Archive for the ‘do-it-yourself equipment’ Category

DIY Camera Jib Project 2: Dogs Ever Vigilant

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 by Brian Spellman, KET


Here’s our latest assembly and video test of a camera jib support, based on the online Oliviatech build that’s been enhanced with useful directions, diagrams, and parts lists by The Basic Filmmaker. See also our earlier DIYcamera jib project, a DIY camera slider project, and a simple camera stabilizer project.

This version was pretty easy to put together. School staff should be able to assist students in building it easily and it will help students understand and make lovely crane-type camera moves as seen on tv and in film productions. Be sure to wear protective eyewear when cutting, drilling and filing, and remember: cut aluminum is shaaaarrrrp, as I found out when my pliers slipped and I gouged a finger. Before assembling, file-off any sharp edges of the tubing; the metal is soft and it’s easily done. Also be careful of the tiny metal filings that accumulate around the workspace. Wipe the filings off of the parts before they make it into an eye. This would be a great shop-related project, or a special project for other classes such as, “Explorations in Fabrication of Education-Related Camera Support Equipment”…

Most of the parts were from a local hardware superstore. I followed the Basic Filmmaker’s suggestion and ordered the aluminum tubing online already cut to size. Had to search a bit further for the nylon flange bearings but found them on from You may be able to find all of the parts locally at hardware and auto parts stores. Check the helpful directions for parts specifications.

Once the jib was assembled I mounted an inexpensive but solid little quick-release camera plate found on (available for around $10.00), and used a iPhone adapter and an iPad adapter to shoot test video. Thanks to KET’s J. R. Pemberton, who kindly cut and drilled the aluminum tubing and angle stock, and to Bill Osborne for his helpful assistance. Check out the The Basic Filmmaker for a very thorough project overview and jib project plan, then build one with your students or for yourself and have fun making those special camera shots that add so much to a video production.

DIY Camera Crane/Jib Project 1: Dogs Ever Vigilant

Friday, July 5th, 2013 by Brian Spellman, KET


Third in our collection of do-it-yourself camera support projects, we bring you my attempt at building a KrotoCrane camera jib, an easy-to-build camera support tool designed by Chad Bredhall. This one, made mostly of PVC pipe and electrical conduit tubing, is relatively inexpensive and can be made with easily-found parts, some which might be found at a school shop or garage. It should make a great project for student video producers, but as always, be careful cutting, drilling, and assembling the parts. There should be adult teacher supervision of younger students. It cost me about $50 to build, including some free electrical conduit we had on-hand in the KET shop, an old weight (4.5lb), and an inexpensive camera quick-release plate found at I did purchase some extra PVC parts. Your costs will vary depending on where you find the parts and what you have already on-hand that can be used. Our parts cost also doesn’t include the tripod; I used an older Manfrotto/Bogen 3030 with a 3063 head we had.

Here’s a video of some quick first moves made with the new jib and an Apple iPhone 5 camera. I noticed that I didn’t show the extreme vertical limits of the device, which can be made higher by extending the mounting tripod’s legs. I also noticed that the shot beginning and ending with the flower pot is overexposed when the camera rises over the deck’s plants. I left it that way to illustrate a challenge of shooting with an iPhone camera: if left to auto-adjust exposure, the (current) iPhone 5′s camera will adjust the iris accordingly, but in playback of the recorded video there are often noticeable light-glitches showing jumpy iris adjustment. Until the camera improves or an app comes along that fixes it, we need to lock the camera’s auto-focus and auto-exposure when shooting across variable lighting to avoid the problem. In the iPhone’s included camera app, locking both AF and AE is done with a long-press on viewing the chosen area you want to lock them to. There’s some trial and error required, but that’s part of the adventure, right?

Once I found the parts at a local hardware chain store and our Alex Cummings helped by cutting the conduit pipe and drilling the holes in our shop, it took me about and hour and a half to assemble the thing, maybe two hours. Maybe longer, I have to admit.  It turned out pretty well though, considering that many of my efforts turn out like Homer Simpson projects.

Here’s a set of repeating views of the unit. The last slide is Chad Bredhall’s KrotoCrane instruction video that you can click to watch in the viewer. Slides should be swipeable on portable devices.

DIY Camera Crane / Jib $20 - KrotoCrane

DIY Camera Slider Project

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 by Brian Spellman, KET

Continuing our test-builds of do-it-yourself photography/video production tools, here’s a camera slider that schools and home users should have a good time building for little money. Using it is fun, it’s very portable, and it adds many possibilities for interesting camera moves for video production projects. Students will notice that the moves are used regularly in films and tv shows. Slideshow pics are swipeable in portable devices.


Based on the Filmriot crew’s DIY Camera Slider design, our unit was inexpensive (around $20.00, including some used parts) and it helped to produce some nice test video right off the bat. Mods I added were: substitution of a raised metal electrical switch plate; addition of an inexpensive quick-release camera mount I found online; and felt strips to line the tubes for smoother sliding. If I can build this (think Homer Simpson BBQ project) I know you can.

Here’s the first quick video test. Could do better with practice and care, but the dogs, Precious and Bunny, were perfect with no direction at all.

Camera Slider Test Video
Camera Slider Test Video

Shot with iPhone 5; edited in Lumify app (to try); WiFi transfered to iPad w/PhotoSync app (on both); edited in iMovie app to add titles, stills, and music; exported to YouTube over WiFi; inserted into WordPress blog w/Royal Slider plugin.

See the earlier camera stabilizer project.

Coming soon: a camera crane/jib project for more super-silky-fun moves!

If you’ve made something useful for video production and would like to share it please leave a response, below!

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