How to choose a Simple Stabilizer

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Saucer Experiments

Saucer filled with water in the hand.

Quickly moving around the house with a saucer filled with water, I tried not to spill water, using different tricks and improvised means.

Here are the conclusions from this experiment, which I limited to only three points:

  1. It is more convenient to carry a saucer on a large heavy tray than in your hands.
  2. It is more convenient to carry a saucer with one hand than with two.
  3. It is more convenient to carry a saucer with one hand on a tray lying on the bottom of a plastic bag than in the cases described in points 1 and 2.

The experiments led to two obvious conclusions:

  1. The greater the mass of the camera, the easier it is to smooth out sharp movements.
  2. Damping the movement of the camera is easier with one hand.

You can say that similar conclusions could be made on the basis of speculative experiments. And I will not argue. I just wanted to make sure my guesses were correct, because I did not find simple solutions for shooting in motion in the market of image smartphone stabilizers 2020.

Gadgets for Camcorders

Multifunctional rig for camcorder

True, price tags in the range of $50 – $300 are more likely to stimulate the DIY manufacture of these simple devices than their purchase, which actually was my case. In addition, even the first experiments with such gadgets showed that factory devices, without significant alteration, will not allow video recording in motion.

Inertial image stabilization rig for the camera

Attention! To get a smooth picture, the video shot with the camera and this home-made gadget requires additional processing in the video editor. I use the Adobe Premiere Warp Stabilizer tool for this.

Based on the foregoing, a simple image stabilizer was designed, which received the working name “Antistedicam”, as it was assumed that it would be free from the disadvantages inherent in traditional pendulum-type image stabilizers, which subsequently was confirmed.

In total, two inertial stabilizers were manufactured. One is full size, for use close to home. And the other one is compact, for use away from home.

In addition, the compact stabilizer received a “beach” extension.

The prototype was named “full-sized” because during experiments on the layout, its mass and dimensions gradually increased until it was possible to obtain the necessary smoothness of the image when running over bumps.

Schematic diagram of the device inertial image stabilizer.

When using this device, image stabilization is carried out due to inertia (uniform movement or rest) of two weights spaced as far as possible, limited by the size and rigidity of the stabilizer structure.

The smallest possible distance between the axes passing through the optical axis of the lens and the centers of mass of the weights is chosen so that, at the minimum focal length of the lens, elements of the front of the stabilizer do not fall into the frame.

This drawing shows a full-sized inertial stabilizer. With its help, it was possible to get very good results when shooting while running over bumps. However, even taking into account the fact that the weights could be hidden under the horizontal bar, the dimensions of the device created inconvenience during transportation.

Therefore, another more compact inertial stabilizer was made, reduced by one and a half times, compared with its prototype. Naturally, the quality of stabilization decreased proportionally, but I suspect that this one will be the one that I’ll use the most.

To mount the camera to the horizontal bar of the stabilizer, a home-made quick-detachable platform was used.

One of the stabilizer handles is designed for shooting in motion, and the other one – for easy, leisurely shooting from a high point.

Four weights, with a total weight of 1.2 kg, provide inertial stabilization of the camera while the person is moving. The total weight of the stabilizer equipped with a camera weighing about 600g reaches 2kg.

The weight of the smaller copy does not differ much from the weight of its “big brother”, but during transportation, it takes much less space.

These are the parts from which the inertial stabilizer was assembled.