Balancing the HandlePod DIY Steadicam

Steadycam with Gimble in use

HandlePod on a DIY steadycam that is easy to build and balances quickly with simple adjustment of the camera mount.

With all the DIY steadicam designs available on line, why use HandlePod as part of a steadicam device? It comes down to balance and ease of construction. With a gimbal to isolate hand movement, the steadicam must be perfectly balanced to keep it level. Many DIY steadicam devices use a relatively complex system of moveable camera mounts and counterweights to achieve a perfect balance. This can take special tools and materials plus hours of work. The philosophy behind HandlePod is to keep DIY accessories simple, inexpensive and easy to build. An example is the camera slider made from a yardstick described in a previous blog.

Steadicam PVC nuts and paper

The steadicam counterweight is made of PVC, nuts and a wadded paper towel to hold them in place.

The idea of keeping the HandlePod steadicam simple and cheap is based on materials and counterweights. PVC pipe is the least expensive material and is the easiest to work with. And because it is hollow, adding counterweight is a simple matter of filling the pipe with small pieces of metal, in this case steel nuts. These are cheap and readily available. A box of 100 ¼-20 nuts goes for $3.99 at Orchard Supply.  This should be more than enough weight to balance most cameras. Use a wad of paper towel to hold the metal in place. Insert just enough to keep the steadicam upright. Too much weight and it will swing with hand movement. Not enough and it will topple over. Add or remove metal until the balance is just right. It is easy to fine tune the balance with just two or three nuts at a time.

Balancing the camera on the steadicam is another simple matter, which is where the HandlePod comes in. Some DIY designs involve adding a tripod head or making a special adjustable mount to hold the camera. The HandlePod camera mount provides more than enough movement to balance any light weight camera. The slot in the mount lets you move the camera forward or backward to achieve perfect horizontal balance. It is a good idea to remove the angle bracket and washer that holds the camera mount and secure it on the opposite side of the aluminum pivot. This provides more horizontal movement of the camera. If the camera tilts to the left or right, rotate the camera mount in the opposite direction of the tilt to balance it to an upright position. Very small movement of the camera mount is all it takes to bring the steadicam to vertical.

Using HandlePod as the camera mount makes it simple to balance the camera very quickly and with minimal effort. Some cameras have different size batteries and changing them will alter the balance. No problem with HandlePod since the camera position can be shifted easily. Want to change to a different camera? Again re-balancing the steadicam with HandlePod is fast and easy.

If you want the camera stabilization benefits of a steadicam that will avoid the expense and complexity of more elaborate DIY systems, consider HandlePod and PVC. Click here to see a video shot with the steadicam . It is inexpensive, simple to build and easy to use. Plus you will have a HandlePod available for all the other camera support advantages that HandlePod provides.

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