May 24, 2019

Make a DIY Smartphone Gimbal out of Tins Cans and Mop Heads

DIY Smartphone Gimbal
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?     

Your Comment

11 Comments

Do better research!
Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q Smartphone: $79
Moza Mini-S Essential Smartphone Gimbal: $79

Why the hell someone would walk around like a total idiot with a DIY solution which is not worth the time to build it?

May 26, 2019 at 5:38AM, Edited May 26, 5:38AM

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JeffreyWalther
Steadicam Operator/Owner
2195

Because, for some people, especially students they have no money.

Working as a teacher, with students who want to shoot films and come from hard to do backgrounds - This is great for them.

You're not an idiot for trying new things out. Don't be so god damned myopic.

May 27, 2019 at 9:31AM

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$79 is no money.
Let me guess..... the students you know also film with DIY cameras??

I don't think so. And those having free access to cameras also have access to stabilizers. So actually your argument makes no sense at all.

May 27, 2019 at 10:59AM

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JeffreyWalther
Steadicam Operator/Owner
2195

I have been a reader of this blog since forever-ago. Your comment inspired me to sign up in order to comment/upvote/downvote due to your idiocracy.

Maybe their school doesn't have access to stabilizers. Maybe they only have access to one camera. Back in the day, my FILM/VIDEO school only had maybe 5 miniDV cameras that we could use, that we'd have to reserve, for the freshman classes.

And that was a film school -- in college. Maybe their school is a high-school. We had no access to stabilizers, other than a rudimentary shoulder-mount.

The whole original spirit of this blog, is what you can do yourself, creative solutions to problems that you may have where you can't afford the expensive, professional solution.

Maybe $79 is really not affordable to some truly gifted filmmakers with a vision. And maybe you need to chill.

It's NOT free, btw, if they're paying 40k+ for tuition.

May 28, 2019 at 1:34AM, Edited May 28, 1:35AM

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Outside of the USA, $79 can translate into quite a lot of money (for some inside the US too, I guess).
The point of NFS is getting out there and doing it - who cares about the kit - it's the shot that counts.
Of course, the lights they use in the video are a bit beyond $79 ...
I highly recommend https://www.redsharknews.com/ as a 'Graduate Film School' for those who want the higher end stuff.

May 28, 2019 at 3:01AM

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Alright dude:

No. They don't have access to stablizers because budgets don't allow for things like that.
If you understood how education works (which you don't, at all) they don't prioritise stablisers under any form of budget, whatso ever.
Also, the students who I teach come from hard backgrounds with no money, but they have a passion for film making.

Students have made this and their films benefitted because they have learnt from it.

Get off your weird pedistal you put yourself on and accept that there are other ways to do things on all levels. There is NOTHING negative about this AT ALL. It encourages creativty and playfulness.

You're one of the most myopic people I have ever encountered on this website.

June 3, 2019 at 5:37AM

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This site is a all about learning without sticking to conventions.

Sure people could just buy a solution, but they are not going to learn unless they build something. I would rather be working with film makers that create solutions, rather than ones that have to pay to get past every problem in their way.

Besides that doing stuff like this leads to advancement, sure it might look funny at first but when they do have a little extra money for materials they will be able to do even more.

May 28, 2019 at 10:51AM, Edited May 28, 10:52AM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
1070

Typical V Renée idiotic post...

May 26, 2019 at 2:30PM

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Some of the people who read this site are kids with zero money.
So I think it's a cool post.

May 27, 2019 at 3:55AM

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What's idiotic about this?

May 27, 2019 at 9:31AM

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#shittyrigs

May 27, 2019 at 11:21AM

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