Two Hands are Better Than One: LevelCam and “RebelCam”

Earlier this month, Matt over at FresHDV posted some photos of a new, fairly inexpensive ($50) gizmo called the LevelCam, which helps stabilize camcorder footage. This is no Steadicam — there’s no counterweight, no spring-loaded arm, no gimble. It’s just a small horizontal mounting surface that allows a camera operator to hold a camera level with two hands instead of just one. The LevelCam looks throw-it-in-your-backpack small, which is an added bonus.

Of course, if you’re too cheap to spring for something like the LevelCam — of if you just want to see how such a thing works — you could build a similar contraption. Stu Maschwitz’s DV Rebel’s Guide has instructions for building what he calls a “ghetto cam.” (Note to Stu: Not to get too PC on you, but I think “StuCam” or “RebelCam” would be a better name for it.) What is it? Basically a 2×4 and a couple of 1″ dowels.

I just built a “RebelCam” to see just how much it helps stabilize the image, and I have to say that it works better than I expected. The materials cost less than $10; building it took about an hour. The two downsides are that a) it’s kinda bulky and b) getting the camera mounted with a thumbscrew is a pain. For $40 more (and no effort) you can get a smaller, possibly more convenient version.

Of course, you can just try to hold the camera steady with one hand. People have done it for years. Or at least tried.

6 Responses to “Two Hands are Better Than One: LevelCam and “RebelCam””

  1. epple Says:

    For the price the ghetto cam works great, I recommend the entire DV Rebels Guide.

    And you are getting too PC. Calling it something other than a GhettoCam won’t make it any easier for jews circa 1940. It’s not like Stu is advocating you brand a swastika into the 2×4. Stay on topic next time.

  2. Paul Says:

    Thanks for reading. I make no apologies for going “off-topic.” Blogs are discursive.

    You’re totally welcome to disagree with this instance of PC-ness– probably over the top PC, as I admitted. What can I say? Something rubs me the wrong way about hipsters using “ghetto” as a slang synonym for “inexpensive.” (The closest thing I can compare it to is when people say “gay” or “retarded” for “stupid”, which also annoys me.)

    I agree with you: The DV Rebel’s Guide is good stuff, even if you’re not interested in making action movies.

  3. Scott Eggleston Says:

    Sounds similar to the “shakycam” created by the Coens and Sam Raimi (I think). This was just a 2×4 with the camera slapped in the middle. Two “operators” would grab each end and do whatever move was needed. Great for running through the woods and flying over stuff.

  4. André Hedetoft Says:

    Just ordered DV Rebel a couple of days ago actually.

    Really looking forward to it!

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  6. Jim Hockin Says:

    I am always interested in a budget solution for a minor need. In my case I shoot only occassional VGA quality clips from a point & shoot still camera. I was looking for an inexpensive tripod or possibly ‘sticky pod’ type device for stills. Having seen this for a mere $50 is causing me to reconsider and expand my concept. Perhaps I need a device for the videos more than I do for stills?