About a month ago I purchased a steadicam from Ebay called the U-Flycam. This think is almost 1/10th the cost of most steadicam units, though you do get what you pay for.
For general running around, it works pretty well, but the more I use it, the more I am beginning to realize how many things can be improved. Here are some ideas that other Youtube users have.
First thing I noted was the cheap construction of the mounting device for the camera. Spokes me out a little bit, as I can picture this lever just breaking off. This guy just replaced the whole mounting unit with a quick release plate from Cullman.
I spent a few hours today trying to get my unit balanced with my Canon 60D. The big issue is that my camera is too light. I’ve used bolts and wing nuts in order to add weights to the top, but they are too close to the center pivot. This guy moved the center of gravity up, by raising the camera with a block of wood.
Besides the weights, I also noticed that the universal joint is pretty cheaply made and although one axis can be adjusted, the other axis cannot. The pivot is slightly off, and since this is very close to the balancing center, even a few millimeters throws it off. So, for example, even if it’s balanced, when I twist the handle by turning, every get’s wonky again. I guess I should consider replacing the u-joint with something better, like one of these babies. Or, I could just follow this guy’s DIY handle assembly. Wait a minute, I want to use a gimbal, not a universal joint.
$100 for the U-Flycam, plus $40 shipping, $6 for misc bolts, plus probably another $50 – $100 for more parts to get this rig working the way I’d like. Or, I could just invested a few thousand in this full body unit. HAH! Oh, but this reminds me that I need to find a way to control the sled. Or get all steampunk and build a suit myself from PVC piping like this DIY project.
Besides the hours of playing around, I did come across a reminder to make sure and get as fast a shutter as I can get, to reduce motion blur, assuming that is the look I am going for.