Gimbal Camera Stabilizer


Professional cameramen use steadicams to make their shots look smooth and clean. However, their prices are generally way too high for an indie’s budget. Previous attempts have tried adding a counterweight and moving the camera away from the hands. [YB2Normal] took a different method and used a bob and gimbal to hold the camera upright. The gimbal is free to rotate along 3 axes, so the camera can stay in place. The whole thing cost less than $15. The first video he made with he mount is after the break.


Related: Building a Snorricam

[via Gizmodo]

38 thoughts on “Gimbal Camera Stabilizer

  1. While the T bar ‘steadycam’ has passive stabilization (ie: just masses of weight to counteract rapid changes in direction), this one has gimbals which helps with angular stabilization.

    I would build this device over the T bar because the materials are easier to work, and with a slight addition of a handle you can get something actually approaching a real steadicam (ie: only gimbals, no spring loaded arm, see steadicam merlin).

  2. @berto, the link you provided was already provided in the article. While the projects attempt the same feat I believe that this gimbal mount will produce better results as there is more freedom in his rig.

  3. @jelengar :
    you can use a web proxy to defeat youtube country limitation (just google for “web proxy” ans hyou should find some for free).

    Translation services (babelfish translator for example) will also act as a proxy and display the video in the “translated” page.

    Hope this helps…

  4. I have tried something very similar to this and unless you just want to have some fun you are wasting your time and energy. Even if you spend 20-40 dollars making a DIY, a professional (for small camera) steadicam will cost about 350$. Trust as some one who has gone this route before, the level of precision that you need balance your camera will be hard to attain with out one sick work shop.

    The snoricam however looks great, simple and no need to balance!

  5. Nice! But I see one thing I wish it would do better: pan up and down while keeping the steadiness going (see how it needed to pan up while following the children up the stairs). I have a proposed way to do that: Connect the outer race of the gimbal to a vertical pistol-grip handle and rig the pitch axis of that handle to shift the centre of gravity of the bottom counterweights so that the camera will find its balance in a more nose-up attitude. Do-able!

  6. Why do we need one ? Seems the idiotic trend
    nowadays in video production is to DELIBERATELY
    shake the freakin camera !

    Pisses me off to no end. One reason I never
    watched the new Battlestar Galactica series.
    The never ending shaking of the camera.

    Then you see even more camera’s being jostled
    around on various tv commercials. I’m like
    WTF !????

    I’d like to draw & quarter the mofo directors
    who think shaking a camera deliberately is some
    form of “art”. They can kiss my shiny metal ass!

  7. video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.

    wtf? I’m in costa rica!!! who decides this crap???

    even if I lived in irak or something.. who the fcuk cares if I see this video?!?!?!

  8. gyro_john,

    You just put the top from a normal tripod on it and use the pan and tilt from that with the arm. I’m sure you could find a compromise in the tensioner that would allow you to smothly tilt without the camera coming loose or jostling around.

  9. @Stunmonkey
    LOL I hope you aren’t serious. You have a point though. Welcome to

    This hack is a really good idea. You could also use purposely unbalanced weights to allow certain angles. I like it!

  10. “Beated by 1$:
    Posted at 2:34 pm on Jul 15th, 2009 by Berto”

    And it’s a piece of crap. All it does is make the camera 10 times heavier at the bottom and give you another spot to hold it midway. This Gimbal version actually does a nice job at stabilization without adding a horribly disproportionate amount of weight… and does more at stabilizing the image other than making it too heavy for you to “shake.”

  11. Looks like it works very well, great demo video. On another note I was surprised to read the comments where people are being restricted by Youtube based on location. Darn Youtube, I have used them thinking that everyone could view the content regardless of location…

  12. Excellent job on this, and this design was actually on my to-do list for quite some time since it’s a slight variation on a known hack, as for that $14 thing linked, I’m sorry but that is just a silly piece of junk.

    And s for the youtube not being available, it’s not the video that is the issue but the song that plays in the background, freaking sony and pals control youtube’s sound now, and it annoys me even though this one I can see, seems mostly the US that is affected which is ironic since the rest of the web it’s mostly non-US that gets blocked more and more, but even when I can see videos I still can’t discuss them when half the people can’t, so it remains annoying no matter if you are allowed to see it, or rather ‘hear’ it

  13. addendum:
    As for suggestions for improvements, use bolts with flat heads on the outer ring and shorten them with a saw to fit and sit smoothly on the ring, although perhaps the bolts improve grip in a way as they are, or maybe add a handlebar that attaches to the outer ring so you don’t have to hold the ring itself, would easy the strain on the hand because the ring’s size and the weight can’t be comfy, you can use a cupboard handle vertically maybe?
    And tidy up the weight bar and camera mount to look a little less ghetto :) a small handsander and a lick of paint would do wonders.
    But it’s about function and nothing but praise for this thing from me really even as it is.

  14. “This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.”

    A site devoted to openness and hacking restricts its videos to a significant part of the world? I’m in Eastern Europe and one Central American commenter above also mentioned problems. Oh please!

  15. You guys should check out what wongsta is saying:

    “You linked to the 1st version of the steadicam, he’s made 5 of these, the newest one being much smaller…although with a differnt gimbal:

    Posted at 3:39 am on Jul 16th, 2009 by Wongsta”

    Using a pre-made gimbal in the form of a U-Joint for a model car is a good idea. They are cheap at the hobby shog and one package will make two of these camera mounts for $4-$5

    Keep on hacking (if you know any friends that bash Traxxas I am sure they may have free spares that are broken for them, but work fine for this.)

    Cool hack, combine with a kidney belt and a pantomime arm and you could get some wicked shots in.

  16. cool hack. necessary now that camcorders are getting ridiculously small. image stabilization doesn’t help much with the tiny cams.

    I never needed something like this with my old vhs camcorder. big enough to prop on my shoulder ;)

  17. @jb
    No amount of anti shake in the camera can compensate, or compare to the smoothness of such a device, look at the video (if sony lets you) and see the difference.

    Indeed I too did not pay attention to all the comments, thanks for pointing it out, the newer one is interesting in its own right.

  18. @wwhat: that’s why i said “image stabilization doesn’t help much with the tiny cams”. I like my new HD camcorder, just hate the tiny format. Believe it or not, I miss the big size of my full size vhs camcorder (which still works fine after 20 years) Tiny cams shake too much, even with i.s. on. the old “dinosaur” camcorder doesn’t have i.s. and doesn’t really need it when you prop it on your shoulder.

    and yes, I did look at the video. I’ll be building one for my camera. Again, great hack!

  19. @Ced-2k
    neither google translator nor yahoo/altavista babel fish work as proxy for youtube videos. also free us proxies are S-L-O-W, and it’s pointless to try to watch a video that way.

    fuckings to who ever decided to use some copyright lame music on the background of the video.

    i didn’t even want to see it in the first place, blaaah.

  20. @Wwhat At least they could show up the option to MUTE the fscking sound. Really.

    It is annoying that I can’t see the damn video just because of the sound.

    Today youtube will receive a email about it, I encourage you guys (who can’t see the video too) to do the same.

  21. I built one of these last year, with a few changes. You control tilt by keeping one thumb pressed against the central pole; that’s necessary just to keep it from turning right or left, so your hands are naturally in position.

    I hold my arms down and to the side, at waist level, as a real steadicam operator would. Having such a long central pole (so the camera itself hovers around eye level) may hurt stability, but I see no other way. It would be nice to mount some kind of arm on the gimble–maybe a combination snorri/steadicam.

  22. “Not available in your country due to copyright restrictions…”

    Why on earth do people put country based copyright restrictions on the videos they upload on Youtube?! Do they only want Americans to see them and not show them to us evil unpatriotic atheists from Europe? Silly I say.

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