link: http://www.tiffen.com/steadicam_smoothee_signup_form.html.
You've seen me flying pretty lightweight Video stabilizers recently, including the Glidecam HD1000 shown in this video. Well lightweight is nice and very easy to fly for short periods of time, but if you're going to be focusing on longer video footage with any stabilizer, it's time to start looking into a Vest. A Stabilizer Vest isn't going to help stabilize your video as much as the 'stabilizer' itself, but it does help you stay in control by carrying most of if not all of the weight. This is especially helpful for fast walking to running type shots.
Well i'm pretty set with the Steadicam Merlin Vest modified to work with the Glidecam HD4000, but I admit it is a bit overkill not to mention a bit pricey, for something that might only see 5% of your video work. So in my never ending search for the best bang for the buck, I decided to check out the Varizoom DV Sportster, one of the smallest, lightest, and cheapest Video Stabilizer Vests known to mankind...B&H Photo.
When this dropped in, the box looked fairly large and I was a bit disappointed. I was looking for small and portable. Then it was like a Russian Matryoshka doll unfolding box after box down to it's smallest bag. Wow, this thing is tiny. The bag is like a small padded duffle with extra room for other gear. Description from Varizoom states it can support it's own Flowpod, Steadicam JR. and Glidecam stabilizers. Now it's time to put it to the test this weekend and see if it actually holds up. You can find the Varizoom DV Sportster vest here. Stay tuned....