Camera stabilizer setup, how to use, tips, tricks, on all brands and DIY rigs - AVS Forum
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to start a thread on all types of stabilizer rigs ie. Halorig, Hague, and other brands, also do-it-yourself rigs. Hopefully people could post on how they set up theres and post some how to's, tips and tricks and any help for myself and others. I never used a stabilizer rig before but made one in about an hour from stuff in my shop and $30 in parts. I made a crappy video test in my wood shop with my Canon xa10, awb, 18 on gain in manual settings in low light. I had shut off the stabilizer mode in the camera. Mine is balanced well but when I walked fast and turned quick it sways. You can see this in the clip. I need to test it a bunch and experiment with weight to see if works better.

I don't know if swaying is normal with these types of rigs or maybe it's a technique I need to learn, any thoughts?

Thanks

http://vimeo.com/22804889
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Made a few clips today and walked down my driveway and it must be my stabilizer it sways way to much when I walk at a fast pace. Wondering if that is the case with most stabilizers?
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Old 04-25-2011, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a video that I put together with 6 clips with tsmuxer, the first 3 walking tests were done with my homemade stabilizer and the last 3 are with just the cameras OIS system. I'm not to happy with my test's but it is what it is. The good thing is I don't walk like this with the camera all the time and if I'm chasing my kids its to be expected not to be steady.

This is a 1 gig file.
http://www.vimeo.com/22857973
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:06 AM
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Well I have the Lensse Midx stabilizer and it seems to work. Cost me $99 at Amazon. I do have a lot of practicing to do so as soon as I can I'll post videos. Here are my photos of the equipment and below some videos from youtube (not my videos).









Running (Youtube)

Walking (Youtube)
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I have ton more ideas for my DIY one but would love to see your findings on this one, the clips on it look pretty good. Did they give you instructions/ tips on how to set it up. My xa10 is heavy I bet just over 2 pounds it's a little heavier than they suggest. Thank you
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s-one View Post
Well I have the Lensse Midx stabilizer and it seems to work.

Running (Youtube)
Is that you in the running video?
Starting at 11 seconds the stabilization is great... but the first run suffers from shakiness. Was wondering how that was held different starting at 11 seconds..

I've seen a number videos with that particular device where the sides seems to have an issue with lack of stability. Maybe people are just not holding it right as it seems from that first video that the potential is there....
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:32 PM
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I had pretty good results walking through the Redwoods last year with my camcorder attached to a Hiking Stick. I held the top of the stick between thumb and forefinger for a swivel effect. Pinching a little would dampen the swing when necessary. The hiking stick has a 1/4 20 screw on the top, which I think is pretty standard for hiking sticks. It would be easy to add a little extra weight on the bottom with a rubber band or duct tape, but that might cause too much swing.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:43 AM
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Should I turn off the Sony XR500V's image stabilization when using it with a Hague Mini-Motion Stabilizer?
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno Beaver View Post

Should I turn off the Sony XR500V's image stabilization when using it with a Hague Mini-Motion Stabilizer?

I'm think having the camcorder's OIS/stabilizer turned off would yield better results, but you can film it both with and without and compare the test footage.

btw..Are you in the US? I only see the Hague Mini-Motion Stabilizer available from a UK dealer on ebay. Where did you get it?

EDIT: I followed your link to the Hague site. thx
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

I'm think having the camcorder's OIS/stabilizer turned off would yield better results, but you can film it both with and without and compare the test footage.

btw..Are you in the US? I only see the Hague Mini-Motion Stabilizer available from a UK dealer on ebay. Where did you get it?

EDIT: I followed your link to the Hague site. thx

Thanks for responding to my question. I've had the Hauge for nearly three months and my videos aren't quite as smooth as some of the Hauge Mini-Motion Cam test videos posted on YouTube. Maybe turning off the XR500v's OIS is the solution.

Yes, I'm located in the US. I purchased it from a UK site here. It took 3 days to arrive (Oregon).
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

Is that you in the running video?
Starting at 11 seconds the stabilization is great... but the first run suffers from shakiness. Was wondering how that was held different starting at 11 seconds..

Nope that's not me. If you watch it directly on youtube there's caption's in the video that explains the 2 scenes. Hopefully its ok I'll just quote the video description from Youtube:

"Here is the Lensse Midpro Stabilizer and the camera I used is the GoPro HD Hero. No stabilizing software used in the demonstration.

The 1st clip shows camera without the stabilizer. Camera held in my hand.

The 2nd clip shows camera mounted on the Lensse Midpro Stabilizer.

The Lensse Midpro has an adjustable gimbal and rear weights as well as bottom weights, for a greater range of cameras. Mounting small light cameras like iphones or the GoPro can be easily balanced with the rear weights, where the MidX would require adding bottom weights to balance out compensating centre of gravity and getting pendlm effect.

My choice would be the Lensse MidPro that offer more adjustments then the MidX. The MidPro even comes with an iphone or PDA mount."


I went with the MidX as oppose the MidPro because I don't need the iPhone mount.. but it does say the MidPro has more adjustments. Still learning the stabilizer.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:44 PM
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All stabilizers are based on the same concept. You have to understand this to set them up properly and to get a feel for how to use them.

The basis of the concept is that the momentum of the weight above the pivot point and the weight below the pivot point needs to be almost equal. If the weight below the pivot point is too heavy it will accelerate and decelerate more slowly than the weight above and cause it to swing.

If you have too much weight above the pivot point it will try to flip upside down. There is an optimum weight difference between the camera above the pivot point and the arch below that when accelerated and decelerated just right does not swing or twist.

Secondly the balance between the front weight and the bottom weight needs to be correct so that it doesn't want to torque. This is the down fall of all the C shaped stabilizers. They are very difficult to set up and use as they can never be perfectly balanced for motion in all directions as there is always more weight out on the center of the arch relative to every other direciton of movement.

The third element in the equation is friction in the gimbal. This one will always cause problems and you just need to know it's going to cause some swing to your cam. This is a case where being too steady with your hold can be counter productive. If you angle the handle very very slowly you'll see that most systems will tip ever so slightly until the gimble breaks the stiction and then swings. They almost work better when you wiggle your hand as you move. This keeps the gimble from sticking at all and actually tends to give you a smoother image in the end.

In any case try to understand the concept of momentum between the top and bottom. Momentum is velocity times mass. If the top and bottom are equal you can add any velocity to the system you want and it will stay balanced. As we want the cam to stay on top we need there to be slightly more mass on the bottom and thus we need to be very smooth in the acceleration and deceleration of the system to keep it from swinging.

Now add a little unbalance between the front and the lower weight plus a little friction in the gimble and you have a recipe for pulling your hair out

Cheers,
Pete
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:04 AM
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It probably sways because you have too much weight on top, and/or not enough weight on bottom. I've pretty much ditched my commercial stabilizers. What you basically need is at least two points to hold at a distance away from camcorder. And more weight below where you're holding than above. Which is doable on the cheap with some PVC and other parts. And is easier said than done, if you've got extras like a wide angle lens, external mic(s), and such. And other concerns beyond just balancing like wind profile.

Not that such rigs don't have their place. But at the end of the day could you have gotten an equal shot by duct taping it (or other creative mounting techniques) to a pizza box and running around with a camcorder on a pizza box? Without all the hassle (and time suck) of the near impossible task of balancing weights. Plus that whole more than 2x's the weight of just the camcorder thing. Which could be more than 2x's the camcorder plus lens plus mics plus ......
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gso125 View Post

Here is a video that I put together with 6 clips with tsmuxer, the first 3 walking tests were done with my homemade stabilizer and the last 3 are with just the cameras OIS system. I'm not to happy with my test's but it is what it is. The good thing is I don't walk like this with the camera all the time and if I'm chasing my kids its to be expected not to be steady.

There is a guy in Scottland who has done a lot of work and posted a number of interesting videos on his diy stabilizer. Its worth a look. Google him "WSCLATER DIY Camera stabilizer design". I am going to build one once I get my G10.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:29 PM
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Kind of neat that WSCLATER stuff.

With my own PVC incarnations, I've found that the closer you have the camcorder to your body, the less side to side sway when you walk. And you almost always want it to be slightly bottom heavy. Having more weight on top than below is counter productive. I started with the camcorder mounted on a PVC joint outside of a C like frame, but it works better having the camcorder inside the C frame and closer to the body. Nothing like a steadicam with a gimbal. But it sure helps a ton with a camcorder that has weak stabilization.

Nothing is glued on this thing. So the mics come off and the monopod on the side comes off. Without that extra stuff it's fairly light. With old man hands (1" PVC) grips. Not quite a steadicam type thing, but it sure helps a ton with stabilization. And it's wide enough and hefty enough that if you don't go fast, it can appear steadicam like. And various other possibilities if you string it up like a puppet.

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Old 06-12-2011, 05:20 PM
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Looks like a jet pack.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Where do you put the camera do you have any clips you shot from it


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow_7 View Post

Kind of neat that WSCLATER stuff.

With my own PVC incarnations, I've found that the closer you have the camcorder to your body, the less side to side sway when you walk. And you almost always want it to be slightly bottom heavy. Having more weight on top than below is counter productive. I started with the camcorder mounted on a PVC joint outside of a C like frame, but it works better having the camcorder inside the C frame and closer to the body. Nothing like a steadicam with a gimbal. But it sure helps a ton with a camcorder that has weak stabilization.

Nothing is glued on this thing. So the mics come off and the monopod on the side comes off. Without that extra stuff it's fairly light. With old man hands (1" PVC) grips. Not quite a steadicam type thing, but it sure helps a ton with stabilization. And it's wide enough and hefty enough that if you don't go fast, it can appear steadicam like. And various other possibilities if you string it up like a puppet.


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Old 06-12-2011, 08:30 PM
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Go to diycamera.com/stabiliser. Look at the stabilizer he made, but be sure to look at his "Steadicam ice test" video. It is pretty impressive.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gso125 View Post
Where do you put the camera do you have any clips you shot from it
Center frame of the right image. A PVC T joint with a 1/4" 3" bolt through it. Also shown in the video below for a different setup.

Shot with just the bottom half. Mics and monopod elsewhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EItP6ecKlZQ

Bear in mind that it's an FH1 camcorder, so by default stabilization sucks.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:35 AM
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Here's my setup:

Camcorder: Sony HDR-XR500V Handycam w/Sony NPFH100 H Series Battery
Stabilizer: Hague Mini-Motion-Cam w/5 large weights

Demo: http://youtu.be/50grIhdRFeI?hd=1
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:23 PM
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You should look at the one this guy made. It appears to work better than the Hague or the Merlin. In his videos he shows the evolution of his design. One of the most important components is the gimbal. He shows you the brand name and model of the gimbal which is readily available at any model shop. If you look at his video be sure to look at his sample video taken while walking across a frozen pond in Scotland. Some of the parts he uses are things he found. The handle is made of a flashlight or "torch" as they say in Scotland.

www.diycamera.com/stabiliser/index.html
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:49 PM
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Just found this thread. Anyone have anything new to add?
I've got a Autocue QTV CS-Glide on the way to me and I plan on documenting my process with it. My theory is that these have to work better than my giggling, jiggling, swaying hand helds. I want to be able to fly and not be limited or stuck with shots that make even me want to upchuck with all the motion.biggrin.gif
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:07 PM
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I have the Steadicam Merlin that is just about the best compact stabilizer out there. Here is a photo of it with my GH2 and 25mm F0.95 lens.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:52 AM
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Really nice setup. Do you happen to have any videos you've made using the Merlin?
I have read all the details about the theories behind this Merlin and it seems really well grounded in solid statistics for those who are willing to take it step by step.
My plan is to use these theories with the stabilizer I got in my price range.eek.gif
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:45 PM
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Here is a youtube video made with the GH2 Steadicam Merlin combo.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:43 PM
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Nice going. Even when you were on the escalator, steps, avoiding people and bicycles it was acceptably smooth.
Did you keep a light touch on it with your other hand to control the pans?
I just got the Autocue in the mail a few minutes ago. I have family visiting so will post video etc. in a few days when I have time to play uninterrupted. Looks very similar to your Merlin. cool.gif
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:57 PM
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To judge the value-added of an expensive and complicated to use, and set-up, Merlin rig, you need to compare it to an alternative. Here's a brief video made with a much cheaper and much easier to set up stabilizer following on foot a tour group. Is this much or any worse than a Merlin would do?



Select 1080p (and, incidentally, admire how much sharper the video is compared to the GH2).

Here's another, again with almost no set-up time:



Select 1080.


Stabilizer technology has advanced far since the Merlin came out.

(btw, I have a Merlin (not used for the clips above); it is really difficult to set up without a lot of practice)
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:09 PM
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Panasonic TM900 & Steadicam Merlin (1080p50 Slow Motion Test)



Panasonic TM900 & Steadicam Merlin (1080p50 2nd Test)


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Old 02-15-2013, 06:23 PM
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I wondered about the end statement on the 3rd one about "some people like expensive things". hmmmm. What did he mean?
I did see another balancing video that certainly made sense to me as far as fine tuning the details since I don't have the option of using some existing Merlin setup as a starting point.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uEEdYMopzw

I had a few minutes to play and just threw my little Panasonic HDC tm900 on the GS Glide and tweeked the adjustments a bit and rushed out to shoot some tests. Oh my, this evening I am actually going about it a bit (lot) more carefully so I don't get seasick watching my own video...lol.
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