Resourceful DIY Brushless Hand-held Camera Gimbal

Holding a video camera while shooting video can lead to finished footage that has some serious shakes. Lucky for us there are some solutions to this problem such as a passive steady cam stabilizer or an active motor-driven gimbal. [Oscar] wanted a smooth-operating brushless motor gimbal but didn’t want to spend the big bucks it costs for a consumer setup so he went out and built his own.

[Oscar] didn’t have a CNC machine or 3D printer to help with his build. He made his gimbal with simple hand tools out of plywood and hardware store bracketry. In his build post, he talks about how it is important to keep the pivoting axes of the gimbal in line with the camera lens and what he did to achieve that goal. The alignment of the axes and the lens ensures that the video is stable while the gimbal adjusts to keep the camera’s angle constant.

[Oscar] purchased the brushless motors and motor controller which included a gyro sensor on a separate PCB board. The gyro is mounted to the camera mount and sends tilt information back to the controller that then moves the brushless motors to keep the camera level. The final project worked out pretty good although [Oscar] admits he still would like to tune the PID settings in the controller a little better. Check out the video after the break where the stabilized camera is compared to one that is not.

16 thoughts on “Resourceful DIY Brushless Hand-held Camera Gimbal

  1. with a little digital post-processing you should be able to change the stabilized image into a silky smooth video. you can do the same with the second video but the results will vary.

  2. I wonder if you could stabilize camera-style by putting prism or some such in front of a lens and move that to stabilize the picture.
    The reason why I wonder is because then you could also stabilize binoculars and such, because it seems odd that in this day and age when people buy binoculars or spotting scopes or some such they still have a wide range of options with cost running well into the thousands and yet nothing is stabilized. I don’t even think the big camera companies like nikon who do sell very expensive binoculars sell versions with stabilization, even when they have the know-how obviously.

    And using a gimbal on the whole thing is too bulky for handheld so you’d need either an internal lens system or as I said a prism/mirror thing in front of it. And if a thing in front of the lens works it would be an interesting project not done often.

    1. Google my friend. not trying to be a troll…but i read your comment and instantly googled image stabilized binoculars…and found some made by canon. expensive but..

  3. Addendum: in fact if you could stabilize by using something in front of the lens you could make glasses with it and have the ability to keep focus while running. Although it might make you nauseous, unless maybe you got your sea-legs?

  4. Very nice! Good to see someone still has the ability to sketch a drawing on a legal pad and turn it into a working unit without resorting to CAD/CAM crutches! When I was a boy we did it like this because we had to, and we liked it.

  5. Some one should tell all these video producers that go out of their friggin’ way to *deliberately* shake and jar the damn video. I’m not sure what the hell kind of lame azz effect that they’re aiming for, but it’s the principal reason I could not watch that remake of “Battlestar Galactica”. Every god-damn minute they were shaking the damn f’in camera !!! like wtf !??? I doubt you have a market for this in the current climate of production that puts an emphasis on removing stable video from filming. I once had a camera man do that in one of my videos – I told him if you shake that camera again, I will break your eff’in arm !!!! The dude is like “oh sorry man”…idiot

      1. Some of us make a 7 figure income in the video business, and our personal honor and reputation are at stake when filming a production. So yeah, you’re damn right some of us get violent when someone vandalizes a scene that might have taken days to set up and along comes mister idiot last-minute-replacement-camera guy – who thinks it’s ‘cool’ to shake the camera deliberately.

        So go back to mommy’s basement and practice your spiel for your day job. You know, “would you like fries with that?”.

        1. I get that this is your personality. What I don’t get is why you would brag about being this way.

          What I really, really don’t get is what you think your tales of violent outbursts and income elitism will add to the discussion on what’s actually a pretty cool project.

          Guess that’s my troll feeding for the day.

        2. When you say “some of us”, I take it you aren’t talking about yourself, correct?

          Or if you are, let’s see some proof.

          Inb4 “I won’t because [lame excuse]”, let’s not act like children on a playground. Put up or shut up.

    1. The filming technique in the “Battlestar Galactica” remake wasn’t just shaking the camera. It seemed like a very deliberate attempt to mimic eye movements and saccades, extending it to zooms as well. Which would have been far more practical and likely to have been applied digitally after filming. Heck, you could probably have a couple of people watch the footage while wearing an eye tracker, run the tracking measurements through a low-pass filter, and automate most of the process. That said, I didn’t like it either.

      1. Quite a lot has been writtn about the BG FX and camera technique, and the DVD discussion tracks and extras are very informative. They wanted it to look like “found footage” where the camera was trying to take in a lot of random stuff the cameraman might not understand, looking for good deatils but then “GET THAT OVER THERE” *whip pan zoom* etc. If they had done it all the time it would have been quite annoying but they mainly did it for the space scenes which would have been exotic even for the characters, and I felt it accomplished its purpose of making it feel less like a production and more like something filmed by amateurs on the run.

        1. What I don’t understand is, why, when producing something, is it suddenly popular to make it look like it was “filmed by amateurs”?

          If you want it to have crappy… Excuse me, “authentic” production values, why not just save a bunch of money by using ACTUAL amateurs?

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