If shaky home videos are making your audience seasick, it's time to steady your hand.
Step 1: Begin building bottom Attach two 45-degree elbow connectors to either end of a 6-inch PVC pipe. This will be the bottom of your camcorder stabilizer.
Step 2: Attach T-connector Add a piece of 2½-inch PVC pipe to each connector's open end and then attach a T-connector to both.
Step 3: Connect PVC to cross Separately, affix the two 3-inch pieces of PVC to opposite ends of the four-way cross connector. Attach an elbow to the open end of each 3-inch piece. This assembly will serve as your camera's base.
Step 4: Link Ts to elbows Attach the two assemblies you've built so far by attaching the elbows to two 1½-inch PVC pieces, and those pieces to the inward-facing holes in the T-connectors.
Step 5: Add remaining PVC pipe pieces Add the remaining two 2½-inch PVC pipe pieces to the open holes on each T-connector, and attach elbow connectors to the pipes.
Step 6: Connect side pipes Attach a pair of 6-inch PVC pipes to the open ends of the elbow connectors. Attach elbow connectors to their open ends.
Step 7: Build top Now build the top of the stabilizer. Attach a pair of elbow connectors to either end of a 6-inch PVC pipe. Then, attach the two remaining unused 6-inch pieces to the other ends of the elbow connectors.
Step 8: Attach top piece Connect the elbow connectors on the top pieces of your stabilizer to both 6-inch side pieces, forming an octagon and completing your basic frame.
Step 9: Seal with cement Seal all the connections on your stabilizer by brushing on PVC cement, and let dry.
TIP: Spray-paint your stabilizer black to make it look sleeker.
Step 10: Drill hole in end cap Create the camera mount. To begin, drill a hole the size of the bolt through the center of a PVC end cap.
Step 11: Thread bolt in cap Thread the carriage bolt through the underside of the cap so it pokes through the top of the cap. Screw the nut down the bolt until it meets the cap, holding the bolt in place.
Step 12: Connect PVC to cap Attach the underside of the cap to the remaining 1½-inch piece of PVC and cement them together. Let them dry.
Step 13: Attach wing nut and washer Screw the wing nut onto the top of the bolt and add the washer.
Step 14: Screw in camcorder Screw the bolt into the camcorder's bottom tripod hole and tighten the wing nut.
TIP: For easier handling, apply grip tape to the two side bars of your stabilizer.
Step 15: Attach camera mount to rig Once your camera is secured to the bolt, attach the assembled mount to the top of the cross connector in the center of your rig and cement the connecting PVC. You're ready to start recording, one steady shot at a time!
FACT: The first movie to use a handheld stabilized camera rig – or Steadicam – was the 1976 David Carradine film Bound for Glory.