Lil' Tony's Videography Hobby

Tips, tricks, insights, and inspirations for anyone interested in videography. No real "expertise" here, just JoeSkater with a JVC miniDV camera. But JoeSkater with a desire to make better home movies than JoePublic.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The StreetGrip

The StreetGrip:
Every time you see a camera guy in skate videos, you see that they have really nice cameras (XL or GL whatevers). Well, I don't, and don't have the money to get one. One of the biggest practical differences between their cams and my JVC generic is the handle on top. That would make filming all kinds of things SO much easier. During all of my "stabilizer/jibarm/boom" searches, I have never found a DIY for such a handle. So here's mine! Perhaps the first of the web! It is a super simple design using PVC pipe. This rig is super light and super CHEAP! Even if it does look extremely cheesey. But it's the footage that counts, right?

This is not a comprehensive DIY. This is a straight forward build. (ie: Cut your pipe using a hacksaw, use a drill for the holes... duh...) Just look at the pics and you can see how simple this rig really is. You certainly need to measure your camera and adjust your pipe lengths as needed. Be sure to do a "dry fit" before you permanently glue anything.
For a JVC-or cam of similar size and shape:

(4) 5" pvc pipes (1/2" diameter)
(1) 6" pvc pipe
(2) 2 1⁄4 pipes
(5) elbow joints
(1) T joint
(2) endcaps
(4) little screws
(1) thumbscrew ("quarter 20" standard cam mount screw)
(1) washer (fits with thumbscrew)
(1) 3 1⁄2 x 7 wood slat (strong craft wood will work
just fine)
(1) rubber band
PVC primer and glue
Electrical tape (cosmetic addition)
Craft foam

This grip breaks down to 4 pieces for more compact storage. You can substitute whatever with whatever you feel is appropriate(or available). The T-joint is actually optional and you can build this with a 6th elbow joint. The first one I built did not use the T-joint and did not break down (I glued every joint). It's still getting enthusiastic use by fellow skater and vid enthusiast, Skid-S. The T-joint will allow the addition of a sun shade over the lense. (Haven't constructed that yet.) While the rig does appear to offer some cam protection, I don't suggest using it as a protective cage really. You could build a more extensive cage I suppose, but that's not the purpose of this rig, nor this blog.

It is important to glue the joints that hold weight vertically, so your camera can't drop away from the handle. Depending on how often you assemble/dissassemble the rig, it may be necessary to eventually glue all of the joints. The other joints should be ok with a tight fit, as long as your not flinging the thing around. (If you are, your footage will suck anyway, and your building this to prevent suckage, right?)

Glue the 2 upright components. (2 elbows and one 5" section each) I also glued the handle component (6" pipe, elbow, T, and both short pipes). (Note: I added some grip foam-the kind that goes over old 10-speed bike handles-before I glued the handle together. For comfort and more importantly, style.) Predrill then attach the platform centered on the 2 remaining 5" pipes. Measure where the cam mounting screw hole should be for your cam and drill it. Glue end caps on the platform pipes (double check which corners!). As you can see, I added more craft foam for a bit o' cushion between the cam and the platform, I just used double sided tape - not a super bond, but as long as I don't fuss with it, it ain't going anywhere. I also wrapped electrical tape around the uprights, again, more for style than anything else. (It hides all the construction printing on the pipes.) Tada! Your StreetRig puzzle is ready for assembly. Oh, the rubberband is to hold the thumbscrew in place when the cam isn't mounted.

The correct (easy) assembly order is: 1) connect 1 upright to platform, 2) connect handle to THAT upright, 3) connect last upright to handle and platform simultaneously. To mount the cam, I hold my cam upside down in one hand and place the rig platform (upside down) on the cam, line up the holes and insert the thumbscrew. There you have it... a simple, lightweight, cheap handle for your cam. Now go practice with it and get better footage of your friends skating (or whatever).


At 1:48 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

dosent the camera fall of if your filming a line???

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Nikoli said...

No, not at all. The thumbscrew attaches the camera to the rig securely.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice rig dude.

And it looks like you left yourself room to install a mic or a light in the top tube that you're gripping.

Was that intentional or did I just give you a brilliant idea?

-Monsignor Funkibut

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Nikoli said...

It was originally going to be for a lense shade of some sort... yes, it is perfect for a mic or light, but low end cams like this don't have the input for an external mic... but a battery powered light would work for sure.

I really need to get back to this blog... I've neglected it for so long... perhaps this is the year...

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Ronald The Brit said...

Nice idea. It's of a similar design as my "patented" Redneck Racing SteadyCam 3000.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

That thing is RAD!

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Matt Lester said...

dude this thing is sick
im going to the store tomorrow
to get the parts
thanks a ton!

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Nikoli said...

Glad this thing still gets some views... I do still have great ideas for this particular blog... just no time... I spend it all elsewhere, including

Anyway... Matt, please, send me pics of your final rig! Nikoli2000ATyahooDOTcom

At 2:08 PM, Blogger skateboard crank said...

Thanks for posting. I knew installing my own sprinklers would pay off. Can't wait to make mine!

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is way tight!!! i just made this one in 2 days! (one day for glue to dry and another for the paint to dry- i spray painted it black) It cost me just under 7 bucks!! super nice! thanks for postin this!

At 5:34 AM, Blogger Nikoli said...

Wow! Over 4 years later and this thing is still gettin' hits! Stoke! Anon, would love to see a pic of your rig (Matt too if he'd send one)... I'll add them to the post.

Glad you dig it. I haven't used mine in quite awhile... I'd def. like to find some time to get back to videography... *sigh*

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous sarwar said...

thank you for sharing


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