Keeping your GoPro HERO3/3+/4 steady is no small feat without some sort of a stabilisation platform. You can buy a gyro-driven gimbal, but that’s expensive. A Steadicam Curve is another, less expensive alternative, but what are your options if you’re somewhere you can’t get either of these? If you’re happy enough to have with you a Dinkum Systems 1/4in ActionPod and a nylon cable tie, you can make your own rudimentary stabiliser.
Why would you want to go through the trouble of making your own basic stabiliser if there are so many alternatives you can buy? I see two reasons:
- A stabiliser never amortises shocks 100% anyway and a gimbal is beyond your reach
- You’re in the middle of nowhere and have to work with the tools you have.
The principle of a stabiliser is to provide for basic shock absorbing and smoothing out your movements, including jerks, etc. A Steadicam Curve, for example, uses an independent mounting system and a counterweight to keep the GoPro camera balanced while offering some shock absorbing. In use, the HERO3/3+/4 looks to be dangling off the Steadicam Curve’s mounting point and that “flexing” behaviour is something you can repeat in a rudimentary way using a Dinkum ActionPod, a nylon cable tie that fits snugly in the ActionPod’s eyelets and one of GoPro’s tripod mounting accessories.
First you need to attach the nylon cable tie to the ActionPod. At its top, the ActionPod has two eyelets, which are great to attach the cable tie through/to. Make sure to leave plenty of space when you close the cable tie, so close it very loosely — just enough so it can’t accidentally dislodge.
Secondly, mount the HERO3/3+/4 on top of the ActionPod, using the appropriate mounting screw (1/4in). Then grab the nylon cable tie and pull it through the eyelets towards the back of the GoPro camera.
With the loop of the cable tie firmly in the grasp of your fingers, take a good look at how the camera hangs. If it stoops lens down, bend the ActionPod’s clamp to the back of the HERO3/3+/4 until it more or less balances. If it faces upwards, do the reverse. Ideally, you should end up with a bend in the ActionPod’s segmented body with the clamp (the counterweight) hanging slightly towards the back of the camera.
When you’re about happy with how it hangs, you’re ready to shoot. If you have more than one clamp from Dinkum Systems, you can now hold the cable tie loop between the jaws, but I found it easier to hold the loop with my fingers as in the photo. My method is only good for a quarter of an hour tops, though, as you do get cramps when holding the camera for longer periods of time this way.
The resulting shock absorption is clear from this video: