Some Like it Steady

Earlier this month I became a bemused and first time owner of a smart phone; an iPhone to be exact. It turned out to not be quite as bad as I feared and one of the useful things about it is the video capability.

Flushed with excitement I went outside to catch the gorgeous display of daffodils in the spring. Here’s a short clip.

Oh dear, that’s not exactly easy on the eyes. Interesting it looks a lot better on the camera but as soon as it is shown full resolution on a bigger screen then there is a danger of inducing sea sickness.

Time passed and I put aside the idea of capturing the garden on the iPhone … until Father’s Day came around I received the very unexpected but welcome gift of Time. Approximately one hour to be exact. One glorious hour where I didn’t have to anything on the to-do list.

Would it be possible to build one of those simple steadicams from garage leftovers in a short space of time?

Now, a homemade steadicam is basically a long vertical pole with a weight on the bottom; a horizontal pole attached roughly in the middle and a camera attachment at the top and/or bottom.

As it happened we had just thrown out a clothes rack that was made of 1″ aluminium poles so they would do. Also they had some plastic corners that could be made into a T section by cutting off one of the ends. The kids would never miss a 2.5lb weight from their (dusty) dumbbell set so that only left the camera attachment.

Keeping it simple I went with 3 bits of scrap wood in a U shape. The phone fits in the U shape and a small wedge bit of wood keeps it tight.

Steadicam Annotated

Assembly was just drilling a hole in the bottom of the vertical pole to put a metal rod through (a large nail would also work), that stops the weight from falling of the edge. A 1″ hole was drilled in the U shape phone attachment and the vertical pole was coerced into it using a large hammer. The plastic corner attachment is tight enough to stay roughly where it is left.

The biggest issue with it is the vertical pole is too short. But shortcomings aside, it has the major plus point of being Ready for Use.

By this time the daffodils had long gone, so this clip is taken from me just wondering aimlessly around the garden.

Ok, so it’s never going to be mistaken for a $600 professional model. But there is a definite improvement over not using one.

Overall, I’m pleased with it.


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