Cheaper than chips steadicam

If you are already shooting video with DSLR’s you probably know how dam hard it is – even with the thing stuck on a tripod. So any thoughts of trying to use one on a delicately balanced steadicam is probably a very long way from your future plans. Before you poo poo the idea, I’ve come up with a cheap and pretty darn good solution that will make your videos look cooler than cool. Adding even a smidgen of movement to a video can really add a bit of interest. And with this steadicam you don’t even have to wear a Robocop-type vest.

If you are still wondering about the value of a steadicam in your daily video repertoire I will point out that Danfung Dennis won this years World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary for ” Hell and Back Again” at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. And nearly all of his war footage was shot with a Canon 5D strapped to a steadicam. You don’t get that sort of intimacy with a camera screwed to a tripod and you probably don’t live very long in a war zone standing for long periods of time behind one either.

You can pay up to £1,000 for a top of the range steadicam while this one from Hague called the Mini Motion Cam (MMC) will set you back about £74.00. Not only that but you can use one with the GoPro and iphone 4 should you want to. Which is not as stupid as it sounds as someone told me this week Jack Johnson shot his latest music video with a GoPro and it won’t be long before a full length feature film will be made with an iphone if it hasn’t already.

Anyway, the video is below. I’m awarding one iphone4 Leica M6 skin to the first person who correctly counts the number of hmmm’s!! And here is the prize.


  • I tested out some expensive steadicams. None of them were all that ‘steady’. Plus all you have to do is change lenses and you have to spend 2 days rebalancing the damn things. Shaky video can be well dodgy so I’m bracing myself for another attempt at parting with hard earned cash for one of these stupid things. Probably cheaper to take yoga lessons and balance yourself instead.

    • The lens changing point is a really good one Tom.

    • Hi Tom,
      That is a very good point. The hague is actually very easy to balance out. I was swopping between the 550, GoPro and iphone and each time there needed to be a bit of a re-balance but it didn’t take long. What I tend to do is use the steadicam for just one or two lenses. They work best on wide angle anyway so a 16mm is about right for the 550 crop sensor.
      My one top tip is to mark each weight for each lens and then I scratch out the template of the arm and then use a marker pen to trace the point at the top when the camera is balanced. This will give you a good rough guide each time you balance out the camera.
      Hope that helps.

  • True. Wide angle works pretty good for those kind of shots. Might be worth a go, especially at that price. The ones I was looking at had me sucking my teeth and tightening my belt. I’m Just getting to grips with filming on these hdslrs having finally bought one of my own last year. Tricky and often fiddly, but wonderfully customisable…

    Now, about that new panasonic AF101 wotsit…

Carl is a photographer but now mixes his photography skills with multimedia and video using the new breed of DSLR cameras to give his clients different ways to communicate.

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