Over on my Instragram feed I posted up a few images of my homemade custom mini gimbal that I use for my Panasonic GH4 camera. A couple of comments on the feed wanted a bit more information, so I thought I would post this to the blog.
I'm constantly tweaking this homemade gimbal, but here's a video giving you a bit more insight about just how compact the system is and how well it's been working despite how ugly it looks.
The main part of the gimbal started with this 2 Axis Carbon Fiber Gimbal frame for small cameras. I had to modify it to be a 3 Axis gimbal buying random bits and pieces as well as add the controller and motors.
2 Axis Carbon Fiber Gimbal Frame
The controller is the latest Basecam 32 bit board with dual IMU sensors.
Basecam 32 Bit Gimbal Control Board Dual IMU
The motors are from DYS which are small but powerful enough for the cameras i'm working with.
DYS Hollow Shaft Brushless Motors
I also purchased my own wiring, crimped each terminal, and purchased each plastic dupont connector. So unless you have the time and patience, it's not something you whip up in a few hours. It could take you several days (or months like me).
The PID settings are my own custom configured, which still needs some work. It's as compact as I can make it while still allowing access to the HDMI output for a monitor, and to quickly change out SDXC cards. The top bar is a #PVGEAR carbon fiber 15mm rail using all quick clamping accessories so that I can take it apart and rebuild it in under a minute. To keep things light i'm using a compact Venom 35C 3S battery to shed weight while giving me ample runtime.
Venom 35C 3S 11V Compact Battery
In the example (below) I was testing the GoPro FLUX (twixtor-ish) fake slo-motion option in the GoPro Studio software. I was literally running behind my daughter and you can see how well the horizon stayed level.
In this next example (below) we decided to take our newly 'inherited' dog out for his first Electric Longboard experience.
While it's certainly not 'dirt cheap' to build your own gimbal, I created this for a few personal reasons. Firstly this allowed me to better understand these systems building one from basically scratch. There's nothing like learning hands on and running into all the problems. Secondly, I wanted something small for the pure convenience of traveling when I want to keep my tools as compact and portable as possible. There was just nothing in the market available for under a few hundred bucks so I figured I would build my own.
For interior shots, the fisheye lens combined with this stabilizer has worked wonders (you Real Estate guys would love it). It's also perfect for guys who want to use a small stabilizer while inside of a car (drifting, racing?). And just to show you how compact the system is, here's what the entire system looks like when it's thrown into a small hard case (including GH4 camera, GH4 Battery Charger, Rokinon Fisheye Lens, and Gimbal Battery Charger). It's pretty much everything you need when you arrive at your shoot.
I still don't consider myself an expert in any way, but I think i'm a little more knowledgeable about how these things work. While I don't have all the answers, i've always been open to try and help with what little experience I have so far. If you have any, leave your comments below.
Oh and just in case any of you want to dive into Electric Skateboards to match up with your Gimbals, i've owned quite a few over the last 5 years. Here's one I recommend for it's lightweight, long battery life, and inexpensive price.
Yuneec E-GO Electric Longboard Skateboard
I try to bring my collection of boards wherever I go, and even have one for light off-road use. Here's a few other examples of these boards in use for either follow shots, or as a replacement track dolly.