Make a DIY Smartphone Gimbal out of Tins Cans and Mop Heads
Can't afford a handheld gimbal for your smartphone? No problem! Just build your own.
Shooting handheld video on your smartphone was a total shaky nightmare before dedicated stabilizers, like gimbals, came onto the scene.
And even though you can get a really good unit for less than $200—the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is $140, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is $120, and the EVO SHIFT is $100—you might be more interested in utilizing items that you already have to make a handheld stabilizer that smooths out your footage while not costing you a dime.
If that's the case, then check out this DIY tutorial from COOPH that shows you how to make your own stabilization rig out of tin cans, a rubber band, and a swivel mop head.
That's some serious DIY. I mean, if you showed up on set with this thing, you are absolutely going to get a lot of sideways glances. However, if it works, it works. It doesn't matter how unsightly a rig is, as long as it does its job, right?
Okay, here's what you'll need to build this thing:
- 3 aluminum cans
- A rubber band
- A swivel mop head (like a Swiffer)
- Duct tape
- A paint roller with a roll cover (should fit securely inside one of the cans)
From there, the process of building it is pretty simple:
- Take 2 cans and remove the top and bottom lid with a can opener.
- The 3rd one will be used as a counterweight later on, so leave it full of pork and beans...or whatever.
- Cut a sizeable window into one of the cans (big enough that you can access your smartphone).
- Tape the edges of this window so you don't cut yourself.
- Take all three cans, and tape them together. The one with the window should be on top and the full can should be on the bottom.
- Put your paint roller through the middle can.
- Tape your mop head to the bottom of your paint roller handle.
- Mount your phone inside the windowed can with a rubber band.
That's it! Now you've got a Frankenstein monster smartphone stabilizer. You can even attach the handle of your mop head to get jib shots if you want.
It's definitely not a pretty piece of gear, but what would you rather have: ugly footage or an ugly stabilizer?