Lightweight Camera Stabilizer Featured on Kickstarter, Indie Go-Go
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Stephen Payne is a camera operator looking to make indy films. And as such, he’s taken a look at all the available camera stabilizers out on the market, and built by “do it yourselfers” and thought “there has to be a better way.” And so he built it … enter the PStick.
“As cameras have got smaller, stability has become more of an issue,” says Payne on his website, “so I tried using various stabilization devices. To be honest, pretty much all of them sucked. The were fiddly to use and complicated to balance. Most required two hands to keep them pointing in the right direction. So in frustration, I built my own.”
The whole idea behind the PStick is that it’s affordable, easy to install and use, and takes advantage of the physics of the human body.
It’s really all about Newtonian physics. Big cameras give you a steady shot because they have mass, but small cameras don’t. You could solve this by strapping a 20lb brick to your DSLR, but that would look silly. So by adding weight to the bottom of a monopod, the camera becomes more steady, but only on two axes …. and there are three. So you move the weights out to the end, giving you stability on the third axis.
And the PStick is affordable enough that budding directors looking to make their films more professional, can afford to stabilize their handheld shots. Many have built their own DIY steadicam and fit iron weights at the bottom. But that can be ungainly, cumbersome, and dangerous. The PStick attaches to any standard monopod and positions the weight at the very bottom, extending the center of gravity of the camera and making it safer and easier to control. The PStick uses recycled, lead tire weights that are placed on either end of the P-Stick assembly. That not only makes it easier to control, but green as well! And attaching it to a monopod means it’s adjustable on the fly for just about any shooter. Making setups faster to get and move on to the next scene.
Payne built it the prototype for a low budget, guerrilla project and as is often the case, others saw how easy it was to use and asked him to build one for them. And that made him think … this thing has a market.
I began to get comments like “Man, that works well, can you built me one?” Then a light bulb lit up in my tiny brain. I know, I thought, I should build these.
And now he’s turning to Kickstarter to raise funds to go into full scale production. He plans to sell the PStick for as low as $60 (and if you donate, you can get one for $45), making it very affordable for low budget filmmakers who are learning their craft, but can’t afford the hefty price tag of a Tiffens Glidecam.
“Wow. It’s a steadicam, a jib, a crane. It’s a lot of things. You can’t afford NOT to have it.” – Vicky Tischler-Blue, Director “Edgeplay.”
And some may say that anyone could build it. And even Payne admits that. But he has a point when he says “why would you, when mine is so inexpensive?”
Hat Tip – Wired