In an attempt to ramp things up in terms of the quality of shots we are getting for our video updates, we have come up with a number of ways to get good video results on a budget.
We have put together 3 different ways to get the shots we are looking for. The first, and most basic, is designed to go along with a Go Pro helmet cam. We have taken a flexible, extendable (and once very broken but since repaired) sky flag pole and added a gro pro mount. It extends to about 21 feet in length – making it ideal to hold out infront of a feature or over the river. These telescopic flexible sky flag poles will run you about $30-$40 or so and can be found at home depot.
The next tool we built was a steady cam mount – again, on a budget. We did some research online and found a very low cost design for one of these that garnered reasonable results… its very simply. Three 1/2 inch steel pipes connected to a T-joint, along with a 3 pound counterweight. This offers way better results then a folded tri-pod. You can pick up the steel pipe at the hardware store, all in this will cost about $15. You attach the counterweight at the bottom, and the camera to a bolt at the top. You can also flip it upside down for closer to ground shots.
The last thing built is a low cost dolley. This allows for panning shots, or chase shots depending on the set up. We took a 1×12″ pine board, added 2 runners on either side as the base of the dolley. Next was to take an old set of skate board trucks and wheels, and mount them to a 2×6 scrap wood. We put a go pro mount on this, but we are also going to add in a tri-pod head option as well for other video cameras.$20 for the wood and nails, and I found the skate board trucks in the basement…
All of these low budget devices work better with image stabilization. With most convetional video cameras, a stabilizer on the lens first works best, but if you can’t get one, then software that will stablize a shot is a good alternative. We are pretty pumped to put these to good use and see what results we can get!