Keeping your camera stable is vital to getting good shots and quality video. That's why using tripod to keep your camera in place will greatly improve your shots immediately.
For the most stable shot, which allows for smooth panning and tilting, you'll want a large heavy tripod. The bigger and heavier the tripod is, the more it will absorb your movement, keeping your camera (and footage) stable. Of course, large professional tripods are expensive, heavy and – despite most being able to fold up – not portable, especially if you have to carry all your other equipment.
But while a professional tripod will get you the most stable shots, and certainly make you look like a pro while getting those shots, you can make your own tripod on the cheap which will work just as well for most shooting.
The most important thing for making a DIY tripod is the small, threaded hole at the bottom of your camera, called the tripod binding. The tripod binding is where the camera attaches to the tripod, and will be vital to any tripod you make.
The simplest and most portable way to stabilize your camera is make a string tripod. Go to a local hardware store and find a metal hook (the type used for hanging potted plants) that will fit in the your camera's binding (all cameras have a standard 1/4" binding). Make sure the threaded end of the hook is flat like a bolt, not pointed like a screw. You'll also need about 20 feet of any sturdy, durable rope (nylon rope will probably work best). Screw the hook into your camera's binding hole and tie the rope into a loop. Then, suspend the rope from the hook so there are two distinct loops. Put one of your feet in each loop, and you'll have a great, sturdy and extremely portable tripod that uses your body to steady the camera. To adjust the camera height, you'll have to keep retying the rope, but that's a small price to pay for a "tripod" that will cost about $5 and can fit in your pocket.
Another easy DIY method for stabilizing your camera on the go is to use a plastic bottle. Find any plastic bottle with a screw-off top. Any bottle will do, although the bigger the bottle, the more stable it will be. You'll also need a 1-1/2 inch bolt, two 1/4 inch washers, and a 1/4 inch nut. Take off the screw top and set the bottle off to the side. Using a drill or any other puncturing tool, create a hole that is slightly smaller than 1/4" in the bottle cap. Then screw the bolt through the hole in the screw top, so the head of the bolt is on the inside of the cap. Then screw the nut onto the bolt on the outside of the cap, securing the bolt. Make sure this nut is securely fastened – this is what will be holding your camera. Then screw the wing nut about half an inch down the bolt, with the wings on the nut pointing down. Then add the two washers, which will sit between your camera and the wing nut.
After assembling the camera mount, you'll make the counter weight. Fill about one third of the bottle with water (sand will work too) and screw the camera mount on. Filling the bottle completely will make the "tripod" heavier, but will also raise the center of gravity of the apparatus, making it less stable and more prone to being knocked over. But filling a two liter bottle halfway should provide more than enough counter weight and still have a low, stable center of gravity.
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