I typically get an email or two a week from someone who has read my (camera stabilizer) tutorial, built one themselves, or received one from me and wanted to share thier appreciation and experiences. I've gotten emails from people that have used my basic design as inpiration for thier own home-made stabilizers. I've gotten thanks from aspiring filmmakers still in high school to video professionals and teachers.

I thought I might share some of these emails with you. If you would like to share, I'll probably added your comments too!

Note: The views expressed here and terminology used are belong solely to the individuals that wrote them.

I just wanted to say thanks for making your page:

I built one and created my own page that references yours, but list some refinements I've devised based on your design. If you are interested in seeing my refinements, go to www.cartala.com/diy.html


Just a quick note to thank you for the stabilizer plans. Made one up in no time, and it works (surprisingly) well. Now, just to find a project that needs a steadyshot.

Johnny -

I must thank you for your web page. I built a stabilizer exactly how you described a few months ago & it's a great device!

Here is the link:

Thanks again for the story. I think it will be quite helpful to many people. Let me know if you write any similar stories about filmmaking.

Best regards.
PS: If you ever get to Memphis, look me up.
Published in RES Magazine
Hack Your Own Steady (Enough) Cam Planning on shooting a DV remake of Mean Streets in Hanoi and don¹t want to explain the (camera stabilizer) in your luggage to Customs agents? Well, whip out your phrasebook and turn to "Where is the nearest hardware store?" because you can build a nice (camera stabilizer)-esque camera brace out of metal pipes in your hotel room.

University of Virginia student Johnny Lee gives step-by-step instructions for creating the brace on his Web site titled "The $14 stabilizer (The Poor Man¹s (camera stabilizer)). The process is relatively simple, works for cameras under eight pounds and is indeed cheap. The stabilizer does not have the famed gyroscopes and well, doesn¹t require a professional operator, but an unscientific test measured a 50 percent reduction of the handheld look of handheld motion. Lee claims that with practice, you can reduce the handheld look of your vertical camera movement by up to 80 percent. We¹re still waiting for the judgment of SMPTE.

Once you make it to Hanoi¹s Hardware Hideaway, you¹ll need three pipes (the inventor recommends 1/2"’ galvanized steel, but you can also use plastic), three end caps, a couple of barbell weights (2.5 lbs.), a T-joint and some odd bolts and washers. You¹ll also need to track down a drill and a stationary vice (check with the concierge). Put it together, and it looks like a tall monopod, weighted at the bottom, with a weighted handle. Lee recommends a fair amount of practice before use ­ you can check out his favorite poses on his Web site. But good luck getting it back into the country.

­Elizabeth Cole
...I have a shoot coming up in a week and I need to have it (and be comfortable using it) by then. So I decided to overcome my fear of a little handyman work and build the thing myself. Thank you so much for hosting an honest page dedicated to this subject. It really helped me out.

All the best,
Hi there,

Was flipping through the web yesterday kiling time at work and I stumbled upon your website, offering our homemade (camera stabilizer). That's a really nice contraption you got there. I am interesting in purchasing one, ....

Received the (camera stabilizer)--looks great! Thanks!

Hello Mr. Lee
I am just E-mailing you to inform you that I just recieved the stabilizer. Thank you very much for making it for me. I really appreciate all the help you give to the novice movie makers, like myself!

Thanks Again!
I found your stabilizer design online and thought it was really cool. Thanks for the idea. I also checked out your movies – VERY GOOD!!! You make me want to make them too. Thanks for inspiration.

Hello Mr. Lee
I just wanted to say thanks for your website on the 14$ (camera stabilizer). Some friends of mine built one for me for a DV production I'm working on and it has really helped. Thanks so much for the free info. I want to give credit where its due and give you a credit in the film...Thanks again. Below is a link to the films website...

Hi Johnny,

Thanks for posting your (camera stabilizer) information on the web...you rock! If I had the tools, I would follow your wonderful recipe.

Hi, i found a link to your site through Res magazine. I am very interested in making the $14 (camera stabilizer). Great idea. I'm still in high school but im looking to go to film school after this year.

Hey- thanks been meaning to make one of these for a while- I guess I could follow you very fine directions- ... It was very nice of you to put this on the web. Your video looks pretty darn steadyeven if it is all in the legs!

Thanks again,
Jim - Chief Family Videographer.
Johnny- I love the (camera stabilizer) page that you put up! Great design- I'm actually in the process of creating a slightly modified version for a Sony Mini-DV camera. As it is a very small camera, I'm "downsizing" your concept.

Many thanks. Your design is fantastic!!
Mate, your stabilizere looks sensational!!!
Do you really build them for people???

I'm not brilliant with my hands but I'll have a go at making one. Just out of interest...
Kind Regards

I just wanted to thank you for designing that awesome (camera stabilizer). You saved me several hundred dollars! I'm still getting the hang of it, but I can see that with practice it will produce professional results.

I'm still in high school, so it goes without saying that I have practically no budget for movie equipment. Any chance ....


Thank you for the excellent manual of how to make your own (camera stabilizer) . I might try to make one too . I made a few home movies , and am now adventuring beyond the basics . My wobbly shots annoyed me in my last movie , so your suggestions come in handy . I use a Sony PC 120 and iMovie on an iMac for the editing and burn the results on DVD , also on the iMac with iDVD , all included programs of Apple .
Greetings , Tom

I saw your web site, and I love what your doing. I'd like to buy one ...

Catchphrase Productions
Hi Johnny
I just surfed into your site after typing in camera stabilizer in google. Yours was the first hit. I just wnated to say I'm incredibly impressed by your work. I have the same interests as you, film, animation and I'm a computer science major. I enjoyed your work a lot, I plan on attempting to build your stabilizer (and if I fail, I'll order one from you) and making my own films.

keep up the great work, the google movie made me smile too =)

Just wanted to thank you for putting up the info on building a stabilizer!

One of the main challenges I have had in the past filming was that it always looked really amateurish.

So I have been doing a lot of research on film techniques and found your site. I was amazed at the clarity and detailed information on how to build your version of a stabilizer; What blew me away was that you also had 4 videos of how you could use it.

I downloaded all 4 and was so inspired I stayed up the entire night so I could go to Home Depot when it opened.

I had a little head start as I have an old portable camcorder stand that had a bar that would rest on your chest with a strap that would go around your neck. It did not produce very good results. So I took it apart and am using the camera stand bar, and am placing it in a metal pipe that I bought.

I am experimenting with weights and with bar length right now, but I can already see how much better this is than carrying the camcorder around all by itself.

Finally, I have been preparing to create a very short documentary of a charity project that goes on once a year, and being able to use some type of stabilizer is critical because I want to be able to go out "into the field" and capture the movement and energy of the experience. And what made me believe that this was possible was seeing the particular shot you captured on your Squash2 clip of the girl playing racquet ball. It started at the 32 second marker and continued to the 55 second marker where in one shot you circled her multiple times. This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for a way to do, but never could do it in a smooth and seemingly effortless manner. Besides, that type of shot creates a 3D look to your film and adds a remarkable experience that is completely missing in most other short films.

So, as I experiment and get my stabilizer prepared, I just wanted to thank you for the information and the inspiration. I cant wait to see what I can do now with a more professional look.


I also just found some of your short films on your creative portfolio, and look forward to seeing those

We would like to reprint your article currently located at (URL) in our website's digest. TriggerStreet.com is website founded by myself and Kevin Spacey in Nov 2002 with a mission of encouraging and supporting undiscovered filmmakers and screenwriters. The site has an extremely active community that currently has over 100,000 registered members. Looking forward to your reply,
Dana Brunetti
I saw your stabilizer on triggerstreet and the movies looks real cool - I will defiantly try and build it. This is just to say thanks for the tip - if more people shared instead of trying to work out how to get more money from each other, then the world would be a much better place...

Hey Johnny, just wanted to say thanks for the idea of the (camera stabilizer). I went out to Lowes the next day and bought all the things for it to use..

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving,

Hi Johnny,

Just found your stabilizer plans. Man, what a great idea! Can't wait to put it together and try it out.


With great interest I read your $14 stabilizer page.

Thank you,

Hi Johnny:

Thanks for the fast service on the (camera stabilizer) I ordered--it arrived today.

I've already run one short test and am VERY pleased. It works quite well indeed!

You might enjoy looking at my test (I gave you screen credit even, and a link to your site).


I also looked at some of your creative endeavors. Liked the one about snacks best ;-). Keep up the good work.

Hi Johnny,

I really enjoyed your websites on your homemade steadyrig. Your films look awesome! It looks like its easy to build and works great. I have been scouring the Internet for a camera stabilizer that I can use for wedding receptions.

Thanks again for the cool site.

John, Seattle
Hi. I just ordered one of your $14 (camera stabilizer). Can't wait to get it and see how it works for me. I do short amateur horror films and my biggest problem has been walking and trying to keep the camera steady. I am low budget and can't afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a (camera stabilizer) device.

I'll let you know how it works for me.

Hi Mr. Johnny Chung Lee

My name is Relsi Hur Maron, I'm a brazilian cinema student, and would like to ask for authorization. for to translate and to publish in my web site your article about stabilizer for $14,00.

My web site, http://www.cinebr.com, it is for helping producers of independent cinema.
I will keep the source an all the credits for you.

Well, stay your response.

hi johnny -

your low-cost (camera stabilizer) is very inventive and your short quicktime movies are delightfully whimsical, while at the same time being technically excellent. thanks!

- phil
Hi, the stabilizer tutorial was great. Currently I am ...

Thanks Casey
Hi, i recently built yur stabilizer, and it works great! - Rob

I just wanted to say thanks for the info on building the $14 stabilizer. And I liked (I've only watched one) your short on the clock and what happens to it when you're not around.

Anyhow, I'm not sure how many people have used your idea nor am I sure how many have said thanks, but I just wanted to let you know it is appreciated that you are sharing your idea.

Cheers, John
and really liked the clock one and the friday night dinner.... some of those shots are pretty amazing... and the story was told really well in both.

In either case... I have a film portal called www.bokserfilms.com where i put stuff up like your vids and stabilizer work... check it out... i refer people to your site for the stabilizer...

Thanks, Vitaly
Dear Johnny;

This is a great project for my middle school students in AV class!

Director of Technology
Monson-Sultana School District
i was doing a research on (camera stabilizer) and came across your website of building $14 camera stabilizer. i have to say it's very impressive! someone like me who doesn't understands physics much had no idea how that worked.

funny thing is, i actually built one. i used box, tube, and a lot of duck-tape from discarded container at work. really rough and poor looking, but it works! this is only for shooting at low angle - something like your second type of (camera stabilizer). thanks to you!

motion graphics industry needs someone like you clever.

(I don't know what this says, but I assume it's a compliment followed by a question)
Hola Johnny:

Soy un aficionado al video y ultimamente estaba interesado en fabricarme un steadycasero para mi camara mini DV, por eso acabo de entrar en tu Web, la cual creo que es bastante interesante. Gracias por hacerla tan completa detallando las piezas. una pregunta: he visto otros steadys con forma curvada hacia afuera y contrapeso en la parte inferior ¿como resuelves tu este problema? voy ha ponerme manos a la obra y ya te diré cosas.


Several readers emailed me a translation of this which I've posted below. Thanks to everyone who sent me one!
I just wanted to send a thank you for taking the time to put the building plans on the web. I modified it somewhat and it made things a bit easier for me. Instead of the 2 1/2 lbs. weight, I put a 1/2 inch to 1 inch adapter to put a 1" flange as the base. It's a bit lighter, but provides good stability plus you just screw it on. Yipee! Now I have a (camera stabilizer)! Thanks again!

Portland, OR

I saw your website, (camera stabilizer).org, after looking for a cheap (camera stabilizer) on ebay. So, with this last weekend I took a trip to Lowes to try your idea. After spending a little more than 14 bucks, stealing some golf club grips from my dad, and destroying my crappy tripod (came free with my camera), I finished a neat little (camera stabilizer). Not sure if you are interested or not, just thought I’d share my experience. So, here is my recipe based off your idea: 2 – 3/8” pipes at 12” long ( I went down to 3/8” to be able to use the golf grips ) 1 – 3/8” pipe at 10” long 1 – 3/8” pipe at 4” long 1 – 3/8” Tee Joint 1 – 3/8” Cap 1 – 3/4” to 3/8” Reducer 1 – 3/8” coupler ( to join to pipes together ) 27 – 3/4" flat washers ( for weight ) 4 – golf club grips ( I had to learn how to attach these ) 1 – tripod mount ( forcibly removed from tripod ) The base is the same, except for the weights; I used all 27 washers on the 4” pipe held on by the cap at the bottom. Before attaching the top and weight, I stuck the 3 golf club grips on. 2 are cut off at the end so the pipe can go all the way through. The third is just slid over the handle. The tripod top was glued (using the same stuff that holds a golf club head to a golf club shaft). The 4th golf club grip was unwrapped and rewrapped around the tee.

Anyway, it turned out pretty cool. In retrospect, the washer as weight idea wasn’t as simple as a barbell, but wasn’t bad. The cool thing is there was no drilling involved. It ended up costing me around $30, but I don’t mind the extra bucks now that I have a cool (camera stabilizer)…

I posted some pictures of it to my site at: http://www.kidventures.net/mydownloads/stuff/

Thanks for the Idea,
Hey Johnny Lee,

I found a page on how to build your own stabilizer and I wanted to say thanks for the idea! It took me all of 20 minutes to throw it together and start filming.

I liked the solid base to attach the camera. By simply using 3 wood screws and a 1/4 x 2" bolt with the camera platform worked great! I am looking for a thin piec of Rubber to place on it to absorb even more shock to the camera and the stabilizer. Unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on an non-olympic size weights to I added a block to the bottom of the stabilizer to hold the larger hole in the weight. This works great! So I can now add or remove weights to firm up my shots even more than the 2.5 pounds. I also added a nice layer of Hockey tape to Jazz it up a bit and add some grip to the whole system. Thanks for the idea and happy Film Making!

I am writing to say that I have built your (camera stabilizer) a year ago and always wanted to write back about it, but never could. I am a student in cinema in montreal and I would like to say thank you for your idea and the fact that you made a web site about it. It really works fine, and now with your large sled platform add-on, I can even use it with a small 100' reel 16mm camera... really cool. Thanks again
Love it, and I want one!

Your sprint clip looks like fun.

Dear Johnny

Hi, my name is Mark Thopson, im a 19 year old aspiring film maker in australia. I was recently considering forking over $450 for a stabilizer. As i thought this would be the cheapest way to perfect a smooth movement through shots.

WHen i found your site i first dismissed it as another diy site with crappy results, i wanted to know more so i downloaded the small video of the girl walikg up the steps. I was really blown away with the smooth movement of the camera, even up large flights of steps at almost running speed.

Keep up the GREAT work

yours sincerely, -Mark
I was just searching through the internet looking for information on building a jib arm as well as a stabilizer, and i came upon your tutorial on how to make a stabilizer. i just wanted to say thanks for spending the time to make a pretty sweet tutorial. it is just what i was looking for, and it's cheap. i think this afternoon i will give it a crack. Your website is also very cool and your work is impressive. I was just so pumped to actually find a nice stabilizer that i wanted to say thanks alot for posting that on the web. Thank you for your time.

Ryan Red C Productions
Greetings Johnny

Just wanted to say thank you for the cool plans for a stabilizer you had listed on your web page. I built one this past weekend and it works great. I was able to use PVC schedule 40 piping instead of the steel tubing and the total cost me about 10 dollars. It is light and easy to assemble. I actually needed to do no drilling. My camcorder tripod camera mount easily removed and I used that for the camera mount.

Thanks again. And to think I was almost ready to plunk down $500 for what I have made based on your plans.

Best Regards
Published on memepool.com on Apr 9th, 2004

If you want to be the next
Kubrick but have a limited budget, start by building a $14 (camera stabilizer) (a $14 what?), or maybe build one out of Legos. If you're even more ambitious, after understanding how dynamic balance works, you can try to design and build your own unique take on this useful device.
Published on Slashdot on Apr 9th, 2004

"Always wanted to film one of those cool 'walking' sequences, where the camera stays rock-steadyas you trudge along? Well, so did Johnny Chung Lee, except he didn't want to lay out major cash for a professional (camera stabilizer) rig, so he built his own for $14. He further claims you can do it in about 20 minutes if you know what you're doing. What more could a cheap, impatient Spielberg wannabe ask for?"
Hi Johnny, I read your article and I just built one of these this morning...and it works amazingly well. Great simple engineering... thanks!

One thing I thought I'd pass on that I did...you may want to mention when drillig the metal, adding a machine oil or 3in1 oil (even some vegetable oil in a pinch) will aid in the cutting as well as help keep things cool. It helps save your bit too.

The local 'Play it again Sports' sells the weights for 25 cents a pound...and people are constantly returning weight sets in their failed attempts to bulk up. I bought a 3 and a 2.5 Lb weight for $1.50! So you may want to mention that as an incredibly cheap source of weights too.

Right now I'm working on a way to find the pivot point of my camcorder, so it's axis with the LCD flipped out can be lined up with the main pipe with the wood board mount. So far I'm just trying to get the camera and board to come close to 'balancing' on a nail in a vise...I figure that's as close to pivot as I can find.

Again...thanks...great stuff.. - Andy
hey there...
just wanted to say your (camera stabilizer) project is very cool....I will try it out :)

To be published???

Hi there! I'm an editor at Mobile PC magazine, a fairly new monthly devoted to mobile tech of all kinds -- including digital cameras and camcorders. We found your web page on building a $14 (camera stabilizer), and I'd like to mention this in an upcoming issue. Your site suggests that you might start selling these again -- and if so, I'd love to be able to mention that. This would be for our July issue, most likely. Can you let me know, please?

Hi Johnny, I enjoyed looking at your plans for the "(camera stabilizer)." I know you said you're not building them until this summer, so let me know when you're back. I'm pretty handy myself, but I'm too busy working on other projects... If you can build one for me, that would be great, and I'm definitely willing to pay more than $14 for a well-built unit!

Thanks, Anton
Thanks for the (camera stabilizer) plans. I am about to head for the store for the parts. On your testimonial page, there is one in Spanish, for which you did not have a translation. Here it is:
original see above

Hello Johnny! I am a video fan and eventually I'm interested in building a (camera stabilizer) for my MiniDV camera, which led me to your web site, which I think is quite interesting. Thank you for so completely detailing the pieces. One question....
Sincerely, Giullem

Thanks to everyone else who provided me with translations. This was the first one I recieved,
I ran across your "build your own (camera stabilizer)" site, and then ventured to look at your short films and animations. Very well done.
Thanks, Jason
Visiting your PMSC page was surprisingly delightful. I appreciated the elegant simplicity of your instructions, and I enjoyed the movs for their direction and musical accompaniment.
Thanks. - scott, slashdot reader
Dear Mr. Chung Lee, My name is Mando Gomez and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful article on your website (http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/stabilizer/). It was so wonderful and truly informative.
Thank you once again and best wishes. Yours truly,
Mando P.S. I'm planning to put your project to work but instead of video - still photography (slow-shutter).
Johnny -
The project worked out well. I used bushings instead of caps - no drilling! I was lucky - my mini-tripod ($25 17 years ago) has a detachable ball head that itself has a 1/4" tripod mount in the bottom. Handy! As another bonus, I had an old lamp base in the basement. It balances perfectly, and the whole apparatus can sit upright on the ground between shots.

Thanks again for the plans. Andrew
I would totally buy one.. if you are selling kits please let me know. I have no tools and no time so that would be great. Thanks, Mike
...off of slashdot. Man that is great. I always love to see someone brilliant come along and show the masses how something so cool can be also done so cheaply. no reponse necessary
Thanks for posting your (camera stabilizer) plan. I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Thanks - Rich
You've done a great job with your $14 (camera stabilizer) web page. Very cool!

But, could I please offer one suggestion? Please, PLEASE, ***PLEASE*** add safety goggles to your list of equipment, and please include strongly worded advice to ALWAYS wear safety goggle when working with power tools? Especially when drilling through galvanized steel, those metal shards are truly nasty. (I noticed your excellent advice not to clean up the shards with one's fingers.)

Thanks for an excellent page! - Ken

Protective eyewear added
greetings mr. lee,

i am a film student in south carolina currently expanding my portfolio and i cannot relate the intensity of my HAPPINESS that followed discovery of your poor man's (camera stabilizer) page. it is precisely the instrument i needed and it came at the perfect moment.

hi, I found your page via slashdot. I was a cmu industrial design student a few years ago. i know exactly where your movie clips are filmed. it sure looks so much better than i remember. it's all about the lighting right? your invention is a great idea, makes me want to get into film.

regards, daniel
I just wanted to let you know that your stablizer rocks! I am a student in charge of a film production class, and i was just prepared to deal with the shakiness of motion filming. Then i see your website, drop 15 bucks (very afordable when you're a student) and voila! Immeadiatley after the construction, we ran a test and the shakiness was reduced soooo much!

I just wanted to thank you for your concept and help in building. ~Erik
I will be making one of your (camera stabilizer)s, great idea and price, I think I like your replies even more than the testimonials.
Regards, Robyn
Hello Mr lee,
After accidentally coming across your wonderful web page , I made your (camera stabilizer) and have found it very useful. My sons like to skimboard and It works really well for me when I film them. So thank you for that. The design is very creative.
regards Chris
Thanks for sharing your (camera stabilizer) design and maintaining the web site. It's been very informative.

I have not built a (camera stabilizer) yet, but I'm sure I will. I've also shared this with other video enthusiasts I know (ok, just 1).

Anyway, after reading your comments on the physics and some of the comments you've received, I wanted to take a little time to congratulate you on your down-to-earth approach. It's easy to make things complex. Many times, it's very difficult to ferret out simple, elegant and appropriate solutions to complex problems.

Regards, Erik
Hello... THANK YOU for your tutorial on the stabilizer, I can't wait to get crackin on one!

Hey Johnny, I just wanted to email you and thank you for putting your (camera stabilizer) design up on the web...for free. I just assembled it today and I'm already happy with it the test resuslts. Keep up the good work. Thanks. :-)

Johnny, Thanks very much for the (camera stabilizer) instructions. My build went off without a hitch, and I'm very happy with the results!

Regards, Thomas Barry
Great simple design, I made mine in about 20 mins with less than $20 in parts… I got a few extra bar lengths to experiment with. Thanks for the direction, simple innovation like this that leads to practical improvement in the daily lives of people is truly giving back to mankind and the body of knowledge. Good on you mate

I did not have time to build them myself, so I ordered three for my amateur videographer friends and me. We will use them to videotape James Robinson Secondary School's champion marching band (the "Marching Rams") in Fairfax, Virginia. See its site at http://www.robinsonband.org/rbopo.html for footage using the (camera stabilizer)s next season.

And I am very pleased with the units. The delivery came in just two days, and they are nice! I cannot wait to try them out and spread the word about your site and product. Also, I appreciated your timely and responsive answers to my emails. Very professional. Last, thanks for the extra gift that accompanied each unit. What a deal!

Thanks for the great article on building a stabilizer for mini dv cameras. I completed it last night and am waiting for my black paint to dry before I can begin using it. So simple yet I bet it works wonders (with practice of course). As a fillm student I freqently film many short films and was always limited by motion shots as I could never figure out how to remain steady. I was thinking, what about mounting a level on the handle somewhere? It could either be ziptied or something. That way shots could be level. Seen it done? Also, it might be wise to store zip ties in one of the handle as they come in handy on shoots to bind cords, clothing, etc... Thanks for the great article. I look foward to using it this weeekend!

Sincerely, Matt
I just wanted to shoot you an e-mail and thank you for a great tutorial on the poor man's (camera stabilizer). I used your instructions and built one. It works wonderfully. Exactly what I needed. Added a few of my own things to customize it (grips, rotator, etc.) and the thing is one of my best tools.

Thanks again for putting the time into a tutorial to help us 'little guys'. God Bless!

Thanks for coming up with this idea and placing it on the internet for free! I am an aspiring film maker and I just finished building your stabilizer for an upcoming 48 hour film festival. I think your design is great and your directions very precise and easy to understand.

Thanks again! -David
You're genius! I have a low attention span, so i just open the box you sent, slapped it together and tried it out. Mind you, I have a bad back. I chased my son around the yard kicking the soccer ball. I cant believe how well it worked! I was very very skeptical that it would work as half as well as it did.

Thanks dude. I hope you get rich selling these.

A very happy customer, -John
I just wanted to let you know that your (camera stabilizer) sure helped me out. I did a music video for a band called Smokey Lonesome using it and I came out great. Check it out at the link below.


I just wanted to drop you a quick note of appreciation for your web site and work in developing the “(camera stabilizer)” design to help all of the amateurs out there (well, at least “amateur film makers”) to shoot better video without having to spend gobs of cash. Your idea (design) is elegant, simple, and robust. I have just ordered one of the “kits” from your web site and can’t wait to get it assembled and in use!

I also wanted to drop in a couple of quick comments that came to mind after I read some of the messages that you received from different “technical” people regarding ‘flaws’ in the design or ‘improvements’ that you need to make. I didn’t see much from many of our peers (practicing engineers)….and while I am certain that you have received positive comments from many, I wanted to include my own words of support and praise!

Your design is absolutely wonderful! While there are certainly improvements that ‘could’ be made to it, doing so would likely detract from the most salient features of the design: simplicity and accessibility Further, I would defy anyone to present ANY product that has reached the pinnacle of design and is beyond ‘improvement’. Your design incorporates the best possible motion dampening force available (linear and rotational INERTIA…..the force described BY the second order term in the differential equations that you comment on in one of your replies) in a way that is nearly infinitely adjustable and in a design that is so simple that it belongs among the ranks of the “paperclip” and the “backpack”.

Improvements? Who cares! The objectives of your design effort (I suspect) were to create a method for shooting smooth and fluid handheld video using consumer and prosumer camcorders that is easy to communicate and reproduce (by others) using methods accessible to everyone at a cost that is minimal for the materials required and trivial when compared to the other products available. In this sense, you knocked it out of the park! Further, any ‘improvements’ (at least of the caliber that some have suggested) would detract from the simplicity of the design and would certainly introduce additional work and potentially cost into the design (which would immediately reduce the number of people who will actually try to build this themselves…..as a general rule, each ‘step’ added to any voluntary process reduces the number of people willing to complete all of the steps by a factor of 20%……so a 5 step process will only actually be tried by 41% of the people who would normally perform a single step). No, you’ve included only the ‘essential’ elements (even for the available variations of thee design) to ensure function and simplicity!

In terms of the engineering, I would argue that you strike a perfect balance between “ideal” ergonomics (an optimal centroid, absolute symmetry, and completely intuitive handling) and functional versatility (the ability to actually take a huge variety of shots and make them look great). Sure, we all have little ‘like – to – haves’ on ANY design, but another fantastic feature of yours is that your choice of materials makes this design TOTALLY customizable! Want a lower / higher / different center of mass? Use different lengths for the pipe and / or a different weight. Want additional degrees of stability? Apply more weights along different axes. Want more balance? Pick your COM and shave / add mass to the ends until that point is in static balance. Want to add an accessory “rack”? Buy a pipe clamp and attach it, then connect whatever you like to the clamp! I can PROMISE you that there are no ‘commercially available’ designs that even come close to offering the simplicity of being able to accessorize or modify THEIR designs by visiting your local hardware store!

In closing, then, I wanted to congratulate you on your innovative thinking and hard work and thank you for sharing it with the world. I also wanted to encourage you to continue shrugging off the periodic criticisms of your design (or condescending challenges regarding the mechanics of the product) and remind you that the best and most successful engineers understand that product design is as much about human factors (ease of assembly and use as well as versatility and durability) and economic factors as it is about ‘pure’ function. Based on what I have seen, you probably need no such reminder….but (for me, anyway) it is always good to know that you are following in the footsteps of some great people who came before you who also understood these ideas.


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