Aaron of Winnipeg shows us how he mods the IndieHardware Video Camera stabilizer. This is one of the cheapest stabilizers I've reviewed on this blog that was able to balance a 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm Lens. That's about all I was willing to push, but Aaron's managed to practically double that up while still using the stock Gimbal. The mods to add a Lilliput 7" monitor to the little stabilizer allows Aaron to add more weight to the top with a T2i + Battery Grip and 17-55mm F/2.8 IS lens (nice lens). He's also added a new handle which is one of the most common complaints on this particular stabilizer, replacing it with one from an old Flash Bracket . The video is a bit long, but all good information, so stick through it and hopefully get some ideas. Also note that the IndieHardware stabilizer is always in and out of stock, but you can check current pricing and if it's available below.
Lensse adds another DSLR accessory to their lineup - the RigX DSLR Cage. (Not to be confused with 'RigX' from Express35 which is an offset shoulder rig). This very basic frame (cage) around your video camera providing you with a few different mounting points for your LED lighting, LCD Monitors, Microphones, Audio recorders, Wireless Receivers, and other add-ons. The frame can stand on it's own with built in legs and offers a top handle for stable low shots. The RigX Cage from Lensse also includes a couple of quick hot shoe mounts.
To finish this setup off, I think it could definitely use a quick release adapter. Perhaps the longer Manfrotto 357 Sliding Mounting Plate might be a good choice to balance out the camera, and a couple of Friction Arms to get akward accessories positioned in the right place. Price, not so bad for the amount of mounting points + top handle + shoe adapters, but shipping could be a deal breaker for
most some. Found below.
Steadicam has a smoothee, Cinevate once showed something for an iPhone about a year ago, Lensse has an iPhone version as well, but can be adapted to the GoPro. Somehow every company is finding a way to market tiny stabilizers for iPhones, Flip Cameras, and all types of point and shoots.
Olivia gets a demo from Tom McKay - President of Varizoom showing a regular FlowPod, as well as their new lightweight version. Now in the end of the video he throws out pricing, but when I was at NAB, I want to say that the smaller version was only around $150 dollars. That means it would be a bit cheaper than Steadicam's Smoothee as well as being a lot more functional.
I'll have to contact Varizoom to find out if the pricing he mentions was for the larger version that supports the GH2, because anything over $150 bucks seems a bit pricey. BTW, if you've followed Olivia's Vimeo profile she finally has her cast (broken wrist) taken off. Hilarious stuff... This was also a highlight from Episode 4 from her Myx-Rated Television show which is shot almost completely on Canon DSLR's.
When I first started messing around with DIY builds, one of the most difficult projects to try and tackle were the Stabilizers a.k.a. or what most people associate with 'Steadicams' (that's actually a brand name). Piecing together a stage and a set of counterweights was the easiest part, but trying to locate an effective off the shelf 'Gimbal' handle was always the biggest hurdle.
A device consisting of two rings mounted on axes at right angles to each other so that an object, such as a ship's compass, will remain suspended in a horizontal plane between them regardless of any motion of its support.
Here's where Lensse steps in. I think this could be officially the first DSLR equipment company marketing Gimbal handles for DIY stabilizer projects. This is another move for companies to get attention from the DSLR community. IGUS stepped in after finding many of it's Linear Guide Rails were being used as Camera Sliders, and even JuicedLink offers basic accessory brackets also named DIY*. These three new Lensse Gimbals designed for Light cameras to heavier loads, are all machined from Brass sockets. Brass is a metal with lower friction qualities, but still hard enough to last for years. If you're working on a DIY project that requires Gimbals, including Cable Cams, and Helicopter Mounts, check out some of the Lensse gimbals.
Lensse DIY Brass Gimbals for Steadicams
Vimeo member Carl throws up a demo video with the Canon T2i on Hague MMC video stabilizer. Something i've shown a while so nothing new there. Jump on over to 2:18 in the video and you find out how Carl balances the GoPro and iPhone properly. I've always said if your camera is too light for the stabilizer, you need to add weight to the top. Carl achieves this by adding a small Manfrotto tripod which works well for weight and adds the function of a quick release adapter. Now that the GoPro has an LCD BacPac, we could start seeing more GoPro Flying. Watch out Tiffen Smoothee, the cheaper Hague MMC with some small mods can easily balance a Flip, GoPro, iPhone and more...[Thanks Carl]
Now Carl does an excellent job with the Hague MMC, but i've used this stabilizer before and there's other (better and cheaper) options. The Hague is higher priced than the IndieHardware which I reviewed against the Hague MMC not so long ago. You can definitely save a few clams if you considered the IndieHardware over the Hague for your lightweight cameras.
If you're really interested in flying a GoPro, you should also check out another version of these type of stabilizers from Lensse. Probably just as good if not better than the rest with a price that sits in between. There's also a smaller version offered by Lensse dedicated to small Cell Phones (iPhones) or PDA's. Right now Lensse is trying to grab some marketshare and some items are being auctioned off starting at .99 cents. These small stabilizers already designed to work with an iPhone without any further modification, just might be good enough for the GoPro too. A deal hard to pass up..