Custom Camera Stabilizer Project

Myself and Connor Foster were attempting to improve the quality of work we we’re able to produce on personal filming projects. A key part of that is stable footage on professional video cameras. Due to the cost of a suitable stabilizer and the interest we both had in the concept and the mechanisms behind the device we decided to reverse engineer and build our own. The result is a fully customizable, fully functional camera stabilizer that perfectly meets our personal requirements.

Project Scope

The goal for this project was to reverse engineer and develop a custom camera stabilizer to support various personal filming projects. Project ranged from initial concept to the design and material/component selection to the full manufacturing of a working prototype.

People Involved

Connor Foster:

  • Initial and final CAD model
  • Assembly drawings
  • Manufacturing
  • Background research/reverse engineering
  • Material and component specification.

Matt Leyland:

  • Initial CAD design
  • Manufacturing
  • Background research/reverse engineering
  • Material and component specification.

Skills Involved

  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Design for manufacturing
  • Manufacturing techniques
  • Reverse engineering

Camera Balance

The final prototype was able to spin very true along it’s central axis after a few minutes of finding the right balance. Given the flexibility that was added into the design the proper amount of weights, distance between camera and base, distance between gimbal and camera, and length of weights from center post will allow the stabilizer to obtain the desired drop time, pan speed and stable rotation about the Y-axis.

Test Footage

This was the first trial run of the stabilizer. Video is uncut other than adding 20% pan stabilization through post processing. I’m very pleased with the results as the conditions we’re very choppy and the footage is significantly more stable than previous methods. As this is a manual device it takes a fair amount of practice to improve the quality of footage. I expect the results to improve as the stabilizer becomes more calibrated and operator skill increases.

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