Shakey cam seems to be the plague of small handheld home video. The units are light and often don’t have good ergonomics. If I want to do any hand held shooting I will need a decent handle. I looked around a bit and I think the DIY projects I found fall into three categories. 1. A simple handle. Basically something to hold onto. 2. Balanced handle. A little nicer, it is weighted so the unit isn’t so top heavy. 3. Steady cam handles. These are fairly elaborate, but should give really good stable video. I am going to try number 2, it will probably give the most bang for the complexity buck.
I think I found a really simple solution. The handle is PVC. This isn’t novel, there are a lot of PVC handles on the internet. Mine is a bit different though. Instead of using the pipe and putting a bolt through end caps I used couplings and plugs. It means the whole handle has a consistent diameter with flat tops. Normal end caps are always domed; not ideal for mounting. The other trick is to use threaded rod instead of a bolt. A lot of designs use a short bolt. It is never short enough. You end up having to do funny things with extra nuts and washers. A threaded rod held in with a nut is infinitely adjustable.
Enough talk lets pictures.
I glued everything together except the top plug. I left it loose so I could add or remove metal BBs to the hollow handle. A bit of trial and error got me to a good balance. It is centered at about my middle finger when holding it normally. I shot some video with and without weight.
Not exactly an instant hollywood quality shot, but a few grams of BBs did really help calm down some of the shakes. With the BB weight added I mixed up another batch of epoxy and poured it in to hold them in place. It wouldn’t do to have them bouncing around while shooting with audio. The cap got some PVC glue and the handle is assembled. I wanted some kind of paint or grip for the handle. Plasti dip provided both.
The final product still kind of looks like spray painted PVC, but I like it. The total weight isn’t high and it feels solid in my hand. While not professional, it was well worth the <10 dollars and little time I spent on it.