DIY Camera Crane

The finished crane at its highest point

Over the past week I have been building a camera crane, or jib. For those of you who do not know what a camera crane is, it is a device that allows you to take video from really high in the air to really low in the air. The one I built costs about $25.00, but if you have an old stand and access to a welder and some scrap metal, you could build it for well under $10.00.

The materials required to build it are:

2 2 by 2’s

various bolts

some scrap metal

a stand from an old utility light.

The two 2x2’s are connected to the pivot, camera end and operator end with 1/4” bolts and nuts. This system is simple yet effective. The brackets on the camera and operator side are exactly the same, and are made of thin sheet metal. I spot-welded the metal together at school. The central pivot point is made out of thick steel bar that has been bent into a rectangle. The two ends were mig welded together. If you do not have access to a welder, you could do the same with pop-rivets or screws. The central pivot point connects to the stand with a 1/4” bolt, as that was what the stand would accept. The stand was from an old utility light.

The LCD monitor is just a portable dvd player. I connected the video output of my video camera to the input of the dvd player. This allows me to see what I am doing. Sometimes the sun is too bright to see the screen, so I added a piece of cardboard to help make the screen viewable in direct sunlight.

Here are some pictures:

The finished crane at its highest point

The finished crane

A close up of the central pivot point

The operators end

The camera end

A close up of the pivot point on the ends.  Both the operator end and camera end use the same bracket.

This is my temporary counterweight.  I usually fill it with various heavy objects from around the garage.

Here is a short video that shows it “swooping”:

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