Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Keep it steady for fourteen bucks

Ever wonder how movies and TV shows achieve some of those long, swooping shots in tight corners, or follow a single person down a crowded street so smoothly? Chances are, they're using a Steadicam. It uses a complicated, bulky system of gimbals and counterbalances and body harnesses to keep a video or film camera steady while the shooter moves. Steadicam use is actually a complicated art that needs a lot of practice to get right.

The problem for amateurs and casual video camera users: a Steadicam costs a LOT of money--we're talking tens of thousands of dollars for a top-end one. Even a low-end Steadicam-like harness can cost near a thousand.

Enter Johnny Lee's totally awesome $14 Steadycam. It's not a substitute for a "real" Steadicam, but it's close enough for you and me, and probably for everyone you or I know. It really does cost around fourteen bucks, which is all it would have cost me if I hadn't needed to get new safety goggles and a new drill bit that was capable of drilling through steel. If you read the website, it is telling the absolute truth about how easily everything knocks together. (I was going to post pictures of the build process, and of the finished product, but...they'd be exactly like the ones that Johnny Lee posted!) The hardest part was that I don't actually have a vise to clamp down the pipe ends for drilling--but my neightbor does, and he let me use his workshop for a minute so that I could get it done.

I took a few practice shots with the setup, and it works exactly as advertised. The video quality isn't great because I shot indoors with basically no lighting. I hope the weather cooperates tomorrow so that I can go outside and get some shots in the sone.


Post a Comment

<< Home