View Full Version : Compact stabilization rig... PVC

12-27-2012, 10:18 PM
Here are some photos of my latest contraption. I started with 6' of PVC that was $6, and about $2 worth of various connectors. Now I've got 3' of PVC and about $1 worth of connectors. This mini rig is made to use within the tight confines of various aircraft cockpits, hence the funky design.

The grey utility box is removable so I can use it on my two-piece shoulder rig. Plug 'n play I suppose.

If the weather cooperates I my take this out on a flight to photograph the fresh snow over the Cascade Mountains this Sunday.


12-28-2012, 12:17 AM
Pretty cool. Very similar to a fig rig. Nice work.

12-28-2012, 01:02 AM
Thank you. I was inspired by the fig rig... just a mini version. :-)

12-30-2012, 06:45 PM
Oh my goodness, I have 300+ hours logged as pilot in command, and I have to say, this evenings photo flight was one of the most beautiful I've experienced! 1.3 hours in total, and I got some time to shoot video with my new rig... final verdict? I LOVE it! It was the perfect compact size to work around in awkward angles, and was VERY steady!

Pics and video will follow eventually. :-) (900+ photos, 100 minutes of video)

Nick Soares
12-30-2012, 06:57 PM
Wow, that is very cool, not sure how I missed this thread.

Keep it up Fight2Fly - Would love to see more of your video work

01-02-2013, 02:08 AM
Thanks... Been busy with family so I haven't had an opportunity to finish the video yet, but, I am uploading a nice short version right now. Here's a quick photo to wet your appetite...

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8356/8331428776_b0cbebb307_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fight2flyphoto/8331428776/)
IMG_0580 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fight2flyphoto/8331428776/) by fight2flyphoto (http://www.flickr.com/people/fight2flyphoto/), on Flickr

I'm happy with the steadicam. It certainly helped gaving something to hold onto at awkward angles. It won't offer much help in rough air, but is at least an improvement.

01-02-2013, 01:18 PM
Alright, here's short video I put together from this flight. Unfortunately almost all of the video I shot looking out the left window with the GoPro was unusable due to vibration. I was really bummed about that, but I was at least able to keep the footage of the departure and climb above the clouds. All the rest of the video was shot handheld using my Canon VIXIA HG20 plus my new PVC steadicam. There are a few shots in here where you can see reflections moving as the pilot was maneuvering the aircraft... even with that it was pretty simple maintaining a steady shot. Also, normally in a situation like this I'd have the window open so I didn't have to shoot through plexi, but this older Cessna 182 didn't have an opening window on the right side.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Mountain Fun - YouTube

Nick Soares
01-02-2013, 08:40 PM
Dude are you kidding me, this is amazing!

2001 Productions
01-03-2013, 11:06 AM
normally in a situation like this I'd have the window open so I didn't have to shoot through plexi, but this older Cessna 182 didn't have an opening window on the right side.

I shot from a Cessna once that had the same issue...so they took the whole door off! That was fun! :jaw:

01-03-2013, 11:19 AM
Amazing! Nuff said!

01-10-2013, 02:02 AM
Thank you everyone, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

2001Productions - if things come together and were able to do this photo flight we will probably do just that if its the same plane. pretty crazy!

My buddy has been watching this video almost every day and we're hoping to give it a second try. But this time another friend will tag along...flying his plane right along side of us so we can (hopefully!!) get some good air-to-air shots. The three of us are big vintage aircraft enthusiasts and use these opportunities to keep our skills tuned for when the real action happens in Spring/Summer.

According to Facebook this may actually turn into quite the photo flight! Now have four of us looking to form up! Woot!

Here's hoping for holes in the clouds and some more smooth air!

01-22-2013, 04:37 PM
The photo flight went really well! We had five aircraft and 8 photographers! I was able to put my camera rig to the test and I'm quite pleased with it. I still really hate the image stabilization in my Canon HG20, but, the rig did help to stabilize things. Here's a fun photo I just put together from two video screenshots.

Top frame is from video shot by my friend in the Cessna 205, showing me in the back seat using the camera rig, and the bottom frame is from me shooting my friend. And yes, sadly, I had to deal with green/blue tinted windows. :-/

Nick Soares
01-22-2013, 07:09 PM
Whats wrong with the image stabilization, or what don't you like about it?

01-23-2013, 08:23 AM
I'm not really sure... the camera is about 6-7 years old and I was never really impressed with the quality of its advertised image stabilization from the beginning. (I got it for 70% off at a going out of business sale) In fact, I can't even tell if it's on or off half the time and always have to go check in the menu. It's absolutely terrible with those fine, high-frequency vibrations from shooting it handheld. I've recently used a friends consumer Panasonic and its OIS is a world apart from the Canon I'm shooting with.

As I am used to shooting aircraft at low shutter speeds (never above 1/125 when shooting propeller driven aircraft, 90$ of the time at 1/80 between 200-500 mm) I like to think I have a really steady hand. But this video camera makes me look drunk! Hence all the PVC contraptions I've built.