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DIY Gyro Stabiliser idea
  • Here's a great idea -i think it can be upgraded quite easily, and am hoping to find some free time soon, to start doing a project based on this:

    If anyone has alternative stabiliser rigs and ideas, please share.
    Hope it inspires someone
  • 34 Replies sorted by
  • I have one.
    Get Pegasus stab on deals topic and go shooting :-)
  • I looked in all deals topics, and nothing with "pegasus" in there. where can i find it?
  • Had been in Cyber Monday deals. Ended already.
    I'll relist them soon. Prices will be slightly bigger, but still low.
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev do you know if is there any chance of being able to buy just their 'front-and-back' camera head unit? I like the 'memory markings' on the pegasus :-)
  • >their 'front-and-back' camera head unit

  • the upper balance bracket
  • @driftwood

    No one will sell you it separately :-)
    Just get their stab.
  • well, if i researched correctly, the pegasus is a steadycam-type of stabiliser.
    But a gyroscope stab. is a different category...its active stab, for situations where the pegasus would never work (on a car, a boat, a plane or helicopter, a jib\crane, etc..) its for a different use that the pegasus style.
  • Gyro used on Slumdog Millionaire:
    300 x 280 - 28K
  • @gasosas

    Yep, but people who make professional shooting in a boat, plane or helicopter won't be using proposed DIY solution.
  • vitaliy, i understand your point, but you yourself are an example of how much and how fast those old standards are changing in our areas...for example, steadycam stabilisers, until about 5 years ago, were so expensive that made them exclusively accessible to old-school Pro productions...and everyone else was formatted to think 'that's not for my kind of work, just for the 'big' stuff'...
    this project\idea is not a finished product, and i stated: there's room to work on. but i believe that with better materials (metal) and design, this could be extremelly usefull for tight budget and smaller productions. The most technically difficult thing to achieve in a DIY gyroscope is to get perfectly callibrated gyros. That's the genius here - this guy uses HDDs -by defauld, perfectly aligned and calibrated- to solve the problem. From there, the rest is small money. And not hard to do. And you'll be amazed at the difference it makes on the images (forget boats: think telephotos, long exposures, car shoots, perfect panoramas, etc)
  • @gasosas

    HDDs are fuckingly bad gyros.
    If you think that something will change and you'll soon see cheap and good gyroscope, you are wrong.
  • I had a thought of doing a DIY gyro stabilizer. There are examples online of people doing it with 3.5" hard drives. I stuck 3 hard drives in a box at right angles to see what kind of stabilization I'd get. It had virtually no effect. It might be enough to stabilize a still photo, but it will do almost nothing for video, even if you had it on a dynamic balance stabilizer. And that makes sense when you compare it to even the smallest of the Kenyon stabilizers. The thing has brass wheels that spin at 20000 rpm and take 4 minutes to get up to speed. Hard drives are nowhere close.

    What's working in our favor is that the GH2 is pretty light, you can get the cheapest Kenyon at $1600 instead of something that costs double that. Though for the cost and weight, I'd get the $2000 one, the KS-4, if I were going to get one, which I'm not.
  • Hi @balazer Although it's a great idea, I did a lot of reading around this subject a while back, and if you use three gyros at right-angles to each other I think the three basically cancel each other out somehow.

    I've had some success on my old mini-DV camcorder, using one gyro - but the vibration upset the camera a bit and it never worked properly after that. And of course tripods react in slightly weird ways when you move them around.

    I guess the other idea might be to use a lot of inertia, perhaps by sticking some very long arms on the camera with weights at the ends. That way you make better use of inertia without needing huge weights. It would look very weird though! I think this is how archery stabilizers work.

    You can get electronic gyros which is how r/c helicopters stabilize, and I think there are a few YouTube vids out there of people who've used that approach to build stable camera platforms. Way beyond my skills though.

    There's one trick I've used occasionally, when you want a low angle: you turn the tripod upside-down and walk around with the camera upside-down, just above the floor. Then you flip the picture upright in editing. It's very simple and low-tech but can be good for low-angle tracking shots of pets etc.
  • I would be stunned if someone could come up with a diy gyro. I thought kenlabs costs were pretty reasonable actually. I'd keep an eye on blackbird people as well. They've been working on one forever and if I were to guess I would think it would be fairly priced if they ever finish it.
  • @Mark_the_Harp, if you have two gyros spinning on the same axis in opposite directions, the rotational momentum is cancelled out. You need 3 gyros at right angles to provide stabilization on all 3 axes. The Kenyon stabilizers have two gyros mounted on a gimbal, which is good enough apparently, for reasons that I don't entirely understand.

    I did build a simple stabilizer: basically a monopod that I made into an upside-down T with weights on the ends, kind of like a Glidecam HD without the gimbal. It helps somewhat. Even more than using its inertia, it helps a lot to prop it against my body. I think I will buy some kind of shoulder & body mount.

    The electronic gyros for radio controlled helicopters don't use their inertia to physically stabilize the helicopter. They are simply input to a control system, giving it a constant directional reference. You can have a similar kind of active control stabilization for cameras: it's what we already have in lenses with stabilization. (I think they only need accelerometers, not gyros, but it's a similar idea)

    In fact I've decided that I'm not particularly interested in dynamically balanced stabilizers or gyros at the moment. I don't like that look of floating. Actually it's the slow rolling motion that bothers me. It makes me seasick, like a boat. I want to maintain control over the camera's direction while getting rid of the high frequency, low magnitude shaking. I think that's best done with a combination of in-lens stabilization, a mount that braces against your body, and software stabilization. A bit of low frequency shaking is o.k. We see that all the time in TV and movies, and it's not a big deal.
  • They don't use 3 rotating discs, because they still want to pan! Just tilt and roll are unwanted effects.

    And harddiscs are not a bad idea...but don't use actual drives - the discs would be way to light. I have played around with an old HD (does anybody remember the Amiga 500? Yes, quite old HD;-) and it has a lot of mass (static and rotating). Maybe that would work to stabilize a GH1/2, but we are talking about 1kg per HD!

    I'm sure there is something in between, but it would be trial and error to find the right HDs. 5.25" would be even better as the effect scales with disc diameter.
  • guys, thanks a lot for the feedback, it's been tremendously usefull..i really thought the hard disk idea would work, but the 'not enough mass\speed' argument makes sense (if we're not talking about a tiny camera weight, at least)
    i'd love to get one from kenlabs (or the blackbird, whenever it's ready..looks good on paper,right?) but for the eventual use i'd get from it, it's still not worthed for me, unfortunatlly.
  • After a quick search of this thread, I don't think its been mentioned: the noise caused by a gyro stabilizer is another factor to consider. Just thought I'd mention it.
  • i never saw one 'in the flesh' it noisy, really? i would never think so...
  • Kenyon ones are apparently very noisy so I've read. I might be wrong on this. If I get time I'll try a before / after using 1 gyro (not Kenyon, a smaller powered one of my own) with a GH2 do you can see the effect of a small gyro but it will have to wait for a few days.
  • I've used the Kenyons before on boats, 2 units 90degree offset. Yes they are extremely noisy and limited by how much battery power/inverter you have access to. Think a screaming high pitched whine. They work excellent as long as you don't fight them.
  • @Rambo

    Do you have any footage, so guys could see comparison (with and without) ?
  • I 've also used DIY Gyro's made from fast spinning Dremels mounted to a monopod under the camera. Works ok as long as you eliminate the vibrations by rubber mount isolation.
  • Yes V, i'll did it up.