Archive | January, 2014

Upcoming DIY

25 Jan

As I wait for my Steadicam stuff to be machined and get ordered, I thought I’d make a couple of posts about some DIY things I’ve got going on. On the docket (and probably the only things for a while) are appleboxes, birdcages, and covered wagons.

These will not be videos. I do not like watching a video about how to make this stuff. Wastes my time and yours. (Edit: I may make videos for these. But! they will only be supplemental to the written stuff.)

Also, these projects will assume you have some knowledge of construction. Or ar least that you won’t hurt yourself using a staple gun or brad nailer.

Finally, they will all be completed within the confines of my living room, proving that anyone can build this stuff anywhere. Disclaimer, though: I used the shop at my school to make some of the major cuts on a table saw. If you don’t have access to a table saw, you may have some trouble with parts of the construction. I hope you can find someone to rip things for you…



Flycam Flujo: The Overhaul, Pt. 3

21 Jan

Okay. So I’ve reached the point where I can’t do anything now without getting some custom work done.

At this point, I’ve rewired the base of the sled and the J-box up top. To the right, you’ll see the 24v upconverter that is replacing the option of running the batteries in series. Biggest issue right now is fitting the connectors inside this space–me being an engineer, I wanted to go with an XLR 5-pin, but I may have to use on of the 6-pin Lemo’s left over.

I bought some webbing and buckles to redo the vest. Originally, it had these little metal hooks that seemed cool, but liked to fall off if you “relax” the straps, and just made things more annoying than they should be.

I also bought the foam for a Steadicam Pro vest from a guy on the forum marketplace. The original vest has almost no foam around the waist–the last time I ran it with a big rig, my left hip bone hurt for three days from where it had been rubbed raw.

The big thing I’m waiting on right now is to get the connection here milled down to what I need. The socket block pin is compatible on the vest, so it’s just a matter of connecting it to the arm, using the spare piece I had.

An attempt at self-coiling a cable came to laughable results, despite a valiant effort. I’m still researching what I’m going to do next, but I figure it will involve an order from, who have some coiled cables that they sell individually (most people who do coiled cables, do so on a large-scale basis.) The balance is between AWG and space in the post–I don’t want to go higher than 16 ’cause that’s the lowest common denominator of what I’ve already used, and the coil’s outside diameter has to be under an inch or so.

So until I get stuff back from Richmond, I won’t be doing much with the rig.

Flycam Flujo: The Overhaul, Pt. 2

4 Jan

I pretty much destroyed my living room for a week. The joys of not having a workshop. Spent 45 minutes cleaning today, 15 of which were vacuuming/hand-picking metal shavings out of the carpet. But the bottom stage is done! Almost.

I borrowed pretty heavily from the Steadicam Ultra/Clipper design, with a simple 15mm rod setup to adjust weight. I can’t tilt the battery pack, but I can’t imagine that will come in handy too often. I don’t intend to get dynamic balance every time.


I spent 10 minutes with some Goo-Gone, scrubbing the adhesive off the post from where the logo was. Not only was the big logo there to incriminate my low-budget endeavours (anyone who knows a little bit about equipment will know it’s not from a major brand) but, more importantly, it prevented the gimbal from sliding down the post. A good 8-10 inches of post completely useless.


I turned the bottom of the sled around (you’ll see later, when I post some “before” pictures), took the voltage display from the battery pack, and attached it to my power inputs. Figured that would be a good way to glance down and see what the incoming voltage was, indicating whether or not I’d need to change batteries.

In my endeavour to make a 12/24v sled, I’ve put two plugs in: one will be for 24v, the other for 12v. In a move pulled from the GPI Pro sled, the bottom battery powers the accessories on the bottom stage, and the battery pack will power the camera and accessories up top. This also lets me just have the back batteries for ballast, if that’s necessary (say, a DSLR or small ENG camera that doesn’t need power from the sled.)

After consulting with a couple of people, I’ve decided to change my 12/24v scheme. It’ll still be there, but will be pretty different in execution.

Flycam Flujo: Thoughts

2 Jan

I’ll be adding thoughts to this post as I go along. I’m not great at this whole blogging thing.

– What strikes me most about the Flujo, having opened and poked around in it a few times, is the sheer “un-necessity” of it all. So many options may sound like a selling point, but what do you really need on rig? I mean, maybe a fifth of what came with it. What accessory runs on 9V? If you power a DSLR off the 7.2V output, the camera would be waaay too light for this rig. I guess the A/V pigtails would come in handy if you have a recorder on-board, but this digital age has slightly killed the need for them.
Ultimately, two thoughts occur: firstly, all of these options and connections are setting up this rig for failure right out of the box (as I saw when I hooked a camera up it right out of the box); secondly, what were they thinking when they designed and built this? It’s obvious that many things were copied and/or implemented because someone thought “indie filmmakers need this!” but clearly nobody with much experience had any input to this electrical design of this rig.

– Adding on to that, the cables are weird sometimes. I opened one of them up–a 2-pin Lemo to DC plug, and found four conductors. That’s four little cables for a plug that should only need two. They had paired the four to pins, but that serves no purpose–nothing at a 5V draw is going to need more than one 22awg wire.

– I’ve strayed a little from my original purpose–I wanted to use mostly/only what I had on hand for the process. However, as I’ve gone on, I keep ordering more stuff from Amazon, each day putting something new into it. Hopefully I’ve kept my receipts such that I can tally everything at the end.

(20 Jan 14)

– I’ve hit the point where I’m going to have to start having things custom-made. I thought about having a whole new handle crafted, but have decided instead to adapt what’s there currently. I’ll post about that shortly, but I mostly wanted to say that I’ve come pretty far with just what I have, and short of the post-cable-wiring stuff, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s now, when I’m starting to add stuff that is more “forward thinking” (i.e., allows for upgrading in the future), that I am straying from the original path.

22 March 2014

– As I’ve mentioned, there’s some really cheap materials in play here. Just wanted to throw up some pictures of key points.