DIY DSLR Video Stabilizer – Mash Up

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Somewhere previously I mentioned that I had made the jump into DSLR video, with my employer’s purchase of a beautiful Canon 7D.  It was only a matter of minutes afterward that I was looking for accessories to help me get the best material I could with this new body.

There are two important factors that are always considered and weigh heavily on all of my new gear acquisitions:
  1. When I shoot for work, I am traveling on planes to get to sites and once on location I am carrying everything that I brought, day long.  So, it has to be something I really need or can use in a variety of beneficial ways AND it can’t add very much to the existing travel kit.
  2. Money is as hard for me to squeeze out for new gear as the next guy, so if I can make something from stuff I have on hand; it is a win-win!
I have been shooting video with my old Canon Optura 20 for years and have used the great idea I saw on a Scott Kelby blog post: “It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring AaronGreene”.  In Aaron’s words, “I rigged a super clamp at the bottom of my collapsed monopod as a sort of steady cam. I’d hold the monopod with my right hand and pull focus with the left letting the clamp act as a weight about 18 inches below the camera... If you have a monopod and a super clamp, try it out! It should help you make smoother movements.”

This has been a great suggestion that I have used for years.  I always have a monopod and a Manfrotto superclamp with me on location.  While superclamps are heavy, they aren’t that big and I have needed one on almost every trip.  So, both of the above criteria were met and it was a perfect solution.

While looking around at other stabilizing rigs on the net that are out there for DSLR video, I ran into the “$14 Stabilizer”. I thought it was interesting and very much liked the horizontal handle, thus getting both hands off the camera body.  Building one of these was breaking rule #1 above though as it was just more stuff and weight to be dragging along with me.

The solution was to peruse all of the Manfrotto accessories that are available for superclamps.  Enter the Manfrotto 042 Extension Arm (Adorama, B&H).  Add another superclamp (why wouldn’t anyone want to do that) and you have what for me is the perfect stabilizer.  Criteria #1 was met and well, half of criteria #2 was met as I did have to spend a little cash.