The price of seadicams range dramatically from $300 for small cameras like a GoPro to $24,000 and up for larger cameras used to film big budget movies. In this article, my method is much more similar to a $1000 Glidecam suitable for holding most DSLR cameras.
Hope this helps :)
How A Tripod Saved Me $1000
While making music videos is super fun and has its perks, there is always that one little thing... My biggest pet peeve is when people ask what equipment we use. The reason why is- the equipment is only 10% of what makes a quality video.
A good analogy for this is if you were talking to a painter about his painting and said, "Wow your painting is incredible, you must have amazing paint and brushes!" --Or to a chef, "This is the best food I've ever had, what pots and pans do your use?"
Over the years, I have been building my portfolio and equipment. My first camera was the Canon t3i and it only cost me a few hundred bucks. Some of the music videos I shot with the t3i are to this day my favorite. In fact, one has over 130,000 views and 1000 likes on youtube.
So to bring this full circle, one of the struggles that I faced when starting this business was how expensive film equipment was. How could I use my tools at the time, the canon t3i and a tripod to achieve the best results and make the best art possible?
In this post, I'm going to show you a method I developed to shoot extremely smooth video using a tripod that costs $70.
Check out the video below to see the results!
This method is simple, effective, and affordable; however to best use this method, you first need to understand the basics of a steadicam.
A stedicam works by using combinations of weights and the center of gravity in such a way that the camera won't tilt side to side. You can jump up and down and run around, but the footage always looks smooth. Even though the camera is moving side to side and up and down, that movement is almost unnoticeable while watching back the footage because the camera is more or less always pointing the same direction. However, the second the camera tilts, everything on the screen is going to move dramatically because the camera is no longer pointing straight.
The whole goal is making sure your camera does not rotate or tilt unless you want it to.
The two principles of why this method works is... The longer an object is, the harder it is to tilt-- and the closer you hold an object at its center of gravity, the harder it is for that object to tilt when a force is applied in any direction.
So how do I apply these two principles by only using my tripod and camera?
Your camera is the weight that counteracts the weight of your tripod. Your tripod at full length makes everything harder to tilt.
Extend the legs of your tripod fully and connect your camera.
Flip everything upside down and hold your tripod at its center of gravity. (Not too high and not too low!)
Hope you get a lot of use out of this!
If you are interested in the tripod I used in the videos above I included a link below where you can pick it up!
If anyone wants to buy from the link, we will get a small commission. Just wanted to be
transparent about that! Helps us keep our services super affordable :)