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DIY Camera Jib

Got no camera jib for high and low shots? No worries, we got you covered. We will tell you how you can create your own DIY camera jib. Then, you will be able to get the desired shots.

The jib allows the user to move the camera vertically and horizontally. Most of the time, a jib can be mounted on the tripods but at times special support for the jib may be needed. No more relying on handheld shots!

What is Camera Jib?

A camera jib basically functions like a see-saw. On its one end, a camera is mounted while the other side consists of the counterweight.

In a jib, the balance point is found closer to the counterweight. Hence, it can be moved vertically and horizontally.

In simpler terms, it is a device that allows the users to take unique shots that may be high or low.

Why Camera Jib and Crane are needed?

Handheld high and low shots don’t come out nice most of the time. The likelihood of disruptions is much higher in handheld high and low shots as compared to those taken with camera jib.

With a camera jib or crane, the user can smoothly take the desired shots at different heights without any disruption. Shakiness while capturing photos can be avoided with camera jibs and cranes.

Is it worth making one for yourself?

Absolutely yes! If you are short on budget and cannot invest in a real camera jib then you can go ahead and make one on your own.

It will definitely be worth it once you get the shots from varying heights and from desired angles.

DIY Camera Jib: How to Make Your Own Camera Jib Crane?

Before we look at the steps that you need to follow to make your own camera jib crane, let’s have a look at the things that you may need.

You particularly need to note down the measurements. Along with that, you also need to know the tools that may be needed. So, let’s have a look!

Things that you may need

  • Aluminum square tube

You will need four aluminum square tubes:

  1. 1 tube of the measurements (¾” – ¾” – 47″)
  2. 1 tube of the measurements (¾” – ¾”-34″½)
  3. 2 tubes of the measurements (¾” – ¾”-7”)
  • Aluminum Angles

You will need five aluminum angles in total:

  1. 2 aluminum angles of the measurement (1″ – 1″ – 6″)
  2. 3 aluminum angles of the measurement (1″ – 1″ – 3″)
  • Plywood

You will need one measurement of plywood:

  1. 1 plywood piece with the measurement of 2″¾ x 3″
  • Bolts and Nuts

You will need a number of nuts and bolts. They are as follow:

  1. 2 of the measurement (¾”)
  2. 2 of the measurement (1″½)
  3. 2 of the measurement (2″)
  4. 2 of the measurement (3″)
  5. 8 of the measurement (¼-20 Nylon Locknuts)
  6. 16 of the measurement (1/4 Nylon Washers)
  7. 1 of the measurement (¼-20 Furniture T-Nut)
  • Counterweight

The last thing that you need to build your own camera jib is a counterweight.

  1. 2 weights of 2.5LBS weight
  2. You will need one ¼-20 x 2″ bolt and one ¼-20 nut
  3. You will also need ¼-20 thread plastic knob

These measurements are specified for a specific size of camera jib.

Step by Step Procedure of DIY Camera Cranes

Step 1: Making holes into the four Aluminum Tubes

The first and the most crucial step is making holes. If the holes go wrong, the whole camera jib will not be created. Here is the list of all the holes that you need to make.

                                                                        Holes and their location
Longest tube You need to make one hole in the longest aluminum tube. The hole should be at 33” ¾ from the right edge.
Medium tube The medium tube should have two holes. One on each edge.
Smaller tubes One both the small tubes, you will make two holes each. The holes should be at 3” ¾ distance on the smaller aluminum tubes.

 

In order to get clean holes, make sure that you make the holes with a drill press. Also, be sure to get the accurate distance of the holes. Otherwise, the DIY camera jib would end up being a failure.

Step 2: Assemble the tubes with nuts and bolts

One of the most interesting steps of this whole DIY project is assembling. After you have made the holes with a drill press, you need to put the tubes together.

Put the large, medium, and small-sized aluminum tubes together with the help of the nuts and bolts. Make sure that a see-saw type thing is created.

Step 3: Adjust the camera

Once you have achieved the shape of a see-saw, you will then attach the camera to the one end of the DIY camera jib. Keep in mind, that the point of balance is much nearer to the other end as compared to the end that has the camera.

Step 4: Add the counterweight

After attaching the camera to one end, the counterweight must be added on the other end. So, you basically have two sides on a see-saw.

One that has all the equipment and the other one that has the counterweight. The counterweight is also be added by drilling a hole.

Drill a hole and then make sure that the counterweight is properly attached to the other side of the jib.

Note: One thing that you must keep in mind up till now is that the nuts and bolts at the balance point must not be very tight. If they are too tight, the jib will not be able to move.

So, make sure that the nuts and bolts are slightly loose. And here you have it! Your own DIR camera jib. A typical camera jib may cost about a couple of hundred dollars and more at times.

But you can create your own for under a hundred dollars. What a bargain, right? By making your own DIY jib, you are not compromising the quality of the pictures and you are also not spending a lot of money. Hence, you get a win-win situation.

Step 5: Try a test shot or a sample shot

The last step of creating a DIY camera jib is to give it a try. Once you give it a try, you will figure out how beneficial it is for your pictures.

You will figure out whether the DIY camera jib is working efficiently or not. Also, at this point, you get the opportunity to fix any errors or issues that the DIY camera jib may have.

One of the major misconceptions of the people regarding camera jibs is that they are difficult to make. Or, if you make one on your own, then it will not be as good as the one that you would have bought.

Well, it is important to clarify that the camera jibs are pretty simple to make as long as you follow the instructions.

Once you mess up the measurements, the whole DIY process would be messed up. Accurately follow all the instructions and you will be able to make one pretty easily.

How long does it take to make a camera jib?

If you have previously worked with a drilled machine then the DIY camera jib process becomes easier. People who have experience of using a drill machine can get it done within 2 hours.

However, those people who are not experienced in making camera jibs or using the needed tools, will not be able to get the job done within 2 hours. They will require much more time.

Do’s and Don’ts

All the Dos

  • Do take all the measurements beforehand.
  • Make a list of all the materials and tools.
  • Secure the equipment and the counterweight properly.
  • Take a sample shot to ensure efficient working of the DIY camera jib.
  • Have a few nuts and bolts extra on hand.
  • Assemble the jib carefully to avoid getting hurt.
  • Be patient.

All the Don’ts

  • Don’t hurry while drilling the holes, it can end up being very dangerous.
  • Don’t drill without marking measurements. Messed-up measurements mean messed up assembly and the end product will be messed up too.
  • Make sure that the nuts and bolts are not too tight.
  • Don’t drill without safety measures.

FAQ’s About DIY Camera Jibs

Are camera jibs expensive?

Yes, typically the camera jibs can range from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars.

Some of them are designed for amateur photographers while some of them are designed for professional cinematographers.

Hence, they are quite expensive and every photographer is not able to get them.

What are the safety measures for DIY camera jib?

While making your own camera jib, you will be drilling holes into aluminum tubes. That can be very dangerous. If you don’t have experience using a drill machine then you will have to be extra careful.

It is better to have extra help as well, just in case. When drilling holes into aluminum tubes, make sure that you are wearing gloves and eye-protective wear.

This way, your hands, and eyes will remain protected from the fine particles of the aluminum tube.

Can a camera jib be adjusted on a tripod?

Camera jibs come in different sizes. Some are small and some are quite big. The smaller camera jibs can be mounted on tripods. They can work efficiently on a tripod.

However, the bigger ones cannot be supported by a tripod. The bigger jibs usually come with their own stands.

The stands provide support and most of the time have wheels.

Due to the wheels, the movement of the jib from one place to another becomes quite easy. Also, getting shots at varying angles and heights becomes easy too.

What are the benefits of camera jib in filmmaking?

Benefits of Camera Jib
Smooth transitions The camera allows super smooth transitions during cinematography. Abruptness can be prevented by using a camera jib.
No Disruptions Handheld shots are not always that great. This is because the disruptions are much greater in handheld shots.

By using a camera jib, the disruptions can be avoided and incredible shots can be taken.

Comfortable to use A camera jib makes shooting much easier and comfortable as compared to handheld shots.

You cannot always take vertical and horizontal shots while holding the camera in hand.

Also, it can be tiring holding the camera while filming. The camera jib makes the entire experience very comfortable.

Adds value to the film projects Camera jibs add value to the film projects because some very incredible shots can be captured with the help of camera jibs.
Allows unique shots The camera jibs add versatility and uniqueness to your work.

They allow you to get unique shots. The camera jib also allows you to get creative with your work.

Varying angles and heights The camera jib allows you to capture from various angles and heights. They can be used horizontally and vertically as well.

 

Can camera jibs be made in different sizes?

Yes, camera jibs come in different sizes. Some are big and some are small. So, they can be made in different sizes as well depending upon your need.

However, you will have to carefully adjust the measurements. Also, the marking of the holes must also be very careful. If the measurements are messed up, the assembly will be messed up as well.

Verdict

The DIY camera jib is a super interesting project for cameramen or photographers. They can have amazing photos with varying heights and angles without having to invest in an expensive camera jib.

If you have accurate measurements of the aluminum tubes and the distance between the holes then making a camera jib is super easy.

When all the steps are followed, the process becomes much easier and quicker. The camera jib enables the photographer to be versatile with his photography.

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