April 1, 2016

6 Dirt Cheap DIY Ways to Stabilize Your Camera

You don't need to drop a ton of cash on a camera stabilizer to get smooth shots.

Gimbals, monopods, and other camera stabilizers can help you shoot beautiful images, but many of them are hundreds, even thousands of dollars. If you're a no-budget filmmaker, there are plenty of ways to stabilize your camera without spending a dime. Here are 6 DIY hacks from Filmora that show you how to keep your camera steady using materials you probably have lying around at home.

Here are the hacks Filmora mentions in the video:

  • Steady your camera by pulling your camera's strap tight against your neck
  • Attach a string to your camera, use your feet to create a base
  • Use sturdy stuff around you to place your camera on for an easy tripod
  • Utilize your tripod's center bar as a makeshift monopod
  • Attach a rubber band to your belt loop and attach the other side to your camera
  • Cut a hole in a shopping bag and put your camera inside

These are just a handful of creative stabilization ideasthere are countless others: shopping carts, rollerblades, skateboards, and wheelchairs make pretty decent makeshift dollies. When it comes to DIY handheld rigs, it gets a little more difficult, but even something as simple as pressing your camera against your face while you shoot can cut down on shakiness.

What cheap DIY solutions do you use to stabilize your camera? Let us know in the comments!      

Your Comment

8 Comments

Neat tricks for the tight budgets... where theres a will, theres a diy way.

April 2, 2016 at 4:37AM, Edited April 2, 4:37AM

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Kayode
721

It's cute but I think that some of the tricks might do more harm than good. For instance the further away you hold the camera from your body the shakiest it will be, even if there is a wire to help prevent some of the shake. If you hold your arms close to your body it prevent more of the little shake which are the more annoying.

April 2, 2016 at 8:48AM, Edited April 2, 8:48AM

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AvdS
1160

Great tips.
Thanks. I need to try them in some of my works.

April 2, 2016 at 10:21AM, Edited April 2, 10:21AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
659

I've used the camera strap trick and tripod stabilizer trick with limited sucess. The string trick and rubber band trick look interesting. Using a wide angle lens will make the shot look more stable. My BlackMagic Cinema Camera likes the 11-16mm lens combined with a handheld stabilizer. I used to have a lot of trouble because my 28mm lens acted more like a 60mm lens so it was hard as hell to get a stable shot.
I also use a large rubber band to smooth out panning with my cheap tripods or to use with a skateboard for a quick and dirty dolly/slider.

April 2, 2016 at 4:02PM, Edited April 2, 4:02PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
585

Tuck your camera underneath your chin... your head is a stabilizer

April 5, 2016 at 12:51PM

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Joseph Le
Director of Awesomeness
74

Obviously you should use the right tool for the job and things like monopods, tripods and even cheap shoulder braces and weight based gimbals are available. That said when you're halfways up a mountain and you suddenly decide you need to shoot a tracking shot with your B-cam while A-cam is on the slider, or the tripod got lost by the airline, or you're out on a documentary shoot and something unexpected happens these tricks could all potentially save the day and get you something usable.

Try to have the best gear and be skilled in its use, but I'll tell you right now, its the McGuyver on the crew who can solve any problem with gaffer's tape, hockey sticks and ingenuity that people remember. I'm rarely one of the most experienced or skilled people on set, but I always make sure I know how to solve problems and people appreciate it.

April 5, 2016 at 4:50PM

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Nathan Taylor
Jack of all trades, master of none
441

I love the bag trick. I'll definitely try something like that soon.

It doesn't matter what's behind the camera if you get the shot!

April 6, 2016 at 1:29PM

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Great tips. If you know the physics behind stabilization you can figure it out pretty easy, like how weight can dampen vibration.

April 10, 2016 at 11:57PM, Edited April 10, 11:58PM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
310