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can't we made our own steadicam

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#1 vijay


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Posted 20 June 2010 - 02:40 PM


i am vijay,i want make my own Steadicam rig(like original),Is it possible or not.i know mechanism of Steadicam,but i have a doubt after making rig ,how can i prepare follow focus ring and motor.i stuck here.

i need some more details,weight of vest,pilot arm and gimbal etc..

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#2 Tom Daigon

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:06 PM

A great source for this kind of information can be found at this link...


Edited by Tom Daigon, 20 June 2010 - 03:06 PM.

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#3 Nitin Rao

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 02:38 AM

Hi Vijay

Its nice to know someone is trying to make a steadicam. we have been doing it for years, infact i have had them in use for over 15 years. you are most welcome to contact us.


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#4 RobVanGelder


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Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:12 AM

I don't know what you are asking here, this is a professional forum, where people value the professional and well made equipment which almost always means that it is NOT CHEAP and not made in a garage or backyard!

But have a look here as there are several people and companies in your own country selling cheap "steadicam" like equipment.
Of course, you get what you pay for so when you pay a few rupees, don't expect much!




And let's not forget the cheap ripoffs from China:

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#5 Jonathan Parris

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 01:56 AM

I am a big supporter of home built stabilizers and other video/film equipment, but there are certain things you just can't skimp on.

Let me explain.

Years ago, I built my first camera stabilizer, based off of a Glidecam 2000 design. Made of PVC pipe, bearings, and all kinds of metal brackets, it had a three axis gimbal, extendable post, and adjustable stage. It worked fantastic, as long as the camera was under two pounds. Since then, I have built a 300lb capacity steerable dolly, which can ride on smooth ground or standard dolly track, and included a mini jib arm. And then I built a 20ft jib with remote operated head, which could wield a 20lb camera, and yet was portable enough to travel in a tiny two seater sports car.

So based on the success of the other devices, I thought it would be no problem to build a full sized camera stabilizer for a fraction of the cost of a Steadicam. I got a copy of The Steadicam Operator's Handbook, in hopes that there would be enough detail shown about the real thing that I could fabricate one for myself.

Believe me, there is. In fact, I HIGHLY recommend that you get that book too.

There is so much detail about how every part of the Steadicam system works, and about the varying sizes of Steadicams, the differences in design features, everything you would want to know about operation, specifics about the gimbal, the stage, the arm, the vest, and excellent photographs of everything. There is so much detail, in fact, that I began to understand WHY Steadicams cost what they do, The more I thought about it, the more I realized a number of things:

1. With me doing all the machining from scratch, it would cost me $3000 in materials alone for the quality of parts used in a Steadicam (and that doesn't include the monitor).
2. In two months from when I was going to start working on it, I had several jobs already lined up to use it on, so it had to be machined and all work properly within that time period.
3. Garrett Brown has spent decades perfecting the design of the Steadicam, working out all it's flaws, so building one myself from scratch would be like re-inventing the wheel.
4. Safety and health concerns have been addressed in real Steadicams that you won't find in knock-offs. The ability to adjust the way the arm connects to the vest so the rig is in proper balance with the operator (thus reducing undue back and leg strain) is missing from all those rigs you find on eBay. Forget operating near water without the quick release of a real Steadicam vest. You would sink like a stone if you fell in.
5. Most producers will not hire you again if bring home-made equipment on set and expect to be paid what the real Ops do. Their clients may not know the difference, but would not be happy if they did.
6. On that same note, not using industry standard equipment also makes you look like you are not serious about the job. Another reason not to be re-hired.
7. After investing $3000+ in building a rig, it still has little to no resale value if you decide to give up operating. A real Steadicam, on the other hand, tends to keep its value for many many years.
8. It is difficult to get liability insurance as an operator if the insurer finds out that you are working with something you made yourself.

So, after questioning how serious I thought I was about becoming an operator, I ended up just investing in the real thing instead. I haven't regretted it yet.

To answer your question bluntly though, just get that book and figure out for yourself if you really want to go the homebuilt route.
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