What's the difference between a normal monopod and a video monopod? Well, the most glaring difference would be the tripod foot, a nifty little add-on that not only keeps your video monopod steady, but also almost single-handedly jacks up the price to outrageous amounts. There is a DIY work-around, however, and the folks over at CheesyCam have shared a tutorial, as well as some helpful links, to show you how to take an inexpensive monopod, add a $20 fluid base tripod foot (as well as some adhesive), and make a fully functional video monopod.
As you might've guessed, all you're going to need to make your own DIY video monopod is -- a monopod (of course), a fluid base tripod foot, and some epoxy putty, which you can find in pretty much every hardware store for about $3 to $5. As for which monopod to use, CheesyCam uses a 4-section aluminum Manfrotto ($45) for the mid-sized one, and a 5-section carbon fiber Rokinon ($50) for the smallest. However, whichever monopod you want to use should do just fine -- especially if your goal is to spend as little money as possible.
Now -- for the key item -- the tripod feet. CheesyCam recommends these non-locking tripod feet, which you can find on eBay for $22, but if you want one that has a locking screw, you can find them here for the same price. These tripod feet not only fold up, but they also have a fluid base, so you'll be able to move your camera around pretty well. All in all, you're looking at a $75 DIY video monopod, which could be significantly lowered if you choose a cheaper monopod or repurpose one you already have -- just realize that once you fasten that monopod to the tripod foot with the epoxy putty, there's no going back.
Check out the CheesyCam video below to find out more about how to build one of these DIY video monopods, including how to apply the epoxy putty. Also, be sure to check out their supplementary post for more.
What do you think about this DIY solution for a cheap video monopod? Do you have any suggestions or ideas on how to make it better? Let us know in the comments below.
Link: DIY Your Own Video Monopod – Modified Monopods with Fluid Tripod Foot for Video -- CheesyCam
When I hear epoxy, I just can't trust stuff like that on a real gig. When we're behind on a shoot and we're rushing to get the shot and we're tossing gear to each other that's when stuff will break. This did get me looking at legit monopods though! Dang it!
April 4, 2014 at 1:19PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
with epoxy is not going to fall apart, have you tried to tear epoxy once is fully curated?
April 4, 2014 at 1:41PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
With a cheap monopod, this DIY might run around $60 bucks. Most brand name video monopods may run you a few hundred dollars. Worth a try? I think so.
If you're worried about epoxy, I have to say this epoxy 'putty' turns super hard and will most likely outlast the monopod itself. Once it cures you can drill it and sand it like any hard material.
April 4, 2014 at 2:11PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
exactly my point! Already ordered 2 of those bases and a couple of monopods from amazon since my previous comment
April 4, 2014 at 4:03PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Epoxy is crazy solid, especially when used in compound with carbon or fibre-glas laminate ;) That's why we use it in aeroplane construction.
April 5, 2014 at 3:35AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Tanks, jetfighters, battleships, cars (i3) are bonded with epoxy or other resins. If you do it well, material will break somewhere else but not in bond. :)
April 5, 2014 at 5:01PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Even cracked engine blocks. But first of all you have to use good slow curing resin and not that speed curing shits.
April 5, 2014 at 5:04PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I take it that you've never thrown a quick rig together with speedrail and gaff tape. Epoxy is stronger than the aluminum the monopod is made from.
April 8, 2014 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Depends on what kind of epoxy you use. The stuff they sell in regular hardware and Auto part stores I would avoid. Go to a Marine supply store and get boat building epoxy such as west system or System three epoxy. They build incredibly tough boats that last for years with this epoxy and once cured it is chemically inert and darn near indestructible. In fact you can build diesel or gasoline tanks with it out of wood lined with fiberglass and epoxy.
April 9, 2014 at 7:22PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Sorry meant to add in that you should use a little bit of fiberglass to overlap the joint between the two pieces. you will have to sand any coating off the base material on the pieces being joined with a course grit like 320
to get a bond that is as strong as welding. It will bond to any thing including metal to metal as long as it's contaminate free.
April 9, 2014 at 7:28PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
A stack of these and a bag of BMPCCs -- and you've got a multi-camera studio you can carry in your backpack.
April 4, 2014 at 3:07PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
What's nice about this is it's the rare DIY rig that actually looks legit. So often you can't use DIY stuff professionally simply because it doesn't look professional.
April 4, 2014 at 3:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
That's a great point.
April 4, 2014 at 3:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
So true. When I first clicked on this I saw the 'frame' for the YouTube clip and wondered "Ok, where's the DIY stuff?"
April 4, 2014 at 4:38PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Great idea, thanks for the post! I always found good monopods to be overpriced, this should save me 1-200 bucks :)
April 4, 2014 at 7:29PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
No shipping to the UK. Damn!
April 5, 2014 at 4:37AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
After a very short time digging I found this one that does ship to the UK. a little more expencive but still a great deal. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-3-Legs-Monopod-Base-Stand-Unipod-Holde...
April 5, 2014 at 4:40AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Doesn't Manfrotto make one of these that's like $170 or $180 brand new? Seems like you could just pick up one of those used more easily. Still, a nice DIY project for someone who already has a monopod that they'd like to "upgrade."
April 5, 2014 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I'm sorry but a proper video monopod is not expensive.. If you're serious about film or video you'll realise that a proper monopod is actually one of the cheapest equipment investments you can buy. Perhaps for your home videos it might be good but if you're taking something like this on a paid gig you have your head screwed on wrong. In an industry where a typical professional tripod could cost you between $12-18k, I think if you're not willing to invest in your career you're in the wrong industry.
April 5, 2014 at 11:54PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
"In an industry where a typical professional tripod could cost you between $12-18k, I think if you’re not willing to invest in your career you’re in the wrong industry."
Insert "time", "passion", "yourself" after "invest" and you've got a great point. But "money"? No. You can still make a great film without investing a lot of money, but it's quite rare to make even a passable one without investing time/passion/yourself.
April 6, 2014 at 2:40AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I agree, however at some point you will realize (after buying the cheap things multiple times) that it's best to invest in the proper gear. IF you are planning on doing this professionally. I just paid $2000 for a Sachtler tripod head and legs, but I know that I will not have to buy another one for at least 5-10 years. I know filmmakers that have had Oconner heads for like 20 years working regularly in the field and and night. Just saying....with the exception of apple products, most of the good stuff cost more for a reason.
April 6, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
OK..I see your little get up here, but aren't you forgetting something. The actual head!! what good is a monopod without the proper head. The manfrotto 561bhdv-1 has a head that does not pan because of the fluid base. I have 2 of them and have been using them for 3 years. Never had to replace them, and it is my go to tool for run and gun work. It holds my Canon C100 (with monitor, mic ect) very well, and is rock solid. Not to mention it cost me just under $300, which is cheap in comparison to other equipment that I have purchased that I use half the time. IMO the real thing is well worth the investment considering how much i've used the thing. Come on guys, by the time you invest in a decent head to go on top of that thing, you are back at the cost of the new version of the 561bhdv which is selling on B&H for $279. Just my thoughts
April 6, 2014 at 6:19PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Base does not ship to Australia - grrrrr.... ;-)
April 8, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Mine came out beautifully!! I had a Giotto Monopod, got the little legs and the epoxy and it's solid as.. Love it! Mr. Cheesycam you are a lifesaver as usual..
June 3, 2014 at 8:42AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Benro sells video monopods with the same base for $140-$200 including the video head with a fluid system (price varies according to the monopod's size and the head's quality). They sell the head for $70 to $130 (or more for heavier heads). If this DIY monopod cost around $70 without the head, wouldn't it be better to get the Benro all included?
December 10, 2014 at 6:25AM