DIY camera rig stabilizers give you most of the MoVI at a fraction of the cost


posted Monday, April 8, 2013 at 11:39 PM EDT

We were all very impressed by the rock steady MōVi   rig that was announced late last week. This three-axis rig seems to be an incredible way to make steadicam-style stabilization far lighter and more affordable. However, while $15,000 isn't much compared to some professional rigs, it's still a stiff price for most people. Which is where the world DIY brushless gimbals come in. These camera stabilizer projects, which have turned up in videos on Vimeo and YouTube, offer you much of the core functionality as the MōVi , but at a tiny fraction of the cost.

As discussed at ISO1200, there's a burgeoning community of DIYers and open source advocates who are building these DIY gimbal rigs, and sharing the plans widely and freely online. They're creating small, lightweight rigs suitable for use in quadcopters that can be built for as little as $100.

Rather than the substantial and professionally built three-axis stabilization of the MōVi , these DIY rigs tend to be based on just two-axis stabilization, and are built to hold small cameras such as a GoPro or Sony NEX. They run off of special software controlling a pair brushless direct drive motors called SimpleBGC, which allow for precise and fast motion in an extremely light package.

However, putting one together isn't a simple project. You need the software, to either fabricate or purchase the frame yourself, buy a controller direct from China, and hook up the motors. Then you need to put the whole thing together. But the $100 price tag is not to be scoffed at — and the resulting videos really do speak for themselves.

When it comes down to it, a DIY version like this probably won't be able to put up much of a fight against the likes of the MōVi . It's only supported on two axes, can handle a much smaller weight, and isn't professionally made. But if you're shooting on a tight budget and have the technological know-how, it seems like viable alternative.